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Saturday, April 22, 2006


Righty-oh, I'm off to Germany! See you in two weeks.

Friday, April 21, 2006


So, as you have probably gathered from my previous posts, MDH and I are going on vacation. To Germany! Hooray!

This vacation could not have come at a better time. I am really starting to feel the strain from all this fruitless job hunting, the eternal influx of thankless patients, the long, long, oh so long, erratic working hours and the tiresome (and possibly futile) exam revision.

I thought I was dealing with the pressure rather well, but then the nightmares began. A couple nights of unrefreshing sleep and I've been reduced to a slavering, growling, tetchy beast.

The last few weeks have been particularly bad for me. I seem to have misplaced my joy of working somewhere around the end of March. I am entertaining visions of early retirement from fulltime medical service. I want to say "Sod it with the lot of you I'm outta here", and then storm off down the corridor, white coat streaming behind me, throwing my pentorch and tongue depressors on the floor (or maybe at the head of the nearest manager). My thoughts are all in bold and in italics and LARGE CAPS and they are started to spill out of my head through my eyes in great wet rivers.

So I say again, this vacation could not have come at a better time. I need some fresh air, some time away from the smell of antiseptic, somewhere to clear my head so that I can get myself organised.

I need a reset button for my brain.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Time found

As it turns out, there was indeed time enough for homemade carrot soup for dinner. Thick, sweet carrot soup garnished with yogurt. Macaroni tossed in olive oil, herbs and a sprinkling of cheese. And a tasty soft roll, warmed by the heat of the stove.

MDH went out for a few minutes to post another batch of job application forms, neatly packed into brown envelopes and adorned with 1st class stamps, whilst I was stirring the soup with my handheld blender. He came back in shaking rain droplets out of his hair at me, whilst I tried to shield myself with a potlid.

Over dinner, we did not talk about our frustrations at work, we refused to discuss our fears about unemployment, we avoided uttering our concerns for the future. There was no time for that.

Instead, we nattered on about movies and books and pondered over the important questions in life: whose turn it was to bleach the loo and whether or not the fish would survive unfed for the 6 days that we will be spending gallivanting down the Romantic Road in Germany.

And later on that evening, Betty Crocker did stop by with a small batch of chocolate chip cookies.

There's always time for chocolate chip cookies.

Finding time

Morning egg
Originally uploaded by
Sunshine follows me.
The laundry lies on the bedroom floor, divided into little hillocks of dark colours, light colours, bright colours and no colours. The dishes sit unwashed in accusing stacks on the kitchen counter. The textbooks brood darkly on the desk, amongst a pile of bills-to-be-paid. The fish pout at me from within the depths of their bowl, waiting to be fed.

But there is still time for MDH to fry up eggs for breakfast and to sit together with a glass of sweet red grape juice in hand, laughing and planning our upcoming holiday in Germany.

Cupcake lunch
Originally uploaded by
Sunshine follows me.

There is also time to remember the recipe for the Mother-Outlaw's chocolate cupcakes. The milk, sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla, cocoa powder, chocolate drops are all remembered but I had to call the Mother-OutLaw before I remembered to add in the butter.

Butter is added and whisked in, and the cupcakes are cooled just in time for lunch.

And now, the bills are paid, the laundry is drying, the dishes are sparkling clean, the fish chase each other in a round, and I have closed the textbook on nephrology for the time being.

Time to sit with MDH on the carpet and watch him defeat monsters as the Prince of Persia.

Perhaps, later, if we have the time, there will be chocolate cookies from Betty Crocker, and carrot soup and buttered rolls and movies on DVD.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Spring fair

Fairgrounds afar
Originally uploaded by
Sunshine follows me.
It was still bright in the evening, and the air was cool with the scent of hyacinths in the air.

I had on a flowered dress and a denim jacket, and a bracelet that chimed with my every movement and it was too good an outfit to waste sitting at home all evening studying. So I smiled and smiled at MDH until he shut his textbook and then we were off, outside, with black boots on.

The nearest park is the Common. The common has tall trees for children to climb and grass for dogs to prance on and a lake for ducks and moorhens. In the evening, the common is filled birds and bats that flitter and titter, and swoop from drooping branches.

Loud music and flickering lights were across the water and we knew from painted signs that the fair had come to town for the easter weekend.

Fairground ride
Originally uploaded by
Sunshine follows me.

Drawn to the smell of buttered popcorn and sugary candy floss, we wandered across the mossy ground, and watched the children jumping in the inflatable castle and lining up for rides.

Grandparents strolled along, holding the hands of their chattering descendants, sticky with the remains of melted icecream, sticky with the residue of caramelised almonds, with the remains of candied apples.

The freckled young lads were throwing beanbags at cans, in exchange for cross-eyed stuffed animals, in exchange for the attention of young ladies who giggled and tossed their braids and rolled their eyes.

A young mother cursed loudly at a small child who had stumbled over into a pool, splattering mud.

A group of children walked by me, laughing and throwing grapes at each other, one of them drinking from a half empty bottle of bourbon.

A man shouted at his wife for dropping the paper tokens on the ground.

We looked at each other and shivered. It was time to go home.

Monday, April 17, 2006

To do nothing

So I took my camera with me on my long long train ride up north for another interview.
It was a lovely blue-skied day, and I yawned and blinked as I watched the sun rising over the station platform. My shoulders were aching, carrying my knapsack laden with forms, certificates and chocolate bars.

Finally, the train rumbled into the station, red and white striped on the outside and the inside smelling of coffee.

Across from me sat a brown-haired woman, reading from a large book that had "Open University" on the dust cover. She sipped slowly from a large can of Extra-Strong Lager. Sip. Sip. Sip. In 3 hours she had sipped through 6 cans of Extra-Strong Lager (purchased from the dining car of the train) and 3 bottles of Guinness (appeared from out of her handbag). It was only 9am by then.

There were tracks in the green fields where the tractors had trundled through. There were tracks in the trainyards where emptry carriages sat, yellow and uniform. There were tracks in my mind, my thoughts following them in a circle.

"Get it together. Get it together. Get it together."

I squeezed my eyes shut, and opened them and saw wagtails sitting and swinging on telephone wires, black-faced spring lambs prancing across a grassy knoll, an orange-jacketed man leaning on his broom and watching a squirrel, a group of candy coloured girls on candy coloured vespas, an old man sitting on a bench with his eyes shut, enjoying the sun.

The train pulled into my destination with a screech and a whistle. It was a ten minute walk to the hospital where I had my twenty minute interview and was back again on the train platform in less than an hour from my arrival.

An elderly man shifted in his seat, trying to get comfortable. He caught my eye and smiled. "The National Rail is supposed to have more money this year, but I never see it spent in this part of the country. This is like the land God forgot."

I watched as the train pulled away from the grey city, clouds gathering ominously over it. My mobile phone rang, and I listened as the medical staffing officer rabbitted on about "first reserve" and "sincere apologies".

The ride home was long and quiet.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

You're no superman

MDH staggers into the room where I am packing my bag for yet another long train journey (I'm scored another interview up north). He looks absolutely wretched.

TSCD: Are you alright?
MDH: Yeah yeah...just feeling a little queasy.
TSCD: A little queasy? You look like a dead fish!
MDH: (watery smile) Thanks a lot.
TSCD: Seriously. You going to work like that?
MDH: (watery smile) Yeah.
TSCD: You can't go to the hospital like that! The patients will run away.
MDH: They won't get far. (sweating profusely) Anyway, I can't call in sick. (swaying on feet) They're understaffed today. And I've got an appraisal. And I promised that I'd join the hospital football league!
TSCD: can't even stand up straight!
MDH: I feel fine! Fine, I tell you!

MDH's face suddenly turns a attractive shade of bilious green and he rushes into the toilet.

TSCD: (Peeking round the door) So...I'll call the hospital and tell them you're ill, shall I?
MDH: (retching)
TSCD: Okay then.


Note to self

Angry patients are not angry with you, they are angry with their pain.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Sweet surprises

Amber and Ivory
Originally uploaded by
Sunshine follows me.
One of the greatest skills in knowing how to be able to give presents. I find it easy to buy gifts for people on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries...but I often lack spontenaity in my gift-giving.

Fortunately, I am blessed with a husband who knows not only what sort of present to give, but also when to give it. And I must say his timing is impeccable.

When he surprised me with this delicate link bracelet with amber and ivory beads on a day when I was feeling particularly morose, I could do nothing else but smile and smile and smile. And then I smiled some more.

Isn't it lovely? MDH has got good taste in jewellery, has he not? It jangles and sparkles in the light and makes a pretty sound.

And I am reminded once again of the people who love me.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tuesday's child goes to Grand Rounds

Grand rounds this week are being held at UroStream - a very pink blog by a lovely female urologist (rare as hen's teeth, so they say).

My favourite submission to the grand round this week is this hilarious piece by Barbados Butterfly. Laugh away!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Unsuccessful again

It was a beautiful blue and orange day. The wind whistled through the windows as the train whipped by the checkerboard fields filled with bleating sheep and spring lambs.

The daffodils nodded with approval as I wandered through the city. Elderly couples strolled down the street with grandchildren in tow, chattering excitedly about their plans for the school holidays.

At the interview, they smiled at me with amusement whilst I waxed lyrical about the Beatles and Walking Through Storms With Heads Held High...

But there were twelve of us for one post, and I was (again) the youngest and least qualified.

Well, try, try again!
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