Archive for the ‘Life outside uni’ Category

Cafe Psychiatry

September 18, 2011

To thank dutchboy for continuing to cohabit with me despite frequent melodramatic outbursts, I booked us into a coffee appreciation breakfast. Our friends Jas & Kris had been and enjoyed it so much that they blogged about it here and here.

We love Canvas and the breakfast was beautiful, Brendan from deluxe Boutique Coffee Roasters was lovely, knowledgable, and full of interesting facts, and overall it felt very indulgent. Stephanie Lawson has a gorgeous cafe, and knows how to make people feel welcome. Just what we needed to get ourselves ready for a summery sunday full of assignments and study.

My favourite part however, was not the coffee, the decadent pastries, or the beautiful cafe decor. It was a fellow guest, straight out of Faulty Towers, or Monty Python.

Before I begin, let me preface by stating that this was a premeditated event.

You had to book.

And pay money.

Get a ticket.

Emails were involved.

And it was called “Coffee Appreciation Breakfast”

So,when the middle aged woman with chemically enhanced blonde hair,  younger-than-age-attire, who was running 20 minutes late, declared to the table that she “doesn’t drink coffee” because she “hates it” and she wants a “hot chocolate on skim” it was all I could do not to laugh. She. Was. For. Real.

She then proceeded to interrupt while the brewing and pouring went on, whilst  he was trying to explain various aspects of the house blend, describing the regions in Indonesia that produce certain types of flavours and the differences between a dry press and a wet press, the best grind for an espresso vs a drip filter vs a stovetop, with such gems as:

“Aw, that stinks”


“Ohhhh I hate coffee”

Nibbling on a tart “Oh, at least these are good!”

The impeccably poised, patient and well spoken Brendan never faltered and is clearly much more sophisticated than dutchboy and I, who were resisting the urge to alternatively guffaw into laughter and fling our respective pain chocolat and croissant at her.

My cafe psychiatric diagnosis is Histrionic PD

So, thank you crazy lady, for the funniest pythonesque encounter I’ve had in a long time.



baby bird

September 18, 2011

it grabbed my eye as we were walking on the path towards the beach

this tiny little feathered thing

gasping for breath

wing torn off

covered in ants

we stood there sadly for a moment

I picked it up

it was gasping silently

no noise at all

tiny beak opening and shutting

little tongue stretching out

little lungs inflating (equally)

brushing away ants I looked at dutchboy



it’s 5pm on saturday afternoon


but its breathing so hard


that tree is really high


we hurried back to our car

the tattooed boys outside the skate shop tell us there is a 24hr vet nearby

not nearby enough as I’d like

we both know its probably not a happy ending

but its breathing really strongly

and you can’t leave a tiny feathered thing alone


tiny silently gasping feathered things die on the side of a footpaths

all the time

but yesterday this one died en route to the emergency vet

about five minutes before we got there

its grey fuzzy head resting on my palm

we kept driving

partially because we didn’t know what to do with a tiny dead bird

partially because I knew the vet would have antiseptic wash


I scrubbed

(twice)  thinking;

something only seems ‘disgusting’ or ‘unsanitary’ after its no longer necessary

if its perceived to be necessary you just do it

(DREs, disimpaction, pressure wound care)

and try not to think about it later

there is a scenario often tossed around

in CPR talk

would you do mouth to mouth without a mouth cover?

the consensus is no

you don’t need to

its not necessary

just do compressions

But I think I would

not because of some morally upright stance

but accidently

because of naive adrenalin fuelled instinct that fails to take into account vomit


infectious diseases


ant covered dying birds


Out, out damn spot

September 15, 2011

Slip. Slop. Slap.

Except I didn’t. Well not when I was a teenager anyway. We lived at the beach. Being tanned was super cool. So we all roasted on the beach like rotisserie chickens. We would time how long we’d been sunbaking on one side to make sure we would roll over and “be even”.

This was before one of my classmates died of melanoma at 17. In our final year. During our HSC. It was balls.
We went straight from our final exam to his funeral and lined the street  in a guard of honour for the hearse to drive down.

I didn’t sunbake very much after that. Whenever I did end up in the sun I felt too guilty. So I covered up. But the damage is done. Well, was done, WAY before I woke up to myself. More that 5 serious blistering sunburns before age 15. Uh..Tick. Family hx of skin cancer. Tick. More than 50 moles. Erm…Tick. Pale skin, freckles, green-blue eyes. TICK, TICK and FRICK.

According to some studies, Australian 12 year olds have the same fine lines and wrinkles from sun exposure that European 30 year olds have.


Even though I get regular…ish skin checks my recent stint on Palliative care looking after metastatic melanoma patients left me a little edgy. Then a dermoscopy workshop where the facilitator strongly suggested I get a few, uh, slightly irregular pigmented lesions “looked at” (read: YOU HAVE CANCER. COMPLETE YOUR WILL & START DISTRIBUTING YOUR BELONGINGS) didn’t help.

So I got them “looked at”. Then I got them “cut out”. Then I got the “pathology back”.

They were all benign.



They were all junctional naevi with a higher risk of developing into malignant melanomas.


Where is that sunscreen?

Cheese & W(h)ine

September 13, 2011

A MAO Inhibitor nightmare.

Tyramine and ex-veganism aside, I love a good party.

Or evening get together.

Or random gathering.

Or predrinks.

Or afternoon nibbles.

Or wine & snack by myself…

Jo Goddard from Cup of Jo has a handy guide to creating the perfect cheese board.

I think a good platter needs a soft and a crumbly cheese, always a blue, a little pile of dried fruit (apple slices, apricots, raisons) and a little pile of nuts (walnuts, cashews, pecans) and some fresh fruit (apple, pear slices, strawberries, grapes). Crackers optional.

But what you really need is five or more friends (at least), copious amounts of wine in crystal cut glasses (50 cents each at your nearest op shop), and more food than you really need. And always a bowl of olives. With pits. Good olives.

Then talk shit and shove food in your face whilst shrieking and talking over the top of each other and cackling at the hilarious things you all say. Get all the hideous hospital stories off your chest. Spill a bit of wine in the kitchen.

Repeat at least fortnightly.

We have been.

Dear Mucous

September 11, 2011

I hope you’ll indulge me. I wrote a song. An ode to mucous, if you will.


“Dear mucous,

Fu-uck you.”


Just breathe.

September 11, 2011

Innnnnn, oooout.

Innnnnn, oooout.

I’ve been lying awake in bed since rather early, listening to my husband’s easy breathing.

He looks so peaceful.

I’m imagining suffocating him with a pillow*

I have the mother of all upper respiratory tract infections.

If I can’t breathe




*obviously wouldn’t do this for real…it would decrease my chances of getting more peppermint tea with honey & lemon.

Speaking of margaritas…

September 10, 2011

Oh snap.


March 13, 2011


– cleaning of new yoga mat (read: dunking of mat in bath of soapy water to avoid faceplanting it during next downward dog, as have done for last two classes. Note to self: new yoga mats are super slippery if not cleaned before use…)

– have become a ‘bike riding person’. complete with super cute basket that detaches for grocery shopping.

– cycled to amazing cafe twice this weekend for chai with friends.

– cleaned out wardrobe and jewellery and created ebay selling pile

– managed to ignore ebay selling pile for entire weekend, even though must step over it (due to its enormity) to get into bedroom.

– eaten more blueberries than ever. pondered why I used to baulk at paying $3.99 for a punnet when I am regularly paying $5.00 for bread…which I do not enjoy as much as blueberries. ahh blueberries. the bluest of fruits.

– painted most of furniture that stood still long enough white.

– went spontaneously to neighbourhood party. have awesome neighbours. made friends.

– had strange haircut experience with a hairdresser who, whilst philosophically talking about colour therapy told me that, for example, I would not be able to pull off like, spiky red hair as I’m not “like, out there” and “daring” enough and then queried why the back of my head was “flat”.

– discovered the bakery of my dreams. and then the second bakery of my dreams…and then third. This new suburb is almost 50% bakery.

– oh yeah, MOVED HOUSE. To the beach. Spontaneously. One weekend. Marvelled at ability to look at rental on a thursday and be sleeping in it two days later, on the Saturday night. Its easy to move quickly when you’re escaping a hothouse.

– explored two new suburbs

– have become an early riser thanks to surgical schedule.

– have decided not to become surgeon. thanks to surgical schedule.

– have seen babies born by caesarean, and the most impressive sacral pressure wound. Am embarrassed to admit that the pressure wound took my breath away more. But in fairness, birth and caesareans are spoken about. Nobody talks about pressure wounds. Not like these ones. No way.

– have started to suck the marrow out of the weekend (a strange metaphor for a vegetarian, but none else does it justice).

– have taken a lot of baths. because we (finally) have a bath. I’m ashamed to admit, it feels like we’ve “arrived”. Now when my mother tells me to “go and have a bath” after a long hysterical conversation about some trivial thing thats got me in a fit I can actually go and do it. Instead of dissolving into a heap of tears sobbing “buu…uut I doo…on’t HAVE one!” I freaking love baths.

– started yoga and ‘power pilates’. the yoga is lovely. however may tone down the, er ‘power’ after weekend of neck pain and discussion with former physio turned junior doctor. have started to reconsider the wisdom of putting my neck out (so to speak) to get into positions for a class being led by a (lovely) junior instructor with a 12 week training course behind her. But there are foot rubs at the end…


Not Accomplished;

– estudiar

– étudier

– s.t.u.d.y


My father did say, upon taking in the surroundings of the new place, the cycle paths, old fashioned grocery stores, the proximity to cafes, vegetarian restaurants and the beach, “Make sure you don’t get too distracted”.

Distracted? From thyroid cancer, trauma algorithms and diabetes? Never…

e. e. cummings

April 5, 2010

…was probably a


which i relate to {wholeheartedly}

because i am easily led

into worlds





i am lost {hopelessly} in

images of worn cotton pillows

vintage bunting

cake platters



lemon tarts

fresh produce piled high at sunday farmers markets {oh the sunlight

through the lens}

toddlers dancing at birthday parties



bicycles {with baskets}

steaming japanese noodles

pot plants

crystal vases

old photos


et cetera


cause {frankly}




{just} does


do it for me

{right now}.

Just keep swimming…

March 9, 2010

I went here again. After vowing I wouldn’t. But this time it was awesome. Probably because I was one of the more, um, enthusiastic campers this year. Maybe it was the anticipation of a night of inebriation. A night that I thought of surprisingly often during the week leading up to it, thinking “Yes, right now you are lugging three bags full of notes, a computer, your lunch AND dinner and don’t look like coming home before 9pm but…there is a alcohol-induced relaxation in four sleeps.”

I am now that someone who looks longingly forward to getting drunk. Having just looked at treating alcohol-dependance I’m aware that’s one big step in an interesting direction. I now understand my friend,who, when he started med 6 six ago, tried to explain that when you work so hard, you have to play hard. And fast. To get the maximum out of that allocated night.

My study routine has been more serious this year. More midnight oil. More caffeine. More stationary involved. There are scissors, glue sticks, coloured pens, sticky tab things and multiple books. I’m just barely keeping my head above the surface of the information tidal wave by grasping onto this ridiculous amount of stationary. It’s keeping me afloat.

I am slightly behind but I know I can make it up if I study all this weekend. Something I wouldn’t even contemplate last year, but now is just a given. The work has to be done. So it will be done. The end.

My bachelor-of-arts-habits just won’t cut it with Med. The long afternoon reading sessions curled up with a novel and a tea. Weekends of recipes that came with cooking times of days, not minutes. Ringing friends to go do something, anything, anywhere because “I’m bored”. Whole “days off”. These concepts just won’t fit inside this new year. They didn’t fit last year, no matter how hard I tried to make them.

Reading blogs for 10 minutes. Sitting on the sun-drenched balcony for a quick breakfast. Tea in the library. Meals of dip + bread + fruit. Packets in my locker. Supplements. Calling a neglected friend whilst walking to or from uni, or waiting for lunch to heat up in the common room microwave. Afternoons off. Sleeping.

These might just do.

For now.