Month: July 2015

Tiny Little Worlds

As I wrap up yet another rotation, I can’t stop thinking back across my life so far.  It’s been an endless run of mountain climbs, difficult and exhilarating, intermixed with close calls and and dizzying wins.  My intern who is Korean told me that if I ever go to Korea (and I SO will!) that she’d hook me up with places to go and people to guide me. And sitting here tonight I think about my future experiences in a world that’s so diverse and constantly changing and can’t believe my luck.

When I was a teenager things were hard. I hung around with other teenagers for who things were hard, although I didn’t realise it at the time.  I thought they were cool, their lives were cool, there was drugs around and parties and it all seemed so wondrous. And now in hindsight, that world seems so tiny.  It’s hard to put into words.  But I’ve hand my hands on a dying man’s chest, desperately trying to punch it back to life.  I’ve stood on top of a (real) mountain twice the height of Koziosko watching the sun set below the clouds that I am standing above and watched those magnificent radiotelescopes drop their silvery shields.  I’ve driven through floodwaters in the back roads of Grafton in a tiny Toyota Echo praying for my life.  I’ve bought television time for geriatric patient because he had no money and the rugby game was on. His intent keen watching of the game all night was worth it. I’ve looked after a former soldier who had a massive chest tattoo and did terrible things on the battlefield who cried about it. I had a Michelin star or two dinner inside the Eiffel Tower. I’ve been in Italy during the Assumption and watched the townspeople fill up their beautiful little town square singing hymns so beautiful I cried. I’ve seen shooting stars and tropical fish and swum with stingrays and spent hours and hours in The Louvre and The Met.  I’ve fallen in love and gotten married and had a baby who is a universe of experience all on her own.

Parties and drugs? So tiny. Hard teenage years? Over. I understand why teenagers do drugs. Either their experience to date has been so bad that drugs are the first good things they’ve felt. Or their experience to date has been so sheltered that drugs are truly the first exciting thing that’s ever happened to them.  We can all do so much better and expect so much more from our lives, and expect it for each other’s lives. We can offer each other better experiences. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have experienced what I have. All of it. Life in its messy, difficult, exhilarating glory.  Pass or fail for the next exam, it’s all part of it.  It all leads somewhere. 

My intern cried tonight when I left. I made her a friend on Facebook because she’s lovely.  How lucky I am to get to have a new friend, a new opportunity for travel in the future. How lucky I am to live in such a great big world.

The perfect set of circumstances.

It’s December.  The sun is shining but I can’t feel it.  I live over the road from the sea but the water feels like it’s a million miles away.  My body feels a thousand years old and the baby has been asleep for no longer than an hour at a time over the last few days.  My exam notes are on the floor in a corner and I’m staring at the wall, asking my mother, through a veil of coffee-tinged fog, what craziness had entered my head that thought I could sit a five hour written examination with a newborn?  My mother shrugs and says “you can spend your whole life waiting for the perfect set of circumstances”.

And there it is, like lightning.

And here I am again, 3 weeks out from exam number 2, horribly horribly behind, with a small baby, the loving and long suffering husband, and us, just us, in our tiny place, with all our family interstate.  My colleagues put in hours and hours and I come home to see my little girl who gets a new superpower every day without me being there.  She is always happy to see me and my heart lives in various stages of broken.

I cry at work almost daily, mainly out of frustration.  Too many patients, not enough time, I don’t really know my colleagues, I have no little group.  They walk around the hospital in their study groups, diligently seeing cases.  I have no courage.  I present cases, I’m told things like “you need to work on your knowledge, your confidence, your face, your eyes, your words”.  I cry some more, and keep going.  The circumstances are far beyond ideal.  I’m incredibly close to failing.

And then I come home, to my loving and long suffering husband, to my smiling baby and my tiny apartment near the sea.  I talk to my friends via text because phonecalls in the evening are pointless with a baby and they cheer me on.  I think how lucky I am to have everything I have, exam or no exam.

have the perfect set of circumstances.  Maybe not for a huge exam, but I’ll do my best.