It's easy to forget how far I have come.

Uncategorized Jul 02, 2019

Today I had a medical student for both sessions of GP.

She’s ultra keen and it is fun to have her enthusiasm in the room.

Everything is new to her.

Everything interesting and fascinating.

It is the benefit of the beginner’s mind…

And I recognized myself as her back in 2000.

Except I wasn’t anywhere near as enthusiastic.

Some of the time I was barely keeping my eyes open.

This may have been through decreased sleep or through a particular sensitivity, I have to carbohydrates inducing sleep in me, especially if I was just passively watching.

One of the outcomes of these experiences has been to greatly value giving my medical students the opportunity at the earliest to start consulting.

As they quickly find out, there is a world of difference between watching a consult and doing a consult.

Suddenly, what was easy to watch become difficult to do.

One case today we examined the ear tympanic membranes.

The patient had a popping and crackling sensation in the left...

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Just… One more thing!

Uncategorized Jul 01, 2019

I finished up with Hamish at soccer this morning and had a phone call with Emma…

Could I pick up strawberries, passionfruit, and cream for the pavlova?

“Sure!” I said.

I went and got them, headed back home.

I walked into the kitchen and gave her the ingredients.

Oh… The dishwasher needs loading.

Can you do that too?

I jump in with Hamish and we load the dishwasher.

“Oh, actually, the pavlova isn’t enough” she said.

Can you cook a Tarte Tartin?

And you need to change your shorts, they are dirty.

And, the cream needs whipping… can you do that?

And, oh, one more thing… “I bought a new hammock kit for the cottage, can you put that up too?”

I said… “I’ll do the Tarte Tartin, cream and change my shorts…

But the hammock is going to have to wait. I won’t get that done in time”.

So I had another option.

Just say no to all of these requests.

Have a massive fight with Em.

And then deal...

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Inducing Sudden Onset Fortnite Withdrawal Syndrome.

Uncategorized Jul 01, 2019

Last night it ticked over to 9 PM.

Both boys were on Fortnite.

They had been playing from about 7, so a good 2 hours.

I went into FamilyZone and moved both devices onto “Sleep” mode…

Sam did ok with it…

Hamish, however, did not cope so well…

He had been sick for the previous 3 days and I did not give them any warning that Fortnite was about to stop.

I basically induced a rapid exit out of the game world, back into this reality.

He was not a happy camper.

Suddenly he was angry and distressed.

He was not happy about brushing his teeth.

He was not happy about going to bed.

Even once I got him into bed, he could not sleep.

He had his “angry breathing” going on.

I gave him a back rub.

Got him a glass of water.

I ended up jumping into bed to comfort him and at least 30 minutes of moderately challenging parenting later, he fell asleep…

I took from this that this could have been handled better.

I should have set the expectations at the...

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Dr Tom Podcast - Episode 7

Uncategorized Jun 29, 2019

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The Video Game Addict Returns.

Uncategorized Jun 29, 2019

So it started easily enough.

My son Hamish asked if he could put Clash Royale on my phone.

If you are not familiar with the game, you have to try to take out an opponent’s three towers by strategically choosing and placing different characters on the screen.

It has many, many variables, an upgrade system and I have already had problems with being addicted to it in the past.

I don’t remember choosing to open the game the first time.

I do remember when I got in, it had a whole host of bonuses and freebies…

Just what was required to restart my addiction.

And it kicked in quickly.

Pretty soon I was saying to myself “Ok, this is the last game”, only to find myself playing again.

Having been to this place many times before, I recognized the addiction.

And I knew the treatment.


Interestingly it has shown up at a period of high stress in my life…

And, it definitely gave me a distinct feeling of accomplishment.

Winning a battle.

Losing a battle...

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God Temperature.

Uncategorized Jun 29, 2019

This morning my alarm went off at 5 am.

And I found myself in bed with the bed temperature absolutely perfect.

I don’t know if you have had this experience, but it is where the bed enters the perfect feeling of warmth as if I was being cuddled by angels.

Outside of this experience was a cold house.

I live in a Queenslander house, so there are literally gaps in places in the floorboards where I can look down and see the ground below.

It is definitely not a sealed house.

So it is cold.

Not Melbourne or Tasmania cold, but still, it is cold.

So faced with this dilemma, I chose to meditate in bed.

Inhale love, exhale gratitude.

As you can imagine if you have done meditation, this leads me back into a dream/sleep state and finally, at 5.51am I managed to get myself out of bed.

Having “lost” 51 minutes of my morning I then proceeded to quickly step through the rest of routine…

An angry stack instead of a mega stack, a messenger text to my brother instead of a...

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Hamish Sick at Home.

Uncategorized Jun 27, 2019

Today Hamish is home with me.

He has been sick for about 36 hours.

He has symptoms of mild fever, sore throat, poor sleep, all being worse at night.

He has been seeking water, and panadol definitely makes it better.

The last time he was sick was roughly 2 years ago, and I consulted with him sitting in my GP room.

He did pretty well with a phone and a box of tissues and my patients actually seemed to appreciate meeting him and knowing I have kids.

But today, luckily, I can work from home and he is just sitting quietly watching people play games on youtube.

However, the question did come this from my wife…

Perhaps, if we had had an RDO for him last week, then he would not be sick.

Just taking some time out of school, even though he was not sick may have recharged his batteries and protected him against this illness.

We could have gone to the beach, explored the rock pools, had a picnic or hung out at home and done gardening…

It sounds like a pretty good day for my...

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The Rough Ride Home.

Uncategorized Jun 27, 2019

So tonight I got a text from my wife…

“You need to go pick up Hamish.

He’s resting on the floor of after-school care with a fever and headache.”

I got to school.

He was lying on the floor, still.

I asked if he wanted me to carry him… he said no.

I called out to Pippa… “let go, buddy… Hamish is sick, let's get home”

We walked to the car.

We all jumped in.

I started driving.

And then…

From the back seat, Pippa’s voice piped through…

“Daddy, I want to go to Woolworths”

I said… “No.”

“But Daddy, I want another furry toy animal for my bag.”

“No Pip. We are going home”

“But Daddy, I will be quick.”

“No Pippa, Hamish is sick, we are going home.”

And next…

It started.

Yes... The Banshee screams began.

High pitched, ear piercing and highly unpleasant.

On, and on, and on.

“Pippa, Hamish is sick… Have some...

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The Honey Thank You!

Uncategorized Jun 27, 2019

I walked into my room this morning and there was a gift on my desk.

It was a jar of honey.

I definitely appreciate it not being alcohol.

The honey was actually from the patient’s own beehive.

One of the benefits of living in the Byron Shire is that people are willing to make their own food—honey, kombucha, sauerkraut, jams…

The reason for the present is the patient had been facing a potential serious pathology and had an urgent scan done.

The result came back Friday and as soon as I had read it, and found it was benign—I jumped on the phone and called them.

They had an appointment for today.

So finding out that it was benign on Friday meant a lot to them.

It would have been a very long, stressful weekend while waiting.

I took from this experience that sometimes my choices make a big difference.

My choice to call straight away changed their weekend from a stressful wait to find out it was all ok, to one where they could relax.

As a doctor, there is a lot that...

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Dizzy in the Sauna!

Uncategorized Jun 27, 2019

I was excited to find that the hotel I was in last night had a sauna.

A rooftop one at that too!

GP Synergy chose the Mercure Hotel for the rural doctors flying in the for their supervisor's training day.

I had gone out to dinner with my sister Annabel and her husband Jaryd to Golden Century Chinese.

The food was excellent food and I had two Tsing Tao with Jaryd.

Coming back to the hotel, I decided I would check out the sauna.

We have one in Mullumbimby—Kiva Spa—but it been some months since I got to go there.

So, it was around 9 pm.

Luckily the sauna and pool area were open until midnight.

So I had a shower and jumped into the sauna.

It smelt like all saunas do—that pine tree smell of the wood.

I jumped up onto the high seat because I wanted to sweat!

But after about 5–6 minutes, I started to feel a little dizzy.

Nothing too severe, but it was definitely there.

Admittedly I have been pushing it pretty hard lately—flying to California for a workshop and...

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