Coursera

Ramble.

I am a doctor. Yes, I am.

A doctor with provisional registration, at the very least, who must still run most of her decisions past a superior, and whose main areas of expertise are, summarily: inserting drips, writing discharge letters, and looking for folders. If, by the time the end of this year rolls around, we haven’t accidentally prescribed someone 100 units of insulin, or ignored a head injury after a fall, we are rewarded with a full registration. (Which, of course, we need to fork out several hundred dollars for.)

The way things work in Australia is that junior doctors must re-apply to hospitals every year; we are employed as “temporary full time” workers, on a contract that only lasts for 12 months. It’s a bit sucky. You spend a couple of months celebrating the fact that you survived interviews and got a job, only to realise that you have to do the whole thing over again. And again.

I recently submitted an application to do a six-month job next year, hopefully as a psychiatry resident. I’m planning to take six months off to do something totally silly and wonderful: write. I’m really excited. And a bit scared. (A little of becoming poor, but more of failure.)

This is how the rest of my year is looking:

– a couple more interviews, maybe

– hepatobiliary surgical rotation

– emergency department rotation

– trip to China and Hong Kong, yayz!

– three weeks break in January 2014

– work, if I have a job

:)

I think I’m feeling optimistic.

My day is looking not too shoddy either. I’ve got work 4-10pm, which is manageable, but I’ll be grumpy because I’ve got a cold. In the meantime, I have plenty to occupy myself with. For the past year I have been struggling to finish the Bitterbynde Trilogy by Cecilia Dart-Thornton–an Australian fantasy author, with wonderful writing ability, but LORDY. There came a point in the third book where I felt like I was just being constantly slapped in the face by purple prose. Her turns of phrase are lovely, but really, does she need to spend three lines describing how beautiful the inside of a strawberry is? We all know what a strawberry looks like.

Paragraph about strawberry.

Paragraph about strawberry.

Normally I have a rule that I give up on a book if it’s really struggling to hold my attention, but the Bitterbynde Trilogy admittedly is very beautiful. It’s sweeping and bursting with Celtic mythology and it’s got Faeran folk in it. It’s well planned out and elegant. I’ve just had enough of fantasy tropes, Mary Sue characters and dizzying descriptions of heartbreakingly handsome Faeran heroes. I’m sure the trilogy could have been one book shorter. Anyway, I’ve only got about 80 pages to go so I may as well skim through it.

Ten dolla! I picked up this trilogy from an amazing little bookstore in Morwell, Victoria called "The Nook and Cranny". If you're ever in Gippsland and you're a book nerd, you have to step inside this place. It's so unpretentiously rad.

Ten dolla! I picked up this trilogy from an amazing little bookstore in Morwell, Victoria called “The Nook and Cranny”. If you’re ever in Gippsland and you’re a book nerd, you have to step inside this place. It’s so unpretentiously rad.

I recently also read The Mind of a Mnemonist, by the Russian neuropsychologist Alexander Luria, who lived and worked in the early-mid 1900s. I heard about Luria whilst listening to a podcast featuring Oliver Sacks (Sacks cites Luria as one of his key inspirations). Mnemonist is a detailed case study about a dude who can remember everything. He also has intense five-sense synaesthesia, which is bizarre and fascinating to explore. Luria really delves into the guy’s mind, how his thought processes work, how his gift affects his personality, and what his weaknesses are.

In the TV world, I’ve just finished the season 2 finale of Battlestar Galactica–several years too late, I know–which, as usual, keeps blowing my mind. I can’t believe I didn’t listen sooner to my friends (looking at you, Mookxi!) who told me to watch this. Spaceships plus Greek mythology plus intense character study. HOW COULD ANYTHING BE MORE AWESOME?

bsg

Speaking of ancient Greek myth, I highly recommend the Greek and Roman Mythology course over at Coursera.org for anyone looking for an intro into ancient mythology. The readings can be a bit intensive on top of full time work or study but I found it totally worthwhile. It’s a very well taught course and a great starting point for beginners like me!

Oh no, work looms in four hours. Time to work on my novel. Wish me luck! Have an excellent week, readers. Don’t forget to smile unexpectedly and creepily at someone to brighten up their day.

x

Grace

PS. Can’t help it, but toaster Cylons just remind me of Cybermen. I think they used the same sound effects :P

cylon cybermen

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Doctoring and Homer-the-poet (and general excitement about life)

Just got home and cleaned up after the easiest medical cover shift in the history of cover shifts!

I felt like I was getting away with murder. I spent the first half hour chowing down my chicken schnitzel wrap, the next two hours browsing Reddit and snoozing on the most comfortable couch in the world (which, FYI, is located in the residents’ lounge of the hospital at which I work).

Said comfy couch is ugly, brown, obese and probably very grotty from the 278 different junior doctors who have kicked back in its cushiony depths. And yet it is so soft. It’s like sleeping on a gentle, giant, fluffy turd. Can you imagine anything more wonderful?

After 5pm my pager finally started going off and I trudged upstairs to the wards to review medications, rewrite drug charts, check fluid statuses and pop in drips like a pro. I was smiling at all the nurses and spreading cheer and goodwill like Santa Claus. One thing I’ve learnt from cover shifts is not to be grumpy. It just makes for more of a pleasant shift if you make an effort to be pleasant first.

Fast forward six hours and I’m home, rinsed of the hospital grime, dressed in rather comical polka dot mint-green pyjamas and wrapped like a sausage roll in a blanket. I’m way too excited about the three work-free days I’ve got ahead of me.

I can’t wait to hop into bed and read Book 24 of the Odyssey. I thought that when I started this Greek and Roman Mythology course on Coursera, reading a Homeric epic would be a long haul. And for a few chapters here and there, it was tough. BUT O-M-G. The Odyssey is SO EPIC. EPIC TO THE MAX! I love it. I do not want to read Book 24 because it will end. But at the same time I can’t wait to read it. Argh. Excitement.

In preparation for this course I ordered a few books online and now I’ve got a small pile of classics sitting on my desk, looking really hardcore and classicsy. They’re seriously intimidating me with their academic glory. I hope I manage to get through the set readings over the next seven or so weeks. The course pushes a tough pace and it takes effort to get the week’s homework done around my real job, social riff-raff and all those TV shows I’ve just got to watch…

IMG_20130515_233755

Speaking of necessary TV shows, THE OFFICE (US) IS ENDING. It is acutely tragic. I have lived with this show ever since the BF introduced it to me circa three years ago. I have sobbed for Pam and Jim. I have bust a rib cacking myself at Dwight’s antics. I have bowed to Creed being possibly the awesomest supporting character ever. The finale airs May 16th and marks the end of an era; the end of a show that helped to bring cringe comedy into the mainstream. I have no doubt I will cry.

Tomorrow night, worked around our irregular schedules, is a long-awaited date night. Planned events? Butter chicken and biryani rice, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Game of Throooooones, Office. May or may not be able to fit in all events, but I will update on the highlights.

Last week, half a month after everyone else, we watched Iron Man 3. Blockbustery pow-pow and unbelievably streamlined technology and a whole army of iron men and Pepper Potts going all uber. It was a super fun movie to watch, but had an unsatisfying ending. Best bit was Ben Kingsley. Oh, and that cute kid that helped Tony Stark out.

Sign that I’m getting tired. Amputated sentences and inventing fake adjectives by adding -y to the ends of nouns. I’m off to bed with Homer.

More next time,

Grace Le Fay.