Archive for June, 2009

How to tell its Study Week II:

June 27, 2009

I have worn nothing but various leggings + Dutchboy’s jumper for over 7 days. Jumper is now referred to as the Jumper-of-Knowledge + cannot be washed lest the knowledge it has acquired leaches out. 

Am also contemplating buying three more pairs of black leggings to wear to exams in case the pairs I have mysteriously disappear…

A friend pointed out (on one of the many, many Facebook updates we seem to be doing):

“study week is like being pregnant…constant background feeling of nausea, weird cravings, eating huge amounts, + a complete loss of common sense”

I’d like to add slow emotional wreckage.

It started as niggling fear of failure. Throw in a few exam-themed nightmares + it crept up to being a fear of failure so astounding that I’m not even offered a supp exam. Soon I was sobbing quietly down the phone to mum incoherently spluttering “unprepared…all my fault…can’t pass…can’t draw f*cking cell mediated immunity flow chart….HATE FLOW CHARTS…*hiccup*” until she told me to take a deep breath + watch some awful TV. 

So, with questionable hygiene, a weird microwaved hashbrown addiction + incredible self doubt, Study Week continues…


Glycolysis for rappers

June 22, 2009

What did uni students DO before YouTube? I, for one, am eternally grateful to Eugene Tubule* for inventing such a comprehensive study aid. 

*perhaps not the guy who invented YouTube…but should have been.

How to tell its Study Week:

June 22, 2009

I just attempted to open my front door by swiping my uni access card over the keyhole.


June 21, 2009

via Atlanta Bartlett

8 days until my first medical school exam.

9 days until my second exam.

10 days until my first anatomy exam + first mini OSCE  (being examined on one part of history taking with an actor/patient). 

11 days until I can be frivolous with my time again, visiting websites like Atlanta Bartlett’s. 

Dutchboy + I rent a two bedroom unit that fluctuates between being chaotic or divinely peaceful. I call the second room a study. He calls it a games room + protests about the lack of pool table. I’ve claimed the study/games room for the next two weeks as my panic room. There is a sofa with cushions for when its all too hard + I need a nap, white walls, a nice big desk + light streaming in from two windows. 

I’m feeling optimal stress; not so stressed I’m unproductive, but enough to give me the power to sit at my desk for hours on end, without wandering off to make newspaper hats + watch Masterchef. I’m finding it surprisingly easy to study for some parts because I still have some wide-eyed wonder about the human body.

Yesterday I spend a 15 minute “study break” doing a watercolour of the ventricular system in the brain. Until a few days ago I didn’t even know my brain had ventricles (yes. despite doing multiple anatomy labs where I supposedly must have glossed over them…).

I love that every week I’m learning something completely bizarre. Ventricles? In my brain! I feel a bit like Arthur Dent. 

Anyhoo. Here I go, headfirst into study week.


June 15, 2009

As I’m going over the cases from this block I’m starting to notice a bit of a behavioural pattern:

Week 1. Thalassaemia. I become super fastidious about taking my iron + B12 tablets, when previously was very lax. Feeling ‘tired’ becomes a warning sign for my obvious blood disorder that I haven’t picked up on yet. Am convinced I’ve got nerve damage from lack of B12. Turns out…I just needed a nap + less wine. 

Week 2. Deep vein thrombosis. Stopped crossing legs despite lack of evidence that this even causes thrombi. Become very aware of leg veins. Convinced I will develop varicose veins. Perhaps already have. 

Week 3. Pneumonia. Reel away from anyone coughing. Glare at people who don’t cover their mouths. Entire cohort appears sick. Nowhere is safe. Why does this uni have ducted aircon and non-opening windows?

Week 4. Skin cancer. Totally and utterly convinced I am covered in melanomas. This is not helped by tutor explaining that ever mole has the potential to morph into a malignancy. Look up skin specialist. Make plans to make appointment but forget as next week brings…

Week 5. Colon cancer. I have colon cancer. Definately. Very strong family history. Pay ridiculous amount of attention to bowel habits. Wonder if anyone would do a quick colonoscopy on a 23 year old asymptomatic female? Research colonoscopy. Decide it’s unnecessary. 

Week 6. Tuberculosis. Conveniently coincides with our Mantoux testing, to which I have a decent immune reaction. Nurse tells me I’m fine because I’ve been exposed before blah blah blah. I feel fine! I feel great! Until I get to PBL & learn about TB. Spend whole week convinced I am riddled with TB filled granulomas that have somehow been missed. PBL group members start prefacing their presentations with “Another reason YOU don’t have latent TB is outlined in this learning issue here…” whilst pointedly looking at me. Feel mildly better. 

Week 7. Herpes. Before I started med I just knew I had had a few ‘cold sores’ on my lip in high-school. Now I know there is HSV-1 having a slumber party in my trigeminal ganglion. Just biding their sweet, sweet time. Beginning to really understand “ignorance is bliss” concept…

Week 8. Respiratory tract infections/Immunodeficiency. Of course, THIS would be the week that I actually get the cracker of a sore throat. 

Lets keep in mind that previously, I’ve never displayed signs of ill founded hypochondria. It’s not like I was fussed over as a child if I ever displayed symptoms. We were never rushed to hospital for anything. Growing up, if we complained of any pain my dad (a GP) would say “Have a glass of water” in a monotone voice, without lifting his eyes from whatever he was doing. My mum would say “Have a bath”. All ills can be cured by water in my family. 

Apparently, this imaginary disease thing common amongst medical students?

Odd moments

June 14, 2009

What a difference a few months can make. 

During a particularly frustrating moment of a study session when we were trying to figure out which bit connected to where via what, I sighed + came out with:

“I wish we had a cadaver…”

Cue strange looks from study mates. They thought about it for a moment, + then agreed that it would be really quite nice. Especially if it had pins. Pins with names written on them.

While I still feel the same reverence towards cadavers as I did in February, I am slightly shocked at how comfortable I am around them.

To the point of actually missing their presence.

Exercising my brain. Literally.

June 14, 2009


From glasbergen

From glasbergen



I HAD to go to the gym today. 

Not in an “omg, I am sooooo feeling guilty that my last three meals have consisted of chocolate chip biscuits + tea” kind of way. My reason was much more logical.

No, I HAD to go to the gym because I hadn’t been since last saturday + when I signed up the super-chirpy-fitness-girl-with-a-side-pony said I would get $80.00 back from my membership if I went at least once every week for three months. I really want my $80.00 back. 

So I went to the gym + felt my brain bounce around in my head for 30 minutes until I wanted to pass out, despite the cross trainer machine having a big sticker clearly stating I should “discontinue using this equipment if you feel lightheaded, dizzy or nauseous + seek immediate medical attention.” Medical attention? Pfft.

So I kept running + tried to remember all the mechanisms in my body that were contributing to why I was feeling so crap. Totally counted as study. 

Later today, as I was trying to study through the beat of my pounding headache, I had one of those awfully late epiphanies:

I could’ve just hung out in the sauna with some notes.


Productive study

June 12, 2009

It’s nice to have moments when you realise other people have a similar inner monologue to you. Take recent study session for example: 

Med Student Friend Study Buddy: I just don’t get viruses. 

Me: Neither do I. I can’t seem to remember the classification systems or what the shapes are…

MSFSB: No. I mean I don’t understand their motivation. What is their deal, anyway? What do they want?

Me: Um…to kill things? Or to survive?

MSFSB: But they can’t survive extracellularly, they need to invade a host to live, then they take over the host cell’s machinery and for WHAT? Nothing! Just to keep proliferating and moving on! Then they kill their host and then what? Huh? That’s really stupid. At least bacteria do good things! Fungi does good things. But viruses…

Me: Viruses are mean. 

MSFSB: Yeah. I just want to tell them to grow a brain. Get a purpose. Seriously. Like grow a nucleus or something. 

Me: Yeah. 

MSFSB: Yeah.


June 12, 2009

My perception of medicine was that it would be quite serious. With lots of note taking & text book carrying. Lots of strained learning with pained expressions. People would have thick eyebrows, which they would furrow in concentration. 

While there is a fair bit of that going on, I wasn’t prepared for how hilarious it would be. Lecturers that crack you up unexpectedly. Tutors telling filthy jokes. PBL being a big laughing session.

We had a lecture recently about taking a menstrual history. The male physician giving the talk had us ask him questions as if he was a patient. After about half an hour of intense questioning, getting more + more detailed  obscure most people were really stumped as to what was causing the patient’s irregular periods. No one could come up with a diagnosis.

Lecture time runs out. 

Student: So, what did you have in the end?

Lecturer: Sorry?

Student: What is wrong with your periods?

Lecturer: I don’t have periods. I’m a man. Haha. I was taking you for a ride…(walks off)

The Fragrant Harbour

June 11, 2009


Prince Edward Market

Prince Edward Market

Tai O

Looking up at Tai O


From the Star Ferry

From the Star Ferry

Seeing as I don’t love my camera at the moment, I’ve found some shots that where taken when we still used to get on. When it actually took photos when I pressed down on the button!

Lately, we’ve both been missing Hong Kong. We’re thinking of going back in December, after nearly four years to where we met/fell in love/wandered through wetfloor markets/had excess of yum cha at Nam Shan/ weekly indian at Chungking Mansions/caught buses out to Stanley/sang bad karaoke/learnt rude cantonese easily/took six months say our home address properly/spent ridiculous amount of time on escalators/finally made the fruit + veg stall lady who we bought food from EVERYDAY smile/discovered seven different types of food poisoning/ran riot in Lan Kwai Fong/drank chrysanthemum tea at 2am with roommates/marveled at the MTR/watched the light show at 8pm/met each others parents who were coincidently visiting at the same time/spent hours wandering around alleys/got lost in megasupershopping malls/ did the cliched Ikea litmus test for relationships/had rooftop picnics/decided not to say goodbye. 

It’ll be a fitting 4th anniversary if we get our act together + actually book tickets. If we do, I’ve already worked out what I’m having for dinner every night we’d be there.