Go Set A Watchman Read in a Parallel Universe

Standard

* A review of Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee, as imagined in a world where To Kill A Mockingbird never existed; and therefore GSaW did not become an instant bestseller based purely upon its history. Disclaimer: there may be some spoilers if you have not read any of the recent hubbub about GSaW. Also, if you mistake my creative license as reality then I’m not even going to respond.

 * * *

Continue reading

How To Run A Clinic Without A Voice

Standard

When I was asked by Figure 1 which one piece of medical equipment I valued above all others, I said “my hearing”. We were taught from the very beginning that a good history was our first step to an accurate diagnosis, and I have always valued a physician who LISTENS: to their patients, their students, their allies, and their contemporaries.

Remember the game we always played? – “If you had to lose one sense, which would it be?”

I thought of my dad, who is blind: when he applied to do an honours degree in Psychology, his application was denied based on the fact that he would not be able to see his client’s faces (ridiculous, really. That was nearly 30 years ago). It had me thinking: what about a blind physician? We have many blind physiotherapists, but surely doctors must SEE… a quick Google search proved me wrong.

Blind doctor Albert A. Nast holding his ear to the back of a 3 month old instead of using a stethoscope.

Blind doctor Albert A. Nast holding his ear to the back of a 3 month old instead of using a stethoscope. Image: Time Life. Click for link.

Continue reading

I Left My Voice In Cape Town

Standard

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.

IMG_5702

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

Continue reading

Throwback: Roadtrip Through History

Standard

I wrote this post as a note on Facebook exactly five years ago, 6 July 2010. I’m often ashamed when I read my past writings, but this isn’t one of those times. I’ve left it exactly as is. I’m not sure how much sense it will make to people who are not familiar with South Africa, but I decided to share it here in any case. I’ve hyperlinked some things for comprehension’s sake.

 *  *  *

The extravagant price-increases as brought on by the hosting of the FIFA World Cup recently necessitated a 12-hour road-trip to Cape Town, as opposed to the usual 90-minute flight.

A cold and dark 05:00 morning progressed just as we progressed through the land of memories.

Memories of debating trips – so many debating trips.

Here we debated.

Here we lost.

Here we won.

Here I learnt that the line between conviction and contradiction truly is a fine one. Continue reading

My Booming Frontal Cortex

Standard
Unborn Ideas by Catrin Arno

Unborn Ideas by Catrin Arno

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

Sometimes It’s Attitude

Standard

I hate platitudes. I hate when people say, “You can get through anything if you have the right attitude”. It negates the fact that sometimes, circumstances are atrocious. It puts the onus on people to grin and bear it, instead of on the system to change.

I’m not saying I’ve changed my mind, but I noticed something recently. I’ve met two community service doctors who were both placed in departments where they REALLY did not want to be. The nature of your community service year is that you get placed where you are needed and not necessarily where you want to be.

via @bunnybuddhism

via @bunnybuddhism

Continue reading

Listen to me, Examine me, DIAGNOSE ME!

Standard

I haven’t even been a doctor for six full months but I’ve noticed something:

I often like things my colleagues don’t.

On O&G, I loved my clinic days. Antenatal Clinics were awesome because I could show mommies their baby’s heartbeat, or I could pick up on potential dangers and do something preventative about it, or I could pick up that they needed admission, or I could just allay their fears. We often stayed late because the rule is that nobody gets sent home without being seen.That was the only thing I disliked.

I enjoyed Gynae Clinics too, even though most of my colleagues hated them. They were more challenging, took more time to get used to, and had a lot more specialised problems. But I enjoyed it. Infertility workups and abnormal vaginal bleeding workups and don’t forget those critical patients often actually had a ruptured appendix but since they had a vagina “it MUST be something gynaecological.”

via xel - at Deviantart

via xel – at Deviantart

Continue reading