7 Things ENT Surgeons Can Learn From the Hairdressers

Dr Eric Levi


I’ve been to the hairdressers many times in my life time (that’s an indication that I’m not balding, yet). I’m mostly a drive-through type. I go when I have a free 18minutes and 30seconds from my schedule, and make my way to the nearest hairdresser/stylist/barber/butcher, or anyone with a comb and a pair of scissors. No appointments, no fancy styles, no funky hair products. Cut and run, I say. I have accepted the way I look, such that no hairstyle (or lack thereof) could ever make me look better or worse, unlike some of my female ENT colleagues who need about 4 hours and $400 dollars to look gloriously presentable (and their expensive hair get stuffed into a surgical scrub cap anyway).

The last time I went to my local Italian barber, I pondered about the things that I could learn from them. You see, our art is similar. My…

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Physicians as Humans: Physician Mental Health

Great article on perfectionism and medicine

Prehospital and Retrieval Medicine - THE PHARM dedicated to the memory of Dr John Hinds

In the competitive and paradoxically-isolating era of modern medicine and social media, we must reduce the stigma of not only mental illness, but also of occasionally being less than stellar. Improvements in work environment and lifestyle balance are key to improving the physician condition, but we must also endeavor to support each other with empathy and compassion for the benefit of our patients and our health care system.

Source: Physicians as Humans: Physician Mental Health

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Chunky Apple Sauce

I recently acquired my mother’s ”The All New Joy of Cookingcookbook.  The ‘bible’ of cooking as per my mother – it has been by far one of the best hand-me-downs I have received from her!

Yesterday, we went on a road trip around the countryside and came across some apples being sold on the roadside by the local apple farm.  It was an honesty system with apples bagged in crates and a money box for passersby to leave their payment.  We left with 2kg of apples.

Once we returned home, I was trying to think of what to do with the apples and thought to look through my new cookbook.

Here was my first attempt of making homemade apple sauce:

  
I may have (as per usual) slightly varied the recipe.  In this case, we neither had Apple juice or Apple cider, we instead had Apple cider vinegar.  This gave the sauce I slight sour/vinegar taste.  However, this was easily balanced by adding more sugar, lemon and spices.  Next time, with more preparation, I will try the recipe with the actual ingredients recommended.

 

  

Humanity and Demonstrations

The power of the generousity of humanity in times of strife is truly remarkable.  Countless of times we have witnessed around the world the support, strength and selflessness of humanity in helping each other in times of hardship.

Recently, I was at the receiving end of such selfless acts.  Though my experience was in no way as dire as other hardships faced by those around the world, this in no way lessens the sense of gratitude I have towards those who reached out to help.

It has restored (not that I ever lost it – but perhaps reminded and emphasised it) my faith in humanity.  Perhaps, I wonder, with the growing sense of atheism and agnosticism in young people today, maybe it is worth having faith. 

On a recent holiday to Thailand, on my way to the airport for my return flight to Australia, there was yet another protest causing major traffic disruption.  What we had initially thought to be bad traffic turned out to be outrageously bad traffic.  We managed to move our car no more than 3km in the space of 1 hour.  It soon became obvious that this was much more than a traffic jam.  The traffic on the other side of the road ceased (as in no cars were travelling on that side).  People had turned off their car engines to stand outside as there was such little traffic movement.  

It turned out that the local community that the main road (and pretty much the only route) leading to the airport passed through was conducting a demonstration.  They had barricaded the main roads (all 6 lanes!) around the police station.  By the time we inched forward closer to the site of demonstration, there was no way through other than to drive through a local temple and exit through the back gates.  However, despite the goodwill of the locals and monks nearby, the demonstrators had by then barricaded the small roads, blocking any exit from the temple area.  Cars, taxis, minivans, and large passenger buses were all stuck in this mess of a traffic jam (most of which were headed to the airport).  The only route of travel in the entire suburb was by motorcycles.  Only motorcycles seemed to be able to travel freely across their barricades.  

The people maintaining the barricades and who seemed to be in charge of the demonstration were young adults.  Apparently, they were protesting about an alleged shooting of an innocent by the police.  In a way, it was amazing to witness such activism among young adults in the community.

By then, we had been travelling for 2 hours with little progress.  It was clear that the demonstrators weren’t going to clear the barricades anytime soon. A Thai cop was at the barricade we were stuck at and said there was nothing we could do.  Apparently this has happened before in this community and thousands of passengers missed their flights. 

It was now 2110hrs and I had an international flight set for departure at 2220hrs, and we were still no where near the airport.  Out of desperation, we spoke to two young men who attended the gym our car was ‘parked’ next to.  After explaining the situation, they volunteered to help take  me to the airport.  It was thus that I was sitting on the back of a motorcycle of a man that I barely knew, with my suitcase and duffle bag in my lap, and my handbag over my shoulder.  With a sense of fear and desperation, I quickly said goodbye to my dad, leaving him with the car waiting to be let through once the demonstrations were over.  

We sped through the barricades and onto a near empty motorway save for motorcycles bearing passengers like me.  We must’ve looked quite the sight, as even those attending to the barricades chuckled as we went past.  As we moved past the suburb of the demonstration we came across cars that had entered the motorway at a later point.  It was then that I realised that I had literally put my life in the hands of a man I barely knew in an attempt to catch my flight.  As we sped by, I became aware that neither of us were wearing helmets, my balancing of my luggage on my lap and shoulder was insane, and that we were travelling much faster than most of the cars on the motorway.  My glasses constantly felt like they were about to be windswept off my face with the speed were going at.   Being Thailand, I guessed that we must’ve been travelling at least at 100km/hr (very much likely more than that!).

Finally, we reached the airport.  It was then that I was further impressed by the generousity of the young man I just met.  Refusing acceptance of any form of money, all he asked for was for me to accept his business card and let people know about his tour guide business.  

I cannot express the depth of my gratitude for such acts.  Furthermore, I was not the only case, as several other passengers also arrived on the backs of motorbikes after leaving their other form of transport behind.  

Even at the airport, the staff I encountered were understanding, patient, and helped alleviated my panick and distress.  The airline had kept the check in gates open a little bit later with a 10min delayed departure time once they heard the news of the demonstration and havoc it caused.  As it affected the major route to the airport, many passengers were still ‘no show’.

If it weren’t for generosity, human kindness, and empathy, I, and many others would’ve missed their flights.

My little experience was in no way as disastrous or potentially life altering as those faced by others around the world.  However, it gave me a glimpse into how people band together to help each other in times of strife.  From the locals helping lead cars through the back streets, to the monks who attempted to assist by letting cars cut through their temple, to those locals with motorcycles, and the understanding staff at the airport.  

Perhaps I am overly touched by this experience, however, I feel that it has restored my faith in humanity.  Their is nothing more generous and altrustic than reaching out to help others just for the sake of helping with little expectation of anything in return.  

Strawberry Scones

If tea and scones are your thing, here is an alternative to the usual plain scones.  Strawberries were on special this week and I ended up more strawberries than I knew what to do with.  

  
Thanks to a lovely recipe from Taste.com – these scones were extremely easy to make: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/35561/strawberry+scones+with+cream

They pretty much taste like plain scones with little bits of strawberry in between – which is great if, like me, you don’t have much of a sweet tooth! 

  
Enjoy!

Apple pies and pistachios 

It’s winter time and not many fruits are in season at the moment.  I managed to buy 2kg of apples for $2 over the weekend.  

Today, I came home to another wonderful surprise from the Mister.  Little actions of thoughtfulness really do add up – particularly when you live together and the excitement of date nights do not happen as often as your dating days.

With the use of some leftover puff pastry,  apples, cinnamon and sultanas – a delicious apple ‘pie’ was made.  The crust was coated in honey, butter, and pistachios.  

  

Minimalism – Did They Have It Right?

A great post on life and what we value:

My Housewife Life

There seems to be a minimalism movement going on at the moment.  It’s like we’ve had enough of the race to keep up with those around us, aiming higher, and now we’ve decided to let it all go and turn in the opposite direction.  Is this just a sign of defeat?  Is it people rebelling?  Or is it just a realisation that we don’t need all of these material possessions?

I would like to think that I don’t live in a cluttered environment, maybe more so before my partner moved in.  I moved into a small townhouse, I would think it has ample storage most of which was empty or only had a few things in it.  I don’t do a great deal with my spare time, but my “clutter” is books, sewing/crochet supplies and kitchenware.  Mostly it’s all in the kitchen, I need an overflow cupboard and a bigger…

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Hot Sauce

I made my first ever hot sauce thanks to ‘Horrific Knits’.  For a spicy/chilli lover – it may be surprising for many that I have never attempted my own hot sauce before.  But with the abundance of fresh chills, dried chills, and just making a simple Thai styled sauce with fresh chilli, fish sauce and lime juice – It has been quite easy to not find the necessity to make my own hot sauce.

This recipe is amazing and simple!  I’ll definitely be making more in the future.  As always, making your own food always has that appeal and beauty in terms of appreciating the hard work that goes into creating it, knowing exactly what ingredients are used, and it generally has much better value for money!

Thank you ‘Horrific Knits’ for the wonderful recipe

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The Sixth Month Mark

It’s now been six months since I moved to Tasmania.

As many people would be familiar with – there is always a honeymoon phase when you move to a new city.

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Due to the stress of work and lack of ‘down time’ – I definitely felt like I was in a rutt at one point.  Not so much in my happiness of living here – but more so in relation to what I am ‘doing with myself’.

Having just had 4 days off work, I am much more refreshed and feel like I have gotten myself back together again.  A little rest and recuperation was definitely what my body and soul needed.

Plus, we finally got some ‘REAL’ furniture for our humble home.  I am so happy.  This is definitely an upgrade from the share apartments I’d previously lived in.

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To more adventures in beautiful Tassie!