The cranial arboretum

This blog entry was also going to be entitled “Some people are easy to please”.

Today it was a little chilly when I got up, and so I decided to wear my suit jacket to work.

No sooner had I walked onto the ward than people started looking at me funny and asking what the big occasion was, whether I had an interview, perhaps I had to give a talk, or attend a funeral?

I was only wearing a suit but for some reason people looked at me as though I had a tree growing out of the side of my head! Surely they cannot actually be that easy to impress?

For once I agree with Phil

It seems that you should never say never.

While I pretty much disagree with almost everything Philip Ruddock (Australian Attorney general) say and does (sometimes simply as a matter of principle), I actually agree with him on this one.

Essentially it ammounts to finally codifying fair use within Australian law, because currently it is technically illegal to copy CDs you own onto an iPod in order to listen to the songs, and other things of that nature.
If nothing else it nice to occasionally see the media consortiums not always getting entirely their own way.

Newbie consultant

I had this amusing situation the other day where we made a referral to a gastroenterologist, and when she came to see our patient it became rapidly obvious that she was only recently qualified as a consultant gastroenterologist.

Now this was not because she wasn’t good at her job, but rather because she kept on saying things like “Where do you keep your consent forms?” and “How do I pull up x-rays on the computers here?”.

Obviously she hadn’t quite switched from the role of registrar (where it would be reasonable to do that kind of thing yourself) to the role of consultant (where she should have just been getting me to do it for her)…

Biker contradiction

Has it ever occurred to you what a contradiction bikers are?

Their bikes are all clean and sparkley, while they themselves tend to be unshaven, unwashed, and generally rough.

Perhaps they spend so much time cleaning their bikes they don’t have time to clean themselves as well…

Why doctors hate hospital

There is a quite interesting article in the current Time magazine about Doctors’ experiences of the American health system from the recieving end, either as patients, or a patient’s relative.

It’s quite interesting, as many of the issues raised are the same that I suspect you would experience in Australian or New Zealand hospitals.

It is also interesting though, the startling differences in the way the American health system operates, and most of the differences cast a very very negative light on how the Americans do things. They think that limiting junior doctors to “only” working 80 hour weeks is reasonable and healthy for their professional development, and that junior doctors working with minimal supervision doesn’t adversely affect patient safety (one senior doctor comments in the article “The only thing wrong with 1 in 2 on call is that you miss 50% of the good cases”). It’s frankly terrifying, not to mention blindingly stupid when you consider not only the patient safety issues but also the social and psychological fallout of those practices on doctors lives and health.

There is however a good little sub section entitled “What makes a good patient?” which I think everyone should read. It uses the case of a patient with multiple chronic diseases and conditions, who is medically really difficult, but who listens, ask questions, looks things up, and has reasonable expectations.

A quote I love from the TV show House goes “There you are. The mystery of medicine. Everyone wants your opinion, but nobody wants to listen to what you have to say”. It unfortunately rather nicely sums up most of our interactions with patients, and so when you see on the ward a medically difficult patient who actually listens you know you’re going to have to work really hard, but that it’s going to be a satisfying effort, and one that will ultimately be beneficial for both parties. The doctor will feel satisfied because their efforts are appreciated, and subsequently they will go the extra mile for that patient. The patient will also feel greater satisfaction with the relationship because of the more personal interactions, and will probably ultimately get better medical care.

The fascade of culture

A few weeks ago while driving to work for an afternoon/evening shift I happened upon the ABC Classics radio station doing their countdown of Australia’s favorite 100 opera moments, and got kind of hooked.

(as an aside if you want to (re-) listen to it you can do so at

Subsequently I went out and bought the 8 CD Boxed set of the countdown, and have been gradually listening my way through bits and pieces of it. It is both quite nice music (by and large it seems to miss out on the harsh screeching soprano moments that I usually most dislike in opera) and makes me feel almost cultured (or somethings).

The morning music predicament

I keep on running into a little dilema.

I’m not the most motivated in the morning, and usual arrive in the hospital car park with 2 or 3 minutes to get up to the ward before start time.

Now the problem is that I listen to CDs or the radio as I drive to work, and I frequently find myself halfway through some really good song or other as I park the car. Now I know I should just jump out and go into work, but my brain keeps on saying “Oh go on. just stay till the end of the song”.

This of course sounds like a completely superficially reasonable proposition, but as previously mentioned I am already running almost late, and besides, what should I do if the next song is really good too. And if it only happened occasionally it’d maybe be OK, but it seems to happen all the time.

I suppose that the other Freudian conclusion to be drawn from this is that maybe I just like music more than I like work…

Cultivating my Evil side

Following my opera purchase today I spent a portion of this evening cultivating my Evil side

I sat at my oversized desk, in my swivelling chair, playing Evil Genius (one of my current favorite computer games, where you control minions, build secret lairs, comit acts of infamy across the globe, and plot to take over the world (it really is an awful lot of fun)), listening to opera playing loudly in the background, and stroking the cat who was sitting on my knee.

I half expected Sean Connery to bust into my study to try and stop me. 🙂