How long ago did I do the HSC?
That’s 16 years of dreams that state they didn’t mark the HSC properly and we’d have to do it all over again.
Then I wake up. And I’ve done a degree. I’m at the top of my nursing pay grade.
So what’s happening?
2. Who gives a fuck? ￼
The answer is indubitably, 2.
Whooooooooooooooo gives a fuck?
Apparently people I went to school with. Fuck that sky high.
As far as I’m concerned, I graduated from school/class clown to the one and only badass bitch ward clown.
I am the queen of my ward. The ward clown. But I am also that badass bitch that consultants remember and consult ME about patients on a daily basis.
Why? I am honest. I don’t fuck around. I communicate. I am not afraid of being a patient advocate and I will speak my mind.
I’m not asking people to be the class or ward clown, but I suggest that when people say, “you’ll never amount to anything,” meet them with a smile in 10 years and say, “bitch, you’re still a SUBSTITUTE maths teacher and I do…” In my case, I save lives.
That patient over there: BP over nothing, heart racing, temp skyrocketing. She’s septic. Call the code. Get the IVABs onboard. Get the cultures done. Cannulate that queen.
Whatever you can do to achieve autonomy in nursing is key. Tachy? Do a manual PR and ECG before the doctor arrives.
Do what you can within your scope of practice before you call the damn thing. Your registrars will salute you.
Could I have done medicine? Yep.
Did I wanna? Nope.
Rest in peace, Elizabeth II
No matter where you reside in our Commonwealth, we thank Elizabeth II for her service and her loyalty for over 70 years.
Thank you for being our Queen. Thank you for leading the Church of England. Thank you for being a fair and thoughtful ruler.
Your majesty, it has been an honour.
“I am proud indeed to be at the head of a nation that has achieved so much.” Elizabeth II, 1954
“Whatever the future may bring, my lasting respect and deep affection for Australia and Australians everywhere will remain as strong as ever” Elizabeth II, 2000
General Medicine, Oncology & Palliative Care
General Medicine – my forte
Oncology – oh dear, the big C.
Palliative Care – “Pally C” referred to a colleague I worked with during my new graduate year in 2014.
“Palliative care is person and family-centred care provided for a person with an active, progressive, advanced disease, who has little or no prospect of cure and who is expected to die, and for whom the primary goal is to optimise the quality of life.”
I’ve talked frequently with the wonderful PALC specialist nurses on my wards (CNCs) about palliative care and the role they play in an individual’s experience. The first and foremost thing they feel is necessary to address: palliative care is not a death wish, it’s not always imminent. It’s more of – I guess, a way to plan for future events, precede future events, and ultimately, inform patients and families about choices, ways of living, ideas on how to get home for a terminal experience, humanity and care.
Sometimes we aren’t able to get our patients home and sometimes they don’t want to die at home. There is a lot of understandable anxiety surrounding death.
I had a patient ask me today what to expect… He didn’t elaborate on what he meant by “what should I expect?” I answered honestly, “you will probably lose interest in eating, you might feel increased pain but we have pain relief and other medicines ready for you. You might feel tired or agitated. We will make sure you are comfortable and maintain your dignity whilst we also care for your loved ones.” Shortly after this, he fell into a deep sleep. The doctors told me given his infective pericardial effusion and metastatic cancer diagnosis, that he’d probably pass tonight.
Whether he does or he does not pass tonight is irrelevant to us as healthcare providers. The goal is always the same. Treat people with dignity, acknowledge a life lived, acknowledge a person loved; take care of their loved ones even if to make a cup of tea; after all, it is as much a privilege of bringing life into the world as it is farewelling someone leaving the world.
Be kind, for everyone you know is fighting a hard battle.
My friend, Morris.
I work in a dynamic and ever evolving hospital. That doesn’t mean that people aren’t taken notice of.
My friend, Morris is a wardsman at my hospital. But more than that, Morris is a big personality and is someone everyone knows, loves and trusts. Morris helps run our hospital. The old “hey it’s Morris!” Response when you ring the wardie phone is etched in my mind. The “ok mate I’ll be 5 mins” is also in there.
So, one of my best friends, Morris, had a motorbike accident on 31/10 and sustained a life threatening head injury.
At first when I was told he had an accident, I thought it was minor and I sent him a chastising message asking what the fuck he had done.
I talked to some of the other wardies who said he was in Neuro ICU at a huge hospital in Sydney. My heart sank. No wonder no reply.
I was walking my dog on our regular route one day and started sobbing. Uncontrollably. I tried to stop but I couldn’t. A man walking next to me asked if I was OK? And I just said, “I don’t know! My friend is very sick in hospital”. He offered me his best wishes but understood I needed to finish my walk alone.
We made a bunch of videos for him telling him how much we loved him and missed him. After each video on my ward we’d collapse into each others arms in tears. It’s an understatement how much Morris means to us. We wrote cards his Mumma and girlfriend read to him.
When his mum got the videos, she played them for him and tears dropped from his eyes, she said.
Morris is the type of guy who finds a fold out chair for you when there’s none available in the hospital knowing that whoever is using it is using it to be with their loved one during their last hours on earth.
He’s the type of guy to drop everything and come and help during a code blue, code black or whenever you just need him.
Literally everyone in the hospital knows him. Doctors, nurses, management and we all love him.
Morris is the type of guy who would triple glove, mask, glasses, gown up for a wee pad change.
Morris is the only person in the world after I was busting to go to the toilet after a morgue run, would be able to lock me in the viewing room and whisper through the door, “Edwinaaaaaaaa joiiiinnnnn usssss” with his cheeky giggle and immediately opening the door for me to come out and slap him on the arm for being such an arsehole.
Morris is the type of guy to meet up after a shitty shift and sit in his car, share a ciggie and just chat about life and problems and what our shifts have been like.
Morris is missed, so much. I miss you. I miss our friendship. Can’t wait to squeeze your hand and tell you how much I love you.
I know it’s a long road to recovery but you know we’ve got your back bruzzie.
We love and miss you.
If you have the means to do so, get vaccinated.
As a healthcare worker I am bound to my vaccination record. If you’re an anti-vaxxer, do you take umbrage if I who might end up looking after you am fully vaccinated?
Food for thought.
Disinformation is deadly. Vaccines save lives.
So, I don’t really expect this post to reach anybody really but I have this internal rage within me I NEED to let out.
If you don’t know me, I’m a 32 year old Oncology and General Medical Nurse based in NSW, Australia.
If you didn’t know, as of July 30th 2021, Sydney/ Greater Sydney is slated for 4 more weeks of lockdown because of COVID. We have already been in lockdown for 5 weeks secondary to the Delta strain resurgence of COVID-19. I hope I look back on this post in years to come and although I don’t think I’ll remember it fondly, I will remember how bloody hard and emotionally disabling it was. I also note that I have also received 2/2 AstraZeneca vaccinations personally. I have also encouraged my family to be vaccinated and 3/4 of my immediate family group including myself have received the AstraZeneca vaccines to negligible side effects. At the time of writing this post, my sister-in-law is 7 months pregnant with my Niece and along with my father, (a Dentist) they have both received the Pfizer vaccine due to specific circumstances.
As a nurse who works on a ward with numerous immunocompromised patients, palliative patients and generally “sicky sick” patients, I am distraught. I am angry and I am at my wits end.
Every single day at 1100 we get an update from our undoubtedly exhausted and unfathomably un-exasperated NSW Premier telling us in exact order:
1. How many COVID tests were undertaken in the state until 2000 the night before
2. How many COVID Positive cases there were in that time
3. How many COVID Positive cases were active in the community in that time
4. How she reiterated the need for people to STAY AT HOME
Now I have a supportive family. Undoubtedly I do. I find it hard to share the immensely sad things I watch/see at work and did so regardless of the global pandemic.
Our hospital is on complete lockdown. That means NO visitors with exemptions for several types of patients: birthing mothers are allowed their partner or 1 nominated visitor to help them, terminally ill patients and exemptions deemed necessary by medical/surgical staff regarding extremely high risk patients (and at their discretion). Our hospital is more than happy to accommodate these exemptions, I might add.
SO: due to the nature of my ward we have multiple patients with multiple exemptions. I am not upset because of that. I am upset at the flagrant disregard some individuals in greater Sydney have continually shown over the past 5 weeks of lockdown.
I work in an environment where unfortunately, more often than not, our cancer patients do not survive their sometimes long and difficult battles. I am and have been accustomed over the past several years to meeting patients and following their cancer journeys and almost 9 times out of 10 whether it be at our hospital or within a palliative care facility, our patients do not make it. I think that, to this day of working almost 3 years in oncology, I’ve seen 1 patient in remission and awestruck when I met with her, she thanked us for our unwavering support and care and attributed us to helping her get through the toughest fight of her life. Unfortunately though, that leaves 9/10 patients we share a cancer journey with on our ward ends up losing their battle.
Losing a patient is NEVER easy. They have often fought the hard fight and you have been with them, fighting a different battle – losing them. You will become attached to some patients, aware of others on the ward and no matter if you didn’t have them as your patient, you will feel a pang of sadness when you arrive to work and find out they had lost their fight. I maintain that if you don’t feel anything when you lose someone, you shouldn’t be working in this field.
During lockdown, unfortunately, we have had to restrict visitors on our ward. If the patient is not actively dying in most cases, they are not allowed visitors. This acutely effects our patients and burdens us as care givers as we are often fraught with anxious relatives asking for updates/reports/news from us at all hours of the day – which, if it were my loved one, I’d be asking for too.
I have felt more acutely aware and even more scared of the COVID pandemic this wave than I even did last year – and that is saying something.
SO. If anyone at all reads my post, PLEASE – for us, for someone that could be your loved one, for those who are losing their battle, fighting a battle, for those who are immunocompromised and critically ill, for us as frontline workers – please, please, PLEASE stay at home. It isn’t fair, I know. Our lives are permanently scarred from COVID and I am uncertain if our old way of life will ever return 100% to the old times. I just know how tough it is looking after vulnerable patients who heartbreakingly you sometimes have to explain to that they are not sick enough to see their family members, especially when they are vulnerable. It is horrible.
Please be considerate, stay at home and remember to be kind, for everyone you know is fighting their own battle.
The looming date to come home was set – January 12, 2013. I had a countdown on my phone just like the countdown I had to go to D.C.
I had got back from Chicago and stayed by myself for several days in the same hotel Steph and I stayed when we first got to D.C. the week prior to starting at GU. I had been visiting some of my friends who were chartered to stay the full academic year. We made the most of this time, we hung out, partied and I soaked in the sights of D.C. – it was like a tourist’s journey in my own home. That’s the way I had come to see D.C. – my home away from home. I visited the Smithsonian, walked the Mall. Made my way down M street in Georgetown, visited my favourite stores. I rode the metro to Arlington and all around the city, I trailed around Chinatown, Dupont and Foggy Bottom. I had attempted to pick up some souvenirs for my family along the way but deep down I knew I’d keep them (not selfishly) for myself, as a reminder of a whirlwind of an opportunity, a sentimental token if you will.
Those last few days in D.C. went by fast. I was half dreading but also pining to go home to the big brown land down under.
When I woke up that final morning, the sky was grey, it was foggy and bitterly, bitterly cold. I was panicked. I got to the airport and was told my connecting flight to Dallas was delayed. I was beside myself. I felt a feeling of foreboding like, “you’re not going to be in Sydney tomorrow.” The flight finally boarded and I was seated next to a really nice man who spent the next couple of hours making small talk with me – I apologised if my responses were somewhat terse or anxious because I knew when I got to Dallas I would have to sprint off the plane to make the connecting flight to Australia.
When we finally landed, I bid my seat mate farewell and legged it off the plane with one passenger remarking, “jeez, slow down!” and I almost sobbed, “If I do I won’t get home to AUSTRALIA!” I made it into the terminal and a bewildered man holding a sign saying, “Ms Turner” with the QANTAS logo on it locked eyes with me. It was in that moment I knew – I had missed my flight. I remember almost falling over running to him. The tears had started cascading down my face before he even opened his mouth.
Despite all of this, I still had a tiny glimmer of hope that he was just waiting to escort me to the QANTAS flight. “Ms Turner, the plane to Sydney has departed already.” I won’t minimise here – I broke down – completely. I was sobbing. I could barely talk – by this time I was so homesick I would have done anything to turn the plane around. It was not to be. The poor man took my phone after I had messaged my Dad with an SOS call.
Given that I didn’t have a data sim card in my phone, my dad had to call me from the surgery with overseas fees. I was hysterical. I was so hysterical I couldn’t speak. (I don’t remember anything about my surroundings or anyone nearby at this stage, I’m surprised I didn’t get led away to a more quiet and private area to negotiate the next steps of my journey home). The kind man took my phone and explained to Dad what had happened. My Dad – my best friend, hero and the one who takes charge in tough situations calmly spoke to the man. “She will need to have accommodation for the night organised and food vouchers. He added, “She will need to be on the next flight to Sydney tomorrow”… (and breaking his calmness), “she is my baby.”
All of the above requirements were met very accommodatingly by QANTAS especially because Dad has been a loyal frequent flyer for years.
I had no access to my meticulously packed luggage but had the foresight to pack my carry-on baggage with the necessities – pyjamas, laptop, sentimental items and personal items meaning I could comfortably spend the night in Dallas.
When transferred to the hotel, I ran a hot bath and cried and cried – I think I cried not so much about the situation but because I was so ready to be greeted by Mum and my dogs in Sydney – I had mentally prepared to walk down the arrivals pathway at Sydney Airport and see Mum after 6 months and be taken in her arms – the kind of embrace only a mother can give. I was so ready to see my brother and (now) sister-in-law and of course Dad who I had seen only a month before. I worried that Mum would be upset that she couldn’t meet me and that the whole thing was a disaster (anxiety doesn’t help).
I decided to use my food vouchers and got something to eat in the bar downstairs and enforced a self-limit of 2 drinks to numb the anguish I felt. When I returned to my room, I fell asleep almost instantly – I think I was emotionally exhausted by this stage.
The next morning, I woke. Another bath, some breakfast, a late checkout time and about 6 hours spent whiling the time away in the hotel lobby with free wi-fi to watch re-runs of Dawson’s Creek lay ahead of me. The hours ticked by and finally it was time to head to the airport.
I passed through security, customs and whatever I had to pass through and promptly ordered a glass of wine prior to the flight at an airport bar. No going back now – this was it – in less than 14 hours I’d be back on Australian soil. I could almost taste the vegemite.
The flight – albeit uncomfortable went by uneventfully and due to the wind currents, flights from Dallas to Sydney have to land via Brisbane. We landed in Brisbane and I switched my sim card back to my Australian card. Immediately I called Dad’s surgery and one of his nurses answered, “EDDIE!!!!!!! YAAAAYYYYY,” then promptly put me on to Dad. “Welcome (almost) Home, Darling.” he said. The first thing I did was actually buy some deodorant from the newsagents in the terminal with the $5 note I had hung in my dorm room in Georgetown. American deodorant is trash by the way.
After re-boarding the plane in Brisbane it was a quick 1 hour flight down to Sydney. I passed through customs and of course was met with my next hurdle: luggage collection. After about 10 minutes and no more bags on the carousel I learnt that my luggage was missing – because of course it was. After filing a missing bag report, it was time to walk through border control. My heart was almost leaping out of my chest because I knew Mum was literally 20 metres away from me at this point. I had an easy walk through with nothing to declare because after travelling with my father, I learnt one thing: trying to declare anything at Sydney airport is not worth it. Don’t bother bringing anything back you’d need to declare.
I walked down the arrivals hall and searched for a familiar face in the crowd. It always makes you feel like you’re on stage when walking down the arrivals hall – you keep your head down if you’re not expecting anyone to greet you and make your way effortlessly out of the airport terminal. I spotted her. “Mummy” I mouthed with tears streaming down my face. My beautiful Mummy. Her eyes widened and I’ll never, ever forget that moment of recognition, “that’s my baby”. I folded into her arms and put my head in the crook of her neck like I did when I was little. She smelled heavenly. She held me tight and said, “it’s ok, you’re home now my darling.” and we held hands the entire way to the car where my two stinky dogs waited for me. “MILLIE!!! LUCY!!! IT’S BIG SISSY!” Tails were wagging, they were fighting for prime position on my lap to greet me. Mum held my hand most of the way home.
We drove home and Mum put the sun roof down whilst we drove over the Harbour Bridge. I could smell summer on the breeze, I saw the Opera House and the sparkling harbour and Manly Ferry, I saw the trains on the bridge and all of a sudden the past 48 hours of my life melted away.
I came home to a massive bunch of flowers from my brother and Kate.
I jumped onto my bed and snuggled my dogs.
I came home.
On a side note to this post, it turns out to be almost 95% accurate that my colleague, Chris (a retired Qantas pilot turned wardsperson at my hospital) almost certainly flew me to or from America.
International Women’s Day 2021
I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again
Oh yes I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman
You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul
Oh yes I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible…
HELEN REDDY – I AM WOMAN (1971) Happy 50 years to being woman!
Loss and love on an oncology ward
You might not know this about me, but I am a Registered Nurse on an Oncology, Palliative Care and General Medical ward.
Over the past few months, we have lost several long term patients to cancer on my ward.
I wanted to write a blanket post to share my sadness and hopes for these people.
We lost a young, sensitive and beautiful fighter to bowel cancer aged 35.
We lost a great pianist and musical genius to bowel cancer aged 50.
We lost a wonderful Mum and community advocate to lung cancer aged 60.
We lost a caring friend and thoughtful to melanoma aged 47.
To these ladies, I hope your souls rest well. You were, are, and will alway be loved and remembered. You gave the big fight and we were bettered in our career for having looked after you.
FLEET FOXES – SHORE (2020)
Well then. Throughout this turmoil of 2020, I’ve found a shining beacon to help guide me. A truly magnificent album, one that has shone light on the blessed listeners.
There should be no surprise in this article about how much I love and adore Fleet Foxes and the master musician and lyricist, Robin Pecknold.
Having had the fortune of seeing Fleet Foxes in Sydney twice – both times at the Sydney Opera House – an incredibly beautiful and worthy venue for such an esteemed band. Both times the audience were held captivated by the mesmerising band headed by Robin Pecknold.
Fleet Foxes – Shore
- Wading in Waist-High Water
- Can I Believe You
- A Long Way Past the Past
- For a Week or Two
- Young Man’s Game
- I’m Not My Season
- Quiet Air/Gioia
- Cradling Mother, Cradling Woman
Wading in Wasit-High Water
“This is just going to be more of what I want it to be if someone else sings it.’ And that’s been an awesome mindset to be in lately, just thinking more about writing for other voices and what other voices can naturally evoke without just trying to make my voice do a ton of different things to get to an emotional resonance” – Robin Pecknold
An ethereal blessing, the introduction to Shore is incredible. Uwade Akhare adds an absolutely stunning voice to the song which Pecknold acknowledges would be more impactful than what he felt he could give the track. This gamble paid off through a flawless track making us yearn for the album to come. Now we have an up-and-coming voice to look out for with Akhare.
Can I Believe You
There’s this big hug of vocals around the lead vocal that’s talking about trust or believability – Pecknold
Can you believe someone for face value? can you trust that person with your heart? The song quotes, “learning the ropes” suggestive of learning about a new love or person in life and never getting close for fear of being hurt because let’s face it – we’ve all been hurt before.
A beautiful song covering those uncertainties we all share at the prospect of a new love – am I good enough? am I letting my guard down? am I worthy/are they worthy of my love?
I feel like it’s kind of examining privilege a little bit more. This period of time accommodated that in a very real way for me, just making my problems seem smaller. Acknowledging that I’ve made problems for myself sometimes in my life when there weren’t really any. Pecknold
Featherweight is an incredibly beautiful song. I don’t know how but it really sums up 2020 as a year. Tumultuous and unpredictable but suggests that Love and Hate are in the balance (many meanings to this I will not suggest), and that this feeling can and should be overcome with a breath of fresh air “Someone or something that is new and different and makes everything seem more exciting“- albeit understanding this is dependent on how the listener chooses their fresh air.
Do I lean towards new love and the unsure nature it might have or do I fall back on old love with its well trodden path?
A Long Way Past The Past
While I was writing the lyrics to it, I was thinking, ‘How much am I living in the past? How much can I leave that behind? How much of my identity is wrapped up in memories?’ Pecknold
Young Man’s Game
An incredibly beautiful album, too detailed and immense to articulate succinctly in a simple music blog. I cannot wait to watch Fleet Foxes again in Sydney – who knows when? but I hope it is only at the most fitting stages – that being Sydney Opera House – a music hall that was built to host the most magnificent acts such as Fleet Foxes.
Finishing words from the genius, Robin Pecknold
“I wanted the album to exist in a liminal space outside of time, inhabiting both the future and the past, accessing something spiritual or personal that is untouchable by whatever the state of the world may be at a given moment, whatever our season.”
About the album
Pecknold began writing Shore in September 2018, immediately after touring Crack-Up. He wanted to find a “new, brighter way” of writing songs.
- Uwade Akhere – vocals (tracks 1, 3, 15)
- The Westerlies
- Riley Mulherkar – trumpet (tracks 1, 2, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15)
- Chloe Rowlands – trumpet (tracks 1, 2, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15)
- Andy Clausen – trombone (tracks 1, 2, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15)
- Willem de Koch – trombone (tracks 1, 2, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15)
- Joshua Jaeger – drum-kit (tracks 2, 6, 11 15), percussion (tracks 2, 6, 11 15)
- Marta Sofia Honer – violin (track 14), viola (track 14)
- Michael Bloch – classical guitar (track 5)
- Christopher Bear – drum-kit (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 14, 15), percussion (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 14, 15)
- Daniel Rossen – electric guitar (track 14), acoustic guitar (track 14), piano (track 14)
- Homer Steinweiss – drum-kit (tracks 2, 4, 8, 9)
- Kevin Morby – vocals (track 2)
- Meara O’Reilly – vocals (tracks 4, 6, 14, 15), vocal arrangements (tracks 4, 6, 14, 15)
- Tim Bernardes – vocals (track 12)
- Georgiana Leithauser – vocals (tracks 1, 9)
- Frederika Leithauser – vocals (tracks 1, 9)
- Juliet Butters – vocals (tracks 1, 9)
- Faye Butters – vocals (tracks 1, 9)
- Beatriz Artola – spoken
Produced by Robin Pecknold
Engineered & Mixed by Beatriz Artola
Released September 22, 2020