David Graff – davidgraff.com Today with Dave, Downunder it's Thursday, December 14th, 2017 @ 12:43 PM

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My little Red Badge of Courage

Gave blood again.  This time I didn’t stock up on fluids before hand as much.  It seemed like I couldn’t even feel it last time, so I thought it was no big deal.  Within ten seconds of sticking the needle in the nurse growled at me “How much have you had to drink today?”.  Umm…  some? She said she could tell my blood was slow.  You would think that they would want to get as much blood as they can from me, I mean, they can get salt water elsewhere.  But it did seem to take longer to get out as well, so maybe that’s what she was annoyed about on a busy day.

CTA Today

Just to put a marker on the day, today is the day that we undertake the first actual procedures on people we don’t know.  Up till now we have practiced on each other.  When we have been involved with patients, it was more a case of observing their pathology post diagnosis, and nothing remotely invasive.  Soon, this won’t seem like an event at all, but right now, I feel like I crossed a bridge today.

What are the odds?

A half world away, lives most of the ~100 people with whom I graduated high school.  Except one of them lives here.  I met her, randomly, at the gym tonight.  It was good to see someone from so far back in my past.  So far back that when I think about that time I feel like it (I) was a different person living then.  At the same time, she was not surprised at all to hear that I was studying medicine, or the course of life I have taken.  It goes well with the feeling that I am being more true to who I am now than ever before.  Having someone else recognize that after all this time and distance was really great.

I don’t drive but I do pay for gas

Petrol as they like to call it here.  On July 1, there was a removal of a government subsidy on gasoline in Australia.  A move made to try save money on their budgets.  It resulted in a ~20 cent jump in gas prices.  Sensing opportunity in the new-found perceived preciousness of petrol, the big grocery stores are running promotions that offer 40 cents per litre off fuel.  This has hit the headline news, because you only get the offer if you buy $300 worth of groceries at once.  The media is kinda in a stink about it because the offers are a little deceptive, and it’s not worth it to buy that much food to try claim the petrol discount if you don’t really want the food.  Then, the grocery store combines the offer with less sale prices on their items, making their profits higher when people go searching to fill out the minimum purchase.  The two big grocery stores are working hard to control the whole market here and it’s getting attention because they do abuse their near oligopoly from time to time.  They do things like advertise specials and then don’t honour them at the checkout or just double the price and advertise it as a special when you buy two.

Most of this is just background capitalism to me, except that I do end up paying more for regular groceries here than I do at home.  Sometimes I wonder if it is just that Australia doesn’t benefit from the closeness of America, and their demand for cheap food.  Nevertheless, this is the way it is here.

But one reporter raised a good point that started me thinking about all this.  The grocery stores are not charities.  The fuel discount is not something they feel they owe the people that have supported them to these heights of capitalistic success.  They will simply take back the funds through higher prices or less discounts.  More tricks to increase the ARPU.   And one of those U’s is me.

Let the in-doctor-ination begin!

Recently I started getting the Canadian Medical Association Journal.  It is striking to see the amount and directness of the pharmaceutical ads in there.  I suppose I don’t really want them to mess around with weird messages anyway.  Indication and efficacy is good enough for me.  And it’s pretty handy to start getting exposed to the trade names and full names and doses of things.  Maybe I’ll learn something by osmosis.  I received the whole year of back issues so I will flick through them.  Seeing them here reminded me of a fixture of my childhood memories, a stack of water soaked journals.  I think it will be good to get me up to speed, keep me in touch with the Canadian medical climate and hopefully make me better at what I’m tryi to do.


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