Bookishness, Getting to know me

Adjusting to Cape Town

If you’ve wondered where I’ve gone, or why my last post was such a random shout from the dark… it’s because adjusting to a new life in Cape Town has been hard. Even though it is sort of the land of milk and honey (see previous post).

I started the year with a lot of plans (don’t we all) of having a gorgeously decorated apartment that was always neat and tidy, continuing to read a lot, writing more often, working on furthering my career, and having a lot of friends.

Tah-dah! #bulletjournal #level10life #colour #BuJo #2017 #goals #moleskine #stabilo

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Real Medicine

Working in the Land of Milk and Honey

By some kind of dumb luck, I am doing my Community Service posting at an incredible children’s hospital in Cape Town, rather than the archetypal middle-of-nowhere clinic post we all expect for ComServe.

And it’s incredible.

#lucky to work with this view; less lucky to be #oncall Friday and Sunday. #weekend #capetown

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This hospital is just something else. It’s public, but has so much private funding that it might as well be a private hospital. It gets a lot of private patients so clearly I’m not alone in my perception.

Some things that continue to blow my mind:

1. Pain management team

Absolutely essential, of course, but not something we had access to in the Eastern Cape. As part of pain management, our kiddies have access to aromatherapy and music therapy. How cool is that?!

2. Psycho-social services

When adults bring kids to hospital and they have witnessed violent events, the adults get debriefing practically before the kid even leaves the emergency unit. When a kid gets hit by a stray bullet, he gets trauma debriefing. There are support groups for kids with any number of conditions. All of these things should be a given, should’t they? But again, it’s something I’ve never seen.

3. Palliative Care Team

Last year, I often had to decide on my own whether a patient was for active resuscitation or not. It was a horrible responsibility, but not that I’ve learned just how much is involved within the practice of palliative care, I realise how WRONG it is for a clinician to have to make such decisions without an entire palliative care team.

My entire view of palliation has changed.

4. Gorgeous Operating Theaters

There are theaters with views of Table Mountain, and I just… wow. (The on-call room also has a view of the mountain.)

5. Clinicians who love their jobs

I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it is to be surrounded by senior doctors who are still passionate about their work. It gives me hope.

 * * *

One thing that is not available in the land of milk and honey is small-size theater scrubs. I still have to use a whole host of improvisations to prevent my pants from falling down when I scrub in for theater.

Oh well.

Getting to know me, Real Medicine

Preparing for the Next Step: 2017

The year has passed into its second half, and so I am nearing the beginning of my last rotation of internship. Nearly twenty months of working now, and I’m still a baby-doctor, but I’ve grown so much in confidence and skill.

After the two-year internship comes a year of mandatory community service as a medical officer. Because of a scholarship agreement I am contracted to work in the Western Cape (not an altogether bad thing) for the CosMO year, and four more beyond that.

map-of-south-africa-according-to-capetonians
A little something-something about my future place of residence 😛

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Getting to know me

Two Oceans Ultra Part 2: Race Review

It’s a week since running the Two Oceans Ultra and it still feels like a life-defining moment. I’m already looking forward to next year’s marathon, although my foot is still protesting. I figured I’d offer a few concise lines about particular aspects of the race:

Signing up:

For me, the process went so smoothly. I thought the interface was user-friendly and easy; but I do know that some people had big problems with signing up. The entries do fly, so for future reference, waiting is probably not the best idea. Especially if you’d rather enter for the half-marathon – those entries fly like hot-cakes!

Marketing:

The marketing team did such a great job of hyping everyone up and keeping one up to date. The OMTOM Magazine was superb and the social media pages well-maintained. The biggest flaw was a lack of interaction on social media with people who had complaints.

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Getting to know me

Help Me Survive My Bad Life Choice

So a while ago, in the heat of a post-run “I can do anything” high, I signed up for the Two Oceans Marathon.

omtom

If you don’t know me well: I started running in 2013 because it was the only sport I could do that didn’t require a huge financial investment.

It kind of grew on me a little. This past year was a good year for running. A while ago I just kept running and accidentally did a 21 km (half-marathon).

Anyway. The Two Oceans Marathon is an ultra at 56 km. It is on 26 March 2016.

I haven’t even run the qualifying marathon yet. I’ll do that in February.

It’s just that running has been really hard for me ever since I signed up.

Especially getting those long runs in… It’s just that considering I have at least one 24+ hour call a week, that means I’m out of action two days a week… leaving me five days to do four runs.

It’s hard. I’ve always just run for the sake of running, the only person I had anything to prove to being myself.

Suddenly I doubt myself every step of the way.

I feel like the Blerch is following me around wherever I run.

I need advice, running world!

 

Getting to know me, Travelbug

Running Update (See What I Did There?)

What started as a pretty amazing year of running tapered down quickly.

Getting that IOD in March spelled disaster for my running. The nausea and constant myalgia pretty much put me out of it for four weeks straight. Winter was a shock to my system and it took me a while to get back into running when the cold set in; and not long after THAT I got a really bad bout of flu that essentially had me indoors for the month of August.

Excuses aside, my motivation to run WAS pretty low, too.

I recently read Tom Foreman’s My Year of Running Dangerously (review coming soon!) and that certainly upped my motivation in a big way. In fact, while I have always maintained that I had no desire to run a marathon… I now think I kinda sorta might want to do that.

The little trip to New York also, strangely, really helped my running. The Boy’s sister is big into trail running and we went running in Central Park every morning. It was fantastic! I find that when you run in a foreign country you don’t seem quite so foreign. Nobody tries to sell you crap while you’re running, for instance.

Continue reading “Running Update (See What I Did There?)”

Getting to know me, Travelbug

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.

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

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