Patients Don’t Want Exhausted Doctors

Before you read what I have to say, you should read Dr Nikki Stamp’s post: How tired is too tired?

One day, I’d like to have a study to prove the post title. But for now, we’ll have to settle for another anecdote:

tired doctor Continue reading “Patients Don’t Want Exhausted Doctors”

Dear Medical Student: Med School Is Not Worth Your Self-Harm

[TRIGGER WARNING]

A while ago this secret appeared on PostSecret:

7-fromoverseas
“Medical School made me self harm. It better be worth it.”

Continue reading “Dear Medical Student: Med School Is Not Worth Your Self-Harm”

HELP: I Think I Hate Spinning (and some running updates)

Last week I ran a 15 km road race in our town and I was really happy with my result. I was aiming for 01:45 because I’m training for the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town next year (whoop whoop!) and RunKeeper keeps telling me I need to pace myself. But my time was 01:37:49, so I was ecstatic, not least because I felt so good at the end that I kept running (okay fine, also because my RunKeeper plan said I should run 16,1 km).

IMG_6769 Continue reading “HELP: I Think I Hate Spinning (and some running updates)”

Dear Graduates: You Should Be Supporting #FeesMustFall

Dear Graduates of South Africa

Perhaps, like me, you shook your head when you first saw the hashtag #FeesMustFall. You empathised with the expense of tertiary education, but you had lives to save or exams to mark or bridges to build and you thought, “Why do young people in this country want to make everything FALL?”

Continue reading “Dear Graduates: You Should Be Supporting #FeesMustFall”

Weekly Whine: Small Luxuries

In Afrikaans* there is a saying, “It’s the small foxes that ruin the vineyard,” referring to the tendency of many tiny problems to cause the biggest drama.

tumblr_n3zfevQ79N1qhmhdfo1_1280

Never before have I understood it so clearly as now that I am in the thick of South African public healthcare. We work daily in a hospital that is overcrowded and understaffed, with too many things on the CEO’s plate and too little theatre time for our patients. Continue reading “Weekly Whine: Small Luxuries”

What I See In Your Photos With “Poor African Children”

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.

not tourist attraction
Base image by Stephen and Melanie Murdoch, click for their Flickr Photostream.

Continue reading “What I See In Your Photos With “Poor African Children””

Another Disability Grant Request

“Uyagoduka namhlanje!” I say with the biggest smile. You can go home today! It’s one of my favourite things to tell patients. Sometimes I think it’s the only time they ever like me.

And she does smile. The physiotherapist discharged her day one post-op and she wanted to go home so badly, but I felt day one was a bit soon. What can I say: I’m an intern, I’m too careful.

Then she asks, “So what thing did you put in my leg?”

She injured herself playing contact sports and sustained a mean distal femur fracture. I tell her the basics: we put some hardware in her leg to keep the bone together.

And her neighbour, a middle-aged woman, says, “So that means she can get a disability grant.”

Copyright Faheema Patel 2010, “Human Inside” | Click image for link.

NO. Continue reading “Another Disability Grant Request”

Should Doctors Be Allowed To Nap On The Job? (Response)

During an off time on call last night (I’m on anaesthesiology now, which means I have time to breathe on calls) I read this article on BBC. And wow, did it rub me up the wrong way.

Basically, a patient in Mexico snapped a picture of a young doctor who fell asleep during her shift, and people mouthed off about it on the internet.

docs not sleep Continue reading “Should Doctors Be Allowed To Nap On The Job? (Response)”

The Passion Deception: Beyond What You “Like”

Last week, I wrote about how the idea of “passion” can overwhelm us into unrealistic future prospects. I actually got some good feedback from readers, which leads me to believe that I am certainly not the only one with this experience.

But if you’re a high school student – or otherwise at the threshold of choosing a career – you might wonder, WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE ME? If you have been told your whole life that you need simply to do what you love (and you’ll “never work a day in your life”, yada yada yada), you might not know HOW else to choose a path forward.

My suggestion? Ye ole’ trusty mindmap.

Many of ours (mine included) may have looked something like this:

IMG_4249

When in reality, it probably should have looked something like this: Continue reading “The Passion Deception: Beyond What You “Like””

The Passion Deception: Why Passion Is Not Enough

I had the pleasure of visiting my old high school recently to talk to some of the Matrics about life, their final year of school and their future plans in general. I spoke at length about what I call the Passion Deception. It sounds like a bit of a downer but to be honest, it’s real talk and the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.

passion deception

I feel like many talented youngsters have a pressing desire to do a job that makes them “tick”, and they are taught (myself included) from a young age that the profession you choose should be one you feel passionate about. I can understand why we tell people that too: talented youngsters can often do anything they want to, so “passion” becomes a good indicator of what to leave and what to dive into. Continue reading “The Passion Deception: Why Passion Is Not Enough”