Recovery, Divided or Together


The burns’ ward in our hospital is kind of special. It is the only ward that hosts men, women and children together. It is the only ward where everyone has exactly the same problem. It is one of our cleanest wards, and has a high staff-to-patient ratio.

But it’s not a pleasant place. The smells and the pain levels are hard for me to witness, so being a patient there must be so much worse.

I cannot help but notice, whenever I go in there, that the male patients are all sitting around one of the tables, telling stories and having a good time. In the adjoining room, the women all sit by their own beds, doing their own things.

It’s just so… jarring.

As an introvert, I totally understand the need for alone-time. But I NEVER see the women in this ward hanging out.

Support is so important in recovery.

I just wonder why they keep away from one another.

Under Thy Fingers*


My phone rings while I am taking ward round.

“Doctor, you must come quickly,” says the ER nurse, “We have a stab-heart in Casualty.”

And I run, like they tell you in med school to run for stabbed hearts.


What do you do for a stabbed heart again? I prompt myself as I run. Continue reading

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

Seven Years! A Milestone of Sorts.


As I was falling asleep last night, I scrolled through my Facebook feed (bad sleep-hygiene, do as I say not as I do, etc etc). I clicked on that thing where you see your memories and this came up…


Seven whole years since I received a thick envelope in the mail with the good news: MEDICINE. Incidentally, yesterday exactly a year ago we found out about our internship placements (yeah, I wrote that post a little late). Continue reading

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.


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