Dichotomy of the hospital

I went from one spectrum of the hospital where everything was timely, urgent, and dangerous. I had patients dying and there was the constant anxiety that a patient could turn dangerous at any moment. Another MetCall, another Code blue, the ICU team come running. Is if my patient? Will they be okay? Patient’s are fighting for their lives, fighting for survival. We undertake surgery and give them dangerous medicines in order to make sure they are fine.

In the other end of the hospital, in stark contrast to what’s happening. The patients want to die, they do not to live, they refuse to take medicines to help them, they refuse to listen to anyone. They are a threat to themselves and to the staff. They would rather die than stay in the hospital for another day. Code grey-the security come running… a patient is aggressive and needs to be restrained…again.

In one hospital. There is the fight for life and also the fight for death.

A New Chapter- Mental Health

This was my first week in a Mental Health ward, this time as a clinical pharmacist. Honestly, don’t think I made as many interventions as I would have liked…I feel.. lost… in my old rotation , I got into a groove of checking for VTE prophylaxis, checking the antibiotics were appropriate, checking pain relief was appropriate, and that regular medication was started/stopped as appropriate…. then I go go mental health.. where bloods could be done monthly.. my longest stay patient has been there SIX years..😱😱😱 and I am unsure what my role is …. it’s very “What the consultant wants”… and reminds me of the old days where I would have a chat with the consultant regarding some questionable things 😅. Consultant isn’t always right…

I feel like I am surrounded by unknowns and that sort of builds up my anxiety of what I don’t know. The anxiety of being in another hospital and not knowing how they do things and their practices.. messes with my head 😭😭… it’s only week one, but everyday just feels that I am unproductive and everything takes a long time to get used to …😓😓😓 Planning go do some learning this weekend!

In addition to that, its so strange to be fully into mental health. In mg surgical rotation I got a small taste of mental health, but now it’s like really full on in your face mental health…😭😭 Another big learning curve is coming for me..

Mass Vaccination

I’ve been doing one shift a week on the weekends at the mass vaccination clinics that my work runs. It’s all about setting individual goals for myself and trying to draw up as many vials as I can within the 2 hours or so that I have until it’s time for a scheduled break. It’s been great being able to see so many people getting vaccinated! It makes me happy because our government has decided not to focus on number of cases but on the number of people who have had their first dose of cover vaccine. They want to aim for 70% of people having their first dose administered in the least. I am glad I am able to do my part in helping people get vaccinated and to help fight against Covid. Fingers crossed I will be able to cross the borders and help home to see my family again.

P.S Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers!

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

This week has been an incredibly hard one. Time after time new challenges are popping up and my reserve for dealing with them have become so low. My ability to problem solve and to manage my time has absolutely disappeared without a trace. Has it always been so hard? Are things always so tough to manage. Why do things never seem to go my way? I am so close to giving up, so close to throwing in the towel, so close to closing this chapter of my life. Can anyone give me a reason not to quit? Why am I even doing this to myself? There are so many questions I have, but no one can seem to provide me with any answers. Life wasn’t meant to be easy, if it is, then some thing has got to be wrong…

From a tired soul.

Taking time to appreciate the Sky

I left work only half an hour late today, for the first time since forever. I saw the sky still lit up so pretty. I was in awe. Was it always so pretty? I’ve been staying at work late into the night, so the sky always has been black and dark.

It’s funny how you dont notice the beauty that’s around you when all you can see, feel, and hear is the problems going in the world, in your own life, in health and work.

There’s gotta be more in life than work… but at the moment I feel I am becoming consumed and engrossed in just work. It was so unbearable today I developed a headache 😭😭😭

Assertiveness, efficiency, attention to detail, timelessness, safety, how can you do all of above and please everyone?😭

Being a Pharmacy Resident

Someone asked me today, is it worth becoming a pharmacy resident? Well here are some pros and cons.

Pros:

1. Your contract is usually longer than everyone else’s. A residency is usually two years long, so your contract is basically the same.

2. It looks good on your resume that you completed some sort of “qualification” during this time. It can detail that you are sort of well rounded in the different areas of pharmacy, for example we all do a stint in operational pharmacy, surgical, medical, and an elective rotation.

3. You are appointed an “official preceptor” whom you can ask for help whenever you need in each rotation. Usually it’s the same person that id your Team Leader.

4. You get to be involved in a lot more things whether you like it or not, for example you are part of committees, take it in turn to look after quality boards, conduct presentations and can put your hand up for extra training as a resident.

Cons:

1. People might talk behind your back or judge you for getting one of those ‘coveted residency’ positions as they are far fewer than the normal advertised contracted roles.

2. You have to conduct a research project AND it is basically all in your own time as well. So week nights, lunch breaks, weekends, any free time basically. I absolutely detest research after doing my honours project 😰😰😰.

3. The support that you thought you would get wasn’t actually as good as you thought it would be unfortunately.

4. There are so many extra things you have to do as an resident… as mentioned earlier, not only do you have to present in each rotation, you also have to participate in the committees, do assessments during work, get people to do surveys about you… Basically, a lot more on your plate than the average worker.

I am almost mid way through my residency, and in summary… despite stressing so much my hair falls out, I really did get an opportunity to learn so much while doing this residency. My eyes have been open to so many types of medicines and procedures I haven’t heard about before. In my old hospital, I asked so many times if I could learn clinical pharmacy and they always gave me the same excuses, your contract isn’t long enough to train you up. Etc, etc.

And that’s why I stayed back twice this week until 8pm doing ‘residency’ stuff.. since we are in lock down anyways, it didn’t really matter… it’s almodt like I locked myself down haha…

Melbourne Lockdown #5

Welp, I stopped reading the news for a few days and nekminit we are in lockdown again. It starts tonight at midnight and hopefully finishes this Tuesday.

It was bound to happen I guess due to the current outbreak in Sydney who is our neighbour 😅😅😅.

It is what it is I guess! I took this whole week off from playing badminton to rest my arm, which has become super sore from overuse at badminton. Post the Lockdown #4, I went straight back into playing my usual amount of Badminton… but I think that was way too much for me and the soreness never went away.

Now lockdown has fully taken away all my freedom! This kind of sucks as I have an accrued day off this Tuesday… but, it is what it is. I guess its time to knuckle down and work on my assessments and do some self study.

Will keep you updated how this lockdown goes 🙏🏻

Slow down

A patient of mine told me to, SLOW DOWN. My job gets repetitive after doing the classic antibiotic and pain killers talk for the 100th time during this rotation.

I haven’t realised that I have gone 100 miles per hour, until a person from a non-English speaking country told me to “SLOW DOWN”. And I stopped, I really do go TOO FAST. Maybe due to the workload, partly because I am an inpatient person. I always want to be fast, effective, and try to do everything. But, I realised, what is the point in doing all this? To achieve everything so soon… to work yourself into a sweat trying to bend your head over for someone who really doesn’t care?

My goal from now on, is to slow down, take a deep breath and ask myself, “Why am I rushing”? What for? Am I late? Then I should change my habits and start being early. Am I not going to get things done? Then maybe it’s time to ask for help or see what else can be streamlined, prioritised to be done later.

Life flies by, and then you realised you haven’t even stopped to smell the flower, enjoy the food, make some friendships. What happened to me that all I became was someone so focused on goals, achievements, and I slowly became someone without a soul, perhaps coming off rude, and a loner.

Bucket list for 2021

I have started reading a webtoon all about bucket lists…but I realised I never seem to keep track or remember what I put down…

So my list for the remainder of 2021 is to:

-Take classes to learn a new instrument! Recently I have taken an interest in the Japanese harp-like instrument, the koto…I have enquired about classes.

-Play a new sport! The only sports I play now is Badminton…and I guess when you are super comfortable with a sport, you might not want to try other sports.. well for me anyways. After asking my friends, I found out a colleague who plays table tennis and have contacts/places to play….

Work on my personality, in particular-to treat everyone like a friend. Not a close friend, but like a friend. A recent random encounter with a rude person, made me reflect on what kind of person I am and what others may perceive I am. But, like someone once said, you never know who you are being rude too.

Travel somewhere I’ve never been to before. This one, I kinda have done on my own to Phillip Island and hopefully I will make my way up to the snow this year??

Assertiveness. I am always saying yes, to the point I get angry and grumpy about it. I overthink too much about what others may think of me. I am going to practice saying no, and I’ll start with small steps and saying now to people wanting to steal my weekend shifts 😒😒😒…I need the money too!!!

Be a better friend to my existing friends. Being there for them, spending time to catch up with them, and overall just strengthening existing friendships. Both in Adelaide and Melbourne.

A decision on a house….!! By the end of this year …hoping to either.

1. Have a mortgage and living in a house/apartment in Melbourne / have saved up 100k by end of 2021 for a deposit

2. Investment property in Adelaide

3. Moved out to a bigger place that allows pets/own furniture

I think this is all that comes into mind at 11pm on a Weeknight. Have you made a bucketlist for yourself?

Working at Covid Vaccine Clinic

Today was my first shift at the covid vaccine clinic! My role was to support the people who were drawing up the doses from the multi dose vials for the Pfizer vaccine. I labelled up the syringes with their expiry dates which is calculated from when the syringe was taken out of the fridge. Each syringe can be kept out of the fridge for 6 hours at room temperature.

It was a bit mundane at times, but it helped having a nice team of people to chat to and having background music played by one of the pharmacy students.

It was really nice to do something different from my usual Monday to Friday job in the hospital where it is high stressed, fast moving, and stress+++. This job possibly could be done half a sleep, but it is still an important job to do.

They were very careful about exactly how many vials that were used and all vials and syringes had to be accounted for at the end of the day. It was amazing to see so many people turn up for vaccines, I reckon collectively we prepared and administered around 2000 covid vaccines today.

Today it was a day that nurses and pharmacists actually worked together to deliver another successful vaccine day.

An additional perk of working at the covid clinic was that they were well stocked with snacks, drinks, instant soups for us. There were single wrapped kitkats, biscuits, cheese, and I loved the little packs of fresh apple juice (just like the ones from the planes).

I am not sure when my next shift is, but I am looking forward to the free snacks 🤣and that i can do a job that doesn’t stress and age me too much, but still get good pay. 😌

All the Reminders of the Memories

Now that you are gone, all I have left is fragments of moments in times that are embedded into my memory.

There are so many triggers to the reminiscing that takes place.. It can be a smell, a song, an image, a place.. everything reminds me of you

It’s like the world doesn’t want me to forget you, but I NEED to forget you. How can I move on when I am constantly living in the past?

I hope these feelings of sadness will not last.

Did the bed always feel so cold? Was food always so tasteless? Was life always this mundane?

You lighted up my bleak world with colour, flashing lights, and bells… but now it is quiet once again.

I can only move on when I make fresh memories, try new places, meet more people.

Does a place exist where nothing reminds me of you?

Melbourne Lockdown 4.0

What can I say? We are pretty used to it now..LOCKDOWN

1. Roll out and clean the dusty yoga mat…it’s time for some YouTube work outd.

2. Stock up on essentials like toilet papers, frozen foods, snacks, and caffeine.

3. Start calling your family and catching up with friends online.

4. Start shopping online again because shops are closed.

5. Start typing into the blogs and online ventures once again.

6. Get really bored and find some interesting new hobby or side hustle to do.

7. Consider buying a pet or alternatively a plant.

8. Consider investing in more lounge wear as you spend so much time at home in your PJs.

9. Wallow in self pity for a while because you can’t travel.

10. Follow the news like a hawk to see what is happening with the lockdown and how many nee cases are there today?!?!?!?

Repeat all of the above again and again.

Catch 22 – Research Projects

When you start investigating and looking into doing research, unfortunately you will affect the circumstances that you are in.

Research has not been my strong point or forte unfortunately… I just get overwhelmed, bored, and tired of doing research. Unfortunately, as part of my residency position, I will have to complete a research project. Coming up with a project hasn’t been that difficult, but implementation and designing. Holy shit. So hard..🥲🥲🥲it’s almost been a year, yet I still haven’t been able to even start my project yet. Getting ethics has been a major road block… there are so many hurdles to jump through even before I can even go through to ethics… As a resident, my project has to go through the Education committee before going to the Research Committee, and then finally after they all disseminate my Research Expression of Interest.. then can finally go to the Ethics Committee 🥲🥲🥲🥲🥲🥲 just too hard if you ask me.

It sucks now.. the waiting game before starting the Research.. but I suppose in a years time… maybe I will be pretty happy with where I have ended up? Perhaps I would have finished/close to finishing my research project..

WHO KNOWS

Am I going to make a difference in the world? Maybe not?

I love my project… yet I also hate it with passion. How I long to be a normal employee without all the additional responsibilities, research, and expectations… Yet, I know this is a stepping stone for something greater. Something better. Who knows

Day 2 Post Pfizer Covid Vaccine

It’s been about 36 hours after I received my first dose of the Pfizer Covid Vaccine. I have to say, I felt fine right after it.. no anaphylaxis, no pain, all was well. But progressively through out the day, the pain in my left arm (where I got it done), became more and more noticeable. Throughout the day, I began feeling more tired than usual and I was getting some difficulties breathing/coughing. I mean, I do have to say I have asthma and Hayfever, but I am not sure if it was due to the vaccine.. but I did notice this.

12 hours post vaccine I was noticing I was incredibly sleepy, tired, and fatigued, but at night I had RSVP’ed to badminton so I forced myself to go exercise, but the pain in my left arm was intense. I got home and couldn’t do much more, everything felt so hard and difficult to do.

I eventually got ready for bed, and that’s when I noticed the pain of my left arm, I could not sleep on my left side at all due to the pain

24 hours post vaccination, I woke up with a massive headache, almost like I was hungover or something… the whole body lethargic feeling was incredibly strong. I contemplated whether or not I should go to work, I was worried about falling asleep at the wheel or making mistakes at work. I decided i would call in sick and also let them know I had just received my first dose of the covid vaccine.

I was given an informational leaflet by the vaccination staff which had a QR code in which I could record side effects from the vaccine. I recorded exactly what I have just typed out above and also stated what treatments I have used to help with the symptoms.

After resting in bed for most of the day, I am feeling slightly better. I am taking 2x paracetamol regularly to help with the pain, body aches, and fevers. I am trying to keep very hydrated and to eat healthy.

Fingers crossed the worst is over! I have been told if my symptoms persist till tomorrow, I may need a covid swab to ensure I haven’t been exposed to the virus…

Freedom

Freedom again.. so we finished our five day lock down on Thursday as promised by our prime minister. The taste of freedom is both exhilarating and also feels foreign, almost wrong… going in and out of lockdowns makes you feel on the edge… when will the next one be? Do you enjoy your freedom now and pay the consequences later? What if you go to a hotspot accidentally?

The constant anxiety of not knowing is both scary and yet exciting times to be in.

I wish I could be part of the Covid Vaccination team… but I am not sure.. I am still undergoing my residency training now and I am not sure how it would work..

I am glad that a vaccine is out, I wonder how the world is going to look like once we are vaccinated. Is social distancing here to stay?