fahye: ([luth] metal on our tongues)
Has it really been two months since I posted here? The year is FLYING by, which is terrifying, but I am also gathering up my building excitement about next year, for a variety of reasons:

1) I'll be back in Canberra, which...look, I LOVE the place I'm working at the moment, I'm going to cry horribly at the prospect of working in a place with a less incredible set of people, but at the same time I'm rapidly losing patience with the whole small-town life thing. I miss shops, I miss the theatre, I miss even the modest Canberran version of city crowds, I miss restaurants and cafes and art galleries. I miss my family and my friends.

2) My apartment will be built and ready for me to move into. I don't think you realise how excited I am about the prospect of MY OWN PLACE, my own teensy one-bedroom third-floor apartment with a shitty view and an easy walk to my favourite Chinese takeway place. I'm going to hang art on the walls, I'm going to buy three enormous bookshelves, I'm going to have a fucking kitchen colour scheme, I'm going to have people over for really tiny dinner parties. I'm going to whine about having a mortgage at every opportunity. I already know what my housewarming presents to myself will be.

3) I got the part-time job I was hoping for at the medical school, which will mean I am doing two days a week of research and teaching as well as two days a work of clinical patient contact. After years of running in the other direction so as not to be exposed to the faintest whiff of research, I'm coming around to it, mostly because I love teaching so much and no university will let you just bum around designing curriculums and running clinical tutorial groups, which is my ideal professional life.

Work. Okay, let's talk about work.

I haven't been posting about my work much because it's overwhelming and draining and annoying and incredible and humbling. Being a GP is very, very different to being a hospital doctor; being a registrar and working largely independently is very, very different to being the paperwork and blood-taking monkey at the bottom of the medical pyramid.

I make decisions all day that have potentially immense consequences. I am learning to tell people things they don't want to hear. I am learning to talk about everything and to listen to people say everything to me; I am frequently cried on or yelled at; I've told people they have cancer or that I'm taking their driver's license away from them; I've been manipulated and lied to and resented. I talk to people of all ages and backgrounds about their sex lives, their abusive relationships, their jobs, their fears, their embarrassing symptoms, their pain and their pregnancy, their genitals and their hallucinations. I'm a psychologist and a life coach and a teacher and a social worker.

Which is not to say I'm particularly expert or wonderful at being any of those things. I spent four years of medical school learning the coagulation cascade and the causes of cardiomyopathy, and then spent two years as an intern/RMO learning how to talk an urgent CT scan out of a grumpy radiologist and how to fit twelve hours worth of ward jobs into an eight hour shift. Nobody teaches you how to sit with a straight face and a sympathetic voice and recommend that your 60-year old patient buys a copy of The Joy of Sex to read with her husband because penetrative intercourse has been impossible since his prostate surgery and her response to a gentle suggestion about exploring non-penetrative intimacy was, "I don't think he knows about all of that."

It's so challenging, and so tiring. But I tell you what, it's the best education in the breadth and depth of humanity that anyone could ask for.
fahye: ([science] dr fahye needs coffee)
I've been doctoring for almost ten weeks now, and I haven't really posted much about what it's actually been like. Ji said I should make one of those hour-by-hour outlines of a workday, which is a good idea.

This'll be a pastiche of a few different Tuesdays, I think, because that's the day that usually has the most structure. )
fahye: ([science] dr fahye needs coffee)
That's it! Done! Four academic years after the creation of the 'dr fahye' tag and it's finally sort of applicable.

(There is little point in me doing that Time Lord meme now, really, because I'd just be The Doctor, and where's the fun in that?)

Soooo much drinking. We started at 3:30pm, and someone had won a $2000 bar tab. SO. MUCH. DRINKING.
fahye: ([science] the body is a roman thing)
Two new book reviews (I'm working on a backlog here), both of Booker Prize winners:
- The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis
- Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

I'm on my last rotation before final exams (!!!) which is cardiology. I don't find it particularly thrilling but I'm getting slowly better at interpreting ECGs, and today I cardioverted someone who was in atrial flutter. Yep, there were paddles, and I got to say 'CLEAR' and press the buttons and the patient gave a violent KA-BUMP under my hands and I looked up at the ECG trace and she was in sinus rythym. It wasn't exactly a medical emergency, but it was deeply satisfying to the part of me that has watched far too much medical television and has always wanted to send an electrical current through someone's heart.
fahye: ([science] dr fahye needs coffee)
Oh, universe. You heard my agonies of indecision between Canberra and Sydney, didn't you? HAHA. HILARIOUS.

My NSW intern offer is for Wollongong, which is an hour south of Sydney and therefore a fair way north of Canberra (2.5 hours by car). There are lots of good points about it -- the training program itself looks great, I must say, and it's a very pretty little coastal city with muuuuch cheaper rent than Sydney itself -- but Facebook is full of people cheering about their city placements, so I'm retaining the right to feel a bit sullen.

Second-round offers from Canberra haven't come out yet, either, so I have nine days in which to sit on my hands and play the waiting game.

Fear not, Sydneysiders -- I'll be heading up most weekends for food adventures and socialising, I'm sure :)
fahye: ([science] the body is a roman thing)
Well, we've had the presentation about Applying For Intern Jobs In NSW and now I'm on a mission to find out everything I can about the 15 different health networks and their hospitals, so that I can rank my preferences accordingly. WHY SO MANY HOSPITALS. More to the point, why so many hospitals and parts of the Sydney area about which I know...nothing?

Applying to Canberra is a whole separate process, but since I am guaranteed an offer from NSW, I may as well make sure it's one I've put some thought into.

Once again I am plagued with indecision. I love and miss Sydney and all my Sydney-based people, but I have to confirm an offer with NSW or ACT Health by early August, which means I basically have to know where I'm going to live. I have a couple of maybe-options for Sydney accommodation, but there's a high chance I'd have to rent an apartment by myself, which I am not keen on for reasons both financial and emotional-support-wise.

Canberra would be...easy. Very easy.


*tears out what remains of her hair*

I'm going to go and make an enormous document full of information about public transport and available rotations. That should be soothing.
fahye: ([vm] the warp of the world)
New book review: Annette Curtis Klause's Blood and Chocolate.

The book I'm now lugging around hospital and reading during breaks is Brave New World, and I'm not very far in but I already have a collection of sentences around which I want to scribble sparkly hearts. I'm trying to read all of those seminal scifi books that I have been vaguely meaning to read for years, and although the Orange Library has so far been very helpful (epic amounts of Le Guin!) they don't have Farenheit 451 :(

Med school news: bluh. Med school is med school. Most of us have the final-year equivalent of senioritis, which is equal parts apathetic burnout and sheer panic that we're going to be expected to be real doctors in a rapidly shrinking amount of time.

Today there was a paediatric surgery list and I got to see what a testicle looks like. (A: white and squidgy.) Medicine makes you blase about almost everything, but there are still those rare moments when you're pressing down on the groin of a sedated child and someone is standing by your shoulder crying "Milk! MILK the testis into the scrotum!" and you think, my profession is a bit weird.


25 Mar 2011 11:35 am
fahye: ([science] dr fahye needs coffee)
I am over paediatrics and it's been a week. This is probably because none of the lecturers have been much good except the guy who went on about fractures for ages, and it's fucking cold outside and really warm in the tiny videoconferencing room and I am seriously this close to just falling asleep against the wall and answering all questions directed at me with a snore or a light stream of drool.

I'm drinking mocha, but part of me is trying to feel guilty about it, because yesterday we had the chronic diseases lecture about the skyrocketing rates of juvenile diabetes and the way our society increasingly makes healthy food/healthy amounts of activity really difficult to obtain and how much more awesome lifestyle interventions would be if the social environment in which the changes should be made were even slightly interested in facilitating those changes...


Relatedly: I am trying so hard to be on guard against the fatphobia that medical school instills in a person, and I'm coming to the conclusion it's all about separating personhood from medical fact. It's about being honest with people about the increased complication rates following surgery, but refusing to participate in conversations that involve the word 'disgusting' as applied to fat people. It's about knowing that obesity is a risk factor for insulin resistance and hypertension and high cholesterol, and being conscientious about monitoring these things, but not getting hung up on weight if a fat person is actually pretty damn healthy. It's about trying not to kick my colleagues in the teeth when they reduce the problem to 'well, if they just ate less crap and got off their asses once in a while...' It's about the fine line between doing and saying things out of genuine desire to improve someone's health, and doing and saying them because you just don't think they should be FAT, because EW.

In this as in many other things, I think it comes down to a test of basic human decency, ie. does this thing you're about to say make you sound like a dickhead, Y/N? If Y -> DON'T SAY IT. You can teach students about the increased difficulty of operating on people with a large body habitus without making it into a game of GUESS THEIR BMI complete with horrified noises upon being given the answer.


BORED. BORED BORED. Save me from drooling indignity: say hi if you're around. Tell me something fun.
fahye: ([science] dr fahye needs coffee)
12 hour working days should NOT BE PERMITTED ON FRIDAYS. I left the house at 6:50am for a 7am radiology meeting, scrubbed into a massive pelvic reconstruction in the morning, ate lunch at 2:45pm, scrubbed into a total knee replacement, went on a ward round, and was home at 6:50pm.

My legs want to kill me. My hips want to kill me.

Wow, yeah, I am so looking forward to internship.
fahye: ([science] dr fahye needs coffee)
Having revised the canon and stalked my recipient's LJ for a while, I am STILL WILDLY EXCITED about Yuletide; I think I will be able to produce something that they'll enjoy, and that I'll enjoy writing, and maybe it will even be less than glaringly obvious that This Is A Story By Fahye. Maybe. I want to be gleefully vocal about it but so far I have managed to restrain myself to spending large amounts of time exchanging capslock with [livejournal.com profile] schiarire.

Inconveniently, I am still haunted by the bunnies that I'd vaguely constructed for the other fandoms I offered. Perhaps I will write them in drabble form and run around trying to find someone for whom I can upload them during Madness :D


What else. My psych block is almost over -- just the final written exam to go -- which is a relief mostly because it has been stressfully unstructured; while I don't MIND a certain amount of independence, it also pisses me off when one has to beg and stalk and plead and demand in order to be given any supervision.

However! I still like psych a whole lot, and it's probably at the top of my list when it comes to specialties. I now know staggering amounts of things about most mental illnesses and psychotropic medications (ughhh, drugs, why must you be so complicated?). And my CBT tutor got me all excited about mindfulness therapy and gave me a CD and some articles to read. And I get to do another month of psych in London, with less pressure (no bloody forms or exams) and more child & adolescent stuff, which I found surprisingly fascinating, if depressing.

You all have to promise not to run screaming when I become a shrink, okay? Okay.


This song has been on repeat for days. THANKS A LOT [livejournal.com profile] electrumqueen.


12 Aug 2010 02:10 pm
fahye: ([science] dr fahye needs coffee)
I have survived my first overnight shift as a medical quasi-professional! It felt very adventuresome, what with pouring coffee down my throat and setting off for the hospital at 9:45pm, and the two doctors on the NICU night shift were really nice. I went to a couple of deliveries in theatre and collected cord blood samples, and in between I shoved my skills logbook into their faces and said LET'S HAVE A SIGNING-OFF SPREE and the registrar retaliated by asking me difficult questions and making me assess sick babies ALL NIGHT, which was awesome, but also sort of like running a marathon.

Reg: Now set up this ventilator.
Me: *staring* I have never used this one. I have never used one that LOOKS like this one.
Reg: No help from me! Work it out. Follow the tubes back to the wall if you have to. And tell me some more about jaundice as you do it.

Keeping my brain busy really helped when it came to making time fly past, though. I had one dip at 2am (treated with instant coffee. as I was wearing scrubs, I looked exactly like this icon.) and another massive one at 7am when the morning shift staff were arriving and there was nothing to do and all of my tiredness sprang out from whatever rock it had been hiding beneath and punched me in the chest. Luckily one of the special care unit nurses took pity on me and sat me in a chair with a tiny tiny baby and his morning bottle. I think my ovaries expanded to fill most of my abdomen. TINY. TINY. BABY.

Aaaand then I went home and slept all the way through lunch, so I guess now I'll have to go and get tofu pad see euw with chilli or something. WHAT a pity.


6 Aug 2010 12:32 pm
fahye: ([sh] get that out of my face)
Home in the middle of the day. I know when I'm getting sick (HINT: I almost fell off my chair during my library shift last night, and was too tired to function by 9:45pm) and I know when I should not be around pregnant people and tiny babies! Fun as they are!

I have felt so many pregnant abdomens this week. Sooooo many. I am still awful at determining position

(Registrar: So where's the back?
Me: Here?
Registrar: That's a knee.)

but I'm getting better, and I really like spending time in an area of medicine that is full of healthy people.

Though for the love of God, if you ever intend to have a C-section, do not let anyone SHOW you a C-section beforehand. I saw three in a row on Monday and now if it ever happens to me I will be vividly picturing what happens on the other side of the blue sheet.


Despite the sudden viral illness from hell, this should be a good weekend! Mum & Lauren are coming to Sydney and we're going to see West Side Story.

And the Inception project about which I am refusing to speak just got seven billion times more exciting.
fahye: ([stxi] all the things we gain)


Guys, guys, today we went to the neonatal ward and got to poke a baby! It had teeny tiny feet!! We are also having lectures shoved down our throats at the speed of light and my head is spinning with new concepts and new vocabulary (you don't want to know the number of ways in which you are required to describe the position of a foetus. or the number of mechanisms of labour.) but it's fascinating, and I think if this block doesn't end up killing me through the sheer number of ward and clinic and theatre hours I somehow have to combine with studying for Barrier, I will enjoy it a lot.

fahye: ([science] the body is a roman thing)
omg you guys I want to be a GP


(All we've had is one day of info sessions and basic training and I already love everything about it! Thorough generalised knowledge! Buckets of health psychology! DECENT WORK HOURS!)

It doesn't hurt that the training facility is in Balmain and we have plans to raid Adriano Zumbo most days. And my actual clinical placement is right opposite Hyde Park, so I look forward grabbing sushi from World Square and chillaxing on the lawn while pretending to be a proper Sydney city professional.

There are reams of forms to fill out (of course) and hundreds of assignments/online tutorials/presentations/long cases/EBM reports/etc. to do (of course) but I am going to enjoy them so much more than everything connected to all those specialties in which I have no interest.

Still don't know where my rural placement will be BUT from the looks of things I'll have a lot of potential free time if I plan carefully, so taking a Friday off and coming back to Sydney for Supanova won't be too inconvenient. Phew.
fahye: ([science] dr fahye needs coffee)
SO TIRED. These 7am starts are only acceptable if, um, no, actually I can't think of anything. I have taken to napping! I have never been a napper! And I am trying to be in bed by 10:30 but that isn't working too well either because of my assignments.

Today I spent 4 hours watching someone have most of their stomach removed*, and tomorrow apparently there is a WHIPPLE so my entire Upper GI Surgery team will be crammed into the theatre having a look-see. Which means I probably won't have to scrub in. Which means I will be able to STRETCH MY BACK and go for TEA BREAKS and all the good things denied you when you are assisting the surgeon**.

(Today I also had to wear a lead vest and apron UNDER my gown and gloves and mask, holy hell, that was hot. Luckily the procedure was very short.)

*And now I will have to spend at least another 4 hours frantically putting together a 20-minute talk on it, complete with prognosis statistics and diagrams of the Roux-en-Y technique. Woo.

**In case you can't tell, I am not very keen on surgery.
fahye: ([potc] under the windings of the sea)
There's a question I'd like to pose to you all, and that question is this:

What do you want from your doctor?

I know a lot of people who have had bad experiences because they're queer, or overweight, or trans, or have a disability. I know a lot of people who have had bad experiences because they weren't listened to or weren't taken seriously, or because the doctor walked into the consultation with certain assumptions or communicated poorly with them.

I'm not really talking about the healthcare system as a whole, more about doctors as people and the one-on-one relationship they have with patients, both in primary care settings and in hospitals. I don't want to turn into the doctor people blog about because their experience was degrading or insulting or unhelpful or embarrassing. And as the daughter of a surgeon and a GP, someone who's never gone to a doctor herself except for basic things like stress somatisation and vaccinations (and even then, armed with a fairly thorough medical knowledge), and as a healthy white cissexual upper-middle-class person who's still struggling to recognise and own her privilege, I know I haven't had the same experiences that a lot of other people have.

I want to know what to look for when observing others in my profession for the remainder of my degreee. I want to know: what should I become? What shouldn't I become?

(Mental health is definitely included in this; it's a particular area of interest and concern of mine, and I think it's poorly understood and poorly approached by a lot of medical professionals.)

Feel free to link this post, if you like. The more opinions & anecdotes (good or bad) I get, the better.
fahye: ([science] dr fahye needs coffee)
Dear America,


I -- WHAT. I mean, I knew it was a ridiculous system, but not that ridiculous.

(I didn't know Hillary Clinton had been pushing for universal healthcare during her husband's presidency. Good on her. And I think I need to reread the details of the recent changes more carefully.)

Also, that British doctor they interviewed was adorable <3 Adorable and loaded. I WANT A JOB IN LONDON AND A HOUSE IN GREENWICH.

...actually, I want to get my British citizenship renewed and then work in France and be a SUPERHERO NINJA DOCTOR in a zippy car who drives around Paris at night.

More seriously -- I think this was a good time for me to watch this documentary, manipulative though it is. I've been feeling kind of demotivated and apathetic as far as my course is concerned, and I think it's because my last couple of placements have involved a lot less talking-to-patients. Patients are awesome. (Mostly.) And getting someone's life story is always rewarding: you realise how much of an impact sickness can have on a person, or a family, and you realise how resilient people are. It's humbling. I'm in the right profession, I am, I just sometimes get so snowed under by the paperwork and the assessments and the constant stress that I forget this fact.

So, um, huzzah for socialised healthcare.


an abnormally patriotic-feeling British-Australian.

run fast

25 Feb 2010 05:36 pm
fahye: ([science] the body is a roman thing)
Today just flew by: on the ward by 8am to do a practice long case, spent the morning acting as intern for my registrar (our intern had the day off), went to RMO teaching on arrhythmias, ran down to ED to help my registrar admit some new patients, went to a respiratory radiology meeting, and then presented my long case to one of my supervising consultants. He gave me really helpful feedback and then asked me lots of questions which made me feel SO STUPID and in need of burying myself in textbooks.

And then the day ended on a high note when the nurse in charge of the ward, of whom I approve on principle because she has the same name as [livejournal.com profile] schiarire, managed to procure some plates of tiny potato cakes and quiche-things from a downstairs meeting and bring them up for everyone to share.

Tomorrow my first tutorial is at 7:30am, but at least the tutor is bringing us all coffee.

I'm still getting used to the pace of the clinical years, but I'm learning so much.


2 Dec 2009 12:25 am
fahye: ([stxi] show me what you can do)
...and that's a wrap!

I'm halfway there, guys; in two years time I will be right on the verge of true gainful employment and writing Dr Fahye on official paperwork.

Today was lovely, too, once the final paper was over: traditional post-exam yum cha with the girls, lounging around watching TV in the afternoon, and then pizza & gelato with my choir friends as an early birthday/sorry-I-can't-sing-at-Carolfest thing.

Plans for tomorrow include packing up most of my belongings in preparation for the great return to Canberra, hopefully getting a fair bit of writing done, dashing into the city to buy my brother's Christmas present, and then the official Halfway Dinner with the rest of my cohort. Swanky dresses and sexy shoes ahoy!


14 Oct 2009 10:01 pm
fahye: ([other] a many splendoured thing)
You know you're tired and stressed when the highlight of your day is lying down so that someone can apply hot wax to your skin and then rip all of your hair out by the roots.

(I know, I know, it sounds like some kind of hideous medieval torture! UGH. GIRLHOOD.)

Runner-up: lying down (though for a much shorter period of time) while being a pretend patient for our OSCE practice. I will add an UGH. OSCE. here because I am more freaked out about this than my written exam; I am kickass at written exams, I will be studying in basically every free hour between now and the end of November, they should be fine, but the prospect of the clinical exam just sends me into a tailspin. I know you have to fuck up on a pretty epic scale in order to fail. I know I take very good histories and blah blah blah but it's still scary! Especially the prospect of neuro OSCE stations, of which there are a billion and one possible candidates. I might spend tomorrow night watching the DVD of the full neurology exam, just to hammer some things into my head a bit more.

I still wish I was in a relationship, I really do, but frankly I think anyone trying to date a medical student is in for a pretty rough deal around exam times :)



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