Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It's from Belarus?

Elderly patients often ask to see my ID badge so they can get my name.  At first this made me a bit twitchy - were they preparing affadavits against me even as I was treating them?  But then a couple of patients sent thank you cards to me at the hospital afterwards, which was really nice.  Thanks for not fucking up.  So now I'm always happy to let them peruse my ID badge.  After all, maybe they'll send me chocolates, or offer to adopt me!

So the other day, an old chappie asked me how to pronounce my name, and as I leaned forward, he reached up his trembling hand to my badge.  But not my ID badge, which hangs at my waist - he reached for my swipe access card, which hangs around my neck.  It's just a white card with my position description on it: RMO, for Resident Medical Officer.  

And it suddenly occurred to me that my patient thought that my surname was Rmo.  How cool would that be, if you were Dr Rmo?  At least, it would be until you progressed higher up the food chain.  Unless you were like Major Major Major Major and thus destined to never be a colonel because the army didn't want to lose the only Major Major it had.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


I was chatting recently with a colleague who has kids older than the Hatchling.  He said to me, "Does she like it when you play music on the radio?  Does she tap her feet or wiggle around?"  When I said that she did (don't all kids?), he said, "You know what you should get her into? Darts."

This left me reasonably flabbergasted.  In the hiatus left by my speechlessness, he filled me in with more detail: "The great thing about darts is that it really gives them something to carry with them as they get older.  It's great for their confidence, their posture, and they really love it.  Seeing them get so excited as they go off to their darts lessons, it's a real hoot."

I began to make two main points, in a Kevin Rudd kind of way, the first being that giving a three year old child access to darts seemed like a good way of not ever having to look after a four year old, and the second point being that I certainly would get the Hatchling involved in darts just as soon as she weighed 120 kilos and had a beard.  There were also other subsidiary points involved, in a Kevin Rudd kind of way, but then I realized that in fact I wasn't speaking at all but simply lost in my rich inner world, and my colleague was still talking to me.

He was saying, "My daughter started darts when she was three - she's still doing it now and she's twenty four.  It used to be ballet of course, and now it's more this hip-hop stuff, but she still loves it", and I realized that he wasn't saying "darts", he was saying "dance".

The reason I had mis-heard him is that I pronounce "dance" to rhyme with "pants", whereas most people in this neck of the woods pronounce "dance" more like "dahhhnce", like "dahhhling, would you like to dahhhnce?  No tea and scones for me, mater, I'm orf to play on my grahhhnd piahhhno."

Anyway, having figured that out, I'm glad I hadn't launched into my two-fold refutation of the wisdom of getting pre-schoolers playing darts.  He would have thought I was a complete nut.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fund-raising ideas

Movember - we've all seen the slow-mo train wreck happening year after year right?  It's all about guys growing a mo during November and getting sponsored to raise money for men's health issues.  It's not something I've done myself, despite knowing I would dominate, for two reasons:

  1. It really annoys me that people will happily donate to charity only when someone else is being made to suffer or look absurd.  The ice-bucket challenge - yeah it raised a lot of money but why can't people just donate to worthy causes without all these shenanigans?
  2. My Smaller Half says my Mo is too scratchy.  Sad face.
Nevertheless, it seems to be an effective way to raise money for worthy causes.  Since I won't actually participate in these fund-raisin exercises, I decided that the best way for me to contribute would be to suggest some other monthly fund-raising activities for worthy causes that sometimes struggle to get the support they desperately need.  

  1. Jamuary - Broadcast noise on your neighbor's wi-fi frequencies for a month, and raise money for music education in schools.
  2. Sledruary - Get sponsored to use a toboggan as your sole means of personal transport.  Funds raised to support measures preventing global warming.
  3. Fartch - Raise money by catching all your farts in a jar for a month.  Monies used to support research into Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  4. Tape-ril - Help raise money for diabetes research by swallowing tapeworm eggs and getting sponsors to pay you for every pound you shed in the next month.
  5. Nay - All you have to do is say "Nay" and "Yea" instead of "No" and "Yes" for a month to help set up holiday farms for retired racehorses.
  6. Dune - To raise money for water purification kits for African villages, get sponsored to wear blue contact lenses all month.  Bonus sponsorship for drinking your own urine.
  7. Jewly - Vow to not visit cheezburger.com for a month to raise money for charities fighting antisemitism.
  8. Orcgust - Get your sponsors together and play D&D every night for a month to help fund the fight against autism.
  9. Sectember - Get sponsors to contribute for each follower you indoctrinate into your personal cult.  Have a blast and gather donations for Scientology de-programming all month.
  10. Cocktober - Wear only a chicken suit all month to raise money for eliminating non-free-range chicken farms.
  11. Movember - See the intro...
  12. Freecember - Get your friends/family/colleagues to pledge to support you to eschew money and only engage in barter for a month.  All donations go to the IMF.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wake me up before you go-go

Oh woe is me! Here I am at work at the godforsaken hour of 4 a.m., finally taking a well-earned break, but tragedy of tragedies, I can get no respite!

Unfortunately one of the orderlies happens to share my first name (actually we both use it at the same time so it's not really sharing) so he has a propensity to chat at me. And he is taking his break at the same time as I am taking mine. Sad face. 

His opening gambit was to observe that in the days before mobile phones people used to talk to each other. I assume this was intended to guilt-trip me into putting down my phone and talking to him. But I am made of sterner stuff than that. I simply agreed and kept on reviewing the fascinating bullshit on Facebook. 

Then he tried to engage me football which of course failed because I have no interest at all in football. So he tried asking my opinion of the upcoming war in/on Iraq mk III, which I am parlously ill-informed about, and said so, so that went nowhere. The whereabouts of his plastic cutlery - nope. The verdict on Oscar Pistorius - nope. The inability of the South Australian government to build good roads - nope. The fact that one of the nurses just walked in on him in the dunny. Nope. His insightful observation that I look tired. Grrr. 

It's not that I'm above talking to him because he's 'only' an orderly. It's just that I'm tired and need to rest and talking is not restful to me. And yeah I guess he isn't exactly scintillating. 

I am a rock. I am an iiiiiiiiiiiisland. 

Monday, September 15, 2014


One of the interesting things about being a doctor is the exposure you get to a representative cross-section of the community, probably more so than many other professional jobs.  For example, if I was a corporate tax lawyer I'd mostly be interacting with people from the top end of town, and if I was a social worker, I'd mostly be interacting with people from Struggle Street.  But as a doctor, particularly as a doctor in the emergency department, I've come to realize that people from all walks of life have heart attacks, fall over and break their hips, and get fruit lodged in their rectum over a long weekend.  Not usually all three at once, but sometimes, usually in reverse of the order listed.

This fact should have immunized me against the potential for, or at least possibility of extreme stupidity.  But it still astonished me when I run into someone incredibly obtuse in my day to day life.

Recently I was in a cafe with my Smaller Half.  We ordered some coffee and, because we wanted something to eat but didn't want to spend too much, we also ordered some fruit toast.  The girl behind the counter looked at us in disgust and contempt, as if we'd asked for a mug of warm vomit, and asked us what we meant.  Admittedly, my Smaller Half is not of Anglo descent, so she doesn't really have the right to just waltz into a shop and order stuff using our language, so a brief period of confusion is understandable.

My Smaller Half repeated her request for fruit toast, politely at first, then in sentences increasingly bereft of such ornaments as courtesy, subordinate clauses, or verbs.  Finally she was reduced to tapping her finger on the glass case where the (as yet untoasted) fruit toast was displayed, saying "Fruit toast?" in the same tone of voice that explorers used in 1950's action serials when talking to the natives - "You likey? You likey shiny beads?" and the poor shop girl was using her tongs to prod the muffins, the custard tarts, the dead blowflies, anything and everything EXCEPT the fruit toast in a desperate attempt to decipher what we were asking for.

Finally something registered in the shop girl's tiny brain and she gestured at the fruit toast - "That? That's raisin toast."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Great Old One of the Cthulhu Mythos, or Pharmaceutical?

  1. Lythalia
  2. Rokon
  3. Cynothoglys
  4. Lapatenib
  5. Inpesca
  6. Romiplostim
  7. Cyproterone
  8. The Worm That Gnaws In The Night
  9. Zindarak
  10. Irinotecan
  11. Zonisamide

Great Old One: 1, 2, 3, 5, 9
Pharmaceutical: 4, 6, 7, 10, 11
Both: 8

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The story about the time I got baked into a pie

One day, your Mama was making a really big pie for us all to eat for dinner.  She used a bathtub to bake the crust until it was lovely and flaky and crisp.  Also, on the stove was a great big pot of boiling yummy pie filling.  Mmmmm.

I was leaning over the bathtub, smelling the delicious hot crust, when Mama turned and took the big pot of filling off the stove.  As she turned around again to begin to pour it into the bathtub, she bumped it into my back and knocked me into the pie crust without even noticing!  She poured the pie filling into the tub and covered me up with it, then put the pastry onto the top of pie, and popped it into the oven to cook, with me stuck inside.

An hour later, when the pie was piping hot and ready to eat, Mama came looking for me.  She asked you if you knew where I was, but you didn't.  "Dadda, Dadda, where are you?" you called.  Finally, you and Mama were getting so hungry that you couldn't wait any longer, so you decided to eat.  The great big pie went up onto the kitchen table and Mama cut it open with the big sharp knife.

She was very surprised when out I popped, all covered with flaky pastry and pie filling.  Wasn't that a funny thing to serve for dinner?

Monday, September 1, 2014

The story about the time your pram rolled away

Once, when you were a tiny baby, we took you to the markets to go shopping and your pram rolled away!  What happened was that I was pushing your pram with you inside, then your mama asked me to choose some mandarins.  So I let go of your pram, took a shopping bag, and started to choose the juiciest, yummiest mandarins.  But I didn't notice that your pram had started to roll away.

It rolled past the fruit shop. It rolled past the vegetable shop.  It rolled past the mushroom shop.  "Hey that pram is rolling away!" called the stall-holders.

It rolled past the chocolate shop. It rolled past the coffee shop.  It rolled past the deli.  "Won't somebody think of the children?" wailed the balloon-twister.

It rolled past the fish shop. It rolled past the chicken shop. It rolled past the bakery. "Oh the humanity!" cried the shoppers.

And it rolled all the way over the lift, and rolled right through the open doors.  And then, you reached out your tiny baby hand and pushed the button for the 3rd floor, where our car was parked.  Up, up, up, went the lift, and when it reached the third floor, your pram rolled right out the door and into the car park.

It rolled past the red car. It rolled past the yellow car. It rolled past the white car. But it didn't stop.

It rolled past the blue car.  It rolled past the black car. It rolled right up to the grey car and, bump, it stopped.

And your mama and I brought our shopping back to the car. Mama was cranky with me even though I had chosen very good mandarins because I was supposed to be looking after you and I had lost you and I didn't know where you had gone.  But then, when we got back to our grey car, there you were, in your pram beside our car, waiting happily for us to get back.

And we were so happy that we gave you lots of cuddles and kisses and nobody was sad or cranky anymore, and we all ate mandarins together.