Surprise, Surprise 

If you did that…

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

…but it would still wrench my gut and scar my soul.

But then ofcourse that’s my fault…

Because I never learned….

Alone 

Can I just be left alone? 

Things are really weird. Everything is in limbo. 

No matter how I imagine my life or who I imagine my life with, I feel unhappy. 

Nothing feels right. 

Can’t see a way out of it. 

I’m tired and I hurt and I don’t want to hurt anymore.

I want things I shouldn’t want or I’m not allowed to want. Because there’s no way I’d get them. 

That makes me frustrated. 

But it makes me frustrated at the people around me. As though somehow they’re holding me back.

They’re probably not. I don’t know

Maybe I’m the one that’s wrong here.

Probably.

But that’s why I want to be left alone. 

Can I cease to exist? 

Is it better to be alone and be disappointed in myself or be around others who will be disappointed in me and who I will end up resenting?

I’d rather be alone.

Because atleast then, I can pretend the things in my head could be real.

Photography: Art, But Not Really

So the other day I was talking to one of my friends about cameras. He had just upgraded from his Samsung Galaxy S9 phone to a 1+ phone. He boasted about how fabulous the camera is on this new model of phone. He told me his photography skills were about to improve ten-fold.

I laughed openly.

I told him the camera doesn’t decide how good you are at photography. He countered my argument by saying that with a good camera, anything captured can be made to look fabulous.

We continued to discuss this. It got me thinking about whether photography is even a valid art form. My interest in photography began back when I was in school. A couple of my science teachers ran a photography club and taught some of us the techniques and practice of being a good photographer. They thought I was pretty good. My parents thought I was pretty good. So I went out and bought myself a DSLR.

My DSLR is super amateur level. I’ve been using the same 2 lenses that came free with the camera 6 years ago. But I still put up some decent photos.

But honestly, I know I’m not very good. I don’t have what I perceive to be good photography skills. For example, my idea of angles is pretty amateur. I’ve seen lots of people take photos from angles I wouldn’t have thought of looking in. I also don’t care much about lighting. I need my subject to be visible with as much detail as possible. But I’ve seen people toggle with lighting for ages before even taking a picture.

But I take photos and people tell me they are good. But am I just lucky?

When I go on instagram, the people I follow usually put up pretty mundane photos. But every so often, some of them will put up something that makes me go “Oooh”. Does that make them “good” at photography? Or does it just make them lucky to have been in the right place and the right time with their camera lined up accurately enough to capture something fantastic?

A few people I know have opened their own photography “companies”. Not one of them is super impressive to me. They deal a lot in portrait photography of people they know. I can’t say they’re very good. Even edited, none of them made me go “ooh”. I have a sneaking suspicion that these people were also told by their family/friends that they’re super good at photography and so they should have their own company. Or in the case of one of my friends, he has all the camera tech possible and just went for it. Needless to say, he didn’t get very far.

One of the people I know who does professional real estate photography, had trouble capturing some people in good lighting at a house party. But that’s not to say that his real estate photos are bad…

I think landscape photography and wildlife photography, and to a certain extent, portrait photography requires a whole lot of luck. The landscape never changes. But at that point when You visit the landscape (sunset/sunrise/dry/raining) changes how your photo will look. Same with wildlife photography (is the animal moving/sleeping/positioned correctly, etc). When I see the Natural Geographic photo competition winners who have captured a bird flying or a herd of animals running, yes you need a good camera and a good position, but you didn’t ask those animals to charge into your frame to capture. That was all them. Portrait photography requires luck because even though you can have models, capturing that exact expression you want requires some luck.

Macro photography is probably a bit different. It requires a lot more thought and skill. You need to see the special in the mundane and go close enough to see it and draw attention to it. That is one field of photography that I truly think needs skill. Because you can’t just zoom into anything and expect it to look good or convey a message you want it to.

So on the whole, is photography an art form? Or can any idiot with a good camera capture something stunning from time to time?

I think it’s a mixture of both.

I think you can’t take good photos without some luck. And I think anybody can be a photographer. But skill in photography is a very specialised subject. But I still think it has very little to do with what kind of camera you have.

Interesting topic. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

End Of PGY1

On the 20th of November, was my last day at Middlemore Hospital and my last day as a first year house officer.

I cannot believe it’s gone by so fast. To hear from my friends who are just graduating medical school that I’ve been doing this for a year now, is just bizarre.

How do I feel? Well, unsure. But ready to move on I suppose.

I guess now I have that goal in mind to keep progressing and moving up until I’m consultant. Starting Monday, I’ll be doing gastroenterology as a house officer in Auckland City hospital.

I need to join the College of Physicians sometime before the end of the year. I need to study for my exam which will be in a couple of years. I need to plan to step up as registrar at the end of next year.

Gosh.

I don’t know if I am prepared. I’m trying to reflect on my skills and what I’ve learned during my first year. The honest truth is, I’m not sure. I’ve not killed anyone, thank God for that. I’ve picked up a few unwell patients and helped look after them. I’ve made good friends (like actual friends, not just “colleagues”. Who knew?) I’ve met some pretty awesome registrars and consultants who I’ve learnt a lot from.

So I guess it’s been a good year overall.

I just hope it has prepared me in some respect for what is to come.

In the wake of finishing my first year as house officer, I had another quick getaway trip.

This time to Queenstown in the South Island of New Zealand. Everyone always hypes up the south island. As though it’s completely different to the north. I’ve got to say, it’s not really all that different. The landscape is beautiful, no doubt. But not breathtaking.

But I took some decent photos.

The mood of these photos is what I shall project onwards from Monday.

Lake wanaka sceneMilford sound 2Milford sound waterfallPSX_20191122_141654PSX_20191122_195246Queenstown skylineThat Wanaka Tree

 

You’re Not Dispensable?

I’ve never felt like I’m not dispensable. 

I’m always worried I’ll be easily replaced. 

Because why wouldn’t I be?

What’s so special about me?

Nothing really.

When someone or something new comes along, why wouldn’t I be lost in the crowd?

I know for a fact I’m not the only one who cares

Perhaps I care “too much”?

Does that set me apart?

But I’ve never felt sorry for caring too much. 

It always felt right to care too much. It always made me happy 

But it isn’t vice versa. 

I screw up a lot. 

Not sure why

But it doesn’t mean I don’t care

It’s not fair to think that

But that’s too bad

Because if I don’t care

Then I’d be dispensable

So maybe that’s that

Hidden Treasures

Auckland is really big.  There are parts of it I never even knew existed after 16 years of living here. 

And you never discover them until you’re dragged there by someone else on a day where you had planned to just relax at home. 

Even halfway through the exploring when you want to turn back because you’re tired and hungry but they drag you along a new path anyway and you arrive by some glorious happenstance, here.

You wouldn’t believe this was in my city would you? But it is. 

Life’s been super rough lately. But treasures like this still offer a pick-me-up when needed. 

Passage To India 

Sorry I have been quiet for a while. 

I had been swamped at work and then had a 10 day break during which time we had a family trip to India!

It was supposed to be a spiritual getaway to Varanasi, a city in North India where the Ganges river runs. It’s believed in Hindu culture that you must atleast once in your lifetime go to Varanasi and visit the Ganges river to absolve yourself of your sins and feel the presence of God.

For me it meant a photography getaway ofcourse!
Here is the Ganges river in all its glory! Well actually it’s flooded. It’s apparently been extra rainy in Varanasi this year meaning the boats stationary on the side of the pic cannot sail on the river as they usually do. I didn’t get to cruise down the Ganges.

The local Varanasi dwellers pray to the Ganges river every evening and offer gifts and sacred flames to the Goddess of the river. Quite a lovely experience.

This is a place ccalled Sarnath. It contains the ruins of a great kingdom and the temple which is still intact.

Varanasi is quite an ancient city. Every corner had something that was atleast 2000 years old. And that was pretty amazing. 

We then spent a day in Delhi 

Where I caught the India Gate at golden hour. 
It was much too hot and busy in India but it was quite an experience! 

But now I have to go back to work on Monday to surgery with a cold I caught as a souvenir from India. 

Oh well atleast the pictures are good!

General Surgery Week 1

meme

 

Oh God. Okay so I just finished my first week of general surgery.

That was NOT fun. My word of the week was “chaos”.

Day 1 faced with 30 patients, all of them unwell and complicated.

General surgical ward rounds are like normal ward rounds on steroids. Everyone just gets a hi and a bye. The consultant and registrar walks in, greets them, says a two-word plan to no one in particular, and walk out. Me and my friend, the house officers desperately scrambling to write notes, check bloods, ask questions and just try to orient ourselves in the chaos.

What bothered me most was the lack of medical knowledge of the senior staff on my team. One of the patients had a blood potassium level of 2.2 (normal range 3.5-5.2).

Just coming off cardiology, this was a major alarm bell for me. I told my registrar I would give the patient IV potassium and orals, as well as do an ECG and repeat blood tests that afternoon to ensure it was increasing.

My registrar replied “you don’t need to repeat the bloods in the afternoon. Just repeat them the next day. Don’t worry about orals. Just give IV. ECG not a priority”

My cardiology soul was screaming on the inside. Every medical registrar I told this story to, screamed in unison that I should NOT listen to my registrar.

And I didn’t. I repeated the bloods in the afternoon and found it was NOT in fact increasing very much following 2 bags of IV potassium. I had to hose this patient down with orals and IV fluids overnight until it normalised 2 days later.

The registrars couldn’t care less.

And that really annoyed me. Coming from such a supportive environment on medicine, it was hard to work with people who can only perform miracles in a theatre. And outside of it, do very little for the patient.

This isn’t to say they’re useless or bad doctors. I have mad respect for surgeons. But their medical knowledge is just shocking. And all the house officers have just started being doctors. I felt more concerned and nervous every night this week than I had in the last 9 months, wondering if I had made the right decision for patients in my care.

I also do not know all 40 of my patients (yep it increased by day 3 to an even bigger number) simply because I don’t have the time I had on medicine to learn about their history and provide the care they need. When I have to refer to other specialties, I am ashamed that I don’t know the information they need to be able to help me and my patient. But I simply don’t have the time to look through one patient’s notes while the other 39 also need my attention.

This was a shocking glimpse of what the next 12 weeks will be like.

But the bright side is that I have friends who are immensely helpful. When me and my friend were drowning in work, a bunch of the other less busy house officers took on some of our jobs and that really helped. Without them, we would have finished later than a long day finish.

Complaining to a bunch of the other house officers who also came off medical runs, really helps. We’re all holding and helping each other out. And that is super important.

But I’m also becoming quite unhealthy in this last week. Starting at 0630 means no time for breakfast. Rounding until 1230 means late lunch and leaving super late means starving until dinner around 2030. I have felt weak and washed out this whole week too.

I really must remember to take care of myself.

Hoping the next 12 weeks go by really quickly