Sunday, July 23, 2006

I was driving down the highway at 120km/hr at 5:50pm. It was nearing dusk. I turned around a bend and i saw this brilliant sunset facing me. So i had no choice but to get out of the car, run across the road to the nearby field, and take some pics.
Sometimes the scenery here is breathtaking.

Last week, one of the general surgeons took all of the students out on a houseboat for the weekend. It was a pretty relaxing 2 days- pity it was raining which tinted everything that miserable shade of grey. As we were chugging down the Murray River, we passed an flock of pelicans bobbing in the river. I've never seen so many pelicans before- so i took another picture. But sadly, the photo didn't do that moment justice.

Next week i might go gliding provided that the gliding club are flying and the weather is okay. It should be good! I wonder what it feels like to be in something in the sky with no motor?
Apparently the season to go gliding is during the summer, when there are warm currents which allow the glider to soar for hours. Perhaps if i make it through this time round, i'll come back when it's a bit warmer.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I was at a friend's place, ages ago, and somehow the topic of schizophrenia was brought up.... They were writing a play, and thought that it would be good to have a character with schizophrenia (amongst others) because they could do "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" type gags.
I was kinda indignant about their understanding of schizophrenia.. especially since it is common, often disabling, condition. And despite the movie "A Beautiful Mind", people still think that it is a problem of split personalities.

And today, we had a practice exam where we had to explain to someone about schizophrenia in 5 minutes. Everything that i knew about schizophrenia disappeared, and i stumbled (somewhat painfully) around during that 5 minutes wishing that the knowledge would appear just as it had disappeared. I ended up failing that part of the exam..
So i decided to type what i know about schizophrenia here. Hopefully now it will stick!

Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder which means that the person affected has disturbances in the way they think, speak and behave.
It is characterised by a number of different features, described as 'positive' or 'negative' symptoms:
Positive symptoms are: Delusions, Hallucinations (usually auditory), disorganised speech and behaviour.
Negative symptoms are: poverty of speech, flat facial expression, social withdrawl, flattened affect.
It is postulated that these symptoms are caused by an overload of dopamine (a neurotransmitter) in the brain.
It typically occurs in early adolescence, and affects males > females.

We dont' know really what causes schitzophrenia, but we do know that certain people are predisposed to it and certain triggers may push them over the edge. Eg, marijuana
Genetics may play a part in the predisposition of schizophrenia.

Treatment is by dopamine blocking agents- these are called anti-psychotics. They inhibit the activation of dopamine receptors. These drugs are fairly potent, but "Typical" antipsychoics have many side effects like Dystonia (muscle rigidity and spasm), Akathesia (motor restlessness) weight gain, Parkinsonian symptoms (Tremor, Rigidity, Akinesia/Bradykinesia, Postural insufficiency), muscarinic Receptor antagonism (dry mouth, dry eyes, urinary retension, constipation). "Atypical" antipsychotics have less side effects.

This is a common psychiatic disorder, with 1% of the population having schizophrenia. There are numerous social groups that are available to help those suffering from schizophrenia. Also, taking regular medication, avoiding stress, and specialist appointments with a psychiatrist and GP are recommended to help keep the schizophrenia under control and to help the person attain a normal life.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Thought of the day... It's amazing how many cookies you eat when they're sitting there in front of you. Even the hard, crumbly, stale ones. I managed to eat 4 so far. That's pretty good when you consider they're days old.

On the weekend, the other students and i are going on a houseboat trip with the general surgeon and his wife (who is also a doctor). It's either going to be really fun or really weird.
Possibly a little from column A and a little from column B.
And to make it worse, the weather is getting down to a cool daily maximum of 9 over Saturday. I'll bring some matches and marshmellows.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

This is my 100th post on this blog..
Can you believe it?!

It's raining outside.

This afternoon, I went and visited a little old Italian lady who lives just down the street. She was telling me how she has a new little black chicken running around her backyard.
"You seea-Julie, the lady who lives behind me, she had many chickens, lotsa chickens.. but after being in hospital for over 1 month, she couldn't look after the chickens no more.
So she sold them, but one of the chickens must have escaped because I got a little black chicken in me backyard see?"
She proceeded to tell me how the chicken is shy, and runs away when she gets the lawn cut, but always returns. And how the chicken sleeps underneath her window at night.
She then said that she would like to build a chicken pen, but she can't catch this chicken- although she has tried to catch it many times at night when it's sleeping.

Now, this lady lives by herself, and is blind. When she was telling me this story, with a great lot of hand waving, I almost burst myself laughing because I could just see her lying in wait for this black chicken at night.
But it's great- the chicken keeps her company... And she's the only one in her street with a pet chicken.