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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Taking Stock

So, here are some photos that I think sum up 2005 for me.

Most of this year was spent pushing past my boundaries and into unexplored territory. I guess you could say that I have lived outside of my comfort zone.

As a sociable city girl, I've lived quite happily amongst skyscrapers and convenience stores, and I am used to having a constant supply of visitors trooping through my living room, keeping the place bubbling with friendly chatter.

I now understand the meaning of Fresh Air and Solitude. I also understand the meaning of the sign 'Private. Bull Keep Out' and I now know that it is not a warning sign for all passing Bulls, but for all people who do not fancy meeting a passing Bull.

Originally uploaded by
Sunshine follows me.

This year, I have been drifting from town to town, from job to job, forever filling out endless application forms to ensure another training contract. It's difficult, not being able to settle down in one spot for more than a few months at a time.

I would love to stop paying rent and start paying a mortgage instead, and be in a place where I could paint the walls any colour I wanted (Duck's Egg Blue, Burnt Sienna, Sunflower Yellow, oh, anything except Magnolia) and put up pictures with nails instead of blu-tack.

Somehow, even with all the stressors of my job and the with the instability of my lifestyle, I have managed to keep afloat (and I know that it is not of my own strength that I do so - I'm generally a pretty poor swimmer in rough waters). For this, I thank God for looking after me and for keeping my soul buoyant.

I have also worked very hard at being a better, more confident doctor and having a better bedside manner.

I try to see my patients from different perspectives and I want to be able treat them as individuals and make them feel in control. This is very difficult. It's hard not to sound condescending (It's hard to say 'Do you understand?' in a way that doesn't sound patronising).

I don't want them to see me as a young girl. I want them to see me as a doctor who cares, someone whom they can trust, someone whom they can tell their secrets to, someone who is trying to help. I'm not entirely there yet, but I'm getting there.

At least, more of my patients call me 'Doctor' instead of 'Nurse', now.

Look into my eyes
Originally uploaded by
Sunshine follows me.

This last picture is of MDH.

The both of us have grown to love each other more over the past year, and I feel that we have started out our marriage well, giving it a good and strong foundation.

Sure, we've had our disagreements now and again, but we have always managed to talk it out and come to a compromise that makes us both happy. I have learned to be more patient and less grouchy. I think it helps, having a sense of humour. Keeps things in perspective.

I think that more or less summarises 2005 for me. I am really excited about 2006! There's so much more to look forward to!

Have a Happy New Year, everybody!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

5 things I did not want to hear over Christmas

1. "I know they left me here because I'm a burden. But I don't mind because at least I know they'll have a nice Christmas."

2. "You can't admit me to hospital! *hacking cough* I told my grandson I'd visit him at the Home and bring him a present. *more hacking* Nobody else will go there. *hack wheeze hack hack* I promised!"

3. "I want Mummy! I want Mummy! Mummy? Mummy! Wake up Mummy! Wake up Mummy! Wake up! Please wake up!"

4. "...and after everyone went home, I went upstairs to write them all a letter to thank them for being so kind to me. Then I went out to the garage with some rope that I bought..."

5. "Well...I thought it wouldn't be busy in the A&E today because of the holidays..."

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Here is a video taken by MDH of a coot family at Ranworth. If this works, it means I'll be able occasionally upload videos on this site.

The squeaking voice is mine.

Edit (1 hour later): Hooray, it works!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Happy Boxing Day!

So here's what I got for Christmas this year:

1. Pictionary Mania. There are now categories like 'Back draw' (drawing on someone's back with a finger) and 'Direct a draw' (instructing somebody else) for added fun and confusion.

2. Boiled egg slicers - Don't ask me why the Out-Laws decided to buy this for me for Christmas. I guess they want me to always have perfect, evenly sliced eggs.

3. A pack of 3 bamboo stirring spoons - another mystery gift from the Out-Laws.

4. Ski goggles - in pale moonlight blue, to match with my white and blue ski jacket. This is MDH's commitment to us learning to to ski beyond the 'snowplough' position! I hope to hit the slopes sometime later in the year.

5. A winter hat in the shape of a panda's head - from my sister. Now I can look like I mean business has I walk down the road with an angry panda glaring at everyone from the top of my head.

6. A green Marimo-man stuffed toy. MDH bought it for me in Singapore from Action City. He apparently went through the entire pile of toys in order to find the one with the most ambivalent expression.

7. 'Best Of' CDs. Now I can rock on with Alanis Morissette, LeAnn Rimes and Dusty Springfield.

8. Bathtime Treats Collection from the Sanctuary Spa from the Sister-OutLaw. Body wash, scrub and lotion with a loofah exfoliator packed up in a lovely wooden box.

9. A bottle of Chardonnay from my A&E consultants.

10. A topaz, amethyst and diamond chip pendant from my parents.

11. A lovely silver and green crinkly dress from my parents. When I wear it, I feel like a dryad - wild and barefoot and dancing through the forest with leaves in my hair.

12. A devotional book from my Godmother

13. A mini paper shredder

14. A set of notebooks and pens from the A&E nurses.

15. A set of makeup brushes from M.A.C.

16. A dark red leather watch

I think I've done rather well, don't you? What did you get for Christmas?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas
Originally uploaded by
Sunshine follows me.

Merry Christmas Everybody!

I took this picture whilst in Singapore - someone gave me a present from Crabtree & Evelyn. Why is the little boy whipping the little girl?!!

I hope you all have a lovely turkey-filled, honey baked ham-stuffed, tinsel-covered Christmas!

I'm gonna go sing some carols now and drink some egg-nog and maybe the chardonnay that my Consultants bought for me (and then I'm gonna head back to work all tipsified - heeheehee, shhhh!). Tata!

Oh yes, and this is a Christmas cartoon for all ye Hokkien speaking types!

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve everybody!

Am trapped in the A&E department this evening, but I believe the nursing sisters have planned a small party for all those who are here past midnight. At least there's something to look forward to.

Meanwhile, I am seeing many elderly patients - most of whom, I believe, have been dumped in our department for safekeeping so that the rest of their family can have a merry, guilt-free Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2005


I am not discouraged!

I may not have obtained my dream job, but considering how experienced the other candidates were, I am fortunate to have been shortlisted. At least I know that my curriculum vitae is not lacking!

I feel a peace in my heart with regards to the future, uncertain though it may be. I know that this peace that I feel does not come from within myself and that is also a comfort to me.

I have cast my burdens on His shoulders.


Completely unrelated issue:

You gotta check this out. My eyes were glued to the screen for ages, my face was painfully fixed with a ghastly grin and I couldn't bear to surf to another website. I thought I was going to have a heart attack.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

You are on hold

I've just returned from my interview. I wore my purple blouse, a black skirt and a black jacket. I pinned a small purple bee to the lapel of my jacket. I wore stockings and smart shoes.

The interview went well. I smiled alot and made eye contact. They were very kind to me, and they seemed to like me.

I find out their decision later today.

I hope I get it.


edit: 5 hours later


I'm okay because I had really good feedback from them. They want me to apply again when I have more experience. All the other candidates were at least 4 years senior to myself and had completed exams - I'm surprised I was shortlisted at all.

I have one month to find a job.

I hope something turns up soon.


Int. Room with a desk and three swivel chairs and some dusty looking potted plants. The desk is covered in little metal trays holding stacks of folders and files. Careers Advisor, a middle aged Irishman, is bending over the desk, signing letters.

Enter TSCD.

Careers Advisor (cheerfully): So you applied for that Senior House Officer (SHO) post in Critical care.

TSCD (cheerfully): Yes. I've been shortlisted for an interview this week. I can't believe they actually shortlisted me...I'm probably the least experienced person who applied.

CA: Yes, they usually like someone with more than a year's experience at SHO level, and you've only been an SHO for 5 months.

TSCD (stops smiling): That is true. That's why I'm very nervous.

CA: Oh, you don't need to be too nervous. I think you stand a good chance.

TSCD: (happy again) Really?

CA: The interviews are actually being held comparatively late in the year because of some screw-up over at medical staffing. This can only be to your advantage.

TSCD: Why is that?

CA: Well, because it's being held so late, all the really good, decent candidates will have been snatched away by other hospitals.

TSCD: ....

CA: So, it can only be good for you!

TSCD (bemused): Er...thanks.

Exit TSCD, stage left.


Int. Dark room with computer and dustbin. There is a window next to the computer.

Enter TSCD, shivering and looking sad. She is holding a used tissue paper which she tosses into the dustbin.

She turns on the computer and reads this poem.

She looks out of the window thoughtfully. She is no longer shivering.

(PS. Thanks, Gilbert. That was really kind of you.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Before my eyes

I am looking at the ground. The chill wind is blowing my hair around my face. Before my eyes, the brown leaves of the oak tree cover the grass.

I am thinking about the job interview that I will be attending later this week. I am thinking about the direction my career is taking - if it is going to go anywhere at all, if the hospital is where I am meant to be, if I will be able to continue my training. There are alot of unemployed junior doctors in the UK at the moment.

I am thinking about my parents back in Singapore and the red eyes of my mother behind the glass of the departure hall. I am thinking about my apartment here in the UK, so quiet, so cold. I am thinking about the singing of Christmas carols with my sister, only a few days ago.

I am thinking about how far away all my friends are - in Singapore or scattered around the UK. I am thinking about the isolation of winter.

Before my eyes, the brown oak leaves appear to disintegrate and dissolve, and I taste salt in my mouth.

When I was a teenager, my mind was clear and uncomplicated. Now, I find that thoughts crowd into my mind, jostling, filling up all the crannies.

I shut my eyes. Lord, grant me serenity.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Teary-eyed in the UK


I am back in the UK.

Just stepped in through the front door about 30 minutes ago.

MDH has gone to get some food from the fast food joint down the road (we emptied our larder before leaving for Singapore).

It is -4 degrees Celsius outside.

I am feeling miserably homesick.

I didn't realise how homesick I really was until I set foot in Changi Airport and felt the humid air enveloping me, a welcome home cuddle.

I wanna go home.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Starry-eyed in Singapore (II)

So far we have bought:

1. 2 pairs of black kitten-heeled shoes for work
2. 2 pairs of Converse sneakers
3. 1 pair of white trainers
4. 7 anime DVD boxsets
5. 1 gem-studded pendant
6. 3 new books (2 by Neil Gaiman!)
7. 2 bottles of cologne
8. 3 tee-shirts (1 of which says 'I like Singapore lah!')
9. 2 sundresses
10. 1 Playstation 2 game

I must say that we are being very restrained with our shopping. I haven't bought any bags or strappy sandals yet!

We have also accomplished the following:
1. Met up with 35 friends
2. Eaten 37 out of 40 items on our 'Must Eat' list
3. Been fashionably late for a wedding dinner
4. Blogged from the airport (I'm awaiting a flight to Phuket)
5. Been to the Singapore Zoo

Will hopefully update with pictures soon!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Starry-eyed in Singapore (I)

So, I've been back 2 days and I've already attended one wedding dinner and one hen party. I've kissed 3 newborn babies, 4 brides-to-be and 5 mums-to-be.

I've also got 5 mosquito bites. And I've already put on an extra pound of flesh - which is quite good going don't you think? I've had my hair trimmed and highlighted. I've had a manicure, a pedicure and a facial. I'm practically unrecognisable now.

I love being back at home.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I'm on vacation!


In 24 more hours, I will be back in Singapore, where there will be food, family, food, friends, food and also food. I can hardly wait. MDH and I have prepared a list of Must Eats for distribution to all our friends who are planning to take us out for breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, high tea, dinner and supper. Busy busy busy!

I am going to be So Fat at the end of this trip. My aim is to become completely spherical. This way, I will never need to walk again. MDH can prod me with a stick and I will roll around.


In our suitcase, we are carrying the following gifts:

1. 4 boxes of Waitrose Stollen Cake bites
2. 4 cartons of Tesco's Finest Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies
3. 5 packets of Thorntons Peppermint Creams
4. 3 little tins of Lush lip balm in a variety of flavours
5. 1 copy of the latest British National Formulary handbook (for my mate who is a pharmacist)
6. 2 glossy movie teaser posters
7. 2 blank wedding cards
8. 3 first day covers from different countries
9. 1 pair of dungarees from Next
10. 1 cloth bound journal from Paperchase

Santa Claus is coming to town, baby!


This blog will be updated, albeit sporadically, so do keep checking back.

Oh, and for all of my readers in Singapore, do wave at me if you see me. I will wave back. You'll recognise me by the tall, skinny caucasian that I usually wear on my arm. I will also be complaining loudly about the humidity and all my sentences will begin with "In England...".

Friday, December 02, 2005

2005 Medical Blog Awards

This kind person has nominated me for 'Best New Medical Weblog (established in 2005)' at the 2005 Medical Blog awards. Thanks angry doc!

The blog awards are being hosted at medGadget. Polls will be open from Tuesday, January 3, 2006 and will close at midnight on Sunday, January 15, 2005 (PST). Awards will be announced on Wednesday, January 25, 2006.

Do check out the nominations list - there are alot of really cool medical blogs on it.

And vote for me!
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