another round of gnarrrrghh!

...and i thought i could leave the hospital in peace to embrace the crazy weekend that was to come. the little sister graduation's tomorrow. 50 screaming teenage girls to babysit, oops i mean mentor and guide, through more than 12 hours of continuous contact to get them through the formal dinner and speeches... wish me luck.

but nooo..
finished afternoon rounds by 3.30ish. finished all our jobs. wrote up all the fluids, med charts and ordered bloods to last us through to monday. weekend discharge letters and scripts all ready to go. i manage to get less than 1km away from the hospital when my pager rings.

i know it's my fault for returning the initial page, but curiosity got the better of me. one of these days, it's gonna kill me. so to cut a long story short, it took me a total of three attempts from hospital to car in the parking lot to safely make it back home. you will understand why it irked me to no end when i got a fourth page at 5.30pm about 30 seconds after walking through the door after picking up my parcel from the post office (thank you A!!!) and bringing in the shopping for the weekend.



dear waste of air and space,

it is half past five on a friday afternoon. you are not obliged to call me to review my post-op colorectal patient just because i'm the intern for the team, but that's ok. i'll indulge because i'll assume you thought that surgical people leave the hospital at 5.30pm despite starting at 7am or earlier, just like the physicians. i'll even indulge you in thinking that i'm the gastroenterology intern that you thought you paged to review a colorectal patient. so, when i tell you i'm physically not in the hospital, you need to gasp in horror and wail at me. "who is going to review the patient then?," you lament.

now listen carefully. there is this thing called overtime. there are people rostered to work overtime. that is what they're paid to do. overtime starts at 4.30pm for surgical wards. even if you didn't know that, overtime kicks in by 5pm. try paging one of them next time.

spits and spats,


dear eagle-eyes,

before you next decide to write down the patient's bed number and "TPN order + IVF + warfarin dose" or "IVF" not once, but twice after the first one was crossed out, do try to keep your eyes open and the neurons firing to register the blue ink that can be translated as drug and fluid orders that have been charted until bloody monday.

if looks could kill,

ooh, there are much more where those two letters came from. for those who are interested, feel free to tune in daily from 6.30am to 6.30pm, monday through friday. broadcasts can be heard in the vicinity of the hospital.



a couple puffs of brainfart

twenty-seven patients!!

that was a lot, even for geriatrics... but we're talking about ED here. shift started with a stack of patients yet to be seen. all the triage sheets nicely snug in their plastic little covers formed quite an impressive pile nearly half a foot high.

talk about starting the shift on the right foot...

and then we had two resuscitations, both of which i wasn't involved with. phew.
pooped, dead tired. especially since i was running on the normal body clock over the weekend and i only had one night to flip into night shift body clock mode. let's just say that my head was throbbing and i felt nauseous by around 3.30am this morning in the middle of my shift.

just had to gripe. twenty-seven waiting to be seen!! man, can't get over that just yet.

ooh, speaking of things i can't get over...
some arrogant prick hung a piece of paper saying "RESERVED PARKING," highlighted it and slipped it in a plastic sleep before twisting metal ties to A's cage in her parking lot. we both saw it, shrugged it off. next day, we were off to the conference (which was awesome - road trips, wineries, good food, some education to span the weekend!) bright and early and what did we find? a little blue piece of paper telling me not to park in this spot. not even a please, if i remember correctly. wtf. who in the world had such gall?? that particular twat, obviously. it wasn't as if the person could mistaken A's parking space as being unoccupied. the cage where the note was attached to was full of empty boxes stacked to the brim! seriously, i can't get over the gall of the person. gall? arrogance? plain stupidity? can't quite place my finger on the right word to go with the emotion. seriously though, to claim someone else's parking spot so brazenly.. wtf?!

the number of idiots in this world... they need to start encouraging more recipients of the darwinian awards.


the deepest shade of red you can imagine.. and then some

i can't imagine how awful i feel. awfully embarrased but also just generally a sick kind of awful. must be some perverse twisted bit of me somewhere inside or else why would i be sharing with anyone something so embarrassingly awful that it's funny in a sad sort of way?

*takes a deep breath*

and so, my confession begins.

i was relaxed today. a rarity nowadays. it was my allocated day off from work. they forced me to take the day off but pay me, just so they could make up my total hours to satisfy the week's quota. not that i'm complaining. anyway, i digress.

so i come home today after running the usual errands.. bank, post office, groceries, fixing up the house and the obligatory visit to ikea. bag galore. a malte to boot. couldn't wait to put it together. put it together i did and it now proudly acts as a sidetable for my keys and knick knacks.

spent the afternoon putting up wall decals, trying to tidy up the boxes and such. then came the knocking.

at first, i thought they got the wrong apartment. i've done that. the elevator took me one floor too high. i got off, as it was the first stop and the lady with me lived on the floor above. i walked to the door and realized the key didn't fit. only then, did i notice that the apt number was 100 more than mine. oops.

so yeah, it happens. i thought someone was just as absentminded as me. thought they got the wrong door. they had a gaggle of children in the background. now why would i have a class of kiddies visiting me? surely they must have the wrong door. so i ignored them. yes, i'm very anti-social. for those that don't know yet, i refuse to answer the door if i'm not expecting you.

let's put it this way... i don't know what's worse - to yell out "who's there?" in a wimpy female voice and have the person on the other side figure out i'm all alone, or to ignore the person on the other side of the door and have them think nobody's home. i'm for the second option - they have their imagination to deal with - as far as they know, a football team could be living in my apt but if i open my mouth, it'll be a giveaway that i'm most likely alone. not very safe.

so i digress again. the knocking goes on all afternoon. every hour or so. quite regular. reminds me of the stories i've heard of how burglars figure out who's home or not. so i try not to think about it. after all, the sun was still out. everything seems less scary in the daytime. the knocking finally stops and i call A to validate my runaway thoughts of scary burly burglars and such. then the intercom started to ring. so now i'm a tad worried. the sun's gone down, the knocking hasn't stopped.

i'm still loathe to call out in my wimpy, now scared girly voice "who's there and what do you want?" the sentence is too long. so i talk to hG who suggests calling security. d'oh! why didn't i think of that! so call security i did. a nice fellow called matthew answered. he reassured me, gave me some advice, said he'd check it out. no news. the knocking came again. it was now around 10.30pm. now, my runaway thoughts have really gone galactic. i call matthew the security guard again. he promised to announce himself at my door next time he does a circuit.

to cut things short, i found a piece of paper scrunched up and shoved under my door but because i had a draft stopper, i never heard nor saw the paper until i opened the door. i've never been so embarrassed in a very very long while as i read a scrawled message saying "please call your next door neighbour. N - 04******** i have your keys. you forgote them in the door"


like i said.. i've never been more embarrassed.
on the bright side, i now have my contingency plan in place. one that i should've done long ago much akin to the charlestown one when we didn't have water or power for a few days. i've now got the local police number scrawled in ink and programmed in my phone. i've got a whole list of phone numbers of people i trust + people nearby whom i can dial out to in case anything happens. a tad paranoid, you say? i suppose so but this is what comes from living alone for all these years. a girl kinda gets a tad edgy. hmm. i should just shush now.


it's been a while.. again

been a tad busy lately (nooooo... really?), hence the hiatus. seems like everytime i have a grip nowadays, it fizzles out before i have a chance to hit the computer.

quick update on the ins and outs of my world in the past couple of months. much like the numerous discharge summaries i've been typing up.


Thank you for the ongoing care and concern of aemii. She is a 27yo female who presented from home with a two - three month history of wanting to vent but not being able to find the energy or time to do so.

see previous notes

presenting complaint
lack of time secondary to obligations called work with associated decreased energy and enthusiasm

- finished up relief term on a week of night shifts, got one week of rest before plunging into a term of geriatrics
- had psyched herself up for geris as it was rumored to be a busy hellish term
- found that it was manageable despite having no registrar for nearly half the term, dealing with a gastro outbreak requiring wards to be locked-down and dealing with delirious, sometimes psychotic patients that needed security to show up at one point
- completed term of geriatrics in one piece, sane.
- managed to move into a new house in middle of geris. bought and paying mortgage now. boo!
- commenced ED term
- decided on Day 1 that she would much rather do another 9 weeks of geriatrics than another 4 days of ED

Sunchips/Grain Waves
Chinese take-away

Heavy lifting


At discharge
- Told to count the days til the end of each lot of shifts instead of the end of term
- Need to clean up and unpack everything at new place
- For follow-up within the next week after discharge as needed for monitoring of medication compliance and mental state.


what goes up must come down

I had another bout of warm fuzzies straight afterwards. Why so, you ask? Why, I finally made it back to America after more than a decade!

Spent about 2 weeks there.. mostly in LA. Explains why this blog's been a tad quiet last month. Interspersed were mini-trips to my aunt's place in Orange County, a day trip back to the valley and a weekend in Philly/NY. Caught up with a few besties from elementary school and that was a treat.

I never realized how much I miss life in LA. People always ask if I'll end up back in the states after my stints in whatever country I happen to be in at the time and I always tell people that I can't see myself going back. I used to believe that going back would be meaningless because life as I knew it back then wouldn't be the same - my friends aren't there anymore and those that are would have hopefully moved way past the days of playing in our little dirt playground at Sierra (that doesn't exist anymore btw... it's now a horrible mass of concrete they call the parking lot). This trip highlighted the fact that yes, everyone's moved on but the fact that my old besties still have tons to yak about despite the years and years that's lapsed... wow, that was a warm fuzzy in itself. We admitted we each had our trepidations.."where do we start? what will she be like? what will we talk about? will we have anything in common anymore?" we yakked though. like old times. bits and pieces fell into place to fill in the huge gaps. i missed that. This trip completely proved me wrong in my belief that life moved on when I left, and that I could never catch up. Who said anything about catching up? I could very happily walk in step with life as it is over there.

This trip also proved me wrong in that yes, I could see myself moving back. I miss life there. Life as I knew it, life that I was used to. I miss the itty bitty comforts like being able to find a bar of butterfingers in the supermarket (instead of people going "huh, what's that?"), to have normal internet packages (instead of paying through the nose for 40gbs a month), to be able to put my mail in my mailbox and know it will get delivered (instead of walking for 5 mins just to drop off mail at the communal mailboxes).. you know, the little things.

So anyway.. I had an awesome time, kudos to everyone I managed to meet up with for putting in the effort to actually make the meets happen. Sheer nostalgia, it was =)

With that in mind, you can imagine how awful it was to return to the bleak humdrum I currently call life here in Australia to face a week of relief before launching straight into a week of night shifts that cover specialties I especially suck at. The week off that I automatically get after a week of nights melted away as I battled a rather ...aggravating specimen of a solicitor and overly concerned parents (gee, what's new.) regarding a rather large purchase in the works.

Started my new term today on a wonderful wonderful note - I left home early because I wanted to be organized and ready to rock when 8.30am hit you know. I was so organized, I left both my pager and cell phone at home. go me. Let's just say I made it through today, inclusive of ward meetings I only knew about an hour prior to the meeting itself, in not too bad a shape.

One day down, a whole 10 more weeks to go. *sigh*


all warm and fuzzy

really guys, i couldn't have asked for anything more. thank you for remembering and thank you for taking the time to wish me anything at all! all those shout-outs on facebook, the surprise cake and guests, that annual phone call that i had totally forgotten about, another surprise cake in taiwan... thank you for making me feel that i mean something to someone out there =)

some of you may know my take on birthdays.. what's there to celebrate? it's not like people are dying young nowadays and hitting 30 is a huge feat.. well, maybe it is for some still. in my little bubble-padded world though, i take a darker spin on birthdays. if there's any celebrating to be done, i say that the poor mothers should be celebrated for having gone through the horrible process called childbirth.. and not only survived it, but survived living with the parasite-turned-new-life-form that they plopped out for the next however many odd years.

what's there to celebrate? either way you look at it, it's quite depressing. you're either one day closer to death, or you're one year older (complete with the wrinkles, the responsibilities and all else associated with growing up).

anyway, despite being of such opinions, i still turn into a pile of mush at the onslaught of well-wishes i get every year. really really.. from the bottom of my heart (yes, excuse the mush please), thank you for letting me into your life as a friend. =)


the gripe that died on the tip of my fingers

Oh wow, it's been nearly two months since I've last posted. Oh ho, what a rarity that she's been whinge-free for two months, you say! Unfortunately, it's been the exact opposite. Too many whinges, many of them lacking the oomph to stay with my long enough until I get home from work to warrant the effort to recount them in detail here. Instead, they festered and bubbled and eventually sank into the depths of my memory.

Am currently doing a week of night shifts. They have their perks - a week off (unpaid though, boo!) after a week of shifts. Being able to get errands done because for once, I'm free when the shops are open. That's about it.. the free breakfast voucher we get is great, except that the food choices are so limited and awful anyway that I've only been able to stomach packaged drinks that early in the morning. Even then, I've only claimed one voucher. Usually dying to get out of the hospital by then.

Not in the best of moods. Just got woken up by a fire alarm that I think is illegal in terms of the decibels it emits. Dug out my pair of yellow airplane earplugs, squished them in each ear and could still hear the alarm at a volume one could call normal.. like you know, the volume you set your tv or stereo to. It's gonna be a loooong night.

And then I chanced upon this article online. Take away some creative license and still... boo. the oomph has already dissipated. might let this gripe die this time around...

gotta get ready for work.


not quite what i had in mind

it's been nearly a month since my very last post
i've been just a tad busy these past few weeks
juggling work and sisters, sleep and fun
and amassed some memories that are for keeps

we'll start off with boot camp, the butterfly kind
run by a sisterhood, for a few local teens
a grueling affair, 'twas this four-day camp
filled with smiles and tears at narabeen's.

what a relief it was to find
i clicked with her, my little sis.
i'd never guess that i would cry
but tears rolled out 'cause of that little miss.

i also got my first brush with fame
for natalie and sis were the honored guests.
everyone both big and small
wanted in on the photofest!

the first day of work overlapped with camp,
it wasn't ideal but what could i do?
i managed to survive our orientation
and also made a new friend or two.

meanwhile at home, my fluff became bored
they cooked up some mischief whilst home alone
poor sleepybear bore the brunt of their jokes
they took off his shirt, antics i don't condone!

the weeks rolled by and before i knew,
'twas australia day weekend wit lots to do!
my cousin had arrived, fresh from taiwan
we went 'round the city but had no time for the zoo =(

i also found a bottle of pink grapefruit juice
one called ami with a quirky little twist
they took us for idiots with a pronunciation guide
ah-mee 'twas how to say it, meant friend 'twas the gist.

the weeks dragged on, and i was always at work
my homebound fluff, oh they rejoiced!
hours on end to wreck havoc to my place 0.o
lotsa plans and opinions to voice!

work itself wasn't too bad..
i was slowly easing into routine
patients to see and forms to fill
i think i might've appeared too keen

that initial enthusiasm slowly waned
especially after my first weekend shift
'twas a mayhem to cover the place
i left the hospital a wee bit miffed.

this past weekend was really crap
more patients to see, more forms to fill
a caesar to assist, a token to keep
ooh that baby's cost me a hefty bill!!

i had on scrubs and my brown suede boots
when they cut her tummy and i was told to push
i heaved and i shoved until the baby came out
with blood and fluid, and also some mush.

it all sprayed out and onto the floor
it covered my scrubs and drowned my feet
it turned the floor into abstract art
a bloody mess my eyes did meet.

remember my gripes about Oh and Gee?
i still stand by all that i've said
the specialty's full of leaky ladies,
and bloody ones stuck in bed!

speaking of blood, 'tis bloody ruddy red
the same color that is used on the 14th of feb
valentines' this year passed without my yearly gripe
no, my caustic sentiments, they have not ebbed.

a day of hearts and bouquets of roses
of extravagant dinners and expensive candy
or lonely singles left wandering the streets
great for sales, my ain't that handy!

'tis all a conspiracy, some may say..
concocted by hallmark as they insist
why declare one day when the others just are,
as special enough too, to warrant a kiss?

anyway, i shall leave you be
that's quite enough rhyming, even for me.


didn't even hit twenty-four

i was supposed to go here:

i'm here at the moment... for the term doing orthopedics:

it's been only two days, only 20 hours.. and i'm already counting down the hours til the weekend hits. really, it could have been worse. i'm lucky to have a good bunch of interns starting out with me, a decent registrar (who's mostly in the operating theaters anyway) and a good senior who's been out for 3 years. it helps that he wants to be an orthopod.

so yeah, my first 20 hours of work consisted of two medical emergencies, got chastised by the infectious diseases registrar, got the first complaint filed against me by the patient transport department for trying to organize an out-of-hospital CT scan at the request the specialist and got lectured by the radiographer to "not do this again. that is really unfair. you know that. to come in and want us to drop everything to scan your patient. that is not right." those last two things brought me pretty damn close to tears today, out of sheer frustration at the unfairness of it all.

as A pointed out, "you do you mean to tell me that some woman at the patient transport office is telling a doctor what test is best for a patient, or that she won't send the patient, despite a doctor's order, to another hospital for a better CT scan because she doesn't want to spend the hospital's money (the government's money)??"



quick update

another quick update before i disappear into another puddle of oblivion. i can sense these things, you know. =)

came back from my 2-week vacation in one piece. survived the family and relatives. it was even enjoyable this time. no, this didn't include the car crash i was in. yes, everyone was alright though i can't say the same for the hunks of metal we were travelling in.

pictures to come, watch out for them on flickr.

joined life changing experiences as a Big Sister in their SISTER2sister program. supposed to be a mentor for girls aged 13 - 18. boot camp started on saturday. don't know whether to take it as a compliment or not - been mistaken many a times by both big sisters and little sisters for being a little sister at camp. hmm. it's supposed to last for four days, but unfortunately for me, it overlaps with my orientation at the hospital. hence, been running on near empty - boot camp itself is physically and emotionally exhausting. organizers have suggested taking days off from work if possible to recover from the camp. no can do =(

sooo... what i've been doing is driving back and forth between the campsite at Narabeen (never been to narabeen? nevah been!), home and the hospital. takes aroud an hour with no traffic, boo! daytime's spent in "doctor" mode.. or as well as i can get myself in that particular headspace from 8am to 5pm. then it's a mad dash home, shower, change into big sister mode so i can gather all the stuff i need for camp before driving down there, spend a couple of hours doing the night activities planned and then driving back here like cinderella hoping the clock doesn't chime midnight too soon.

good thing this is gonna last for one more day/night and then i can just concentrate on orientation instead of falling asleep. i mean, on a good day, my attention span only lasts for 20 minutes so you can imagine what it would've been like today.

random thought jump: the other interns were reaally really friendly. it's only been one day, so it's not like i made fast friends with anyone but everyone was nice enough to strike up a conversation or two throughout the day. they seemed piqued upon hearing that i was from newcastle. the accent presented itself as another conversation starter. all's good but won't count my chickens before they hatch. we'll see what tomorrow brings =) at the very least, i hope that more sleep is in the picture somewhere.