chooks and tummyaches

i've got a soft spot for the cute, the cuddly, the quirky and for chooks. this one pretty much fits the bill on all fronts - itty bitty keepon.

iwantoneofthose but it's still too shy to leave the lab!! >.< couldn't help but share.. so you can all join me in pining for one.

totally unrelated.. for all you medics out there, here's something for you to mull over. what could be differentials for sudden onset of localized dull epigastric pain that worsens at random, sometimes in conjuction with food and other times post-prandial on a backround of recent bout of flu with fever of high 38Cs/101Fs 1 day ago? pain doesn't radiate elsewhere, no relieving/aggravating factors, is 2/10 but reaches 6 or 7/10 at worst. no other significant signs/symptoms - no change in bowel habits, urinary symptoms, chest pain etc. fever has since resolved, residual throbbing headache mainly @ temporal regions worse with movement still present. associated nausea, aches and pains also since resolved. what're the bets on an atypical presentation of gastro?


mid-week round-up

the good
  • i got to scrub in on most of our operations that included a total left knee replacement, suture a few cuts, don on a space suit and play around with therma-moldywhatchamacalit used to cement knee replacement parts
  • learnt how to put on backslabs for wrists and ankles properly with a cute physiotherapist
  • hopefully brightening up the days of two people with snail mail packages that'll be sent later this week
  • getting the snail mail reference letter from my best friend's dad - it was blush-inducingly written
  • catching up with nuls, abs and the rest of the gang
the bad
  • thoroughly embarrassing myself when i reluctantly agreed to volunteer my leg to be plastered - had to take off my smelly shoes and socks in the presence of the aforementioned cute physiotherapist who ended up propping my foot against his chest so my colleague to practice the bandaging
  • worried over internship allocations. apparently, i got a confirmation email telling me my application was received. never got it. asked for friend to foward it. never got that. allocations will be out on friday. fingers crossed that i get concord hospital.
  • had one of those dreams that was so real, it rudely awakes you and leaves you with a heavy feeling of general ickiness. was in the operating theaters all day monday and yesterday afternoon. they varied from digging out metal plates and screws to a total knee replacement. i guess that contributed to this awful dream where i was involved in a gas explosion along with a whole bunch of other people as i was running away from something else i can't remember now, got horribly burnt and had to limp towards the company medic for wound debridement and surgical repair.
  • not being able to catch up with the girls when they were up here for their graduation ceremony yesterday cuz i was in theater
  • that vtech campus shooting - i wish i could talk to the shooter face to face, furiously shake him by the shoulders and yell "why?!" over and over at him and possibly slap him til my arm dropped off. that.. or to possibly give him bilateral total knee replacements without anesthesia.
the ugly
  • my mom called sometime last week asking if i had called home - there was a missed call from an unknown number, said the caller id screen. i said no. there was an awkward silence that would've translated into "i answered your question, i didn't call. is there anything else you wanted?" that was later verbalized. a few more bouts of silences later, she hung up on me. never have i had someone purposely hang up on me before. i guess i'm lucky like that. to have one's mother be the first.. ouch. i was pissed off after that. was thinking... wtf is her problem?! first of all, i wasn't the one who called up... or was that precisely what she was pissed about?


the ignorance of itchybutt

the portly boss, the one they called itchybutt, sauntered casually in and out of the four clinic rooms all morning. he peppered each visit with random questions, questions about the life story of the guy specific fractures were named after. more questions about some random guy who was the first random guy's father. even more questions about anatomy and fracture mechanisms.

during one of these spurts of conversation, he asked yet another question the two students couldn't answer. sure, there were numerous wonderful possibilities floating around in that brain soup of theirs, each a possible answer. there was a lot of intracranial debate and random bits leaked out in the midst of it all. itchybutt was not impressed.

his gaze turned upon the student to his left - the one who wanted to ease up on the questions for it was only their first hour of the new rotation. he asked that student "where are you from?"

he picked the wrong student for that question - she couldn't even answer such a simple question. eventually, she figured that the most correct response would be "originally? taiwan."

itchybutt did not miss a beat. "well you should go back to where you came from and study anatomy for 6 months before you come back here!"


the fact that other hospital staff have nicknamed him itchybutt for his lack of hygeine may be hurtful, had he known about this pet name of his but it surely does not justify this sort of behavior! itchybutt unknowingly unleashed the inner tattletale from that particular student. it is only a matter of time before the faculty is going to find out. will itchybutt continue his appalling track record as a person or will he be tickled by lightning one fine day?



so yesterday was the day. you know.. that one! i was so tired at the end of it all when i collapsed into bed at half past midnight. there were a lot of people milling about so i was thankful for the small quiet private dinner later that night, away from the chatter and noise. it was rush rush rush throughout the whole day.. didn't even manage to have anything to eat until nearly 6pm! i had decided to wear my intricate dangly champagne earrings just to be different. it was to go with the brown number i chose, complete with delicate lace and pleats and romantic balloon sleeves.

*grins and holds up hands with a brand new...*

well so anyway, i haven't had one of these days in a while where everything was planned to immaculate detail, yet everything seemed to deviate from the agenda. so much for all that planning although one could point out how much more wrong the day would've gone without the aforementioned planning effort.

won't bore you with details... i'll just bore you with a list instead for most of the days' events.

  • gas station: 9am and there were cars flowing out to the street lining up for gas. i get to the pump 10 mins later and the pump i want is out of service. had to circle around the block and line up again before finally filling up
  • train station: got there 20 mins early thinking i could just park at the public parking lot next to the station. circled around for 20mins, went "oh shit, imma miss the train" and found parking another 10mins later at the public parking lot in the city itself. miss my train i did.. by 4 minutes and 54 seconds.
  • immi: couldn't find the ticket machine to get a number for the counters, wandered around looking as lost as the next person before figuring out the info line was also the ticket dispensing line. stupidly forgot how things worked.. i had thought i'd be in and outta there in 15 minutes with a new visa. 15 minutes turned into 45 minutes.
  • another train station: managed to catch the train with the longer route on both trips to and fro to surgarfix. thanks, mister station master.
  • chinatown: one of the two highlights of the day. was accosted by a pleasant looking man spouting mandarin, asking for directions to central. told him i'd walk with him, seeing i was heading there anyway. we nearly got killed as some idiot in a sparkly black bmw tried to overtake a van as they both turned at an intersection. the idiot swerved into the bus lane to avoid hitting the van...had he lost control, he would've come crashing right into us. there was one point where the car was front on as it came 'round the corner. mr man was there just standing there with his backback slung across both shoulders.. it was kinda cute. it was kinda nice knowing i helped make someone's day less screwy. he csaid he'll always remember the little taiwan girl who helped him find his way. aww. we parted ways after i got him a map and sent him off on the correct train this time.
  • pre-dinner: S and I were both hungry. all the shops had dumped us by the time we reached the shopping center. max brenner or starbucks had been the plan but we had to resort to the chinese restaurant. we saw vegetarian spring rolls on the menu and walked in, planning to order something to whet our appetite before dinner proper. when you couple a kooky rude waitress who doesn't understand much english with very hungry people, it's not gonna end well. we were forced to order $20 worth of food 'ween the two of us as minimum order and when we finally decided to supplement the spring rolls with a veggie & mushie omelette, the waitress didn't get it. we had to point it out on the menu and she dashed off before the menu had closed. she came back 10 minutes later with a steaming plate of veggies & mushrooms. uhhh... yah. we were too flabbergasted and hungry. besides, there wasn't much point explaining it was the wrong order to someone who doesn't understand.
  • dinner was awesome! highlight #2 =)
  • getting lost: was not so awesome, especially on a stormy foggy night after all that.. and seeing the clock clowly tick towards midnight. to cut a long story short, i missed my exit and turned off the next one, followed the signs until the road turned into a dirt road that 2 cars could squeeze through with dense bush on either side enveloped in pitch black darkness. no streelights, no nothing. couple that with a deserted sleeping town and fog creeping in.. i felt like i was in the twilight zone. half expected some murderous lunatic to jump out and kill me. my vocal cords were prepped for some whoopass screaming from my karaoke session in the car earlier anyway.

i later looked up where i was. see that black arrow on the left map? that was me on the dirt road at a bit past midnight. fog. pitch black. high beams piercing into the darkness and illumiating only about 10 feet worth of track. would've ended up at a dead end if i had followed the track. scary thought. very. was supposed to end up in the direction of cardiff at bottom right corner. ended up in west wallsend. the little orange circle was where i made the wrong turn. that in itself was odd. been here nearly 7 years and never made a wrong turn getting off the freeway before.

ah well, 'twas some excitement to break the monotony i guess.



The University now has a new brand. Yes, a brand... y'know, like Apple, Bose or Cadbury.

Newcastle will too be a brand. Kudos for the new seahorse design. I must say that it does look more sleek and modern compared to the original seahorse crest. Thank goodness they also decided to remove that awful motto of "I Look Ahead" from the logo too... really, couldn't they have jazzed it up by using its Latin equivalent?

As much as I like the new logo and what it hopes to stand for, there's a wee bit of my that's decidedly squirming. It hasn't stopped since I got the mass email sent out by someone simplyknown as vc. I nearly marked it as spam and sent it for a speedy deletion.

There are just so many things wrong with the situation, I don't know where to begin.

Let's start with the fact that we're talking about an educational institution., not a bloody business empire for goodness sakes. Seems as if the line between the two has been blurred, if not completely obliterated. The Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee has set out a document outlining the responsibilities of any university in the country. This includes guidelines concerning course development and approval, admission arrangements, teaching and learning, assesments, appeals and grievances and information. This new branding scheme appears to fall under the guideline whereby:

Australian higher education should be promoted and marketed accurately and honestly in terms of its quality, its standing and its availability. Qualitative and subjective judgements about other universities should be avoided, and no false or misleading comparisons should be drawn with any other provider.

So, it's legit but the question is, is it justifiable? The university still has duties to fulfil in the other areas as stipulated. What is the point of creating a vibrant, fresh new image.. or to tabulate old vs new when it is all but a hollow shell. I understand that a certain amount of marketing must be employed to entice new students every year to come and sustain the institution but from my little corner of the picture, I am a bit miffed.

There have been rumors of the med school shutting down due to lack of funds. There have been headlines stating that the institution itself was in $28 million worth of red tape. More than 50% of staff and/or courses were cut in the aftermath. So much for that thing called providing the best quality of education for students. Kudos for caring about the community when it couldn't even care for its own staff.

Currently, we can barely cope with the current student population in med school. It's been an ongoing issue with lack of funding looming large in the picture. I am sure the decisions came about from numerous other pieces of information and evidence that are only privy to those behind closed doors so that the decisions themselves usually seem ludicrous at best to the rest of us. Take the recent intake of 200 first year med students, some of which will be doing the course via distance learning at the New England University, a rural site. Our first year intake 5 years ago was around 90. As it was, there were already numerous problems stretching the available teaching and support resources between the lot of us. 200 students.. distance learning.. what next... Become-a-Doctor-by-numbers?

This is, but one school in one faculty in this institution. Yet, they've set aside time and money to come up with a new brand instead.

This work has involved staff, students, business, media, government, international agents, careers advisors and prospective students in interviews, workshops, seminars and surveys. ...These web pages explain the thinking behind our brand strategy and show work to date on key communication materials.

International agents eh.. media.. workshops.. that spells moolah. Moolah that could've been used with the brains behind the branding to come up with a better system that won't jeopardize the actual learning experience. I mean, if you had a choice of graduating with a degree that wasn't spat upon or getting a printout of your results on swanky new paper with a swish slick logo, is it that hard a decision to make? These people want to the bakery to bake their customized cake, deliver the thing and eat it. Dude, learn to cut the fat. See, you turn your back on tradition and miss out on a very important lesson.. you can't have your cake and eat it.

That being said... what's done is done.. and I've said what I wanted to say, which is more than enough methinks... and this is turning into one hell of a run-on sentence. Anyway, I guess this is one more reason to be happy about when graduation day finally rolls around. Can't wait to get outta here!

the letter L

Today's entry is brought you you by the letter L and its little junior version, the letter l.

They would both like to tell you to look at the date of yesterday's entry. They would also like you to unscramble the name of the rogue immigration officer, raolf poli. For those of you who like numbers better, L and l are sorry that none of them could attend today and would like to offer you the unscrambled raolf poli by means of apology. he is, but an april fool.

Today's letters would also like to stress that lame as the joke may have been, the sponsor is still learning the art of bluff. This does not mean that the sponsor advocates lying and is feeling slightly guilty for perpetrating such a falsehood as yesterday's entry. Please accept our sincere apologies for any confusion caused.

The letters L and l would now like to say goodbye, boys and girls. They're tired. Have a good day =)


more fresh hell

i'm not sure if you're familiar with this one belief of mine... that whoever's up there in the heavens doesn't like it too much to see us mortals happy and will quickly wipe off a smile if it's too big.

well.. here we go again! got another email from immigration just now. mr raolf poli to be exact. some underling at the immigration dept. remember that visa i just got approved a few days ago? apparently, whoever's sitting there rationing out visas wasn't very good at math because he frickin' screwed up and now, i'm one of the however many hundreds of people who're visa-less. they gave out too many visas and are now over-quota. wth?! i guess for those of you who haven't gotten your new visas or extensions approved in the past week, it won't affect you. this is only affecting those of us who've gotten new visas during this past week... damn my luck.


how kind of them to promptly email me... after all, i still haven't gotten a reply from my case worker. i emailed him at least 2 weeks ago. guess that might've been a sign back then, a sign indicating how incompetent and inadequate the whole department is. i guess i should've taken the fact that they've lost my records temporarily or the speedy approval as ominous signs too.
as for my visa status.. well, i have no way of calling them up. for all i know, my bridging visa isn't valid at this point.. meaning i've overstayed my visa by 16 days. thanks for providing a contact number "should you have any further enquiries" in your email! like that's gonna do any good until 9am tomorrow morning when you guys open. typical. idiots.