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27 April 2010

April stuff

Yup. So the last few weeks have been pretty busy with actual medicine. (I know you all think we just frolic by the sea all day every day, but it just ain't so) First, I did a video recording with an actor. This was to practice giving bad news. His character's wife had just been in a bad car crash, and I was the one to tell him this and deal with the response. They make us do this so that we won't be complete idiots and scar people for life. Which ends up happening a lot (they've only recently put how to break bad news in the curriculum. Before that, doctors just had to "wing it"). People never forget how and when their world falls apart. The scenario I was given was quite relevant, as a very similar thing happened during my elective in Bundaberg, only it was parents of a young adult that were informed. Glazed looks of helplessness. All the colour drained from their faces. Wanting to know, but not hearing the responses. It was gut wrenching to watch. The patient survived and recovered fully, but I will always remember the dark place of in-between, of not knowing how things will turn out, and having to walk with families through it. So yes- I think this was definitely a valuable exercise. The next day I sat the first exam of the year. It was short and sweet, and fair (I'll get back to you on that bit). To celebrate the end of that heavy week, Rob, myself and a few med friends went out for dinner and a movie to unwind. We wanted to see KickAss, but as it was sold out, we saw Clash of the Titans. It was fun and mindless, and mostly a waste of digital memory. Then we enjoyed bubble tea and took a walk. Then went home and slept for 12 hours....

We are now moving on from lungs to livers this week. The liver does everything, so be nice to yours, K?

Oh! and I did an ENT workshop (Ear, Nose, Throat). I ended up being the volunteer for a nasopharygoscopy. I'm just stupid that way, I guess. This means they squirted my throat and nose with lidocaine, which tastes like Benadryl mixed with bits of sheer hell. And then the doc passed a flexible scope across the floor of my nose, down the back of my throat and into my larynx. I got to see my own vocal cords! Very cool, and apparently they are lovely, as vocal cords go.... The pic is approximately what you could see.
a normal larynx
If you aren't squeamish, you can see it being done (on someone else) at

Rob has started creating customized keyboards, as his job prospects don't seem to be improving. They are of a "Steampunk" style, and I think they look pretty snazzy! The website is if you want to have a peek at his work. If you know anybody interested in one, feel free to pass it on or make requests to Rob.
This past weekend was ANZAC day here. It is like Remembrance Day for Canadians, but to especially acknowledge the Australian and New Zealand soldiers. It is nice to see they actually take it fairly seriously, and close everything for the day. "Under Hill 60" was released this weekend as well, and is an Aussie war story. If you like war stories, "Passchendale", which was released in 2008 in Canada was also a good one.
I am thiiiiiss close to finishing an assignment (ahead of schedule!) so I will sign off for now!

03 April 2010

Website updates

For those of you who haven't checked out our website lately, there are a lot of changes.  First of all, the whole look has changed.  I also uploaded the last three months worth of pictures. And lastly, there are the instructions and photos of Barb's new Steampunk computer

I've also had a few adventures:  On the 24th, a few friends and I climbed Mt Ngungun at 4:30 in the morning.  We were at the peak in time to watch the sunrise over the Pacific.  Absolutely beautiful.  It was great to hang out with some great new people.  We spent a few hours at the summit, and then went to Maleny for breakfast and to browse the shops.  It is a very hippie touristy kind of place.

I've also been out to the beach twice this last week.  Barb & I were out at Wellington Point last Sunday.  At low tide, there is a narrow sand-spit that takes you out to King Island.  There was a little grove of Mangrove trees on the island.  The tide was rising as we came back in, and had to walk the last little bit in about 30cm of water.  By the time we left the point, there was no land left out to the island.  Tuesday Barb had to go down to Surfer's Paradise (yes that is the real name).  She was at a pain conference where she was a subject for displaying a new ultrasound machine.  While she did that, I wandered around town, spent some time on the beach, and got sunburned.  It was interesting to watch the surfers, not something this prairie boy has had a chance to watch much.  There was some pretty good waves.

I'm still job hunting.  It is harder than I originally imagined.  There are several jobs that are over the 20hours/week that Immigration is limiting me to.  Barb & I are going to try to apply for permanent resident status.  They changed the rules at the school and she can be a foreign student and an Australian resident (she has to keep paying the foreign tuition rate). We might qualify if we apply together and it is much faster to get if you are in-country rather than abroad.  We'll see how it goes, but your prayers are much welcomed on the matter.