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...
I am back into General Practice after 10 days off.
The holiday itself was GREAT.
Coming back to work has been pretty good so far.
Yes! The wonderful backlog of results, tasks, letters, and faxes.
Ah, it might be 2019, but faxes are still definitely a thing in the medical world—although at least they now come through electronically…
So, the challenge is there is a lot of data to get through today.
And the temptation is to just click through, barely reading or half focusing on it.
The difficulty is that somewhere in one of the results, and it generally does not come with a great big red flashing light, is something important.
And if I miss that one…
It potentially causes me a lot of difficulties in the future…
What I am taking from all of this is, that even though it is repetitive and there is a lot of results to review—I still must do the work well.
By doing the work well now, I avoid...
I was transiting in Auckland Airport.
It had been an ok flight…
The next to me was empty but still LAX to Auckland is a long 12 hours and we got in around 7 am.
I disembarked and walked through Auckland airport.
It’s all very done up and fancy and really quite nice.
I went to the new “Homegrown” place—they were promoting their green smoothies although most people seemed to be ordering alcohol.
Disappointingly the green smoothie I had was not up to scratch…
There was a bunch of big chunks through it, suggesting it was quite a rarity for people to order smoothies for breakfast!
In fact, the gentlemen before me were quite happy ordering champagne and beer, even though it was breakfast time.
Now it’s important because no one blinks an eyelid at the airport, yet in any other situation, people would be questioning just when they should be checking in for AA.
But as long as it’s the...
A couple of years back my sister had come over and stayed for a couple of days.
This was many years ago and I was living with my girlfriend (now wife!!) Emma and we were big into cooking.
My sister knew this and went, ok, Tom would love a new cookbook.
So as a thank you, she gave me a Gordon Ramsay cookbook.
Now the food looked amazing in the pictures.
The difficulty was that the recipes were insanely hard.
Except one… the tomato soup.
I think I could cook the tomato soup but the others…
As far as I could tell you had to be a full blown chef to take them on.
Not just the techniques required either, although generally, I had no idea what many of them actually were.
But even at the ingredient level, the recipes all had ingredients that I had never even heard of, let alone knowing where to find or get them.
So, unfortunately, this recipe book has become a very nice looking picture book of food that I will likely never be able to cook.
The thing that I take from this...
I was at a conference for the last 3 days and this conference was a demanding experience.
It was run by Wake Up Warrior, who has a rather unusual but highly effective approach to learning.
There were lots of “out of my comfort zone work” to do—speaking, sharing, creating…
The general atmosphere was a mixture of intense focus with chunks of fear and fun…
I had already been struggling due to the difficult time zone difference—Huntington Beach is 7 hours ahead of Byron Bay and even though I did get to lie down on the plane, my sleep has been limited between the flight and the jet lag.
So, late into the afternoon, I was tired and hungry.
Not ridiculously hungry, but just from the amount of focus and attention that had to go into the workshop.
Then, from the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a hand holding a chocolate bar.
Now I am not normally a chocolate bar lover, but at this time this was like mana falling from Heaven.
And it was not just an...