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...
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...
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...
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.
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.”
Yes... The Banshee screams began.
High pitched, ear piercing and highly unpleasant.
On, and on, and on.
“Pippa, Hamish is sick… Have some...
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...
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...
I came home last night to find my son Sam had gone ahead and cooked dinner.
In addition, I found out from my wife that he also vacuumed the house.
Now, this is unusual behavior for Sammy.
He certainly is not usually this helpful.
What was going on?
The great motivator of 11-year-old boys.
Sam was out to do whatever was required to make sure he got to play fortnight.
Cook dinner? Absolutely.
Vacuum the house? Yes, Ma’am.
Now, I am a video game addict so I get the desire…
I know most likely my boys have a similar genetic makeup—they are definitely got at least one copy of the MTHFR gene defect as I have both defective…
So in this context, his behavior was classic addict behavior.
“I will do what needs to be done to ensure I get my hit.”
And, 3 hours of the fortnight was certainly worth one spaghetti Bolanaise and 10 minutes of vacuuming…
The interesting question though is why did he do it?
And I can expand...
So I managed to disable my computer today.
Normally it is pretty good at most things, but today I wanted to start moving a number of large video files and the whole thing became unusable.
Now, this has some impact on me as I quickly discovered just how dependent I have become as a GP to work with my computer.
There is a definite symbiotic relationship between myself, the practice software and the websites I use that actually allow me to practice effectively.
No computer… No GP.
Well, not quite no GP, but certainly GP with serious limitations compared to usual.
Now the interesting thing is that I did it to myself.
By setting the computer to do all these big tasks in the background, it left zero function on the front end.
Not the smartest.
So as I was dealing with an overloaded computer and my mind started putting up other possible solutions.
My favorite… I need to get a new computer.
Clearly, this might be the most difficult, as it would involve seducing my practice...
Thursday morning presents some unusual challenges for my family as it is the only day with an early start for Sam.
Sam is in the senior band, playing Saxophone.
Wisely he has chosen the Alto, not the Tenor.
I chose the Tenor and it’s a lot more to carry.
Especially at 11years old…
So, at 7.07am this morning and Sam hops in the shower.
He is in there for 5, 6, 8, 11 minutes.
First up, we are on tank water, so while our tank is freaking massive (80K Litres)… It still can’t cope with everyone in the family having extended showers every day.
But more than this… the clock is ticking.
He is meant to be a band by 8 am to start.
The long shower meant we left our house at 7.57am.
It's a 12-minute drive.
Now if this was an unusual event I would be ok with it.
It's every bloody week.
So on the way through I start to ask him a few questions…
Why does he think this happens every week?
What is the impact on him of showing up late?
My patient today came in and said, “I want to give up smoking”.
He was smoking 20 a day.
He said he had tried everything…
…and the only success he’d had was not smoking for two weeks—after he broke three ribs.
Presumably, the pain was quite intense and filling his lungs with smoke was beyond his capacity to tolerate.
Nonetheless, he was back to smoking and so I suggested Champix.
I suggested nicotine patches.
He said I wish giving up ciggies was as easy as giving up a pot.
He had successfully done that 9 years ago.
But the ciggies had his balls.
He said he was just going to make a decision and he would quit.
But, if it was that easy…
Why hadn’t he done that already?
I asked him…
Why is it important for you to give up smoking?
Well, Doc…. Came the answer…
“I want to see my granddaughters 21st.”
“Or at least her 18th.”
“She is 3 right now.”
There was something...