Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Up Up and Away!

Took the plunge. Dealing with the fall-out. About to secure my freedom from the evil tentacled monster. Takes 12 steps, but I hit a brick wall at 8.

Took time off to recuperate and recover my energy. Now back from paradise, rejuvenated and ready to take on the beast again. All eyes on the prize, one more trip to deliver the coup de grace to that other beast in the west. Once that's done, its just a matter of time and protocol until the next step is reached.

Its scary and new, but isn't that just what makes it all so deliciously exciting?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Do Nots

Spurred on by my observations at work, I have come up with a list of things to avoid as a doctor in a hospital setting (especially for interns and medical students):

1. Don't wear jeans under your white coat. Its unprofessional, even though it may be more comfortable and convenient.

2. Don't roll up the sleeves of your white coat. You're not a butcher.

3. Don't wear a customised operating theatre cap. You only earn that once you're the boss.

4. Don't drape a stethoscope over your shoulders as a medical student when its clear that you have no idea what to do with it.

5. For the ladies - don't put on lots of makeup and perfume. Especially medical students. I don't worry about the interns, because after a few on-calls they spontaneously eliminate that aspect of their morning routine.

6. Interns - don't spend all day long socialising over cups of coffee. Yes, your existence here is trivial and your job mostly mindless and routine, but that doesn't mean you should be flaunting the fact that you have no work to do. That will just get you into trouble.

7. Do not write short, incomprehensible patient notes. You haven't earned that right just yet. Only the boss can write something he or she only understands and not be criticised for it. Because its HIS/HER patient, not yours you little scoundrel.

8. Don't show up later than your seniors. That may sound like common sense but surprisingly still occurs, requiring a prompt kick up the arse on morning rounds.

9. Do not forget to show the proper respect to anyone who is more senior than you, be it Doctor, Nurse or even orderly. They have been around for much longer than you have, and have seen many junior doctors come and go. You're nothing special.

10. Don't give up on medicine. Even though you may take a lot of abuse, the money and hours are not that great, and the perceived public worth of the physician is ever-diminishing; it can still be a very rewarding profession. Nothing is more fulfilling than helping another human being out when they need it the most. A lot of people go out of their way to do stuff like that for free out of their own time. You get paid to do it, so count yourself lucky.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Times they are a changin'

Major changes have recently occured in my life, both personally and professionally. We're approaching five years since the inception of this blog, and going back to read the posts from May '04 is quite the experience. I suppose its what diaries and journals are for, the chance to go back and read out your thoughts and ideas from another time. Kind of like mental time travel.

One thing is for sure, I am not who I was then. In fact, I am not who I was last year or the year before that. I may have some (we shed and create a lot of cells frequently) of the bodily composition of that person but we are definitely on different wavelengths.

This whole blogging business started off as a documentation of odd and quirky ideas I might have. I had a lot of time on my hands back then, hence the frequency of the posts. With time, the posts have decreased in number but have also slightly sharpened in focus. They may still be random and don't generally adhere to one unified theme, but this thing was meant to be disjointed and arbitrary anyway.

I know blogging has pretty much gone out of style these days, but I never meant for this to be stylish. The more I read my old posts, the more I believe that continuing to write here if only to be able to re-read it later is worthwhile. These next few lines (in no particular order) are for future perusing:

- United are in the Champions league final against Barcelona for a shot at retaining the cup. I believe we are going to win. Did we? I hope it was a good game.

- You've just moved out of home and are currently adjusting to having your own family. Its terrifying and exciting all at once. Having more or less settled now, you have found that through all of this you've discovered that you have an affinity for furniture shopping. Who would've thunk it.

- You're starting studying for your MRCS part B soon. The plan is to pass it first time. I hope that reading this in the future, you remember how it felt to be looking ahead to that. I also hope that you passed.

- You have accumulated a bit of debt, but are confident of repaying it all very soon. I hope that when you re-read this, it will have been replaced by a good amount of savings.

- You are still basking in the glory of having had the best wedding of all time.

- One and a half years in your current job and counting. Still on track with the initial estimate of two to three years in Bahrain followed by training abroad. So, how did that work out then?

- 1st on call, sleepless nights at the hospital working a 1 in 4 rota. Not so bad, considering what you've been through. I hope that when you read this you have had a hell of a lot more experience in operating and are no longer at junior level.

A few more personal things I could've documented here, but I'd rather leave them out of the public arena. Have to run now, but I hope that list makes for interesting reading at some point down the line.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Brighter Days Ahead

Tough times, these.
Resolution of conflicts on many fronts helps, but more is to come.
Once we've jetted off east things will really start looking up.
But until then: paint, parking, wood, tables, chairs, sardar, food, drink, lists, healthy doses of work and many more..
We're getting there.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I've always had a thing against Landon Donovan. The tag of "best US soccer player of his generation" rang a bit hollow when you looked at what he's achieved on a global scale. His two aborted attempts at Bayer Leverkusen in Germany really frustrated me.

You see, the guy has undeniable skill. He might not be considered world class per se, but he definitely is the best player in the MLS pre-Beckham by a country mile. If he had stuck with it and tried to develop himself in Europe at an earlier age, I believe he would've achieved much more and became a far better player than he is today.

What I find really irritating wasn't that he had tried to play at a club and failed, it was the manner of his failure. It wasn't based on not being good enough to get into the first team. It wasn't about a bad atmosphere or a league that was too difficult for him. It was his inability or unwillingness to experience life outside of the US. His first stint in Germany was at a very young age (16, I think), and he struggled to adapt to life in Europe and so he was allowed to go back on loan to the MLS until he matured enough to be able to handle the situation. In San Jose he prospered, and was consistently the best performer on a mediocre team. He publicly spoke about his nightmare in Germany and not being able to cope with the move away from the US.

Then came the second stint at the age of 23. Bayer Leverkusen wanted a player of his calibre back to contribute, and he was forced to leave the US again. Once again, he failed to adjust to his surroundings and a move back to the MLS and the LA Galaxy followed suit. I was really disappointed to hear about it at the time, since I thought that surely Germany cannot be THAT bad? And even if its not exactly where he'd like to live, it is more than simply a positive career step and going back the mediocrity of the MLS was the least ambitious thing I have ever heard of.

My friends struggled to see why I was so upset. Surely he had a right to choose where he wanted to live? My grief was in the fact that he was living my dream and making a mess of it. He had the talent to be a world class player, he was a professional footballer with everything he ever wanted.. and he couldn't leave the comfort zone of "America, the Best Place on Earth".

Landon came out recently and said that he is now dreaming of a move to Spain or England. He recognises that his game would improve drastically over in Europe, but he's unsure now whether any club would sign him after his antics in Germany. He's finally matured enough to think with a professional mindset.. but he's almost 27 now, and a lot of time was lost where he could've further honed his craft in more competitive surroundings.

As a person, I don't know Mr. Donovan and have little regard to how his life turns out to be. Its the concept that bothers me, the fact that his reluctance to put some pressure on himself to further improve on his God given talent stems from his inability to leave the US cocoon. When I first went to university, my roommate who hails from New York asked me why anyone would want to live anywhere but the United States. His lack of geographical orientation astounded me, and I wondered sometimes how many Americans can locate any given country on a map of Europe if presented with the challenge. I'm sure there are many worldly and knowledgable yanks, but the majority seem resistant to the fact that the world holds much more than just the 50 states. My roommate went on to developing a fondness for Europe and a willingness to travel around the world, despite his initial reluctance. It took him 6 years, but he came 'round in the end.. as did all the other Americans who I'm proud to say took a piece of Europe back home with them. May it extend to affect all of the people surrounding them.

So, Landon, I'm glad that you've finally had your moment of enlightenment. There's more out there than simply the good ol' US of A and the MLS. Time to see if firsthand.

Friday, August 22, 2008

"Lightning" Bolt

In spite of my love affair with most team and individual sports, I was never one to follow track and field with anything more than a passing interest in the latest world record. I must admit that the advent of the olympics didn't really strike much of a chord with me, especially after one of the best football tournaments ever in Euro 2008. How could you follow up all the drama of the beautiful game and hope to fill the void that exists after a major international tournament?

To me, the olympics has always been too many sports on at the same time, which is quite confusing and distracting. Things like swimming, sailing, shooting, gymnastics, tae kwon do, amateur boxing, fencing, track cycling, 20km walkathon, water polo, etc etc.. they just don't really resonate for some reason. Lack of globally identifiable athletes? Difficulty to "watch-in-passing" for people are not intimately familiar with the sport?

The first thing that captured my imagination was Micheal Phelps' 8 gold medals. I didn't really watch any of his events, aside from a replay of one of them, but to have lived in a time where such a record is broken was exciting stuff. The real kicker was the track and field, however. If you conjure up an image of the olympics, the first thing you'd think of besides the hoops logo and the flame would be an olympic stadium with a big track and large patch of grass (which would be awesome to play football on) in the middle. Athletics have always been the heart and soul of the games, and this year has been a special one.

Usain Bolt, fastest man in the world. His antics and showboating as infuriatingly endearing as anything you've ever seen. His run in the 100m was something else. To be so blase about it all and still manage to shred his own world record is something I will remember watching for the rest of my life. I've never set a reminder to watch a track and field event in the past, but after that race I had to see if he can do it in the 200m. The fact that he did was almost expected but just as exciting. The cool thing was that he busted a nut this time around. Micheal Johnson is known as Superman, and its for good reason that his record stood for 12 years. Bolt really pushed himself for that one, and its going to be interesting to see how much further he can take it, being so young and all. The theory goes that he'll try to incrimentally better his world record to keep the money and the interest rolling (a la Sergey Bubka), but I don't know if its humanly possible to do better with the 200m. Although there had been some headwind that night, so you never know.

I've now developed a routine of watching the olympics coverage at lunch and after work (government working hours, 7-2), and I must say that its really introduced me to something new. I can't say that I'll now start following all the other events like the world championships and the commonwealth games, because only the olympics can give you this feeling. I am, however, much more interested in London 2012 than I was two weeks ago!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Good Point

Having a terrible morning all round today. Overworked and undervalued, I was sitting in the clinic and I locked myself in the room for half an hour to clear my thoughts before seeing any patients.

After taking some time to mull things over, the door was opened and the good doctor was ready to heal the world once again. A little scrub of a kid, around 12 years of age, was the first in along with his personal driver/bodyguard. The family name on his medical records explained the situation to me, and so I sat him down to see how I could be of assistance.

Turns out he had a soft tissue injury, nothing more, and was quite pleased to get the rest of the day off because of attending our clinic this morning. I asked him where he studied and, of course, it turns out to be at my old stomping grounds of days past. I told him as much and he retorted with quite an interesting comment:

"Really? You graduated from there?"
"Yup. Class of 2000."
"Cool. So.. why are you here?"
"Well, how do you mean?"
"You know. Why are you working here as a doctor? Why not somewhere else as a businessman or something?"

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Screaming Eagles

Happy birthday blog and whatnot. 4 years now since this all started, and this is my 101st post. Been a while since the last one but I guess work and life caught up with me and the interest in blogging had started to wane a bit.

Blogging.. so two years ago? I don't know, it's difficult to sustain a reasonable audience if you don't give them frequent reading material. And then you're back to square one, typing up stuff to post it where no one would read it. I'm sure there's a few of you still out there who log on here every once in a while. I just hope my recent hiatus hasn't scared the rest of you off.

Was going to rant on about a few things. Mainly about disrespect to red traffic lights as well as assorted misgivings about the current shape of Bahraini society. I'm stuck at work, however, and methinks that some sleep now in anticipation of a possibly busy night would aid me greatly in surviving the work week ahead.

Oh well, here's to passing the 100 mark. Will try to keep it up for as long as I can, I suppose.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Fun Times

Me: So.. what happened?
Dude: We were playing.
Me: What game exactly?
Dude: I told my cousin he couldn't do it, he said he could.. then he did.
Me: I see. And where is he right now?
Dude: Outside in the waiting room.
Me: Right.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Been back in Bahrain for a while now, just started working. Feels good to be doktoring around after a long layoff, but the routine of having to wake up in the mornings again will need some getting used to. Adjusted to living here by now, so I guess Ireland is mostly out of my system at this point. There are some things you have to accept as they are around these parts, even though they could do with some (read: a lot of) improvement.

Was driving on the highway the other day and something peculiar happened to me. Not just once, but three times within the span of two weeks. I would be driving at a reasonable speed (about 110 km/hr) in the fast lane and a speed demon would show up behind me, all guns blazing. In most cases I would move over to the right and allow him/her (because women are just as bad these days) to pass. In all three cases there were cars in the middle lane and so I had to carry on until I got a chance to switch lanes. Instead of being polite enough to wait until I moved over, the drivers in this case would accelerate and overtake me on the hard shoulder, squeezing between my car and the barrier to the left at around 160km/hr. I could not believe what I was seeing. Speeding and high-risk driving are common enough, but this is just suicidial. Needless to say, it brought out a bit of road rage and I guess honking the horn and flashing my headlights were the most I could do in my frustration at those fucking idiots.

This ties into another phenomenon I have been witnessing. At times during the night, around 11pm and onwards, people would choose to ignore red lights located around the kingdom. They would slow down, see that the intersection was not busy, and would just drive off like nothing happened. It drives me insane seeing this, and even though they might justify it by saying that they've slowed down and saw no other cars coming.. there simply is no jusitfication.

All of these things, aside from demonstrating that a large proportion of bahrainis have completely lost any iota of driving etiquette left within them, is showing us the unfortunate mentality that most of them live with. This idea that they are in some way superior to those around them, that their time is worth more and that they can bend or break the law according to their wishes is simply laughable. No one is above the law, and I don't care how busy or in a rush you are, endangering other people's lives in such a flippant fashion is simply unacceptable. You almost wish you could say this to their faces, but something tells me that anyone who would do something like that without feeling any remorse is not worth talking to in the first place. Why have we turned into such a materialistic, consumerist society that is defined by the selfishness of the individual and not the love of the collective? Everyone is so concerned with how to progress themselves that they are openly willing to step (and shit) on eveyone else's heads. It a terribly sad state of affairs to find ourselves in, and I hope that something drastic happens in the near future so that we may shake off this frankly primitive way of living.