Thursday, May 21, 2015

Flight of Ideas 2 ( and then some)

Hello world.

I'm not dead, just AWOL/lazy. Very often in daily life a thought or opinion props up and I'm like, hey I should write about this', then I'm like, 'lol nope'. Hence the virtual cobwebs.

So there I was, just chilling at home post 7 day ICU stretch (I've decided I'm really not an outdoor person) when I got my Gympie rota roster....
and a your-role doc which looks like this

And now I'm like fuckity fuck fuck fuck

So after staring at it for a good 15 minutes I've come to the conclusion that
a) I still have no idea how I'm expected to weave in and out of three very distinct specialties
b) words like 'expected to', 'often', 'potentially alternate weeks', 'variable' are not helpful at all
c) I need to learn how2kagebunshinnojutsu

Notwithstanding the fact that I haven't touched a speculum since 2011 and now I'm 'first port of call for antenatal reviews of complicated antenates that need medical review'. 

Gotta love (!sarcasm) that about medicine - being a 'doctor' - even if you're a first day intern - somehow puts you on a higher level compared to nurses with 20 years of experience. I've had nurses ask me to 'talk to the patient' about something or other that the nurse tried to explain but they were having none of. I walk up and say the exact same thing - clueless, 'Im-just-a-junior-doc' me - and because I'm wearing the Stethoscope of All Knowledge, the patient suddenly understands/is reassured/etc.  

Anyway. I'm sure I'll work things out somehow. Gympie is always being shat on by the doctors here and it really reminds me of Wick.

Also, ICU is ending soon, which makes me a little sad. I do love all the fiddly wires and lines, but the real job of intensivists is not just adjusting ventilator settings and weaning inotropes, but rather having difficult conversations with families with complicated dynamics. There never seems to be any 'normal' families in the ICU relatives room. It's always the estranged wife who doesn't want some offspring to be involved, or a brother who thinks the EPOA sister is mad and shouldn't be allowed to make the decisions, etc etc, Also, you'd have to be a damn genius to pass the professional exams. 

On a random note, Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, which is my current bedtime reading, really reads like a manga. It's all the phrases he uses, like 'in a pinch' and 'that's correct' as an affirmative, and 'in other words...' and '[statement], right?' that lets in all the nuances of a translated Japanese text. (I did a  >.0 at the dohta/maza obvious katakana part) The story itself is so manga-logic, with the two worlds and moons and vague descriptions. In my head I can actually visualize the panels. I wish there'd be more official professional translations for all the niche light novels I want to read, but I guess that's the whole point of learning Japanese.

Alrighty, time to buck up. 

Flight of Ideas

Hello from an airport.

So, let's get down to it. The long due so-how's-it-been-in-Australia post.

In a nutshell, it's much the same, just better. It is a developed white country after all. The main difference is its health system - I like to think of it as a nice balance between the NHS's free but unsustainable decades old health plan, and America's insurance-only health cover that seems to benefit only the cushy upper middle class. Medicare is a subsidy rather than a free ticket, and Aussies are more willing to pay for private health insurance and private health services eg allied health, pathology, nursing homes etc. There isn't the same level of strain that there is on the NHS. It seems to be working pretty well for them.

In terms of the small things as a still-somewhat-kuli NHS refugee, I have observed several small differences. Like how much more willing nurses are to do bloods and cannulas etc (I actually worry I'm de-skilling) (heck I was doing my own flippin ECGs as an FY1) which I guess lets me step back and look at the big picture rather than obsess about where the tape is kept. The UQ medical course has been post grad for ages so it seems like all the interns and residents are in their 30s with kids and houses. I'm always assumed to be the intern, at best. Everyone keeps their watches and rings on, so Bare Below The Elbows isn't quite in vogue like it is in the UK.

It's 10 terms of 10 weeks as opposed to 3 rotations of 4 months in a year in the UK, which I suppose is pretty good as there is more chance to dip into various specialties, especially for a still undecided person like me. (Please don't look at me like I'm an alien) And we get 5 weeks of paid leave a year, much to the envy of every single person who's asked me this. You split them into 2 and 3 weeks and are meant to allocate your preferences before the start of the year, so admin can organize cover during your planned absence. It's ingenious. Back in the UK people are still having to desperately clamour for time off to yknow, get married and stuff.

Hence the existence of a relieving term, in which for 10 weeks you pretty much cover whichever department is rostered to be on leave. That was my first term, so I dabbled in paeds, rehab med, A&E (ok fine Aussies called it ED or DEM), gen surg, gastro and haem, which is actually a pretty good mix. Back in the UK you had to apply for 'taster weeks' if you wanted to try out a specialty you weren't working in, and it would be a bit of a hassle. It seems I had a course of taster weeks handed on a silver platter. The downside is you're in a different department every 2 weeks and have to get used to everything over and over again but it's not thatt bad I suppose.

Pay is....good. I'm actually saving lots and having a social life for once,

Ah yes, social life. Nice to have you back. Brisbane boasts probably the largest amount of IMU alumni in any single city owing to the large-ish BMedSci cohort, and well I guess it is nice having old KL friends to hang out with again. I crash at my brother's place whenever I'm in Brisbane (which is virtually every week) and it is certainly working out nicely so far. Nothing beats the hour long drive to Brisbane after a long stretch of days or nights, with my Jpop plugged in, knowing I'll get to jostle with the aunties in Sunnybank asian shops, cook dinner and watch Koufuku Graffiti over dinner with onii-chama.

And well I'm back because durr cincai allocated the AL dates. Was back in Kuching for a week, and there is still no place like home. Most of my friends have started work and I am rather oddly interested in learning about working environments in Malaysia, particularly as a junior meddie, and understanding the issues that lead to this environment. The cycle of abuse is real. Then there's the usual stuff like 50sen kuih (give me rice flour snacks over kolo mee any day) (I am a disappointing child), the uncle/auntie eye-sweep (more on that later) and the sweltering heat and humidity I know all too well. My increasing appreciation of how good Brisbane roads are and how crap Kuching roads are.

It's getting a bit cliche, but Sarawak really is the true embodiment of 1Malaysia if I may borrow that glorified PR ploy. The State paper publishes and brings attention equally to church, temple or mosque related events and people. The halal food hawker is next to the kolo mee stall and there is no furore. The Indian uncle selling curry paste at the market speaks better Hokkien than I do. Just simple things like that.

Ok the uncle/auntie sweep. So you've come back from overseas, this strapping young lad/lass with the world ahead of you, meeting uncle/auntie for the first time in ages. They would be your legit relatives, or parents' friends, church people etc. The uncle/auntie sweep is the half a second visual scan literally sizing you up, the next half second is them deciding whether you've put on weight or not (very important), and the next half second is them deciding whether to tell you what they think. I've been tossed between being to skinny and having added a few kilos - the latter is true; I've definitely fleshed out a bit since starting working and eating at odd hours. I don't really mind or care, but the uncle/auntie sweep is definitely a part of coming home.

(If anyone wants to loose weight fast, I can recommend the Malaysian House Officer Weight Loss Programme - it works! Main side effect: clinical depression.)

I'm 26 this year - where did my early 20s go? I have absolutely no idea. As my dad puts it, I'm no spring chicken anymore. (Gotta love stoic asian dads) At least I have a better idea of what I'd be looking for in a life partner (thanks WaitbutWhy) - if I ever get one. If not I suppose I can prop up my shrivelling ovaries by marathoning Free!

(Retrospectively published - post written during airport transit like 5 weeks ago)

Stay classy, KLIA2

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hello there. This is a quick shoutout to say I'm still alive, and well have not entirely abandoned this blog completely.

It's been nearly 3 months since I landed in Australia. I knew the settling in would take at least a few months - quarter of a year later I'm still thinking I need more time. I would have compiled a list of how different things are here (esp working as a doctor) compared to the UK, but that's a post for later, hopefully.

Right now I'm just trucking along, going through the motions and having a few short term plans in my head but not exactly mapped out my entire life yet. It can be disheartening sometimes watching peers make progress with their careers, getting engaged etc, when I'm still asking interns to teach me how to write scripts and spending my nights self learning Japanese alone. Sometimes I feel just pressured to have everything sorted out in my 20s - but somehow I know deep down as well, that's it's ok if I don't.

And that sits well with my soul.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It hits harder when its personal.

So about all this crashed plane business. That's the third in a year, and all linked to Malaysia somehow. What strikes harder this time is we personally know the family of the only Malaysian passenger on that plane. The kids went to the same school.

The oldest girl is a year older than me. She played flute in band, studied medicine in New Zealand, and is into salsa dancing. She is really pretty and has dimples when she smiles.

The middle girl is a year younger than me. I don't know her well but we have many mutual friends.

The youngest son is my younger bro's good buddy. They hang out a lot, and recently went on a brotrip to Penang with a few others.

They are a decent, honest, God-fearing family.

They will never see their father again. In the blink of an eye - fatherless, widowed.

No warning, no finality in their goodbyes. It is so cruel.

My parents holidayed in Jakarta just a week ago. They flew Jakarta-Singapore barely a week before it happened.

It could have been me.

We celebrated my dad's 56th birthday tonight. A family will never see theirs again.

It could have been me.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dirty Wicker

A summary of the good and the bad of the last 4 months' ulu working...

The (Y)

- computers only blocked Facebook and proper dodge sites! It actually allowed Youtube, blogs, and stream sites, so um RandomC is probably floating around in a computer's history somewhere...

-it's a small hospital hence everything is a minute or two away- labs may be a bit off the beaten track, but at least I didn't have to climb 4 flights of stairs to use an ABG machine because the (only) ABG machine was right outside the ward.

-ok rent was decent. 200pounds a month and bills were like 5-20pounds a month? We had portable electric heaters in the bedrooms so things were nice and toasty at night. And even the later months when I left the heating overnight, the bill never went over 20. The house wasn't a complete shithole either.

-everything was in walking distance. House to hospital was 10mins tops, and the train station was literally behind the hospital. We had a relatively big Lidl next to the staff accommodation where I stayed, so that was a major plus.

The (N)

-rotas being made by office goons who work 1-3pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and 9-11am on Fridays (ie have no fucking clue and have no qualms about giving you two back to back 12-day-straight shifts) but this problem is endemic in the NHS.

-mix an elderly crumblie population, unfilial children, scant social services, the odd lazy GP - recipe for the perfect heartsink day of bed crises filled with bearded old ladies who can't stand/can't eat/was wandering etc

This needs a flipping colossal titan gif

-office-hour labs and xrays that have an oncall system, meaning when you need bloods at 2pm, the decision on whether to call in labs is whether nice smiley lab guy is on call, or that grumpy  old lab guy who lives 20 minutes away is on call. You do start asking if you REALLY need that midnight CRP or CXR, but unfortunately sometimes the answer is yes.

-weekends. Officially the worst types of shifts ever, because there are two doctors for the whole hospital, one on medical one on surgical. You do the ward round, jobs, A&E, and whenever the rehab ward starts feeling needy and starts calling you. Weekends were the worst. Worse than nights. You can apparently expect one person to manage a ward of 40 patients and see all 10 medical A&E attenders, it seems.

-bizarre use of resources. We have no ECHO, fine. Funny tests and cultures get sent to Glasgow, find. We've got a CT scanner, hooray! But, because ultrasound come in like, once a week, it is apparently better to CT carotid everyone with a TIA because lulz we can. We must have irradiated the necks of half of Caithness. Any thyroid enthusiast want to visit the place in 30 years?

-no Natwest. In fact Natwest is pretty shit in Scotland. There's only one branch in Aberdeen and none north of it, including Inverness. I had a few cheques to bank in and it was a major pain.

-the latitude. In August it seemed like it would never get dark, and the week before I left there was frost on the grass and the sun set by 3.30pm. I don't think I could ever get used to extreme latitudes. I grew up on the equator where there was one warm season all year and sunset at 7.30pm on the dot every day, and that's how I like it.

-there is pretty much nothing to do. There's like Weatherspoons, which we went to at least 10 times in 4 months. The nearest cinema was in Thurso. No shopping malls or anything. At least internet was stable, so I was actually a little productive for a change. The dead-ness of the town didn't bother me too much, but for the city slickers it was a death sentence.

There's supposed to be things to do and see, like an Orkney weekend, the Walligoe steps, Pulteney whiskey distillery, but I actually did nothing. In fact I never went further than Tesco, and this fact doesn't bother me at all. I do no regret not visiting Orkney or going for a whiskey tour (frankly because I don't care for it). that la. I survived. That is all.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Kagerou Project

Sasuga Japan. Where else would you get a music CD series that got turned into a light novel, then a manga, then an anime? (Ok so it's a bit like someone taking individual ABBA songs and sewing it up to make a story ie Mamma Mia, except this would be more my kinda thing)

Kagerou Project is just that, leading to the recent Mekakucity Actors anime based on the manga based on the LN based on the drama CDs (and a bunch of Nico fanvids/covers/graphics - geez it's like everyone in Japan can draw/sing/produce music). The anime itself was ok, kept me interested till the end even though it was the standard 'wtf did I just watch' anime ending. Also omg dat Shaft head tilt. XD

I think I'm finally getting the hang of this Vocaloid obsession. I still don't relish the squeaky artificial pitching, but man the Nico covers are pretty damn fine. The original music (lol 'source material') is pretty awesome, I'm loving Jin's pumping basslines the most.

Kagerou Daze is hands down the best song/story of the lot. (and the Nico chorus cover is better too)

Oh man the feeeeellllsssss.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How do I asian? latest obsession is chinese hiphop dance groups cosplaying anime....

So I literally can't stop watching's like there's something sofuckinghot about a Recon guys dance choreo....(hot damn Levi)
still best shingeki

Also, combination of tumblr+imageboards are veryyy bad for feels. I'm gonna need to stock up on 気持ち いい feels cuz work is about to get real shit, real fast.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

好き な 少年 で ある

Took a run for the first time in a long time. Had to be persuaded by friends because I really don't enjoy breathing in icy air and running in wind that hurts my ears. Glad I did, because the ocean was quite pretty. Some endorphins don't hurt either.

At this point, one can only cross their fingers and pray. At the very least, I've started actually working on things I've wanted to do for a long time, ie start drawing properly, learning Japanese, regular exercise, some medical related revision just to keep my knowledge up. I actually want to pick up bass properly. At some point.
これ は マイ ハズバンド, 触れない!!

この 心 は 希望 を 探して

Friday, October 31, 2014

Doors that close and open

I made a big decision. 

There's no turning back now.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

悲しくて, 寂しくて

I unintentionally became the third wheel tonight. The friend I was visiting was meeting another 'friend', who turns out to be a guy she's seeing. I had no idea she was seeing someone, but as the night wore on their affection for each other became more apparent. It was really sweet.

I felt happy for them. But for the first time since I became single I felt a strange emptiness. I know exactly what it is. I also know exactly how a glimpse of others' relationships hardly represent the true picture of the iceberg underneath. けど, 悲しみ の 感じが 消えない

My peers are moving on with life. Making career decisions, taking active steps towards those dreams, buying cars and houses, getting into serious relationships. I feel like the only thing I've got to show for my 25 years are the Great Australian Dream which has become the Great Australian Detour, for which I've put my life on hold.

There probably is someone out there who'll fit my puzzle. ね?

Sunday, October 12, 2014


I cried when she said my name
Maybe this was what I needed. To know I wasn't completely heartless and unfeeling.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Everyday is a battle. Everyday is a struggle.

Everyday I remind myself why I do this. Everyday I have to remind myself to treat people with compassion, to have empathy for patients.

Everyday I fail.

Everyday I feel frustration, resentment, Everyday beds get blocked by medically as fit as they can be grannies waiting for arrangements to be made for someone to help them three times a day. Everyday daughters and sons refuse to take their elderly parents home because they 'can't cope'.

Everyday I get calls from GPs trying to push the vulnerable, old, and frail come to the ward I work in as a very last resort. Everyday I become the messenger who gets shot. Everyday I tell myself the things I can't control are not my fault.

Everyday I lose faith. Everyday I lose patience. Everyday I lose compassion.

Everyday I feel little joy in my work and even less sorrow for my patients.

Everyday my heart hardens and my walls rise higher.

Monday, October 6, 2014


私も早くオーストラリアに来たい。私 も。

(ちょっと 紹介 します! これ は カラ先生 です。カラ先生 は ブリスベンのサーニーバンク に 住んでいます! でも ペースより ブリスベン が 好き です ね ^^ )

Sunday, October 5, 2014

私 わ ワィブ だ よ!

今日 の 天気 が すごく 悪い です。風 が 強い,雨 が 落ちる, 空 が くらい。けど, 考える - 家 を あります, 電気 が あります, 温水 も あります - とても 幸せ, 私。 (でも イギリス の 天気 が 本当 に 嫌い です よ!

苦しみ な ショタ が 好き です ね。。(きゃあああ~  8D)