I started this blog exactly eight years ago, today.
Who I was then, and who I am now, has changed drastically, and often. I wrote as I stumbled my way through new clinical and life experiences. I wrote as my mental health peaked and plummeted. I wrote as my love for medicine died, and was reborn. The first community I found was that of book bloggers, but gradually, I found the medical bloggers, too.
Although I believe that community service should be a habit rather than an annual event, I am a big fan of Mandela Day. I’m a child of the 90s, after all, and my first hero was Nelson Mandela. There’s nothing quite like a day where the whole nation reaches out to one another to build morale. (And it’s not just for South Africans!)
Public hospitals are a popular venue for community service, which is not entirely a bad thing because many of our patients truly fit the description of being disenfranchised.
The phenomenon of disillusionment is well-discussed in the world of medicine. Roundabout third year of medical school, students begin to realise that the medical world simply does not live up to what they envisioned.
It is easy to say, “Just don’t have such high expectations,” but in reality a doctor without vision becomes a mindless drone. Disillusionment is discussed so widely because even though by definition it seems simple, its origins and characteristics are complex.
Funnily enough, I began to really understand disillusionment when I started club-running. Don’t be mistaken: joining a club was the best decision I could have made. It introduced me to many like-minded people and provided ample opportunity to amp my mileage.
1. I see someone who was lucky enough to travel to a magnificent continent
And we welcome you. We welcome you to feel in your bones the wealth of our loam soil. Listen to the stories whispered by our winds. Immerse yourself in our skies. We welcome you to open your heart – and your eyes – to see that our narrative is more than one of suffering.
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 “My Booming Frontal Cortex”→
My friends and I have this joke among ourselves. We say that medical school is like slavery. But then we say, it’s actually WORSE than slavery, because we PAY to work ridiculous hours in ridiculous conditions. As you can see it’s kind of more of a tragedy, but we’ve chosen to make it a joke. For our sanity’s sake.
So in light of that you might be surprised to find that my overwhelming feeling towards the Miguel Desroches case is not a good one.
I mentioned a while ago how enamoured I am with Shane Koyczan’s work. An especially special poem (is “poem” the right word?) is Instructions for a Bad Day. It struck me. It gave me hope. And I’ve been telling people about it over and over.
The medical world is small, and like any small community it has its inherent problems. Piss someone important off and you can find doors closed in your face all over the world. Those born into the medical world often seem to have an advantage over the First Generations. Know the right people and you’ve got it made. The hierarchy separates juniors and seniors and allied professionals such that instead of learning from each other, we avoid and fear each other. A sense of unity is something I have missed dearly in this community, save for the few medical bloggers with whom I interact. Continue reading “Hope for the Medical Community”→
In keeping with my general broodiness and my current Neonatology rotation, I couldn’t let “Blog it for Babies” go by.
BIFB is an attempt to raise funds and deliver equipment to a clinic in Bangladesh, where infant mortality is extremely high. They want to raise awareness too, so if you can’t afford to donate (like me), just be aware.
BIFB encourages bloggers to write about their own birthing experiences and reflect on how things could have been different. I don’t have children (being a student), but both my and my sister’s births were extremely difficult, so I’ll share that.
So, here is a little secret about my horrible little third year surgery experience: I never got to assist. I never got to cut. I never got to stitch. I think it was a combination of me having a poor attitude, me being too scared to ask, and the registrar being an arse.
BUT my time in the rural Western Cape – with a superb supervising doctor – had me practising sutures and assisting in surgeries – it was awesome!