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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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.  

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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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!

Leftover Baked Eggs/Shakshouka

Getting to the end of our grocery week – we were running very low and ingredients to choose from.  Thankfully for the 5kg bag of potatoes and 2kg bag of carrots I’d bought a couple of weeks ago, I was able to whip up a meal using some of the ingredients we had in our fridge and pantry.

Here’s a modified version of baked eggs/shakshouka:

  • 4-5 small potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 4 lamb kidneys
  • 1 carrot
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • spices: paprika (use lots!), oregano, black pepper, dried chilli flakes

IMG_1449This dish was made without a recipe and was mainly used using what I could find leftover in my fridge/pantry.  So feel free to modify as you feel necessary.

Method:

  1. Firstly – peel and quarter the potatoes.
  2. Heat the oven up to 240 degrees celsius
  3. Boil potato and onions in a pot – then drain once cooked through
  4. In a frying pan, fry some diced onions and diced lamb kidney
  5. Add the tomato paste and diced tomatoes to the pain
  6. Stir well and season with spices to taste
  7. Slice the fresh chillies and add to the mixture
  8. Then in a large baking dish: add the potatoes and carrots, then cover with the tomato/lamb mixture
  9. Crack 4 eggs on top and place in the oven
  10. After about 10 minutes sprinkle some cheese over the top and add some oregano and black pepper
  11. Continue to bake until the eggs are cooked through to your liking

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Flights and tastings

  
I have just returned from the most relaxing mini holiday.  We spent a lot of our time sampling good food and drinks.  Whiskey flights, gin flights, wine and cheese flights.  It was definitely a few days of decadence.

 Edit  

I am still relatively new to the appreciation of  whiskey and especially gin.  ‘Flights’ are a perfect way for new and experienced drinkers to sample and appreciate the different drinks.  What I really love is that certain places have knowledgable staff who really help to educate and enhance your tasting experience.  It’s a way to savour and appreciate the drinks! 

Gratitude 

Sometimes the most precious things in life are those things we take for granted.  For example, quality time spent with family and the ones we love, the beauty of a natural sunrise or sunset, even the breath of clean fresh air in the morning.

I received the best hamper tonight containing all my favourite things:

  
However, it reminded me that these things I love so much are often best shared with others…especially those closest to you.  

I have been lucky to have this once in a lifetime opportunity to live in such a bountiful area, but I must also count my blessings and remember how lucky I am to have such wonderful people close to me to share it with. 

To New Beginnings

IMG_0023 I’ve just had the most wonderful and exciting opportunity to transition my life from an urban metropolis to live in regional/rural Australia.  This blog has been created to help document my journey, including the new experiences and challenges that such a move brings. IMG_0984 I have now been living in this beautiful island state for 4 months – and I am loving every bit of it!  Perhaps it is still the ‘honeymoon’ phase, but slowly, each and every day (well…days that I am not working) with the more I see and explore, this place is certainly growing on me.  The ease of travel, relaxed lifestyle, clean fresh air, and being so much more in touch with nature and the origins of the food you eat are just some of the things that I really appreciate about living here. Sure, there are negatives, however, there are negatives with each and every town and city in the world.  For me, not knowing ANYONE (apart from work colleagues) was definitely a major negative.  It is always difficult to re-establish your support networks in a new city.  But I have been blessed with wonderful neighbours who have made me feel right at home.  From the fresh vegetables from their veggie garden left on my porch to the surprise Easter eggs on Easter Sunday – they have really shown me that it is the little things that count.  Such simple gestures from your neighbours when you are new to a town are priceless.  This is also something that I never experienced living in a metropolitan city.

Anyway, welcome to my blog 🙂 I hope you enjoy my journey with me xo