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.


  1. Beautifully written, with echoes of Roy Batty in Blade Runner 🙂

    And congratulations on your daughter – I’ve read your blog for many, many years (came across it via VF maybe circa 2007 or so?! When you were just starting Med School?) and always look forward to a post, no matter how long the wait between them, and I was genuinely delighted to read your news. What a blessing 🙂

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