Day 22- Do I miss my expat life?

I know for a fact that most of my readers here, are a residuum from my old life. One of them, who is also a friend got in touch with me today. Among other things, she enquired if I missed Qatar, and my life there. Hmm.

I have never really given it much thought, to be honest.  There are elements of that life that I miss. The Corniche, the clean parks, OR 12, the Villagio, endless running tracks, my ex- nanny. Mostly, the fancy cars 🙂

I’m joking of course!

Na, I’m serious. Not.

I do not miss it, miss it. I do not wish to be back. It was an epoch of my life that I look back upon fondly. I met some wonderful people, had incredible, new life experiences. Most importantly, it is where I had my children. So, I did leave a bit of myself there. But, the repatriation was entirely voluntary and wholehearted.

So the short answer is no. I do not miss it. I do not miss not having a support system. I do not miss the subconscious feeling of alienation. I do not miss the tiresome travel. I do not miss being away from family and friends.

But I do miss ‘the bubble”. A very intimate space of life, occupied by only the nearest. Far, far away, distant from prying eyes and perky ears. Love pours forth in hurried phone calls from immediate family. Yet, no one can interfere in your matters (only south Asians will understand what that means!). You are missed dearly. You are exotic, needed; but far away. Sigh! You can start anew, build new reputations, start afresh. Unburdened by those around you who have witnessed you stumbling into adulthood. At work, they see a polished you, not knowing the early bumbling you. The more I think, the more perks I unravel.

Yet, no. I do not miss it. I might do it again for the adventure and novelty, not because I miss it.

When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.

-Clifton Fadiman

Till next time,

J

Unpublished

Saved 5 years ago

‘Getting a driving licence in Qatar’ and other such mundane matters.

I receive a whatsapp message this morning. The generic, forward kind. The kind you get from a chronic offender of the inpardonable sin of sending unamusing, irrelevant, inane forwarded messages that no one reads.

This one read..

Virtually nothing is impossible in this world if you just put your mind to it and maintain a positive attitude.

Lou Holtz said it apparently.

Pshhsht!

Innumerable things are impossible in this world.

 

Saved 5 years ago.

Getting old, am I?

Today, I called a 24 year old intern A KID. Yes. And he calls me Mam!

I don’t go to the movies anymore.

I don’t wear “fashion” (read fake, blingy stuff they sell at Accessorize) jewelry. It has to be the real deal (gold…ahem platinum, *cough* diamonds) or nothing.

I only wear T- shirts at home or in the gym, and under my jackets while running. They can never be “outside attire” anymore.

I cut my hair short, to look ‘younger’. And I have started glancing back at anything that says “anti- aging”.

I think canvas handbags are passé and think low- rise pants are hideous.

I would not consider wearing a headband to tame my persistently naggy fringe. I only wear prim, prissy hair clips. And high ponies look juvenile to me.

 

Saved 5 years ago.

The cutters and the prescribers.

I am a cutter who is currently on a prescribing rotation.

The surgeons are the cutters and the internists are the prescribers.

Before I started, I was convinced that this was a bad idea, a waste of my time. I have done medicine rotations during my undergraduate years and during my previous residency, I barely remember how they passed and I’m not entirely sure what I gained from them.

I was sure to hate every moment of it.

Must be the fact that I’m older now (and consequently/ hopefully wiser!), or maybe three time’s the charm; apart from the occasional bouts of ‘blood withdrawal’ and ‘OR wistfulness’, I am NOT hating every minute. Dare I say I might even be enjoying it a teeny, tiny bit!

Na, I am definitely not enjoying it enough to cross over to the other side, but I can see the appeal of the medical specialities. These are guys who are paid to think, investigate, probe, discuss, consult, dig into the patient’s past like no one else before them and endlessly fiddle about with the patient’s medication profile. Everyday, they see folks who sometimes down over 30 pills a day with a few shots of insulin shots in for good measure, and a couple of sessions of hemodialysis as an outpatient. As a surgeon, I cannot see beyond row 5 on the medication chart. And to me, calculating doses for patients who barely have any kidney function left, have cirrhotic livers and have failing hearts with flip

 

Saved 3 years ago.

Untitled

I fell off the blog rail once again. To be honest, it rarely crossed my mind. Life consumed every ounce of energy and life force that I had and then some more!

In a way, it was is a wonderful way to live. Full, intense and gratifying. Oh! and did I mention- I HAD A BABY. A few days ago. A boy, this time.

Being the mother of a newborn is the most singularly lonesome experience. The burden is mostly yours to bear. Loneliness has been known to turn people toward the written word. The genesis of this blog was during my

 

Saved 4 years ago.

Good days and bad days.

I classify days into the good, the bad, the ugly and the meh. Most days are I admit “meh”. Today, I am yet to decide if it is a good day or an ugly one.

Saved 6 years ago.

Adventures of lil Z…

Lil Z loves new places. Mama loves new places as well and has taken lil Z to many, many new places both before and after “the great journey” (when Lil Z left her watery home and came into to her new home where she could see Mama and Papa).

Mama took several plane rides when Z was inside her. The last one was when lil Z was 10 cm big – it took longer than others. And after that, lil Z reached her new home or rather Mama reached her new home.

The first place that Papa took Mama to after she reached new home Mama was near the water. Lil Z loves water. Papa told Mama the place was called “corniche”. Wonder what that means. On the way, we saw many big and shiny buildings. The light in the buildings even changed color! Lil Z had never seen such tall and colourful buildings before.

The water was still and blue. Looked like a swimming pool that Z had seen before. Not at all like the ocean that Z had seen in her ancestral home in Kerala, nor like the murky lake that she had seen at Mama’s home in Bangalore. The water was clear. The water was framed by the shiny buildings on one side. Lil Z thought it looked beautiful. Mama thought it looked beautiful (you see, back then lil Z could feel what Mama was thinking!). Papa told Mama that unlike Dubai, this is the only place In Doha where there are tall, shiny buildings. Apparently, this was Doha’s “famous (and only) skyline”. Aah! So our new home is called Doha.

Mama, Papa and I went to Corniche almost every single day, thereafter. I kept growing inside Mama and she got very big and clumsy. Even then, we went. It was cold then. And we all liked the ocean air. It was very noisy though. The road runs along the walking path. So many fast cars (and sometimes fast, very loud bikes) whizzed past us.

Sometimes, we would all leave home (to go walking at Corniche) and then come back without doing so. Apparently on some days, Papa does not find space to leave (“park”…. is that the right word?) his car. Those days, the weather was so nice that many families (like us J) used to get their chairs and mats and food and sit there till late night- chatting, relaxing. The kiddies ran around, rode their bikes or were taken around in their strollers.( Uff! There were sooo many strollers. Good, I will have lots of friends when I grow up!) There were some ladies who had watermelon tummies like Mama as well. Maybe there were little kiddies inside. Just like me!

As Mama walked, lil Z saw that many around her were running with wires coming out of their ears. Just like how they would in the parks, at Mama’s place (“Ban-ga-lore” ….did I say it right?). Mama tells me they do it to remain “fit”. Mama does that too, now. But she complains that there are not many parks in our city. She misses her “home” city at times. Also, nowadays it is so hot that not many people come to the Corniche. But Papa likes it. He gets “parking”. We went there today after Mama and Papa broke their “fast”. It was nice. There were weird looking things hanging off the trees there which I had not seen before. They looked like the things Mama and Papa eat while breaking their fast. There were lots and lots of them!

Anyways my dear aunties and uncles, lil Z is very sleepy. It has been a long, hard today. I learnt how to laugh aloud today. Cool, no? Never knew I could do that. And all that rolling over back and forth is making my neck hurt. I am going to “hit the sack” as Papa says. Here are some pictures that Mama clicked. Come over to my home sometime okay. Lil Z will show you around…..

Lil Z.

 

 

 

Inertia.

Lately, I have been thinking that I am stuck. Stuck in a rut. On a hamster wheel that obviously isn’t going anywhere.

It’s odd though. If you asked me three years ago, where I’d like to be three years on- the current state of affairs would seem to be a great place to be in.

There have been tremendous changes in all walks of life. And recently, huge life events have occurred.

My only sibling is now married.

I’m soon to welcome Progeny No. 2 into my life.

Home and work ships are on calm waters.

And generally, life has been decent. No unyeilding problems, no insurmountable crap-hills, no unplayable curveballs.

Yet, the inertia is like an itch I cannot scratch. The sort of itch which is exactly at a point on yourself that no limb of yours can reach, and one that another person can never locate exactly. Therefore, the itch remains. It lies low when you are occupied with more pressing concerns, but it always rears it’s annoying head and begs to be dealt with at every moment of joblessness, however minute the time span may be.

Damn you, boredom.

Damn you, inertia.

Till next time.

J.

 

Waste not, hate not.

It’s that time of the year again folks. Doha takes a chill pill- the pious get serious, the others can take a step back from the hecticness of it all. The roads become less insane (except between 6 and 7 PM when the severely tired and hypoglycaemic folks try to beat the Adhaan and get to their families) and the malls go berserk past sundown. The peak hours shift and the work hours- well, let’s just let that be.

Overall, people seem to postpone everything to “Insha’Allah after Ramadan” and generally speaking there is shift in mood that is hard to describe in words. Of course, this isn’t a good time, if you want anything “done”. But it’s a great time for folks around this part of the world, to spend some quality time with family and take a breather before the school terms  and sales targets  commence, and other not so pleasant things become important again.

I wouldn’t like to comment on the religious aspects of Ramadan, for I’m a firm believer that faith is an extremely private and personal matter- between you and your God (if you believe in one). But I do feel for all the folks here, who are not fasting. I have a colleague who is in a Muslim country for the first time, and has no clue how she will get by this month. I don’t have many tips to offer her, because my sentiments are quite the opposite.

I am someone who is used to spending Ramadan in secular countries, where religion is not a public/ State matter. I am used to working long hours while I fast, and never getting any special considerations during the month. Breaking my fast, meant sneaking in a date and some juice in the ward, and then having dinner afterward like everyone else. So, I really do find it easier here.

I throughly enjoy the almost sombre moods during the day- the empty cafeteria and ease with which one can say “I’m going for a prayer break”. It is also hard to not get into the festive spirit during the evenings when the whole city comes alive.

What I find hard to swallow, is the wastage. Of food, resources and time. And using the religious obligations as an excuse to procrastinate on administrative and worldly matters, that may be of paramount importance to someone else. Alas.

Anyhoo, let us not kill the mood here folks. Whether you fast or not, whether your find this month to be great and wish it lasted more than month, or find it annoying (like I know some people do)- let us make the best of what we have got and enjoy it.

My hours will unfortunately not change much, and to make matters worse the nursery hours for my daughter have been severely shortened. We have no idea how we are going to work around it, but like always we know it will work out at the end.  I wish that nurseries understood the fact they are like an ER, they are an essential service for some parents, and should therefore maybe not throw us into the deep end in a month that is going to be busy anyway. Sigh!

As for the wastage, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then this video is surely worth at least a million ones.

Ramadan Kareem folks!

Till next time,

Dr J.

The Roads to Hell.

The not- so- young man had an attractive profile. He seemed highly educated and seemed to be somebody who had and enjoyed a fair amount of power and control. He was obviously rich and flashy, judging by his choice of automobile. I stared at him for a moment longer than would be considered polite or appropriate. I was curious.

He cradled something in the palm of his right hand. He gazed at it longingly, with a half- smile creeping up the side of his face. Someone either was being very naughty or cheekily funny. I mentally commend his dexterity as I watch him reply to the the person who was being funny/ naughty.

A jarring noise broke me out of my reverie . The disgruntled woman behind me and her Porche were both pissed apparently. How dare I block their holy path. The signal had turned green, and barely had I shifted from neutral to drive, Mr Powerfully Attractive beside me had sped off at 140 km/ hr whilst still cradling his phone and typing in his reply. He obviously had a spare set of eyes at the vertex of his head, and a spare brain tucked in somewhere dedicated solely to driving his outrageously fast car.

Being in my speciality, I am exposed to my fair share of MVCs (motor vehicle collisions) and ATV rollovers. Still, trauma cases are diluted by other less exiting things like cysts, tumors, congenital deformities and the most boring – cosmetic procedures. But for the past month and a half, I have been rotating in Trauma Surgery and I have access to pure, unadulterated Trauma. I have the honour of being privy to the injuries of the most mangled, messed up and sometimes maddeningly stupid stupid people on the roads.

The horrors we see everyday in the trauma room are hard to describe. It has to be seen to be believed. After every shift, as I buckle up to leave the parking lot- I wonder if I will be back to the trauma room (as a patient this time) before I reach home. Honestly. It does not matter if I am a usually careful driver. It does not matter if I am a defensive driver. All it takes is a split second. One error in judgement. One stupid driver. And that stupid driver doesn’t have to be me!

Every time I break hard, I have visions of the airbag exploding in my face, my neck whiplashing back and forth like that of a rag doll. I think of how my car would be crushed between the car ahead and the bus behind.I imagine my knees smashing up against the front and the force traveling up my femur and breaking it. I can imagine smashing my hardly- insulated- with- fat little body and breaking it in at least half a dozen places.

I can hear the sirens speeding down to the scene, the EMS men and women with their heavy duty gear extricating me from within the mangled mess. Them placing me on the long- board. Of them putting the C- collar around my neck and me thinking how loose it was and that they should use the paediatric one instead. Of my insides being strewn on the tarmac, of my precious blood pooling at the bottom of the driver’s seat and staining my lovely beige, leather seat. I can imagine them asking me my name, as I gurgle in response.  I can’t breathe because the broken ribs impinge each time I inhale. There are blood in places where they shouldn’t be. I am sure there is some leaking within my cranial cavity somewhere , and definitely some in my lungs. I wonder about the organs in my abdomen and there seems to be blood in my eyes- so my face must be a mess. I wonder which colleague would end up operating on me. Then things would go dark.

A bunch of highly trained surgeons and nurses would be called and told that a young female with multiple injuries is on the way. In as few words as possible, they would receive a brief description of what transpired. My GCS (Glasgow Coma Scale), vitals and injuries would be rattled off. They will gown up and wear personal protective barriers and get an amazing array of equipment set up. They would notify the blood bank and the OR. It is like a highly rehearsed play. Each one knowing exactly what their role is.

I would arrive at the scene- the leading lady. Strapped, tubed, compressed. Strangers, or rather in my case, people I sometimes work with, would cut away every shred of my clothing. Inspect every surface and orifice. Palpate, percuss, and  scan every inch. Chest tubes, IV lines,  endotracheal tube, urinary catheters, possibly the OR. Being moved to the TICU (trauma intensive care unit), then the ward after a few days (if I’m lucky).

Everyday, I would meet at least three nurses. Doctors from neurosurgery, orthopaedics, maxillofacial and trauma surgery (at the least) would round on me. The dietician, physical therapist and occupational therapist would determine what I eat, and how many times I get to sit up or get out of bed.

And if I survive with my sanity and limbs intact, it would be just the beginning of the long, hellish road to recovery. This, thanks to the imbecile of an idiot in the car ahead of me who was busy texting a reply while he swerved and braked suddenly to avoid the 6000QAR penalty for running a red light.

Honestly, I dread these roads. Folks, before you pick up the phone to reply to that inane, unimportant message or call, remember that you have but a pair of eyes. You may consider yourself an expert driver, but this time doesn’t necessarily have to be like the thousand times before. We have seen it far too many times. The young and healthy, the old and accomplished, the rich and poor- losing life and limb to the Road.

Trust me, having your brain matter splashed on the road, or bleeding to death in your car is not a pleasant way to go. Heck, even breaking one rib (forget the multiple fractures I spoke about here) or one tiny bone in your hand is insanely annoying.

I hope I never meet any of you lovely folks in the Trauma Room.

Have a lovely and safe weekend y’all! And please, ditch the damned phone while driving. Please.

 

Till next time,

Dr J.

Random thought threads from a rainy ‘call’ day.

 

I will admit that men and women of all vocations work hard. Engineers sometimes work odd hours, IT folk may work horrible hours, investment bankers suffer from stress ulcers; even tax practitioners and auditors have their “times of the year” when the hours are irrelevant. All said, for most people “hours of work” is a reality, which is sometimes subject to exceptions and extraordinary circumstances. But for some segments of society, work has no relation to the concept of night and day, ‘work days’ and ‘off days’.

Ask a security guard, a nurse, or better still – ask a surgical resident.

 

 

 

You might have heard inpatient doctors complain about their hours ad nauseam. About how our responsibilities never cease, and about how our hours never end. I try and refrain from that kind of commentary on most occasions, but some days I just cannot seem to keep it in.

 

 

Of course, there is always a trigger that sets me off. The rant is almost always precluded by some event/ occurrence or change in surrounding mien, that brings forth the feeling of resentment and discontent.

Today, the trigger seems to be the rain.

 

 

I’m no foreigner to rain. I have mostly lived in places where the rain is a constant of life. Where the rain is seldom appreciated or cherished and is most often considered a nuisance to everyday life.But in these parched lands, the rains are always welcome in my books. It reminds me of lazy childhood days, and naughty teenage years. The rain makes me feel young, fresh and unbothered again.

 

 

 

On a day such as this, a weekend no less; I should be home, lounging on the couch. With crisps on hand, re- watching old, action/ suspense movies  or fluffy reality shows while the Little One bounces off the living room walls as usual, and the husband lies semi- comatose a.k.a asleep and snoring away comfortingly beside me.

 

 

 

 

Here I am, sipping coffee and typing a quickie post, while I watch the rain from a tiny window in the on- call room, and wait for a call from the ER. It’s quite pathetic really. The window doesn’t open and I cannot hear the rain or smell the air; the coffee is tepid and poor and this post might yet be unfinished/ unpublished as I might get called any moment.

 

 

 

I have not seen the sunlight today nor have I have breathed in any “real” air (barring the conditioned variety). To make matters worse I have a pounding headache that seems mighty resistant to any analgesic that I can throw at it.

 

 

 

Most days, we wish for a “light- call”. A day/ night when we see few patients, stable patients, non- crazy patients, ‘classic- case’ patients, unsurprising patients…. You get the drift. Today though, I wish it were insanely, crazy busy (like some nights are) since it is the only way for the hours to whizz past, and not drag along painfully.

 

 

 

I love my job. On most days. But on days like this, I am forced to dwell upon the countless weekends and holidays I have missed. The innumerable hours of night sleep I have sacrificed at the alter of medicine and surgery, and the infinite hours of family time that I have relinquished in the path to be where I am today.

 

Hope the night is quiet folks. And hope some sleep is in store.

 

Till next time..

 

Dr J.

 

P.S. Above worlds were penned at different times during the day. In between the usual “business”. Quickly and without edits; on a handheld, mobile device.

*Disclaimer- No persons/ patients were neglected/ harmed during the making/ publishing of this post.There was no abdication of duty at any point of time.

Falling temperatures and rising spirits.

I sit in an uncharacteristically still and silent room tonight. The comforting thrum of the ol’ but trusty air conditioner is conspicuous by it’s absence.  I wonder if I will find it difficult to fall asleep without the white noise that I associate my nights in Doha with.

All this, thanks to the sudden turn in the weather. The nippy mornings, and the chilly nights. I am forced to not only contemplate my need for supplementary white noise to fall (and stay!) asleep, I also am forced to pen a literary acknowledgement of the blessings of the Weather Lords. The searing heat that seemed relentless just a couple of months ago, is a distant memory. But there are occasional flashbacks that zip across memory threads; they serve as reminders, to enjoy every nano- second of the current atmospheric conditions.

I have never thought of myself as an earth-creature. I never considered myself to be in-tune with nature or as “one with the elements”. The demons I fight are all within and not without. Yet, the change in the winds, and the nip in the air, has perceptibly altered my mien and moods.

The heat made me feel stifled, harried and perpetually exhausted. The chilly air by stark contrast induces a sense of freshness and exuberance. I feel freshly- alive (if such a term exists) and oddly; cheerful. The bright morning sun hitting me, while the cold wind swirls around me, seems like a warm embrace that ends with a tickle by icy fingers.

My senses seem more acute, and my mind clearer. I can now even consider walking from a certain point A to point B without melting along the way, or needing an IV drip of electrolytes thereafter. These were things that I once never thought of, things I always took for granted, before moving to Qatar.

I have occasionally lived in muggy, coastal weather; but I’m mostly a child of the moderate climes. I never quite fathomed a place where I would find it too hot to walk across the street or to the nearby grocery store. Therefore, every degree drop in temperature is a reason to rejoice.

I fell asleep last night, at about THIS point (I did not publish this post). I woke up grumpy and groggy. I got through the morning motions, like a man condemned to the gallows in a few hours. But as I locked the main door, and clipped the pager onto my scrubs, the cool breeze wafted into the corridor and I shivered. The cold zephyr instantly soothed my spirits. I walked out with some cheer in my soul, a spring in my step and a song on my lips. The sun has barely risen but my day has long begun. Yet, today I shall not complain, for the Weather Lords have appeased me into a sense of calm and contentment.

Aah! sweet weather, how I love thee…..

Till next time.

Dr J.

Of fleetingness and the ER.

 

Working in the ER constantly reminds you of the undeniable ephemerality of life. The fleetingness of it all.

One minute you are having your breakfast and next minute your coffee cup is on the floor, and you cannot move your hand to pick it up while your mouth utters garbled sounds.

In the fresh rays of a cool morning, you head out to the desert with friends for some winter dune- bashing. Young and free, life flirtaciously beckons you into her frolicky arms. By afternoon you are in the stark, sterile confines of a operating theatre with your skull open and a bunch of strangers poking and prodding at your very essence.

An innocuous but persistent cough turns out to be an life- altering diagnosis of lung cancer.

I could go on. I’m not sure if it’s the work environment, or divination; but I have this constant sense of foreboding. That my DIAGNOSIS is just round the corner. Morbid as it sounds, I constantly think of death and dying- the hows and whys of it. The science behind it and philosophy around it.

Every time I am faced with an unsavoury or difficult situation, I think of death. Every time I meet an arrogant, full-of-himself person, I think of death. Every time life throws curve- balls at me, I think of death.

And odd as it sounds, death or rather the thought of it is my coping mechanism. I ask myself “If I were to die the next moment, or tomorrow or the next month, would this still be as important or distressing as it is now?” And it helps.

On a tangential note, the ER also shows how painfully long and unchanging  life can sometimes be.

For example, a 90 year old gentleman, passing on after a long, long wait. After being confined in bed for 20 years and having had multiple hospital admissions, surgeries and resuscitations. After being in long term care, and bearing the ignominy of having no control or right over your body though your mind is sound. After having more than two dozen home- nurses over a period of several years, and having them do things for you which you wouldn’t want to do even yourself. After having every organ in your body shut down painstakingly slowly, bit by bit and having two ER doctors administer CPR for what seems like hours, till their arms ache and their shoulders lock. After which it all ends in a melee of relatives and third generation progeny shedding token tears instigated by social propriety while inwardly sighing with relief. Finally, it’s over. It has been a full life for the gentleman, most likely; but it has also been a long one.

Till next time.

Dr J.

 

 

Winds of change and change of winds.

Boy oh boy is Doha awake at midnight today! A there-one-minute-gone-the-next shower the previous night; a few degrees drop in temperature, a cool ocean breeze and the eve of the weekend- the perfect recipe for the folks of Doha to rush out onto the roads at night apparently. In droves.

The grills have come out of hibernation, the shishas are seeing the outdoors again. The little girls have whipped out their tasseled scooters and the boys are whooshing past on their shiny skates. The adults are busy trading family gossip and work whines while the kids are still wide awake at hours that will seem insane to people from any other part of the world.

All the convertible tops are down, the colourful Vespas are on full show and the Ducatis are zipping past full throttle. Everyone from the Civics and Corollas to the Rolls Royces and Maybachs, with all the LandCruisers and Patrols in between are on the streets this evening it seems like.

There is not a parking spot in sight at The Corniche, Katara, MIA park or any of the usual haunts of the folks in this town.

Sigh! How quickly things change.

If you are not from around here, or have never lived in such a land, you might have no clue what I’m rambling on about. The weather change, literally and metaphorically heralds a drastic lifestyle change.

You can start to live a life that is not artificially climate controlled. Where you do not feel like your face is burning up as you head to your car in the open parking lot, or where you actually may have to carry change of clothes if you have to walk, or stand outside an air-conditioned building for more than two measly minutes. Where the heat can actually make you reconsider your recent life and decisions. Where children have to start school at ungodly hours, and finish several hours before noon because the heat gets unbearable past 10 AM. Where it gets so hot, that not only cars and buildings, even human beings feel capable of spontaneously combusting.

anyhow, I am not on call this weekend, and that means I can stay out for as long as I want tonight (even though I have no hopes of sleeping in!). The decent weather reminds me of the milder weather of the place I call home and I can’t seem to get enough of it.. The “just- about- cool” winds have brought a tune to my lips and a song in my heart. I feel a lightness in my step and a calmness in my head. At this moment, life seems decent. Good. Even great maybe 🙂

The relentless heat, has finally relented and given us harried souls some reprieve. And I am thankful for it.

Enjoy and cherish everyday of the coming “winter” folks. Soon only the distant memories of breezy morning and cool nights shall remain, while the mercury becomes friends with Mr Forty Odd and Mrs Fifty Can’t- bear again!

Till next time.

Dr J.

The post- call haze and an impromptu “what’s in my bag”!

I gaze at my Fitbit. It shows a series of numerals. 3 1 2 3 4 0 or thereabouts. I see the numbers, they register somewhere in the nether regions of my acutely occupied mind, stowed away for comprehension at a more convenient time (a.k.a. right now).

This was at about the 17 hour mark, there were still seven hours to go before I could could call it a day.

I did not go running that day, nor did I fuss around on the treadmill. I did not eat a meal seated down in one place, but I did drink 3 mocha lattes, 1 espresso shot and one tea with milk and sugar.

I will not comment on the number or type of patients admitted; but I can tell you that I did a LOT of purposeful corridor striding, more than two dozen phone calls (consults), reams of documentation and charting. Hardly any sleeping.

Rewind to the beginning of the day.

I am up at 3:30 AM, getting nursery meals and snacks ready and packed. Then put my most comfortable scrubs into the washer-dryer on the “quick wash” cycle, iron it dry and still wear it slightly damp. I did not realise until then that I had no clean scrubs. Anyhoo…

5 AM and I leave my domestic self behind at home and put my game face on at the wards. Pre- rounds, Grand Rounds, five hours of ‘educational activities (a.k.a mandatory lectures) and on- call from 3 PM to next morning- it is going to be a long, long, long day.

Day. It is over 24 hours after all. Post- call rounds never finish before 11 AM the next day.

Reaching home at 12 noon the next day, gives a small window in which I can wash the germy grime worth 36 hours off me, get some grub in the tummy, partially arrange some scattered stuff around…… And then it’s time for the nursery run, and “baby- story” unfolds from thereon.

Sleep is a luxury that I often covet, but rarely beget.

I have no complaints or regrets. I chose not to. My life may not be all sunshine and daises, but I like it, for now. Heck! talking about sunshine, there are days when I don’t see it at all. Yet, I do not wish to whine. Then why, you may ask, fulmination?

This emesis of text was induced by a silly comment this afternoon, a relative whining about the money his neurosurgeon makes per month.

That neurosurgeon probably did this and much more (depending on the era and area of training), for about 20 years, before the money first started to trickle in and ultimately “flood” (as the lovely gentleman put it) in.

I rest my case.

On a chirpier note, leaving my bag unattended for five minutes with a toddler within 10 feet of it, means I have its contents strewn all over the living room floor. And it gave me an idea.

Any blogger/ vlogger worth his/ her salt, puts up a “what’s in a bag” post/ video. Though I am averse to herd- following and charting the beaten path, I personally find those bag posts to be fun and interesting. I guess we are all voyeuristic to some extent. And ever curious about another’s bearings and being.

Also, this post is dedicated to The Husband who thinks The Bag is unnaturally heavy.

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This is the dressier version of my work bag. There is another more “heavy duty” one for theatre days, and presentation days. (This is the Marc by Marc Jacobs Ligero Tote for those who like to know such things- like me.)

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It is a sturdy, roomy bag, which on days like this would be packed to the brim. It is a decent- sized tote, with a solid, reliable, zipper. Zippered totes are a rare breed by the way.

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And here are the contents. Nothing fancy, or unnecessary in my opinion. The light green pouch is my on- call survival/ emergency kit while the hot pink one has all the absolute essentials (ID, access cards, bleep, stamp, torch….)

A tablet to check patient records, OR scrubs (different from the call scrubs) and a couple of other self- explanatory items.

There you go, most residents and fellows I know carry similar luggage, some a tad more and some a tad less. I have also seen some extreme cases, and a couple of complete nut cases too. Some carry their own towels, blankets, sheets (YES! in the car if you want to know) and then at my old workplace a gentleman came to work with only his bleep on (steth, pen, and everything else can be borrowed you see).

So, that’s it for today folks (and the week perhaps). See you soon, hopefully. And yes, I did log over 35000 steps that day (about par for a call day) and apparently burnt well- over 3500 calories. Not a bad work- out on a full- work day eh? 😉

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Till next time.

Dr J.