Friday, April 21, 2006

Last tram home

She jumped on and looked around distractedly. Her jumper caught my eye: several runs in the knitting. As she plonked down opposite, I scanned her: one or two years older than me, handbag, shoes: not otherwise scruffy. Closer inspection identified the runs as artfully placed fakes.

She stared forward, away from me. Running her hands through her short hair, the skin on her neck flushed. That's when I noticed the shakes. She scrabbled through her bag and produced a tissue, surreptitiously dabbing at her eyes.

We sat for 2 stops. She crying, me deciding.

"Can I do anything to help? Are you OK?"

Surprised eyes turned my way. "No, it's OK, I'm... I haven't been myself lately. I can't... Don't worry."

"Do you need someone to talk to?"

"No, I believe in action rather than words."

"As long as you know which action to take."

Brief smile at this. "Yes." Looks away again.

Oh God, what action was she referring to? I pull the cord for the stop. "I hope you can find a positive way out."

"Yes, I hope so."

And off into the night.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The big weekend

No, not that one. The one before.

A few snapshots:

2pm Friday: cute Ishka boy stands much closer than is necessary, complements the earrings (?) and makes general innuendo. Buy too much and leave feeling conned.

1am Saturday: Loud club in cold, windy, newly developed part of town. Hen-ish night (in combo with Buck's), much family angst of said Hen due to not being able to attend her own party until after 10pm. Drinking in accordance.

2:30 am Saturday: home. Keys are not in bag. Why? Ponder this. Not usual bag. Front door remains very locked.

Brainwave: break in through garage. Door locked. Some noisy wangling doesn't work. Back to front of house. Rattle own bedroom windows ineffectually.

Try garage again: success!

Back door locked. Am now locked out and in backyard. Can see lights on inside. At least outside toilets come in handy sometimes.

2:45 Saturday: Dig out mobile and call the house.
Leave plaintive "help-me" message on machine. Hang up to see shuffling housemate emerge from room. Apologise profusely but, I fear, the sincerity somewhat diminished by drunken state.

Saturday afternoon: drag myself late to all planned events. In warehouse in back blocks of Fitzroy, find desk. Feel that have at least acheived something in day.

11pm Saturday: bubble bath. Party? Not me.

8am Sunday: jubilant phone call from new-mother-best-mate. Twins! Celebrate then go back to sleep.

6pm Sunday: Said Hen & Buck tie proverbial knot in wonderful ceremony, rightfully jettisoning all traditions they couldn't care less about. Proceed to party and actually talk to guests.

4am Monday: The party Who Do Not Work Tomorrow carry on. New high heels on cobbled streets. Gin Palace. Stalactite's. Fried cheese. Someone mentions Boutros Boutros Ghali and it's all over bar the shouting in the taxi.

8am Monday: Alarm. Oh shit. Poorly thought out car service booking. Make it to dealer, back on tram, sunglasses glued to face and holding stomach inside by sheer force of will. In retrospect may not have been at optimal driving sobriety.

7pm Monday: make it to lectures, the picture of a dedicated student.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


This is a double celebratory post.

First, congratulations to M & M, for the safe arrival of their TWO baby girls on Saturday night. Welcome to the world, and may the journey be joyous.

Second (going chronologically here), raise a glass to J & M, who despite protests made a lovely bride & groom on Sunday evening. Enjoy the honeymoon and the years to come.

A weekend of cheer!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Sam's appeal

As I mentioned previously, a friend from uni is currently working at Mae Tao, a clinic on the Thai-Burma border providing health care for the Burmese population.

Well, he's just put this up on his blog. A 13 month-old boy in need of a heart operation.

This is - a friend who I trust
- working in a clinic that i've seen, the leader of which has been nominated for a Nobel Prize
- with a child whose life can be turned around
- who is from a population that I spent last year trying to help.

Please have a read and contact Damien if you want, or you can contact me for details too.

As Damo has said: Why?
Because we can.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The idea of study

Last year was all about practicalities.

What antimalarial drugs to I give to a pregnant woman?
What should I look for in leptospirosis?
What's the dose for this TB medication?
How do I explain how to mix up the food supplement to women who do not own measuring jugs or scales?

This year, it's all about theory. Or, that's the theory.

I'm sick of knowing enough to work. Of scrabbling for the guidelines whenever a new situation arises. Of knowing what to do, but not being really sure why.

I'm ready to feel confident in my knowledge base. To be able to work things out, given that I know about how x affects y. To know enough to base my decisions on evidence rather than what I've been told. In short, to know a good summary of what there is to know.

Unfortunately, this takes a hell of a lot of work. I'm ready to study, but I'm not ready to spend the majority of my free time in front of a textbook. I what to know what the evidence is, but I can't face the journal articles. I'm certainly not so excited about spending the next 12 months at a desk, to then potentially have to do it all over again, when, like so many excellent, knowledgable doctors, I could fail the exam.

I want to know stuff but have a life, dammit! My lifelong study technique of cramming won't cut it this time.

The question is, will I feel any different in a year?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Back in business

After two months, a lot of angst, and many fruitless hours, I have accessible internet at home.