Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ladies & Gentlemen, Welcome to Singapore Airlines...

In a few hours, I will be off to Brunei by way of Singapore. I can't believe that I'm finally going! Going to Brunei for a rotation has been one of the attracting features of coming to UQ for medicine. From the students that have been this year and in years prior, they have all had a fantastic time both in and out of the hospital.

And in other news - I just bought a new digital camera! I will definitely be posting photos from my travels on here (and Facebook).

Alright, I've some last minute packing and to submit my orthopaedics assignment before I head out for dinner with some friends.

Over and out from Brisbane - next update: Singapore.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A few months gone in a blink of an eye...

Wow...I didn't realise that a few months have gone by since my last posting. Granted the advent of Facebook has taken up so much of my Internet time (damn Crackbook! DAMN YOU TO HELL!). Also, I'm not sure who reads this anymore...I'll give it a go.

The past few months have been a whirlwind. The last time I wrote, I was almost finished with the GP rotation, which ended on a good note. For the week's holiday, I went up to Rocky to visit Dave & Suz, and a few of us went camping at Carnarvon Gorge - absolutely stunning landscape in Central QLD (who would have thought?!).

I have recently finished the Medicine Rotation, which at UQ is probably considered the hardest rotation in years 3 & 4. It was probably the first time this year that I have felt "I'm in medical school". It was definitely a test of my clinical competence and confidence. It was also the first time that I felt that the amount of work that you put into it is proportional to the results at the end of the rotation. That said, I'm extremely pleased with my results. :)

Now, I'm doing my rural medicine rotation out in a small country town of Kingaroy, in the South Burnett Region of QLD. It's the largest town in the shire, consisting of 12,500 people. The orientation week was in Toowoomba and Leanne, Claire and I decided that Rural Orientation Week is going to a Party Week. We definitely held ourselves to that standard. :) Late nights and early mornings, infused vodkas and coke, "never-ever" and "cultural awarness", not to mention the "shank-a-thon", are all fond memories of the week. Even though my time out in Kingaroy has been extremely enjoyable, the things that dampen the mood are the assignments that we have been plagued with during this rotation. Journal of Achievements, Rural Health Project, written and oral presentations, Case Presentions and so on. It will all get done...eventually.

Apart from that, life is going well - the hospital has been keeping me busy (I will write more about some of the things that I've seen in the last few days), and also trying to plan for next year's elective and medical specialties. The University of Queensland SOM offers 4th year students to do a 2nd elective anywhere in the world and 8-week long medical specialties in one of their partner institutions around the world. A few friends and I are thinking of making the most of this 19-week sojourn. We are planning on going to Malta for the elective and doing some travelling in and around the Mediterranean and then going to Calgary for the med specialties to be in time for my dad's 60th birthday and to enjoy what Calgary has to offer during that time of year. It's been a nice distraction to organise things for next year, as opposed to sitting in front of the computer and putting together the Journal.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Another month...another update :)

So, it's almost the end of April (shit, how fast does time fly!)...and as per what my family/friends requested (shorter updates), here goes:

1. Medicine: Dramas, dramas and more dramas. That's what it's about at the moment. Mental Health ended on a very interesting note - and there are some remnants are still being discussed between the medical school and I. Nothing too problematic. Apart from that, I'm nearly coming to the end of the General Practice rotation. This rotation has been absolutely stellar! I never thought of becoming a GP but this rotation has put the idea into my head. I must admit that the type of practice that I am has influenced my interests in the field. I'm at a GP clinic (that has 5 GPs) that looks at all the 'typical' (if there is such a thing) presentations that people have, along with sexual health (one of the few places in Brisbane that does gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender health), travel medicine and the like. The idea of taking a sexual history in 1st and 2nd year was a bit uncomforting but now I've no issues in talking about erectile dysfunction, abnormal periods and discharge. This rotation has been the first rotation whereby I've been doing quite a number of procedures like taking bloods, giving immunisations, doing pap smears, genital swabs, doing ECG (EKG for those of you in North America), and other system investigations.

2. Facebook: has taken my world by storm! I cannot believe how addictive that Web site is. I find that it feeds the voyeur within all of us (you can't deny it). There have been a number of people that I've reconnected with and some new people that I've met through friends (ie, we had mutual friends but never really talked one-on-one). I told myself that I need to have a few facebook-free days but that hasn't happened since I signed up for it in mid-March.

3. Car: I bought a car! It's a 1999 Toyota Corolla 5-door manual hatchback. Yes, a manual (I've always driven an automatic). It's awesome. I will post photos of the me and the car in the next week or so. :)

4. Other things: things have been quite dull (minus the few house boilings and debauchery that I usually get myself into); there is the May Ball (THE formal highlight of the med social calendar - and this year's theme is "A Night in Havana". I left my Cuban outfit in the other suitcase - damn!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

An update for what?

I know that I've not been good about posting. It just seems that at the moment, things are a bit slow....but here goes.

1. Medicine - life in Mental Health rotation has been pretty good. The hours are quite light compared to my friends that are doing Medicine and Surgery. However, the content is quite intense. In the past 6 weeks, I am very glad that I'm not crazy. Also, the line between sanity and insanity is so fine and blurry; one can easily cross that line and not know it. My exams are coming up in about 1.5 weeks and there seems to be enough hours in a day to procrastinate. I just need to get my study schedule organised and go through the work. Also, I got my GP rotation placement organised. I will be going to a GP clinic that, amongst the other basic GP things, focuses on sexual health. Lately, I've been thinking about my time in Kenya and how I really enjoyed my time with ICROSS. It seems that it is shaping my decisions about what speciality/specialities I would like to do.

On the social side of med - there was Sports Day last week and I will be posting some photos from that day. Early start of drinking, running and being in the Queensland sun makes for a very interesting day. :)

2. NMUN - in a couple of weeks several thousand post-secondary students from all over the world will congregate in New York for this year's conference. This will be the first time since 2003 that I have not been associated with the conference. Some of my closest friends have been made through this and I'm quite sad that I won't be able to see them. Then again, all good things must come to an end (at some point). The politics of the conference are a pain in the ass and often does take away from the conference itself. However, the people that you meet keeps you going. Rabia: you know that you need to represent! And you'll have to send me photos of you in the sari. I'm sure that you will have looks that'll kill. :)

3. House/Car Hunting - this has been an ongoing process since me coming back to Brisbane. The rental market here is SHIT. Absolutely shit. Hopefully something will come through - well it has to as I really don't have a choice. As for looking for a car, I've become extremely hesistant and I don't know why. I guess it will be the biggest purchase that I've ever had to make and I want to make sure that it's going to be a good purchase.

4. Future trips - well, I've booked a ticket up to Rockhamptom to see some friends (namely Dave, Suz and Sarah K) in about 2.5 months. I'm also looking to go to Mongolia in June for a medical student conference (yeah, I sure do know how to pick the locations). Apart from that, there are a few other things that I might be planning but that's all is it - planning.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Some very overdue photos!

Here are some very overdue photos - these are photos from my brother and cousin's joint wedding receptions. I wasn't sure if I was going to put them up...but then I thought, "why the hell not!"

Here they are:
My brother, Mum, Dad & Me. In the past little while, there haven't been many opportunities that the 4 of us get together. When we do, it's picture-taking galore!

H & J! Cho chweet, vat a good looking couple.

This is Vinay and Bhavisha, my two cousins that are in Calgary. Vinay is in grade 9 and is constantly being faced with questions about what he is going to be doing with his life (apart from basketball that is). Bhavisha is finishing up Grade 12 and is hoping to become more sane than she usually is. She is hoping to become a doctor as well (what's with these smart people in the family?!). Can't wait to see you two at the end of the year!

These are Vinay and Bhavisha's parents. Vijaykaka (kaka meaning paternal uncle in Gujarati) stumbled across my blog and was wondering why there are no photos of him on it. Being someone that tries to cater most of the world, I thought that I'd put his photo up. :) Ashakaki (kaki meaning paternal uncle's wife) is like a 2nd mother to me. Always filled with encouraging and kind words, never letting you think that something is impossible, not to mention, her cooking is KICK ASS!

This is Kunjan and her husband Stewart. They both live in the UK as most of my cousins on my dad's side.

This is Minesh and Jigna. They are the kids of my dad's only sister. Minesh is working his way up (very quickly might I add) in real estate. Jigna is a resident surgeon and yes, she is single - but guys beware she wears the trousers in any relationship. She needs more of a 'wife' than a 'husband', someone to come home to, who will have dinner ready and clean and get the kids ready for things.

Here are Dipal and Kajal. Dipal is finishing up uni in Leicester and Kajal is a pharmacist at a major suburban hospital in Birmingham. Dipal, Kajal, Minesh, Jigna, and I spent the last few days in Sweden together. It was such a blast to hang out with my cousins. There is nothing like being a part of a big family. I am so greatful for having these wondeful people in my life. SHOUT TO Y'ALL!

This my dad's younger brother (Bharatkaka) and his wife. He used to live in Calgary but then moved to the UK after he got married. Chirag (the bloke on the left) is about to finish Sixth Form and Viraj is still in school.

This is Brij, his wife (Preetibhabhi) and Ron. These are my cousins that are also in the UK. Brij and Preetibhabhi got married in 2004 in India (I went to go to their wedding when I was living in Kenya). My heart is with these three for the time being. It was their dad (my dad's younger brother) that passed away at the end of the last year. I'm thinking of you all (hugs).

Now, for those cousins that haven't been included here, please don't think that I care for you less. I just didn't have good photos of you (and I'm all about making you all look good). :)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Photos, photos and more photos!

Okay, as promised here are some photos from the past few months. There were many more that I wanted to put up but I didn't want to drown you in them.

When I went to Calgary, my brother and one of my cousins (who is now living in Toronto) was visiting. It's always nice to see siblings again, always. The other two my left are Bhavisha and Vinay. I still can't believe that Bhavisha will be staring uni in September! Also, before leaving Calgary, I was able to see Vinay at his basketball game. I was amazed! He definitely has talent - then again, he is a Thankey afterall. :)

Here are some photos from South East Asia - starting with Laos:

This was our first day in Vientiane and we were sitting beside the Mighty Mekong drinking, what is probably the best beer I've had, Beerlao. For one bottle (the large one) was about $0.80 USD, not bad for when you need some beer.

This is the most treasured national monument in Laos - it contains a relic of Buddha (a portion of his clavicle)

This is me in Luang Prabang - the old capital of Laos. I'm on the highest point of the city, which also has a beautiful park devoted to Buddha's life and teachings. The river on the left is the Mighty Mekong and the smaller river on the right is the Nam Kang.

This was definitely one of the coolest Buddha statues that I saw. It was tucked away behind one of the temple and monestary complexes near the guesthouse that we were staying at.

This was the temple that belonged to the Royal Family whilst Luang Prabang was the capital of Laos. The entire city of LP is considered a World Heritage City, which means that there are massive efforts to preserve the existing structures and to prevent any development that would be out of sync with the rest of the city's ambiance.


Yes, this is a statue of Lenin in Hanoi. How the Vietnamese loved him. :)

This is the 2nd man that is most likely loved even more than Lenin - Ho Chi Minh. This was his 'final' place of rest. Even though, HCM wanted to be cremated. Alas, we were unable to see him because he was in Russia at the time. Every September - November, HCM goes to Moscow to get fixed up, as the embalming experts are there. HAHAHA.

Still in Hanoi, here's a photo of Claire with Bia Ha Noi. :) Not as good as Beerlao but still on the up and up.

This was a photo taken at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology (yes, that's the word). It's one of the houses of the ethic tribes within Vietnam.

This photo was taken on a restaurant boat in Hue en route to Hoi An. Once again, Claire testing the local beer. This time it's Bia BIVINA.

This is a photo of Claire, Diem, Annabelle, and Nabila in Hoi An. Diem is a very good friend of Lou's (and now ours!). She owns a cloth shop (amongst many others). Her family treated us like family - we enjoyed many meals, coffees, beers and conversations. Diem also made some clothes for us, which turned out to be absolutely fantastic!

Here's a photo of all of us. This was on our last night before we were heading south to Sai Gon by way of Nha Trang. She really did leave us with an indelible impression of Vietnam. If any of you are going, then get in touch with me. I can give you her contact details - she would love to meet you! (she's don't get any ideas)

Here's me in the famous "SAME SAME...BUT DIFFERENT" shirt. This was taken along waterfront in Hoi An. Typhoon LingLing (an offshoot of Typhoon Durian) was hitting the coast of Vietnam. At night, the blocks off the waterfront were completely flooded!


This is one of the main monuments at one of the Killing Fields just outside of Phnom Penh. It was such a somber experience. This temple houses over 8,000 skulls that were found in the immediate area. The majority of the surrounding area has yet to be excavated - you can only imagine how many more skeletal remains are present.

In Phnom Penh, we managed to meet up with Dave and Suz. We headed down to the Foreign Correspondence Club and enjoy very well made (and cheap) cocktails and drinks. We also were able to afford some nice Cubans!

This was taken outside the National Museum in PP. For those of you that can tell, it's Ganesh. Cambodia was ruled under a Hindu King from the 10th to 15th Century. Many of the folklore and mythology are borrowed from the Hindu pantheon. Even today, marriages, funerals, and births are done according to hindu customs.

Here's Annabelle and I sharing a moment at Elsewhere. This place had to have been the best bar/lounge I've been to in a very long time (including those in Australia). Such a chilled and relax environment, not to mention great drinks and fantastic company!

One cannot visit Cambodia and not see Angkor Wat. This photo was taken at sunset - but it just doesn't do it any justice. I've taken hundreds of photos of the different temples and ruins but I won't bore you with them all.

For those of you that are interested in real sets, then you will recognise this one. This is the tree that was filmed in Lara Craft: Tomb Raider. It was the scene where Angelina picks a jasmine flower, puts in her hair and then jumps into the hole.

T'was such a magical place...

This is considered to be the jewel of the crown for the Angkor complex. It was quite far away from the rest of the temple structures. Researchers and archeologists believe that this temple was carved by women, because of the intense level of detail and intricate work. This is also the only temple in the complex that is devoted to Shiva.

Here's a photo of me, Suz, Claire, Nabila, Annabelle, and Dave. It really was an awesome trip and I was so glad to have shared it with these people - some of my favourite people in the world. (Yeah, even you...)

Nabila, Claire and I thought that we would have a night on the town (Siem Reap) and we sure did! Here we are drinking out of a Mekong Bucket. What's in this thing? Half a bottle of Mekong Whisky, Vodka, Coke and Red Bull. Yeah...


This is a photo of the beach bungalow we stayed at whilst on the Thai island of Koh Chang.

Here am I, relaxing in the sun with a Cuba Libre whilst overlooking the was a fantastic day, not to mention, a fantastic trip. :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Welcome to Brunei

I found out yesterday that I got accepted to my Surgery rotation in Brunei! The University of Queensland has a clinical school out in Brunei, whereby a small number of selected students can do complete core rotations there. The rotations that can be carried out are: General Practice, Surgery, Medicine, Paediatrics, and Obstetrics & Gynaecology (the latter two can be done in 4th year).

This year my Surgery rotation will be from October 1st - November 23rd. Because of Ramadan, I will be going to Brunei two weeks after the onset of the rotation. The selected students that are going were told that during Ramadan there would be very limited exposure and things for us to do. So, the School of Medicine and the RIPAS (one of the two major hospitals in Brunei) have agreed for us to do the first two weeks in Brisbane and the last 6 in Brunei.

In years prior, students didn't always know the others that went. However, this year, some of my closest friends are going to Brunei with me! Pat, Lou, and Anna (three superstar girls from my study group last year) and two blokes - Matt and Cohen will be going as well! There are a few others that are going that I don't know but this will be an awesome time to get to know them.

There are plans in place to do some travelling after the rotation is finished. Knowing full well that I doubt that I would be in the region again, I would love to see the rest of Borneo, and maybe perhaps take a trip to Myanmar. I know that some people (you know who you are) are also interested. I reckon that for the time being it is too early to tell what the plans will be; here's to hoping for some interesting ones.

Apart from Brunei, things in Brisbane have been going well. The Mental Health rotation has been pretty cruisy in terms of the number of hours we are present on the wards (as compared to the hectic hours of those on Surgery and Medicine rotations). However, the stories and voices that I've heard from the patients have been bizarre and incredible. In fact, I've even had a little cry after a couple of patients - to hear such sorrow and abuse was mind blowing.

I can't believe that almost the 3rd week (out of 8) has almost passed. Only 5 more weeks till our exams. I can recall from last year that 5 weeks prior to the exam, I was already into the books like a fat kid on kit kat.