It’s hard, it’s rough but it’s soft enough

It’s ripped at every edge but smoothed together

It’s loud and extensive with a silence at its core

It’s sweet with a bite and sour with a glaze

It’ll take up every moment of every day but it’ll pass you in a flash

It’ll be warm as sunshine but still chill your bones

It’ll illuminate everything but still cast a shadow

It makes no sense at all but hits you differently

It’s shattered into a million pieces, yet somehow put together.

Portfolio And Poetry

All medical students have to write a portfolio every year up to and including their 5th year. It’s a compilation of experiences that demonstrate your learning in 5 domains. Professionalism, ethics and law, health and well-being, cultural competence, and learning and teaching (which no one really gets. Something about doctors also being teachers?). It’s supposed to be an exercise in reflective writing and can be used for future employment if required.

I HATE this exercise.

Not only because it takes so damn long to write the required 2 entries for each topic in a reflective way that truly shows your “growth” over the last 6 months (let’s face it, you have to exaggerate. Because one person can only be so culturally competent). But also because for the last 3 years, I’ve slaved away trying to write this thing and I only ever get “pass” as opposed to the “distinction grade”. And the worst part is, the supposed “feedback” to help me improve for my next portfolio has always been from some lazy person, in the form of “Excellent reflection!”, “Good work!!” or my personal favourite, “I can see you really thought about this”.

……………. Then why the heck didn’t I get distinction?!

But anyway. It doesn’t stop me from spending the amount of time I do every year writing it. In fact this year I seem to be spending more time on each entry. But since this is our last year of doing these portfolio thingies, my friend and I decided to add some poetry into the entries. We heard from others that they are generally well-received. Plus they take much less time.

Now, I’m no poet. I think this is mainly because I’m not very good at conveying a lot of things in a concise manner (you know that from my blog anyway. xD). But I thought I’d give it a go.

This is a topic I am actually quite passionate about. Motivational interviewing. Telling patients simply to change their health behaviours (diet, exercise etc) without really understanding the challenges they face. I’ve mentioned this before on this blog, but I’ve actually seen how useless some people can be at advising patient about supposed “lifestyle changes”. So without further ado, here is a poem about patient perspective on lifestyle advice.

The Doctor says I’m fat
He says I eat too much
He says my blood sugar is too high
He says I need to go on a diet
He just doesn’t understand
I work all night
The grocery shop is half an hour away
And the KFC is just up the road
I know he wants to help
But the Doctor just doesn’t understand

The Doctor says I’m stressed
She says my blood pressure is too high
She says I might have a stroke
She says I need to take time off to relax
She just doesn’t understand
I work 2 jobs on contract
I have 3 kids
I am a single parent
I don’t have time to relax
I know she wants to help
But the Doctor just doesn’t understand

The Doctor says I drink too much
He says my liver is failing
He says if I don’t stop
I’ll die
He just doesn’t understand
My parents used to drink everyday
My mates drink at parties
My partner drinks with me
I don’t know how to stop
I know he wants to help
But the Doctor just doesn’t understand

The Doctor says I’ve been smoking too long
She says my cough isn’t going away
She says if I don’t quit
My cancer will kill me
She just doesn’t understand
I started smoking in school
I tried to quit
But I got horribly sick
People in my family smoke
All my mates smoke
I tried to quit
But it didn’t work
I know she wants to help
But the Doctor just doesn’t understand

The Doctor said I need to change my diet
He said I need to quit
He said I need to relax
He said he knows how difficult it is to change
He said we’d do it together
He said he won’t push me too hard
He said he’s been there
I know he wants to help

The Doctor really understands

Like I said, I’m not a poet. None of that even rhymes. But I think it kinda shows what I feel doctors are doing and what they should be doing. And it’s my first poem so it’s made it to this blog so I can remember it even after it’s marked by these silly portfolio people.

But hey, 1 entry down, 10 to go.

Better get back to it!


The Beginning Of The End…

It’s the beginning of the end

The end of an era

I can feel it. Can I do anything else? No. It’s not my choice.

This is the way it has to be

It was special. It couldn’t really be explained.
It was quite fast
A flash of brilliant sunlight
Before dark clouds shrouded everything

Something was given
Against all odds
I didn’t ask for it

But I treasured it

Taken away
I couldn’t stop it
Though I tried
It wasn’t mine to hold on to
I never really had it
It seems

Now it’s coming to close
Before my eyes
Slipping away with every second
As easily as that

No. It isn’t easy
It’s never easy when you’re not in control
And you don’t know why

But you’re not allowed to know why
Not allowed to mourn
Just get on with it
Move on

Wish for things to be different
Wish to redo
Wish to take it all back
Wish for forgiveness

Or wish none of it ever happened?

No. It happened
There were lessons
I can never stop being grateful

But because of that

There is no moving on
There is no forgetting

But then…………. How can I be free?
How can I change?

I can’t
My existence must be forgotten somehow

I have to forget

Though the voice inside says I never will…