If You Plan To Spend Mandela Day At A Hospital…

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!)

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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.

But every year, my colleagues and I find ourselves a little annoyed by many of the people who arrive to do their bit. Here are some pointers if you intend to visit a hospital this Mandela Day – or any other day. Continue reading “If You Plan To Spend Mandela Day At A Hospital…”

FAQ: Will I Get Into Med School?

Ever since I first posted tips for applying to medicine (in South Africa) in 2014, I have received multiple questions from aspirant medical students.

give up hope dont

The hardest to answer (and thus one of the most popular) is DO I STILL STAND A CHANCE? – usually prefaced with the person’s failure to achieve the desired grades for medical admission, or some other stumbling block. Continue reading “FAQ: Will I Get Into Med School?”

Too Little, Too Late?

You might remember that we lost an intern colleague in South Africa a while ago, when she was in a fatal car accident after a long overnight shift. It was a big accident involving other vehicles, with at least two other people requiring ICU care.

One of them recently succumbed to her injuries, and the victim’s family members have made it known that they intend to sue* the Department of Health.

Most of my colleagues seem very happy with this. The government must be held responsible for the consequences of working their young doctors to exhaustion.

But part of me feels so very embittered. For years now we have asked nicely, and loudly, that our hours be addressed. Continue reading “Too Little, Too Late?”

Ten More South African Books To Devour

Linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday – a freebie! I thought I had a whole host of lists about South African books, but it turns out I only ever did one. I have a soft spot for supporting local (to me) authors, and I do think we have some awesome authors so I like spreading the word.

A note on the links used in this post: I don’t have an affiliate link program. I include links to purchase the books only because I really want to encourage reading these books, and sometimes South African titles can be hard to source. In the titles, I have linked to my reviews where they are available, otherwise to their Goodreads pages.

1. Kwezi by Loyiso Mkize

30349900A brand new South African superhero comic, starring authentically South African characters. Such an important step in having representative books, but also a really fun comic that I would recommend widely. I intend on buying every issue, and buying some to donate to the children’s wards at my hospital too.

You can read the first issue online here. Continue reading “Ten More South African Books To Devour”

Threatened By The People We Serve

A few weeks ago, the community around one of the hospitals where I work picked up their torches and pitchforks (well, sort of) and protested again. I’ve written before about South Africa’s protest state of mind, and about working during a riot.

As it stands, when this specific community protests, they protest right outside the hospital. No matter the reason for protesting, they block all entrances to the hospital and threaten anybody who tries to circumvent them.

fed-up

Police told us to turn around. We called our superiors. They told us to come to work. Continue reading “Threatened By The People We Serve”

On Poverty and Health: The Obesity-Conundrum

rich man poor man slimmer man fatEver since I started running (and enjoying it), I have been intrigued by the sociology and economics of health and fitness. It coincided with my “coming of age” in medicine, so to speak, so it has been in interesting and ongoing thought-experiment.

I want to address some pertinent falsehoods about health and fitness, and why the disenfranchised have such a hard time of it. Right now I intend to write a two-part series, but who knows.

Quick disclaimer: I would never suggest that being a student-on-a-budget is comparable in hardship to living in poverty. All the same, being a student on a partial scholarship and a heavy student loan certainly did teach me a little about struggling financially and its effects on health. Continue reading “On Poverty and Health: The Obesity-Conundrum”

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.

12924415_10153946065180661_3973261936145693581_n Continue reading “Two Oceans Ultra Part 2: Race Review”

You guys! I ran a marathon!

In September 2015, after reading Tom Foreman’s My Year of Running Dangerously, I got it in my head to run the Two Ocean’s Marathon. For some reason I didn’t click that it was actually an ultra at 56km, and that I would need to run a qualifying marathon first. What can I say, sometimes I’m a little inattentive.

ANYWAY. Today I ran my qualifying marathon, the 43rd Buffs Marathon in East London (South Africa) – and my first marathon ever.

What an experience. Continue reading “You guys! I ran a marathon!”