Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bin Day

Thursday is bin day! I think it's safe to say that I've never been so excited about bin day ever, not even at the start of the year when I had a whole house to myself and bin day made me feel ever so grown-up. No, today is very special.

You see, on Christmas day, we had prawns. We shelled them and ate them with our hands, dipping them in Great Grandma's secret-recipe seafood sauce, and life was good.

Come time for the post-lunch post-nap cleanup, and Dad warned us several times to tie a piece of string around the bag full of shells. But we were complacent and responded with 'Yes yes, it's too hard to find a piece of string, it'll be fine, we'll just tie a knot' etc.

Fast-forward five hot summer days, the prawn shells have been simmering in the sulo bin right outside the front door, and Little Sister and I have been holding our breath every time we've left the house because it genuinely smells like a very large and very sick sea-creature crawled in there and died a terrible death and is now decomposing in the most aromatic way it knows how.

Hooray for bin day!

2010? You still there?

My alarm went off at 7am this morning (I can't remember why it was set for 7am, but never mind) and just as I lifted my hand to hit snooze I thought no, I'm going to have to get used to getting up early, because my first rotation for fourth-year starts in LESS THAN A WEEK.

And then I thought, what the Hell happened to 2010?! I documented a good deal of it here - it wasn't easy, most of it wasn't much fun and I definitely wouldn't want to do it again, but couldn't it have gone a little slower?

It feels like just a minute ago I was trembling before the almighty OSCE, 30 seconds ago I found out I'd passed the exams, and wasn't it Christmas just now? And here I am training myself to wake up early so that I can start rotation with a surgeon who a friend of a friend heard first-hand say he likes to make students cry. It's goodbye to being a third-year, protected by the nurses, doctors and patients, and hello to being a Final-Year Medical Student, almost an intern and someone who "should-know-this-by-now".

On the plus side, I opened an anatomy book yesterday and it was all news to me, so there must have been a holiday in there somewhere.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Good Match

Little Sister works for a wine company, and as such is our family expert on wine. She supplied all of the wine for our family Christmas and had carefully matched the wines to the menu, right down to the breakfast champagne.

At about midday, Dad was cooking some prawns for lunch and turned to her and asked, "what would go well with garlic and chilli?" because he just knew she'd have a good wine to match.

Little sister, searching around the kitchen, replied "I don't know ... tomato sauce?"

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, Dickhead.

Two days before Christmas I stepped out into the fresh morning air, ran back inside for a jumper, and then stepped back outside into the fresh morning air. I was to have breakfast at the markets with my sister and a friend before stocking up on fresh fruit for Christmas. The Sun was shining, the air was crisp, and I had woken up before 9am. Life was good.

And then I saw my car. The driver’s side window was smashed and there was glass all over the driver and passenger seats, glass on the floor, glass on the dash, glass on the road. I remembered the loud bang the night before, the hysterical laughter and the squealing of tyres that had followed.

I checked my car – radio: present. Emergency $5: present. UBD: present. Pink bow on gearstick: present. Nothing was stolen – somebody had smashed my window for fun.

So I filed my first ever police report, had the window replaced, and mentally wished that dickhead a Merry Christmas. I hope they choke on their damn pudding.

PS: I hope the rest of you have a wonderful Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I used to write stories
In poems - they'd rhyme
I would show them to friends
And they'd laugh

So I never write stories
As poems these days
I use sentences now;

And I think it's much better,
Less easy to judge
Takes less planning, less angst
And less time

Most important of all
I have found, is that now
I do not have to think
Of a rhyme

Monday, December 13, 2010


I meet my friend's 4-year-old niece when she and her grandma pick us up from the airport. She greets me by handing me a lollipop (orange, because she wanted the purple one). On the car ride home she chatters away, telling us all about her Daddy's garden - "there are snails in the garden and they eat the tomatoes and they eat the capsicans"

My friend tells her that I ride horses and have horses at home.

"I have horses at my house" she counters

"Really? Do you have horses too?"

"No," she admits, "I have snails"

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Unexpected wealth

It's great to discover that you have more money than you thought.

For example, for the past two days I was convinced that I only had $3 in my bank account, whereas in reality I have $3.49!

Glasses of water all round, my shout!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Moving Out

Well, the time has finally come – the "school year" is over and I am cleaning out my house. I will miss my little council-owned house/cottage. It is exceptionally cute with wooden floorboards, a cheesy name (Bedsyde Manor), a random assortment of curtains, and a giant backyard.

Apart from having to pack and clean, another challenge this weekend is to eat all of the food. On the plus side I've already taken all of my chocolate to my sister’s house, so I’m pretty sure that’s been eaten - along with my biscuits and lollies.

Cleaning out the freezer is an interesting task ... yesterday I had Tom Yum wonton soup with extra wontons. Today I had satay chicken stir-fry. Tomorrow I think there are prawns. Sunday is a mystery ... I still can’t figure out what’s in that container. And on Monday I shall eat the frozen banana.

Cleaning out the fridge is much more fun. Beers!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


According to the referral letter, she’s 27. She has vague (but strong) abdominal pain, has been on painkillers but hasn’t had many investigations. The gastroenterologist isn’t really sure why she’s coming to see him. She looks about 50 as she trudges in wheeling a pram. Another lady who is not introduced (sister, maybe?) wheels in a second pram.

The two children have open, bleeding sores on their skin. One has fistfuls of Vegemite crusts which she greedily pushes into her mouth. As I watch she picks at a scab on her hand until it too is bleeding.

The gastroenterologist asks the patient for her weight. She hands me her coffee, “hold this for a minute” and jumps on the scales. I can feel my skin crawl, and I know it is beginning to blister and break out into sores. Gulping, I try not to look down, I just imagine the sores spreading from the coffee mug all the way up my arm.

I am infected and I know it, it’s probably the plague, but I ignore my deepest instincts and do not amputate my own arm. In fact, it’s not until the patient stands up to leave that I slather my hands and arms in alcohol handwash. It might be too late.

Diversional Therapy

Towards the end of the year, I spent the afternoon with the doctor at one of the local nursing homes. Not long after we’d arrived, the residents started their afternoon of “Diversional Therapy” ... those poor bastards.

We could hear it loud and clear from our room down the hall – even with the door closed. The Diversional Therapist, a middle-aged lady who was probably perfectly pleasant, sang in a loud, flat voice all of the songs that old country people must know. “Waltzing Matilda” followed “Road to Gundagai”, which followed some song about “Reading, Writing and ‘Rithmatic”.

Occasionally, unenthusiastic drones from the residents themselves would accompany the “therapist’s” recital.

As I sat there slowly going insane, I wondered how it was even possible for the residents to maintain a semblance of cognitive function. Clearly they were a resilient lot.

Next thing I knew, a shrill rooster call pierced the air, followed by another and then another. They were coming from a female resident down the hall, and went on for the rest of the afternoon, occasionally interjected by her requests for somebody called Julie to “turn off that awful music!