I Left My Voice In Cape Town


Here’s one way I didn’t expect my first day back at work to go:

“Go home! You’re going to make the patients sick!”

Which I suppose makes sense since in the Orthopaedics wards, very few of our patients are actually SICK. They’re mostly just broken. And if they become sick we can’t discharge them and that spells disaster given our already-high patient load.

So here I am, in bed, drugged up on flu meds.

My break in Cape Town was wonderful. I spent time with my little sister and with GeekBoy. We watched West Side Story and ate wonderful food. On two separate occasions I managed to catch up with friends (one from school, another who emigrated to Australia) whom I hadn’t seen in over FIVE YEARS. I also met up with the lovely Lily from Lily Does Medschool.


Sister, GeekBoy and I at Vovo Telo (awesome bakery!)

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Don’t Miss West Side Story at the Artscape!


I’m on leave in Cape Town and it is wonderful! As part of my effort to squish as much fun into a week as possible, my sister and I watched West Side Story at the Artscape Opera House.



Image via The Fugard Theatre. Click for site.

What I knew of The Fugard Theatre Company going in: they stage the well-known Rocky Horror Show in Cape Town regularly and do it well. Their home theatre is fairly small, so the Artscape was necessary for a production of this size. Continue reading

Throwback: Roadtrip Through History


I wrote this post as a note on Facebook exactly five years ago, 6 July 2010. I’m often ashamed when I read my past writings, but this isn’t one of those times. I’ve left it exactly as is. I’m not sure how much sense it will make to people who are not familiar with South Africa, but I decided to share it here in any case. I’ve hyperlinked some things for comprehension’s sake.

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The extravagant price-increases as brought on by the hosting of the FIFA World Cup recently necessitated a 12-hour road-trip to Cape Town, as opposed to the usual 90-minute flight.

A cold and dark 05:00 morning progressed just as we progressed through the land of memories.

Memories of debating trips – so many debating trips.

Here we debated.

Here we lost.

Here we won.

Here I learnt that the line between conviction and contradiction truly is a fine one. Continue reading

Doctoring in Heels


GeekBoy is really good at foot massages. You know that good-painful type where one squeezes all the knots from a persons feet.

I discovered this because I needed a foot massage after work today. For some reason I thought it wise to work in heels for close on ten hours.

via Deviantart Kiba-Kun1289 (click for link)

via Deviantart Kiba-Kun1289 (click for link)

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My Booming Frontal Cortex

Unborn Ideas by Catrin Arno

Unborn Ideas by Catrin Arno

I remember it clearly. I was twelve years old and one day, without any precipitating events, I looked at the world as if with new eyes. I felt as if I had been living in a bubble, and suddenly the world was big and I wasn’t a child. Or I was, but I didn’t want to be.

It was my first experience with “growing up” and I can only postulate that as it was roundabout the time that I hit puberty, my frontal cortex was busy myelinating like crazy. I of course believed that my brain was fully developed and that old people who claimed it was still developing were, well, old – but what would a twelve year old know, right?

It wasn’t so rapid this time but I think I may be having a similar experience now. I have been trying to put it into words but having largely neglected any kind of writing besides the odd blog post, that hasn’t gone so well. It started with a feelings of disconnect and then intense reconnection; and a lot of confusion about my role in society as a doctor, a daughter, a sister, a partner, a citizen. Continue reading

Sometimes It’s Attitude


I hate platitudes. I hate when people say, “You can get through anything if you have the right attitude”. It negates the fact that sometimes, circumstances are atrocious. It puts the onus on people to grin and bear it, instead of on the system to change.

I’m not saying I’ve changed my mind, but I noticed something recently. I’ve met two community service doctors who were both placed in departments where they REALLY did not want to be. The nature of your community service year is that you get placed where you are needed and not necessarily where you want to be.

via @bunnybuddhism

via @bunnybuddhism

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Hypothesis: South African Sights for South African Vision


While I was in beautiful Cape Town for my leave (wow, that was a long time ago), my sister and I mused about how we have access to this gorgeous country simply by virtue of being born here. “Just think,” she said, “people pay thousands of rands to see Table Mountain, and here we are, just walking around and seeing it as much as we want!” She was quite right, of course – at the same time, the MV Explorer was docked in Cape Town.

But for a long time, I’ve been thinking how not all who are born in our country have access to these attractions on a very basic level.

Virtually everywhere I have traveled, foreigners pay more than locals to see attractions. I saw this for the first time in China in 2011, where foreigners are very clearly divided from locals wishing to visit the Huanglong caves.

china foreigners Continue reading