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30 September 2010

TP, Deodorant and other Neuroses

There are a few things I never let myself run out of. Toilet paper is a big one, and stick deodorant is the other. I don't care near as much about bread, toothpaste, milk or feminine products as my Soft and Dri stick. Rob has laughed at me for years for having usually 2-3 spares. Now that we're in Aus, stick deodorant is virtually non existent, with the main types being spray and roller (EEEWWWW). The thought of putting a slimy rollerball in my pits is enough to make me nauseous. So before leaving Canada, I bought 10, count them, TEN sticks of deodorant to last me a while (WAAAAAY more important than clothes to pack!). I still have 4 left, so my calm is not yet damaged. I never thought Soft and Dristick with powerstripe (in passionflower scent) was a good Christmas gift until this year. Even more amusing, I played a game with myself this week, watching the rolls of TP slowly disappear and gauging my anxiety about it. I tend to never let the "Roll call" drop below 5 before purchasing a new batch. This week we got down to 2 left before I cracked. You have no idea the sense of relief that putting the new 12 pack of TP in the grocery cart gave me. WHEW!!! I don't have a brand loyalty on this one, and thankfully TP is ubiquitous in first world nations. So there's one scary little corner of my mind you have now visited.
As far as the latest news, I was able to attend a med conference in Goondiwindi (or "Gundy" as the locals call it) with excellent speakers and good networking opportunities. Best of all, it was all expenses paid for myself and about 15 students from all over the state. I got to meet John and Jill Murtaugh, who authored one of my textbooks. He and his wife were wonderful speakers and people, and were a joy to get to know. Jill later mailed me some palliative care resources and an encouraging letter. So a very positive experience. I put some photos up on the photo page from the weekend.
I also managed to experience food poisoning last Saturday, and will now never forget the effects of Enterotoxin B, courtesy of Staph aureus. Blech.
In kitty news, Rosie is really cute and really destructive. Most of my notes now have holepunching that is kitten tooth sized. She also has a fondness for munching cables, and has made several pieces out of my cell charger cable and Rob's laptop charger cable. Chewed right through the copper wiring. Both were plugged in at the time, so it's a wonder she didn't electrocute herself. I guess babies are challenging no matter their species. Also , one of my best friends had to put down her furry buddy of 12 years this week. It's so painful to lose these animals, even though they are just that. It made memories of putting down my 14 yr old Siamese-Himalayan friend in 2004 very fresh. So she and I cried together over the phone and the miles.
This week I have an exam on Friday, as well as 2 job interviews for work over the Christmas break. No pressure!

08 September 2010

Holy cow, I’m famous!

Weird stuff happening. I was asked this morning to be part of a photo shoot in the Pathology museum at the Clinical Science building. This will be part of a presentation given in Melbourne. Then, I find out my profile was picked for the latest edition of Scalpel, the Australian Medical Association (QLD) e-zine. The link is here:

I've also been asked to be part of a thinking group about international students in rural training here in Qld, and was Quoted in the RDAQ (Rural doctors' association of QLD) newsletter:

Foreign medical students a solution, not a problem
...Foreign fee-paying medical students represented an untapped opportunity to solve Queensland’s rural medical workforce problems, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland, Dr Dan Halliday said today. He was responding to calls reported in the Courier-Mail for their numbers to be regulated.

“We know that Queensland is training hundreds of foreign fee-paying students: we’re training in English, in Queensland, to Queensland standards,” he said. “What more could we want?”

Dr Halliday knows why most return overseas after training. “At the recent RDAQ Conference in Mackay, we were all stunned to find that they’re not guaranteed intern places. That was a surprise to us and to the Deputy Premier, Paul Lucas who was at the conference.”
Completion of an intern year is essential before a doctor can be registered or further trained, but is only guaranteed for citizens or permanent residents. “Many would stay, but we throw them all out as soon as they’re qualified,” Dr Halliday said.

“I spent a year apart from my husband and will carry a quarter million dollar debt by the time I’m finished,” said Barbara Bradshaw, a second year medical student at University of Queensland, who dropped the bombshell on the Deputy Premier at the conference. “I want to stay. I want to go rural and serve the health needs of Australians.”
Barbara is not alone, as there are 80 internationals, predominantly English-speaking Canadians, in her year at UQ. The Courier-Mail has reported there are 170 in this year’s intake. Two thirds may remain as doctors in Queensland and Australia if they could get intern training here.

“We train these doctors, to Queensland standards, and send them home whether they want to stay and work for us or not,” Dr Halliday said. “On the other hand, we import doctors from overseas and put tremendous effort into verifying their training, and their language skills, and we can still run into problems.”

RDAQ points out that country Queenslanders’ health would be devastated without international medical graduates (IMGs), who make up 50% of the rural medical workforce.

“Queensland internships for foreign students are a smart option”.

So, um, yah. Didn't expect to be grabbing the limelight while here, but it's happening anyway.

"I'm going to Disneyland!"

06 September 2010


Last night was Riverfire, a big fireworks display here in Brisbane.  It was amazing.  It was also the last time the Defense Force F-111s would be doing their dump and burn.  WOW!!!

The photos are here...

03 September 2010

Airshow and such…

  Last weekend we went to the Festival of Flight at the Watts Bridge Memorial airfield near Esk. It was a fly-in event were people can bring whatever interesting plane they have.  It ranged from a replica of a 1909 Beriot, to a 1934 deHaviland Dragon transport, a WW2 era P-51, private planes from the 50s & 60s, pre and post-war trainers, even a home-built jet.  I have pictures available on our website and a video on YouTube.  It was also just nice to get out of the city for a bit.  Esk is about an hour and a half drive.  Going there we took the shorter but slower route over Mount Glorious, but came back through Ipswitch.
   For all my Canadian readers, August 24th was the 196th anniversary of troops from Canada burning down the White House and much of Washington.  Hopefully that will teach the Americans, and they won't try to invade again.
  Next weekend is the big fireworks display in Brisbane; Riverfire.  I am quite looking forward to it.  This is also supposed to be the last time the Australian Air Force's F-111 do their famous dump and burn display.  It is supposed to be spectacular.
  At church I have been volunteering to video tape the sermons and edit them afterwards.  If anybody wants to see they are at the church's website: