Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Later this afternoon I get on the plane to Melbourne. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday is the exam, Saturday home, next blog post Sunday.

See, the way I see it the exam has a number of purposes.

One is to make you study and learn stuff, which I have - although, to be honest, a lot of medicine for me has always been trying to pour ten litres into a two litre bucket. I read about the anti-arryhthmics. Then I read about the antibiotics and push that into my head and that somehow displaces the knowledge about the anti-arrhyhthmics. Then the chapter on the antipsychotics pushes the antibiotics out. It all leaks out of my head faster than I can put it in.

I sometimes reckon if you could see it, like if there were special glasses you could put on, you could track me at the moment by the trail of displaced knowledge. It'd look like little glowing droplets, or maybe whorls and clumps and tangles of gnosis. You'd see piles of it around the table in the spare room where I study, a fair bit soaked into my pillow, some of it on the couch where I lounge to watch Dr Who videos. If I ever read a particularly challenging chapter (probably renal handling of potassium - if they ask that we'll have a very quiet two minutes while I tell them about my mum's banana bread, which she always said was high in potassium) it'll diplace some essential knowledge like the answers to "where do I live?" and "what is my name?".

Luckily I'll be able to reconstruct many aspects of my life by following the trail of displaced knowing, like Theseus in Knossos.

That's an uncomfortable mental image, isn't it? I go into the exam room and get harangued about the aminoglycosides by a vast, bull-headed man. I can't remember the volume of distribution of gentamicin so I stab him with his own horn and flee, winding up the ball of wool as I go. And then drive home with Sarah. As long as I remember to change the sails on the Saab.

Yes, well. Another purpose of exams is to winnow out those who are somehow not suitable, not "the right stuff". I reckon this might be the case with me. The exam is going to be hard for me - sorry this sounds so whiny - because it's exacly the kind of thinking I'm not good at - split second decisions, hard data, definitive answers. I've tried to learn to do it, but my brain is wired up different. Oh well, swings and roundabouts.

And the third is to help people decide if this is what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Again, this may or may not be me.

Anyhow. We shall see. The last few days I have been so disengaged from study I have not looked at a book, operating on the "change will do me good" theory. I've spent the time reading and filling my wish-list on amazon.com. See, I am not just another white Anglo male with no exit strategy. After Sunday, and after a decent (and occasionally indecent*) holiday, I am starting my book.

And thanks for the good wishes. My feeling is I'll win either way. If I fail this - and anyone with any experience tell me if this plan is realistic or not - I want the novel to be started before Christmas and maybe finished before next.

See you Sunday,

*Cringe, cringe, sorry for the smut.

PS: Quote I read somewhere: "Asking the current American administration for advice on illegal drugs is like asking 1970s South Africa for advice on race relations." Not that I agree entirely, but it's an interesting analogy.


Blogger Bardiac said...

Good luck.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Foilwoman said...

What she said. Good luck, which I'm sure you don't need, and in a few days this will have the virtue of being in the past. Yup.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Camilla said...

Good luck!!

I love the mental image about displaced knowledge - if that's true for everyone, the whole world must look like it's covered in glittering snail-trails of information :D


8:17 PM  
Blogger Danny said...

Good luck and stop sniffing the cat piss. Look at it this way - you can't do any worse than the Freo Dockers...

Perhaps you should go and see the Crows win their final and get some inspiration?

7:30 AM  
Blogger Benedict 16th said...

"Looking to the United States as a role model for drug control is like looking to apartheid-era South Africa for how to deal with race," Dr. Ethan Nadelmann writes in detailing the failure of prohibition at home. "

From the New York Times (free subscription required to access article)

hat tip: Pharmagossip

9:09 PM  
Blogger Midwife with a Knife said...

Best of luck with your exam!

4:28 AM  
Blogger Benedict 16th said...

and what happens if you do well in one exam and less well in the other what then?

The Devil's Advocate

Pavrotti turns up at the Pearly Gates, squeezes through and hands St Peter a note from me...
Wanna know what it says?
"Here's that Tenor I owed you!"

6:44 PM  
Blogger Bronze John said...

Hail all,
And in a sign of the new order of things I am replying to comments - thanks a lot to everyone. The support really helped. And I want everyone to take a minute to acknowledge Benedict's prescience, as per my entry above.


9:45 AM  

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