Friday, July 10, 2009

Ways to skin a cat

Tutor (neonatologist): What do you guys know about Toxoplasmosis?
Student A: get it from cats or something?
Student B: Yeah, so being pregnant's a great excuse not to take out the kitty litter.
Tutor: For sure. But I really think cats should be banned during pregnancy. In fact, just shoot them all beforehand. You could make all sorts of things, nice scarves, hats, coats...
Student C: ...stirfry....
Tutor: If anyone else said that, we'd be in trouble!
Guess who C is? Auto-racism all the way.

Starting Paediatrics at the moment. On day one, we were taken on a 1.5hour tour by a DOCTOR around the Paeds areas. We're not in surgery any more, Toto! There's a games room, where we were officially welcomed by the Starlight Foundation peoples to come and play Guitar Hero. Hell yes. And there are all these secret things I never knew existed in the hospital. Like playgrounds, a small school, and, I shit you not, a fairy garden.

There's a palpably different vibe among paeds folks as well. There's laughter at Grand Rounds, rather than the tense one-upsmanship of the internal med one. They are nice to students. They care about patients. I want to marry a paediatrician dammit! Not so sure if I could be one. At this point, kids are still like a foreign country. To put it delicately, it seems like paeds = geriatrics = vet. heh. (*ducks*) Nah, the kiddies are cute, but it's challenging enough doing grownup clinical exams, let alone with a 3yo kid trying to burrow into his mum's lap.

In other news, I'm getting on the exercise bandwagon at long last. So many times I've heard, in PBL or in GP clinics, people glibly advise "diet and exercise". Easy to say, a bit trickier to do. For doctors, as well as patients. I was looking around the tute today, and at least five of nine of us in the room, including the tutor, were at least on the "moderate to high risk" side of the BMI scale. One of my GPs in rurality was full on obese, with diabetic foot and everything. She'd tell the tall skinny guys to put on weight, and say nothing to the metabolic syndromic patients who rather resembled herself. Blind spot much?

All these years I've thought that I'm just not a gym-junkie type, but it's finally clicked that everyone has to become one, sooner or later. Either before or after you have a heart attack. There's also a concrete incentive: my dad and I are doing a Biggest Loser challenge. If he wins, I get $2k towards my Eurotrip budget, while if he wins, I have to get him a present worth up to $500. Game on! We're txting each other progress updates. Example: "Watch out, Loser: 1kg in <1wk already! Go comfort urself w some chocolate." Heh. Such love.

My method is pretty straightforward: gym pass + calorie/fat/sugar cutting + daily logging. I'm using SparkPeople to track progress. Another handy resource is CalorieKing, which has Aussie-based nutritional info.

It's only day 4 so far, but it feels sustainable. I find myself actually looking forwards to the gym, which is just weird. All this motivation just came out of nowhere! And the diet part isn't too onerous. I'm not anal about the calories, just trying to up the fruit and veg, cut down portions, limit naughties, that sort of thing. I've discovered that really thin slices of apple are handy, as it takes so long to eat them that by the time you're halfway through, you're not even hungry any more.

The only question is why I didn't start this before! It's so simple: move more, eat less. I think I was scared off by the beautiful people at the uni gym, but luckily at my present one it's a mix of HeartMoves oldies, athlete types and the unfit young like moi, so it's not too intimidating. I am scoping out the classes to see if I'm fit enough for them though, cos it'd be pretty demoralising to be overtaken by some 59yo with a triple bypass!