The scene at the hairdresser

After 3 years of growing my hair out to a length that would challenge Rapunzel, I decided to get the chop. After having a proper farewell where all my friends mourned the impending loss of my hair, I was ready to get it cut. I have an extreme distrust of all hairdressers because they always tend to cut my hair miles shorter than I want, so I had a huge fear in addition to the heaviness in my heart. However, when I went to the hairdresser today, I gained two things. A pretty okay haircut, and a lesson.

The hairdresser was a lovely lady who introduced herself, asked me exactly what I wanted, complimented my long hair, and also joined in the mourning of it being cut. She then proceeded to make conversation while she was cutting. Upon finding out that I was a medical student, she began telling me about her experience in hospital only a couple of weeks ago where she had surgery that involved removing her stomach, removing liver scar tissue, and fixing a hernia. She had also had her gall bladder removed previously. What was remarkable for me during this exchange was how genuinely cheerful this woman was as she sharing with me an experience that she described as being both scary and traumatic. She stood before me, smiling, perfectly well as far as I could see, and back to work within 2 weeks. She told me that she was so grateful to the surgeons and nurses that looked after her and she was more than ready to go back to work because she felt great and hated staying in bed. She spoke of the new struggles she had to face due to the changes in her diet but also that she was trying to make sure she looked after herself and got all her nutrients. And so she had taken up drinking protein smoothies that she really began to love. Her positive nature was contagious.

I can’t say that were I in her place, I would be able to be as positive and as active as she was, so soon after what she went through. But she really made me want to try. I could tell she loved what she does and that made her want to return to work despite her condition. It was what made her turn her struggles into positive aspects that allowed her to keep living life and as happily as she could. It put a lot of things into perspective for me and I am so grateful for the conversation I had with her. I can only hope that should something of the sort ever happen to me, I am able to remember this lady and do my best to stay positive.

As for my hair, it is a tad shorter than how I wanted it, but not too much! So I’m not complaining! …Much

Dress to…..Unimpressed

I live in a part of the world where the Doctor’s white coat is no longer worn because it spreads more disease than it helps cure (because most doctors do not wash their coats as often as they should – being a clean freak myself, this fact scared me very much). And because it induces white coat anxiety and tends to widen the gap between patients and doctors making empathy and cooperation difficult to achieve. Which I am told is very important in the clinical arena.

And while all of that is great, it does mean that students like myself no longer have the freedom of wearing whatever they want (other than crop tops and shorts, of course) with the confidence that it will go unnoticed under the very professional looking white coat. This means I have to wear formal clothes all day every day in hospital. And that means 2 things:

  1. In order to look formal, I must trade off the most important thing I think of when I buy clothes – comfort. Straight pencil skirts, stiff blazers that scrunch at the elbows when you bend them, dresses with no pockets, etc. Definitely not like my ideal choice of clothing which, although unimaginative (jeans and a top), allows me to do everything I need to do without sparing a thought to my elbows or knees from where my skirt is riding up.

 

  1. I need to get a whole new wardrobe because I don’t have a shred of formal clothing available for the hospital setting. And I know what you’re thinking: shopping spree! What could be wrong with that?! Well I’ll tell you. I stink at shopping. I am one of those people that only ever goes shopping if I lack one item of clothing. Or any object for that matter. I then proceed to go “shopping” whereby I walk into one shop and find this ONE item I need, buy it, and walk out without giving a second thought to anything else in the store. So if you tell me I need 50 items of clothing and they all have to match and they all have to look presentable, you’d see me implode. (well you wouldn’t see it, but you know.) I also do not consider myself very fashionable. I do not bother to keep up with trends or anything of the sort. As I said, my major intent in clothes is comfort and practicality. Which means I’m never seen in particularly trendy clothing or anything very out there. So you can see where I’d have trouble with this new lifestyle in hospital.

 

Formal clothes can be a good thing though! They make people look so professional and much older than they are. Which in my case, isn’t always a bad thing because with my small size and innocent expression, if I was in my casual attire, people in hospital would think that I am visiting a patient instead of seeing one and they would probably ask me where my mommy is. But if was wearing a very severe looking blazer, they’d know I was actually someone kind of important. Right?

So I did it. I went “shopping”. Turns out, if I actually pay attention to the other things being sold at stores, I’d find that there were lots of different types of formal clothes! Skirts, dresses, pants, blouses, shirts, and in all shapes and colours! Err… almost too many. The problem soon became deciding what exactly to buy. I found that another reason I only buy one thing at a time is because otherwise I become very indecisive and come back empty-handed. There were far too many options! It made me wish I was a boy meaning all I would need was a shirt and trousers which would be a nice adaptation of my regular jeans and top! But no, it just isn’t that simple for a girl. I’m still going mainly for comfort even among the formal clothes though! And practicality – by casually doing jumping jacks in the dressing room to make sure what I’m wearing allows full range of movement. (I’m not kidding) Otherwise it’s no good. Because I would need my elbows and arms if an emergency situation comes up and I’m the only person able to save a patient by commencing CPR! (I am kidding.) So far it’s working out pretty well. I still have a lot more clothes to acquire, but I’ve got almost a month left before hospital time begins, so hopefully I’ll be all set by then! And hopefully people will take me seriously in hospital.

2016

I realised that in my previous post I failed to wish everyone a Happy New Year! Now this isn’t going to be one of those posts about new year resolutions or lessons learnt from 2015. Mostly because I don’t believe in resolutions for the year because I feel that a list of changes thought up in one day for the rest of the year to transform oneself is not very realistic. I believe that we should all try to better ourselves everyday by setting little goals that are more achievable rather than a list of giant goals that not many people will actually end up achieving. And same deal with lessons. I would like to think I learn something everyday regardless of the time period in question. So if that were true (let’s assume it is), then there are far too many lessons learnt to talk about in this space and I would actually like to keep this post short and sweet.

So in this post, I would just like to say that I hope this year brings everyone a whole lot of happiness! Not guaranteeing 365 days of happiness, but I hope it is the majority! I hope you have a lot of good changes this year as I am attempting with this blog! Overall, I aim to stay positive, keep improving myself, and survive another year with help of those around me! I wish you the same and more!

Also instead of just writing wishes, I’ve added some photos I took of the fireworks at Auckland Skytower at midnight on New Years! They may not look that great and in person, the fireworks at the Skytower are less than impressive. If you’ve seen it one year, you’ve seen it every year. They last for 5 minutes and never change. My family and I have been watching it for so many years it has become tradition to be underwhelmed by the display. I’m not complaining though! Since I took up photography, I’ve learnt that even the most unimpressive things can be transformed in the right place at the right time and with a bit of luck! In my case, a whole lot of luck is needed but I had the right place and time in my favour, I believe! And Voila! A couple of photos of fireworks that are miraculously in focus!

Have a great new year! And I hope the fireworks wherever you are were brilliant!

Abracadabra the 1st

Welcome to my blog! If you are reading this, first of all, thanks! For clicking on my blog in the presence of the millions out there! I hope you enjoy reading about my life and the experiences that I look forward to sharing with you. I have been inspired by one of my best friends to start writing a blog. Not because I feel like what I have to say is really important or that I think I’m fabulous and the world should know and listen to me. But because I’ve realised that over the past couple of years, I’ve become rather closed off from my feelings and have had a lot of trouble expressing myself. I won’t bore you with the reasons and events that led to this, but in this new year I’ve decided to make a change and do things to bring back my expressive self. I thought a good way to do this would be to start this new blog! I hope to use it as a way of expressing my feelings, writing them up for keepsakes and hopefully sharing with people my thoughts and experiences as a 20-year-old medical student in a small country in a corner of the world.

A large part of my life is dominated by medical school so you may see many ranting posts about hospital life and how I’m learning to adjust, (This year will be the first of 3 years of my degree that I will be spending in hospital) as well as discussions of things related to the health profession. But I will try not to let that be the only thing I talk about as I also generally like to rant about people and wider society!

I suppose the name of my blog requires some explanation. As a kid, I was obsessed with code names and make-believe characters in imaginary games I used to play that always involved magic of some kind. This grew into a love of fantasy and all things outside reality. Abracadabra had always been a pseudonym of mine (if you can call it that). It featured in “secret letters” I wrote to my friends when I was much younger, in usernames for those childish websites like neopets (which I doubt anyone even knows about these days), it was my username for msn chats (also something that not many people would know about now) etc etc. The list goes on and on. I can’t really say what it was that made me take up this title Abracadabra. Perhaps it was that the first two letters are also the same first two letters of my name, but I think it was more about the connotations of this word. That something extraordinary would happen when it was spoken. You can imagine what that meant to a little kid full of wonder about the world around her. I always believed that there were magical things in this world and in life. But even years after that, I stuck to this title after finding out the origin of the word Abracadabra. Explained in one of my most favourite novels The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown as being of the Aramaic languages with the meaning “I create as I speak”. And instantly I fell more in love with the word because it was exactly what I imagined it to mean. That something amazing would be created as it was spoken and that something magical would happen (sorry if that sounds corny and childish, but for me it’s like being told that something you thought was not that great turned out to be way more amazing than you had hoped). To this day, the word Abracadabra reminds me to stay young at heart and appreciate that no matter how mundane and problematic life may seem sometimes, everyone has the power to create something magical and make life that much more special. Just remember to speak!
I also think the meaning applies to this blog I’ve started because while I’m not “speaking” in this blog, I hope by typing, I’m able to create a place that contains my thoughts and feelings and that they would actually be good. (not “magical” per se, but good.) And thus, the title Abracadabra was written in stone. Well actually as a bunch of black character pixels on your screen and on the internet (which, I guess, is essentially the same thing these days).
Right that’s enough for the first post. I really should have made this short and sweet but that hasn’t always worked out for me. So I don’t blame you if you’ve closed this window/ tab and gone somewhere else. But If you have made it this far, thanks again for reading and I hope the other posts soon to be on this blog are as interesting (that’s me pretending this post is interesting, in case that wasn’t clear!) So without further ado, let the blogging commence!