Thursday, November 24, 2005

Sick Kids

Paediatrics: The discipline of medicine concerned with the treatment of children and infants suffering from illness.

Walking to my new attachment at the Temple Street Children's University Hospital in -1 degree weather is not much fun. My ears turn all red and tingly and my hands start to sting. Winter has begun in earnest and the trees are mostly bare save for a few resistant leaves (good on ye!).

The walk to the hospital takes me up Gardiner Street and into a few of the more underprivileged neighbourhoods in Dublin. As I walk through the streets I'm astounded to find remnants of architecture with actual historical significance. Outside a building site I noticed an old tower that looks like the sole remainder of a fortress wall, and around it had been built a small community playground and park. As I walk towards the hospital I can see the tower of a cathedral from a distance, the "temple" after which Temple Street had been named. The funny thing with that is that it used to be a nightclub, believe it or not. Yes, the church was one large nightclub that we used to frequent during my first two years here. It had hosted its fair share of high profile events such as MTV parties that brought some of the biggest acts in the Hip Hop/R&B world at the time right here to Dublin. The place was shut down two years ago after constant complaints from nearby residents and the hospital across the street about the noise levels and drunken buffoonery over the weekends. Now that I stand next to it on a weekday morning wearing a shirt, tie and sobriety, I actually appreciate the scale and beauty of the edifice. It's a shame that its been allowed to erode away the way it has. I hope they clean it up and re-open the place as a historical tourist attraction at some point.

The actual hospital is akin to a mouse maze. As I turn the corners of its corridors I find myself constantly expecting to run into a dead end and a piece of cheese. The original building is quite old, so the expansions over the years had been visibly arbitrary. One thing that struck me about it was the cheeriness of the floors, walls and ceilings. The colors are bright and breathtaking and the cartoon drawings all over the place fill you with a fuzzy sense of warmth. The fact that the Accident and Emergency waiting room is filled with benches that were propped up by massive wooden shoes brought a smile to my face. Here's an area of the hospital most commonly associated with acute illness and death and the walls are colored differently with drawings of flowers and teddies all over them. I know it makes sense for the kids, but wouldn't adult hospitals benefit from such a burst of cheer?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Absolute Pain

Just climbing out of the depths of despair at the moment, and what a plunge it has been. For the actions of 11 men in another continent to be able to inflict so much psychological damage on me is just unfair. You give it your all, you put your heart and soul into it. The team has always been a very important part of my life, but for the last two weeks it had become the center of my universe. I had dreams about it, I woke up sweating at night following a nightmare where we had conceded a goal.

The night before the game I actually had a dream where they scored first from a headed corner, but we equalized in bizzare fashion when our striker nicked the ball from the goalie on a goal kick (the one with the ball on the ground, where its not in play just yet) and I woke up before finding out whether it was disallowed or not. Sounds eerily familiar, doesn't it?

We deserved to lose that game because we didn't play well. Any beliefs that we may be able to complain and win a rematch for the disallowed goal are sadly misguided. We've had our (miraculously) large slice of luck against the Uzbeks, and we had to earn the result last night. We didn't.

Time to pick up the shattered pieces and move on with my life.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


So I went to this party tonight.. a celebration of this fine (questionable, that..) young man's 21st birthday at this bar across my apartment complex. It was an alright night, interspersed with a decent amount of C2H5OH and filled with people that I had no idea about. See, this fine young fella happens to be a good few years down the pecking order in medical school terms, so most of the "kids" there had a good number of semesters left until they reached their aspirations of becoming life saving physicians.

A friend of mine and I represented our class with a few others, and we had a good enough time except for the adulation you recieve on a night out on account of being a "final" Med. Now that's something I can do without. The only thing I've achieved is being a part of the graduating class of our medical school, and that is something that comes to many with time. When I'm a doctor and I've actually contributed to society, then come to me to gawk and gaze. Right now, just leave me alone. Even if you do happen to be a confused 17 year old in need of a person to look up to, trust me.. there are many better role models out there.

But I digress. The point of this post was to discuss the handicapped bathroom facilities. See, this is a nice bar that we went to, and (as a lot of venues do) it has its facilities positioned down a few flights of stairs in the basement. On the ground floor is the handicapped toilet- for obvious reasons- and it did indeed pose a tempting propostion for me tonight. What? not have to go downstairs to relieve my bladder? I'm in!

So I walked in and as many of you may have witnessed in many handicapped facilities, there was the usually array of handles and bars for those of us less fortunate to be able to hold on to when having to negotiate their way on to the toilet seat.

One thing that WAS missing, however, was adequate reflective surfaces. Sure, the toilet paper holder was chrome and so was the liquid soap dispenser, but there was no mirror. It made me think about whoever put this place together. Did they think that maybe the disabled among us had no need for one? Surely a long mirror could've been placed somewhere to accomodate those in a wheelchair and those who aren't?