07 January 2015

Guess Where I'd Like to Put it?

People often very reasonably ask me why I chose to work in Mental Health. This question used to annoy me, as I felt that there was a lack of empathy on their part, and ignorance about who then is responsible for providing support to people experiencing mental illness.

I guess that's my answer to that question- empathy and responsibility. Two things i'm pretty good at.

Over the last six months I've been assaulted twice by the same girl, been oggled at continuously by the males on the ward, and generally been subjected to a lot of abuse and yelling over things like takeaway food and cigarettes.
Not surprisingly I am beginning to become that reasonable person who asks me why I chose mental health.
There could be a number of explanations:

  1. I enjoy the punishment
  2. I have non-existent self-esteem
  3. I revel in the dizzying heights of power involved in my role (HA!)
  4. I use other people's problems as a distraction from my own
  5. I'm a sticky-beak and attracted to drama 
There could be an element of truth to each of these scenarios, unfortunately. 

Recently, one of the patients on my ward became upset as she had decided at the last minute that she wanted take-away food, after seeing someone else go and get some fries. 
Her and her nurse had earlier made eggs and bacon on toast, which is a not something she does everyday. She began wailing 'But I only knew I was hungry after I made the eggs!' After not getting the response she wanted she yelled 'Take ya damn pills and jam em' up ya ass!' To which I laughed and walked away, not even being able to muster a single fuck about her situation. 

I can't stop thinking about how much easier life would be if I had an office job, or if I got paid to do something fun and nice, like painting, massage or feeding tiny kittens. 
I know they say the grass is always greener, but a patch of grass that isn't dying or on fire would be nice for a change. 

08 May 2013


A giant squid has three hearts, blue blood (as their blood does not contain haemoglobin- the cell which pigments human blood red) and most interestingly, when giant squids mate, the male pierces the female’s tentacles numerous times with thin rod-like packages of sperm which inject under the surface. The clincher is that only she will decide whether to use this sperm or that of another friendly male squid. 
How she chooses is still unknown.
But it surely can’t be as complex and painstaking as it is with the human species. 

30 January 2013

China's Model Cities

Recently I went to China. I visited Hubei Province, where me and a group of nursing students stayed at Hubei's University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Wuhan, which is in Central China. We were there for a crash course in TCM practice's such as massage (painful but so worth it), acupuncture  tongue reading and pharmaceuticals.

Some of their names for diseases still haven't found an appropriate translation to English, as we found out with 'fat disease', 'cold disease' and 'clammy disease'. Or perhaps they just aren't as sensitive as we are in the West.

While travelling 9 hours on the bullet train from Wuhan to Shanghai, I eagerly pulled out my New Yorker magazine, having not found time to delve into the sacred pages that fill me with longing for New York and disdain for the small-townness of Melbourne. Anyway. The feature article covered  the bullet train rail disaster near Wenzhou on July 23rd 2011, detailing how the governments cover up of the accident in international media exposed the underlying corruption. Firstly, I thought, shit, this is probably the most inopportune time to read this. Secondly, though, what better time to read it whilst hurtling through the Chinese countryside at 200km/h and having extremely vivid visions of the horror that had occurred. I'm a sucker for punishment.

China is trying to expand and grow so quickly it can't keep up with the demand, so dodgy builders who have little or no experience are hired, they are using building materials that are far from safe form the structures of houses, roads and train lines. All this is very very scary considering the millions of people who use trains and roads throughout China. All this is due to an astounding amount of corruption at nearly every level of government, and the way projects are continually outsourced to different companies as a profit-making scheme, so much so that the original project managers have absolutely no idea who is actually running the site and how its being managed. Out of sight- out of mind, until shit gets real and hundreds of people die because Wang Fou didn't know how to wire the traffic lights properly that stops trains from colliding.

All these frightening building practices is seen in every fraction of Chinese industry. Yesterday in Guangzhou- a major IT and Business capital, a few building collapsed into a 'sink hole' that is believed to have been caused by subway construction underneath.

Hopefully this could serve as a wake up call, not just for the Chinese but also for its major international business partners. If they continue to build at the rate they are without the standards needed for safe and long-lasting infrastructure, a lot more than just a few buildings are going to disintegrate.
In the long run, it saves money to do things properly so there is no need have to rebuild piles of rubble because they didn't do it right the first time.

24 January 2013

A Sudden Gust of Wind

Life must involve a certain measure of dissatisfaction and surprise for it to move forward.

There are no rules.

17 February 2012

The Artist


28 September 2011

Nodding Dud at Errol Street

He had a very pungent odour. Something like a combination of B.O., cigarette smoke, piss, tomato sauce and salt & vinegar chips. A red smear on his mouth hinted at the possibility of a meat pie lunch.
He dashed of the tram at the corner of Errol St- a great achievement considering the presence of drug-induced narcolepsy.

19 September 2011

~~~ SNIPPETS ~~~

Love with the Bloated Buddha

Mother loved once.
On a warm summer night she ironed her work shirt in the living room just in her underwear. Richard was slouching on the sofa watching Four Corners, muttering every so often his discontent with the then immigration minister Amanda Vanstone. I observed this domestic scene with a sense of affection and surprise, as anything domestic involving a man was rare in our household, especially when it involved contentedness and calm. Knowing it was a fleeting moment, I ran upstairs and grabbed my Nikon SLR, snapping a few shots before Mother could realise and object. At the bottom of the stairs, both had seen me. Mum gave me an exhausted look while Richie laughed throatily, slapping the side of his belly which was constantly bloated due to Cystic Fibrosis. He lovingly called it his Buddha.
I laughed at Richie and Mum. Mum laughed at Ritchie, and Richie laughed at everything that needn’t be taken seriously.
He passed away almost four years ago.

The Kangaroo Factory

My first night in Australia was for a 11 year old typically spent eating Arnott’s chocolate chip cookies dipped in tea while watching Neighbours and Seinfeld. Moving to Melbourne from London, I was expecting Kangaroos and desert, even though I had familiarised myself with the Melbourne city grid which hung in our toilet. Melbourne was exactly what I thought suburban US would be like, with its wide streets, nature strips, gigantic malls, rubbish-free streets and a constant stream of soaps on TV.
I arrived as the last drabs of winter subsided somewhere into space.
Plants replaced concrete. Cars replaced walking people. Red Rooster replaced the local family-run Pakistani shop. Confusion replaced other confusion.
Summer came swiftly in 1998- so swiftly that on the first 40 degree day I was still wearing my school jumper. I sweated and became lethargic, but still refused to take off the jumper.
I was teased constantly, but kept the jumper on.
When I got home that day I wrenched off the jumper and sat messily on the couch, still panting from the walk and the heat. I didn’t care. At least I didn’t give in, I thought.