Tuesday, May 8

'Rural Week'

Last week, after what felt like quite a long Tuesday of normal classes, my whole year group at uni were put on buses (the 'little bus' and the 'big bus') and sent of on an ADVENTURE! We trundled off to Longford where we stopped and had dinner with 2 of the local GPs in the RSL. It was very sweet of them to have us, and they made an effort to get around and say hi to us all and do a little promo for the rural doctor life! Driving further on the buses at one point, there was this eerie mist lying over everything, and we could see only mistyness everywhere there was any light outside the windows!

Anyway by about 10:30pm we arrived at Camp Clayton where a couple of the GPs/Burnie clinical school folk met us, briefed us a little and so on. We got some really quite nice accommodation (admittedly girls was nicer than boys) with rooms with en suites under one roof with a little kitchen area and meals over at the main dining hall. The next 2 days were spent going over to Burnie and the clinical school there where we had some lectures and tutorials. Highlights included a tutorial with some 5th years on emergency medicine: acute severe asthma. This was good because it was interesting, and because we could answer nearly as many questions as the 5th years! We also enjoyed playing in the skills lab - they have a manikin that they program so we could listen to varying lung sounds, you can also take its blood pressure, ask if it has chest pain or intubate with varying degrees of swollen tongue! We had an industry visit to give us in idea of occupational health and safety - so now I know more about pyrethrum refining! We were also 'lucky' enough to be present when the prime minister of Australia came to give an announcement about some extra funding to mental health in the NW. This is good, although by the sounds of it, the North East and East of Tasmania may need it more... not sure whether they live in a marginal electorate though! But I was on the news (twice in 2 years worth of rural weeks!)

On the Thursday evening those of us who felt like it went into Devonport for a look around. Actually it was raining and we only got dropped off at a pub and stayed there except for the people who went to Spider Man 3 and then the pub. It was a pleasant evening - for my part I enjoyed chatting with people and returned home about 9:30. Others partied hard until the second bus left, and then by the sounds of it partied hard after they were back at camp. We'll just say, some weren't so keen on... anything the next day.

Friday was an even earlier start than the previous days - on the buses by 8 which was harsh considering I can usually manage to get up after that time - but we managed. We made it to Launceston where we had a couple more lectures, a tour of the hospital (and in my tour group's case, the nearby coffee shop - Aroma's, I can recommend it!) While I can't say I have a complete grip of what is where, the Launceston hospital seemed to have been planned a little better than the Royal here in Hobart which has wings all over the place and I never know how to get from where I am to where I should be! We had a session with a patient (mine only had 1 lung!) to practice some stuff we'd learned earlier on and with some patients in Burnie. A planned walk through the gorge was shortened to a stroll from the gate around and back to the Basin Cafe for a 'function'. Sadly we'd been told it would be open bar - but then they modified it to 'open bar at your expense'. None the less, there were plenty of nibbles and a glass of wine at my expense went down very nicely. From there we were billeted out - although many went to family, myself included. Jack, Ruth and I headed off to my grandparents house where we had a delicious meal (wishing we hadn't had quite so many nibbles!), watched some interesting footage of their last time working in Africa in about 1992. Papa also showed some impressive footage of a mega amount of pus from a guy with tropical pyomyositis... it kinda looked like cream. 3 Litres of cream from his back! Gross!! After keeping him up late talking about infectious diseases, Africa, and all sorts of other things we crashed - well and truly ready for sleep.

Another early morning and before we knew it we were up and off to Agfest (we had breakfast at that coffee shop again as my grandparents were off to a prayer breakfast early). I'd never actually been to Agfest - it was quite similar to what I'd expected in that there were lots of rurals, tractors, irrigaters, and all sorts of other stalls - from police, emergency services, mental health to food and dairy, animals and craft. I got a free eye scan from the optometrists association, a stress cow from the mental health association tent, an apple from the calvary hospital stall and glasses cleaner cloth from the other optometry stall. Oh and some pens!

Anyway, we made it home tired and happy after another rural week.

Now its back into uni and normal things. I had the second last 'Submerge' (Margate Church Youth Group) on Monday. Although there weren't masses of kids, it was good to have dinner and chat with them all. Tonight I had the 'handover' dinner for IMPACT - from the old committee to the new committee which includes me! It is a society that mainly does fundraising and awareness stuff for overseas medical work in developing countries. Should be a good group I reckon. And probably because this was the week I intended to start studying properly, I also have tomorrow and the next evening out! Tomorrow is Med Christian Group - a bunch of us who meet every 3 weeks for a meal and chat about stuff. I reckon we're a pretty diverse bunch but its good to have enough in common to share some of our thoughts and experience related to being up and coming medlets. Thursday I think I have hardly any classes which will be nice - am hoping to catch up with my aunt and plan some things for Mum and Hamish's wedding... maybe a surprise or two for it... just have to think of something good. Any ideas... give me a hoy! (But don't let them know!). And biblestudy on Thursday night... Good thing I like being busy!

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