Tuesday, April 3, 2018


In a whirlwind of work, work, friends, and more work, a quarter of the year has gone by, just like that. Whew. Thank God it's holidays, indeed.

Work is always eventful, but it started off particularly so -- a(n expected) patient death on day one, a code blue with full resus ten minutes into day two, dealing with an angry patient on day three, cannulating an uncooperative patient with dementia on day four... The list goes on. My first week as a Real Doctor was pretty overwhelming, to tell you the truth. It felt like I was attempting to navigate the stormiest of seas in a tiny boat, armed with a teaspoon instead of an oar. Thankfully, there were supports around that offered help right when I needed it, which was really what kept me going. I will always be grateful for friends, seniors, and the admin staff.

The other tricky thing was work-life balance. I lived with two interns last year, and it seemed to me that every spare moment they had was spent either sleeping or doing laundry (I exaggerate, but only slightly). This was me during my first month of work. Work was an all-consuming creature that grew to occupy every bit of time and brain space I had. It didn't help that I started the year on a notoriously busy ward, and I was determined to keep on top of things at any cost. At any cost. This included physical, mental, and spiritual health, which of course eventually took its toll on me. My diet was atrocious, I wasn't going to the gym, I spent the entirety of some days feeling like I was millimetres away from a panic attack, and I started skipping growth group because I was exhausted. I fell sick (surprise, surprise), and felt so awful and guilty and useless for not being at work that I completed all my mandatory modules instead of resting. Several people told me I was working too hard; I took pride in this, because I was on a crazy busy ward and working hard surely meant that I was seen to be on top of things. Flawed logic, but you can tell I wasn't in the best headspace at that point.

I'm glad to say that isn't really the case anymore. I started making it a point to do things outside of work, to do things for me because I enjoy doing them. Summer was great because the sun and warm weather were perfect for walks at the Gorge (this had the dual purpose of getting in some exercise as well as stocking up on Vitamin D). My housemate got a scoby from her classmate, so I started brewing my own kombucha. It's been fun experimenting with different tea combinations and flavourings! I muddled a bunch of strawberries and chucked them in for secondary fermentation, and that worked a treat. I also managed to finish a book! It was titled The Crazed, written by Ha Jin. I got it secondhand at Salamanca Market because I didn't think I'd ever read anything by an Asian author, so I thought I'd ought to broaden my scope a bit. The writing style was different from anything I've ever read, and reminded me a little of how my Grandad talks/writes.

Speaking of Salamanca Market, little getaways with/to see friends have also been highlights of my year thus far. There have been a few Hobart trips, which of course included Salamanca Market and the Sunday farmers market. I was pleasantly surprised to find some new stalls, and glad to see the old favourites were still there. In early March, a few of us from Launnie and Hobart flew to Melbourne to see Ed Sheeran! We crashed in the living room of a former Burnie Boy (now a Melbourne Man), who was also coming for the show. It was incredible. One man, a guitar, and a loop pedal were enough to draw in and entertain 50,000 people, for three (four?) nights in a row. Unbelievable. Though the hipster in me wants to say my favourite song was something that wasn't released as a single/playing on the radio, the best part of the night was definitely Perfect. It felt like the entire stadium was simultaneously holding their breath, and it was magical. I could fangirl about that night forever.

I've also just been to Brisbane! It turned out we had a five-day break for Easter, and I was only working on the first day, so I had a few days to spare. I worked a ten-hour shift and flew off to Brisbane that night, eager to make the most of the break. Brisbane was so great! The warmth was a welcome reprieve from chilly Tassie, and I adored walking along the wharf and marvelling at its infrastructure. I stayed with a friend with whom I'd been housemates for three years in Tassie, so it was very comfortable. It was great to catch up with her and another friend, as well as make a new one! Went along to a friend's church for Easter Sunday and ended up bumping into a UTAS med student and a lecturer from my college in Malaysia! Small, small world. Anyway, Brisbane was great, and I'd love to go back some day.

Tomorrow works starts again, and we only have three days left of our current rotation. I start surgery next, which I'm a little apprehensive about; I didn't mind so much being crazy busy this rotation, because I love Gen Med, but Surg is something I'm not overly keen for. On the bright side, it sounds like we have a good team, so we can bond through trauma or something, maybe. I kid, I kid. It'll be okay. I'm sure the next three months will go by as quickly as the past three have. It'll be an interesting year ahead!

Not sure when the next time I'll be posting anything will be. I'll have sleep to catch up on, and laundry to do. Not to mention kombucha to brew, and growth groups to attend, and exercise to do. Yay, work-life balance!

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