Monday, December 15, 2014

The silence game.

Sometimes, you try to be patient,
hoping that things will change;
sometimes, you talk yourself out of a certain thought,
in the hopes that it was just a fleeting misunderstanding;
but sometimes,
the truth is so plain and obvious you kill your intuition ignoring it.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Unexpected reassurance

I had one of my last case history taking session yesterday. This one was particularly important as I had a case history due this following Tuesday and I hadn't had a complete one yet. My previous patient interviews went well but didn't contain enough information as I hadn't been very thorough with my questions, both from inability to keep patient on track as well as missing out on some important questions. I realized there were too many gaps as I was writing those up.

As we all know, patient interviews are a luck of the draw. But to an extent, I do believe it is the way we approach the patient, especially from that first point of contact (cue rapport building). When I went in to see the patient, she was on an antibiotic drip and was looking genuinely frustrated and unhappy at being in the hospital. Fingers crossed, I thought, and so I began..."Hello Mrs K, (mistake, I found out later she was not married, but from how she responded to me overall she had already forgotten my little blip at the start), my name is..."

The interview went smoothly! This was a relief as in the week prior, I had an observed case history taking session and I didn't feel went very well. One of the reasons for that was that our patient was actually acted by our registrar and I just found it hard to take what he said seriously as I knew he was absolutely normal. Plus, it was just awkwarddddd. Either or, I came out of the session questioning if I was doing well with my interviews. 

As I was walking back to the ward after returning the equipment required to take the vital signs, I was stopped by a patient who was on the opposite bed. 

"Hey, can I speak to you for a moment?" she said. Taken completely by surprise I said "Sure" and approached her, hoping she didn't mistake me for a doctor on the wards. 

"What year of medicine are you in?"

"I'm a third year across the road at Auckland University. Is there something I can help you with?"

"Wow, I have to say I am truly impressed by the way you talked to her. I was listening to you speak to her, as I have gotten to know her well since she came to the hospital. You asked all the right questions in the right way and got all the information you needed in the best manner. I just wanted to let you know that I think this is one of the best interviews I've ever heard in my life and I mean that because I know a lot of doctors myself and have sat in similar interviews before. Both my daughters, one of my son-in-laws and some relatives in the family are doctors too and have been through your university. I just thought I'd let you know what a good job you are doing. I think you will be a stunning doctor in the future."

I was so caught by surprise that it took me two seconds to recover as I was not expecting to hear that from her at all. Nor was I thinking about the way I was interviewing my patient. The conversation went on for a while more. She went on to ask what I was interested in doing. She continued to praise me and congratulate for doing so well. I thanked her for her kind words before I left and spent the walk back to campus reflecting on that experience (it wasn't that long considering it was just across the road...). I had never felt so grateful for her kind words as it gave me a patient's perspective on how I was conducting my interviews. To know that I made the patient at ease and comfortable to be able to share her history with me was a big achievement for me. I was also very grateful to be reassured that I was actually doing OK. This definitely boosted my confidence, especially, after last week. Thank you MB. In ways you didn't realize, you really made my day. 

So despite all the workload and pressure, there are always encounters like these to really make me take a step back and evaluate what I have achieved and learned so far. I'm in a much more positive mindset now (: Group activity in half an hour at Grafton; I still have my bowl of cereal in front of me now which I have to finish and clear away. I hope you have a blessed day and I'm out!

Disclaimer: Of course those words were't directly quoted from her; my memory is not that good. I paraphrased her and wrote down as much as I could remember her say in her own words. I promise I added no salt and pepper to this experience. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jump In

Finally, a time to sit down and write to my heart's content. It is Tuesday morning. Why is it that I took 6 days post-conference to write this up? My books called to me after being away for 10 whole days without so much as a peep at them, not that we had an exam yesterday or anything you know? But the most important thing is, I'm here! You have no idea how excited I am to be able to write this now.

So where did I go? Sydney.
What for? Global Health Conference 2014 and the pre-conference workshop: Training for Trainers
Who went? Over 700 medical students from all over Australia and a handful of us from UoA and Otago.
Why? Oh boy why? Why did I spend close to NZ$1.2k for these 10 days??? (this was the base cost of the workshop, conference, accommodation and flights and had not even taken into account food, local travel expenses, etc etc!)

It all started when I felt the urge to up-skill myself and learn more about global health, having been involved in my school's student global health group: Medical Students for Global Awareness (MSGA). I realized just how much I did not know and found areas that I wanted to improve in. Having talked to previous students who've been and also recommended by the national coordinator of MSGA, I decided to apply , and also managed to get a few members from the core group to apply as well. Best decision, ever.

Let's stop the logistics of things and talk about the trip instead.

Me time!
I decided to fly in 2 days earlier to explore Sydney before the conference and was joined by 2 other friends. I've travelled between countries numerous times before but this was the first time I travelled with friends. Pretty different experience from travelling alone or with family. Yes, loved it.

Felt pretty cool to actually check the box with convention/conference

We were going to explore the city initially but we decided to head to Bondi Beach as the weather was too good to be true! Felt like summer! (but the days after that were the real truth...)

I'll let the pictures do the talking :)

Obligatory chocolate photo from a small chocolate boutique

Unfortunately, we couldn't find a time to visit the museum

It's amazingly beautiful inside. So quiet, so serene, you can't help but to slow your pace and absorb the beauty of it all.

It felt like summer on the first day here...

Hyde Park

Pop up Make-Your-Own Magnum!

As you can see, I was very excited to try my first ever macaron from Laduree. Tried the peach macaron, the taste of first day of spring!
Last year in Melbourne, I tasted macarons from La Belle Miette. I'm feeling some sort of recurring theme here!

My travel buddy and partner in crime!

Found Jones the Grocer here too, but, jumbo sized!

Even if I tried one pastry every day and for every meal, I would not be able to try them all TT so, pictures will do.

You may or may not see a few more pictures of these pretty little things. To be honest, they are quite sweet and you can get sick of them, but, they are so pretty and perfect!

Well, we had a camera and we had time and there was a pretty lake so, why not.


A trip to Hurricanes Grill at Bondi Beach. From where all the drama revolved from...

Garlic mushrooms all the wayyy

Garlic prawns. I believe we were trying to ward off some vampires.

He was hungry, clearly.

And those, my friends, are ribs and the look of a satisfied boy.

There was me and there was her and then...

I don't know....

I thought those two were really cute, and made a good addition to this picture.

Finally, tried Ben and Jerry's! I personally think it's an overhype. Too sweet for my liking and flavours were all very dense. Once is enough for me!

It was a very good first two days to just walk around Sydney, I could definitely see a lot of similarities between Auckland and Sydney. If you asked those two, they would definitely tell you how often I compared roads and buildings there to Auckland.

Story for another day, but this, was a recurring theme during my trip to Queenstown, South Island, NZ.

Waterfront, where we met a nice couple who then subsequently helped us with pictures (: 

That, was one massive turtle

Lights <3


And of course, a random shot of some seagulls. Don't ask me why.

Dinner at Nick's by the waterfront. 

Well that sort of sums up our first two days, it was two very long days what with some really unexpected happenings. But all in all, worth it. Back to business next, or so I thought.

Training for New Trainers workshop (pre-conference)

This was a workshop designed to equip students with a range of skills, including advocacy, critical thinking, facilitation and conflict management techniques. The aim was to allow students to co-ordinate training sessions for any event, group or organizations in the future.

Our team of approximately 20 people including trainers spent 3 days together, sharing and discussing ideas, bonding and getting to know each other on a more personal level. It was so good to be surrounded with like-minded people and to share thoughts, brainstorm, and develop some skills from interactive activities. We also had numerous speakers who came in to share their experiences and knowledge in certain areas of interest.

The workshop was run really well in my opinion, great ice breakers to start of with, timely energizers in between workshops and enough breaks to keep us going throughout the day. However, I personally felt a bit tired from the first couple of days as I was already unwell before the workshop even began. So if any of you have to learn one thing, it would be to keep your health in good shape before going off on any workshops/conferences overseas as it is quite difficult to rest and recuperate when so many activities are going on at the same time!

Just a summary of the workshops we had: The Ideal Trainer, Motivation and Inspiration, Women in Advocacy and Leadership Speakers, Teamwork, Skeptical Thinking, Policy, Mentorship, Strategic Planning, Campaigns, Personalities and Engaging with Politicians.

The concoction of having no voice, feeling feverish and having to travel between numerous places resulted in me leaving my precious camera behind, hence, there was a loss of a few days worth of pictures. But in saying that, I believe that there are some memories that pictures won't do justice to so I'll leave it at that.

Where do I even begin???
Do I chose the pink theme (and pink scrubs!), the countless number of individuals I met who have left with me memories that I will not be able to forget or to choose from the array of inspiring/charismatic/motivational/touching speakers I heard from? I just can't. Once again, I left my camera behind as it was virtually impossible to even get in a good picture or two amongst the busy schedule we had planned over the 5 day conference!

Pictures below are from the fourth day, when we finally had a small break to chill and stretch out while enjoying free-flow gelato and some interesting activities held at a garage called The Blacksmith's Workshop, Carriageworks. The sun once again popped out for the day, what a blessing! (we had rainy gloomy days on all the other days, go figure...)

Once again ;)

The O&G workshop, trust them to have a screaming/wailing pregnant mother in labour!

And finally, the Gala Night, which was held at The Museum of Contemporary Art, which overlooked the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. It was one of the best nights :)

That photobomb!

And we ventured outside to grab a team photo, do bear with me as you scroll through all the before and after pictures, I found some of them quite a laugh and couldn't bear to not include them.

And then, the boys took over my camera for a bit, this is here for them to save the pictures when they get to it.

I'm really not sure who this is but he looks pretty happy to be caught on camera!

Finally, my beloved TNT. Amazing people, 'nuff said.

Lovely couple right there!

Wasn't being a third wheel *shifty eyes*

Meet Anch, a dancer strolling on the streets who decided to stop and chat with us for a bit. What a funny chap!

And to conclude the night, obligatory supper at Pancakes on The Rocks! The macadamia one was the one. THE ONEEEEE. It was so delicious. I felt that everything else paled in comparison...

This has been an extremely looong post, I know. I have not blogged in awhile and this is my second post on this new blog. This is also a story for another time. I won't overwhelm you now.

Just to conclude, this trip to Sydney had been an amazing, educational, life-changing, perspective-gaining, inspiring and motivational one. Albeit being sick beforehand, and exhausted after, I would do it all over again if I was given the chance. Before I leave, here's a picture of the deliciously good looking Salmon Benedict's from the Seafood Bar that almost made us miss the plane.

I'm out!