mardi 11 novembre 2008


Study break: a time to let the mind relax and recuperate from hours of mental exhaustion; or a night out involving Tanqueray mixes, friends, a birthday and getting home much later than expected.

In retrospect it was a damn good study break, although I was only going to stay out for an hour but in truth that was never going to happen. It’s interesting how I always find myself in a similar situation around exam time – each day goes by without really making much headway on the stack of notes I neatly categorized to study and then I find myself one day before the exam with a stack that looks pretty much the same size as the one I started out with. Well, I’m really grateful for short-term memory!

So with several Tanqueray cocktails taking their effect, a fascinating discussion arose: “why do women always do things in groups?” It is rather odd to depend on the company of others so much, I mean going to the bathroom, shopping, and then you invite one to a party and she brings 5 others. If a bunch of guys go to the bathroom together…ok I won’t go there. But with all this talk of equality and female independence – why is there a need for women to travel with an unswerving support group?

Ok, before I start sounding like a complete male chauvinist, I respect women completely and am in full support of female independence and equity in the workplace – but one has to agree that this is a strange phenomenon. So is it due to social induction during youth or is there some deeper underlying reason? I’m actually inclined to believe the latter; that it’s an enduring evolutionary trait: the evidence residing in the behaviour of other female mammals. So then is it a matter of security or a sense of safety in numbers? However all this theorizing still doesn’t explain the bathroom migration? I would love an alternative female perspective, other than it is a mere excuse to gossip.

On a random inclusion – the Tanqueray cocktails were fantastic! If one ever finds themselves at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, with nothing to do (which I’d find hard to believe) go to Alba Lounge and order a Tanqueray Sling – divine! There’s something about gin and cherries that is just so stimulating, although I’m a dedicated Tequila fan, I’m finding myself slowing persuaded to diversify. 

lundi 10 novembre 2008

Friends & Temptation

So where do friends come in? Society is abundant with temptation all around us some actually lead to really pleasurable results and others have nasty side-effects – but the one source of temptation that is the most difficult to ignore are friends. These beautifully and well-selected group of the human population are there when you need them; shoulders to cry on, relationship advice, gossip, party entourage etc…they really are multipurpose. So when your friends ask you to come out to a cocktail lounge for one of their birthdays 3 days before your final exams – you say YES…I mean no…well what do you say?

It’s one of those situations where if you do go, you’ll be a good friend and if you don’t go, you hope they’ll understand because you’re friends - but bearing in mind that this is now the third event I’ve missed and they’re probably wondering whether I’m still in the country?

To go or not to go?

dimanche 9 novembre 2008


You learn about how the body works? You learn about how to ‘save lives’? And on the weekends you have a social life? 

But the reality is that we’re all actually extremely complicated, even putting physiology and biochemistry aside momentarily, at any touch-and-go moment life and death and emotion can wage war on each other. However its not the fragility of life, nor the importance of doctors I wish to discuss - rather the insights that life within the world of medicine provides.

The commonest question that any medical student has probably been asked, is 'why did you decide to study medicine?' Its likely that someone out there has a really good and noble answer to this question but at the end of the day, when the coat and gloves come off, is it really what you signed up for? 

Of course it is!  Well maybe not everything - but as in life there are moments of love and hate, and the same can be said here. There are times when I really wish I had studied a business degree - like right now: 4 days until end of year exams with procrastination and stress levels at their highest! But there are also times when medicine can be the greatest experience in my life so far: with life being something worth doing, assisting in the delivery of life into this world is truly incredible! Birth is an extremely messy affair, but being the first person to make contact with such a fragile and delicate form of humanity (although really ugly, to which I'm sure the mother would disagree, but we're entitled to our opinion - cuteness arrives a few days later) is something I wouldn't trade. This year has truly been a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows - but life is a struggle from birth to death. 

So on a lighter topic, I just finished my psychiatry block which put some perspective on craziness - honestly though delusions and hallucinations are some pretty freaky stuff, especially when they involve things like people implanting cellphones in your head so that you can be tracked or hearing voices commanding you to dismember someone! I couldn't help but start feeling a little crazy after spending so much time with those suffering from episodes of acute psychoses - or begin to wonder why all the psychiatrists I've met so far are a little strange (I think the saying: "When in Rome..." comes to mind) but ultimately it led me to take a moment and introspect - the human psyche: an area of the mind that philosophers and psychologists have sought to explain but I feel is a little outside our grasp of understanding for the moment. Needless to say my moment of introspection led me to start looking at my life, culminating in a finger-to-keyboard effect...i.e. this blog.

(Image - Eagle Nebula M16: Star Birth Clouds, NASA)