David Graff – davidgraff.com Today with Dave, Downunder it's Wednesday, February 28th, 2024 @ 6:17 PM

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Cupboard Monkey

My nephew Eli is pretty active these days. This morning he ran over to the closet, climbed in and pulled the door shut behind him! What a nut!


Up North Where It’s Warm

Go North downunder to get warmer… I am in Townsville now, at my sister’s and brother in law’s home.  My mum is up here too one of my three new nieces is here as well.  It’s a lot warmer up here, and feels like did summertime back home.  My niece is beautiful and sweet, as expected and my nephew is starting to talk and walks a lot.  I was so tired yesterday, with it kinda lasting over to today too.  I’m glad to be on holidays, and it’s great to be with family.


Done my exams.  Got so rushed that I’m worried about the quality, but hopefully the skeleton I laid out will help.  I’m happy to be done and free, but wish I felt better about it.  Mum’s here, which is great, but I wish I would have been able to see her tomorrow morning as we thought would be possible!  Anyways, the rotations march on… GP is next.

Done my Live Exams!

So relieved to be done my live exams.  I still have a written exam tomorrow morning, but it’s the verbal stuff that always gets me most anxious.  Today went better than yesterday, but it’s always hard to tell.  Like an interview when they don’t really let on how you’re doing, they just want to see what you’ve got.  I had a few prompts but was able to put some good stuff out there too.  Can’t wait to be done completely… I am hoping to get up to Townsville in the next week, since I have some time off.  We’ll see about that tomorrow I guess.  So close!

More Resources

Of all the fields of medicine that I have been involved so far, mental health is, by a large margin, where I hear the phrase “more resources” most.  If we had more resources, problems would go away…  It seems a bit odd, because I feel like I have observed a bunch of time wasting, also more than I have in any other field.  Now, it’s true, nothing happens fast in psychiatry, and I suppose that is good.  We can’t have a bunch of snappy decisions guiding treatment that is going to end up taking years and then wonder later on if we did the right thing (diagnostic uncertainty, etc.).  But at the same time, sometimes it feels like the mental health machine just pushes in the clutch and sits there and revs the engine.  I have been party to meetings that literally cost thousands of dollars in the wages of those around me (lots of people) that really do nothing (eg. How we are going to get everyone’s signature on the fire safety sheet if everyone hasn’t done fire safety).  It’s frustrating to be in the paradox of health care, where nothing happens without money, but money alone doesn’t make something happen.  Trying to make something happen with money is sometimes exactly like pushing a rope.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any brilliant solution.  I just see part of the problem.

Just In Front of My Home

There is a river nearby. Some days it is picture perfect, and I feel really lucky to live so close.


Gympie Today

This is the view from the bathroom at the hospital in a town called Gympie, which is about an hour and a half north of where I live. I come here every Tuesday and Thursday for outpatient and Clozapine clinics. It is a bit of a bush town, surrounded by hills that remind me of the Okanagan valley.


Laughing Makes Your Brain Go Bigger

A patient gave me a bit of a tip today in an interview.  He said if I ever needed a bigger brain, laughing makes your brain go bigger.  It was just one of the many disordered thoughts he relayed to me.  I have been involved in some pretty incredible conversations in the last six weeks.  Some of the thoughts are even so disordered it’s practically impossible to remember them.  Something about a string of unrelated words that is really tricky to recall.  Some of them end up being funny and some of them end up being really sad, but I think the thing is that the patient is just trying to make sense of their world as much as you are.

I am finding making sense of it all really taxing.  Maybe I should put less stock in the things they say.  Maybe I just need to see more so that I am more used to it.  I think either way, I’ll end up doing both.

It’s a Mad World

So much time has passed without me really writing it down here.  It’s a shame, since so much has happened, and I didn’t really take the opportunity to record it along the way.  I have a renewed my motivations and we’ll see how it goes here.  There has been a lot of exciting news in my family in the last little bit, which each of my three sisters welcoming into the world a brand new daughter each!  I am so excited for these little ones!  I can’t wait to meet them.  I know my sisters have had their hands full with getting these girls into the world safely, and I am so happy they are here.  There have definitely been some trials along the way, that’s for sure.  My thoughts and prayers are with them, always!

School-wise, these last weeks have been crazy.  Literally.  I am on my psychiatry rotation and it is challenging in a lot of ways.  Here is some mood music for this post:

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There are a lot of things I have seen this last month and a bit that are very sad.  Many people struggling with realities and perceptions of realities so different than mine.  People crying out, needing, wanting, hoping, angry, sad, confused.  There are so many situations that seem un-fixable.  Things cannot be un-done, fathers can’t come back and love instead of abuse, stimulate instead of neglect, mothers can’t undo the drugs done while pregnant, and the people here are just left to pay the price.   It’s been a lot for me to think about, and I really internalize what I see.  It challenges me deeply on what I think it is to be a person, to be self-aware, and what to do about it.  This is a field where you really do see people that cannot function properly in a real life situation.  Concepts of consequence, cause-effect, future planning, insight vary from patient to patient.  They can of course be completely absent.  It breaks my heart, to be honest.

I can’t really recount all the crazy things I see, ’cause that’s probably a breach of student-doctor-patient confidence, and because it’s too crazy to remember.  Sometimes it’s just strings of words… sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don’t.  Sometimes I am a member of the people from outer space, sent to spy on the patients to see how much they have been telling the doctors.   It has definitely grown on me in the time I have spent, but I am starting to feel confirmation that it’s not for me full time.  I think I look forward much more to helping people in a GP setting, even if it’s a psych issue, than in the full lockdown of the secure ward.  Starting to feel something about what I want to do for a future practice is exciting too.

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