After a week of limbo in Lisbon we have taken a leap of faith. We bought flights to the Azores and accommodation for all four of us. It wasn’t the rejections that were hard to take. These were almost to be expected on the ridiculous offers we had made. But waiting for people to get back to you to decide on your next moves entails a certain lesson about patience and humbleness.
“Oh no!” I said, almost thinking aloud as I reaching into my jacket pocket and found it empty, “I think I’ve left my wallet back in the office” I continued, as my whole body started to make an about turn…
“Is that okay!?”, I said in astonishment, but also in deep appreciation, like a kid who’d just been given a birthday present.
Today I was hit by a whale,
She clipped me with the tip of her tail,
With a force that could easily impale, an unwitting surfer,
So magnificent was her breech,
That many a surfer was out of speech,
Looking onwards in amazement and awe,
With a good 10 minute show,
We all watch this graceful creature flow,
Going down and up to the surface with style,
When it came back in a slower pace,
I got to see her “face to face”,
Whilst others had steadily moved out of the way,
All I could think was to say “hi!”,
For it seem too early to say “goodbye”,
But perhaps this was the mistake of the moment?
My memory soon blanked out,
Before I had time to even shout (help?!),
And the next thing I remember was look up towards a friend,
Swiftly brought to shore,
By “Bondi Rescue” and a few more.
I was met by my girlfriend in the ambulance van,
Sent directly to St Vinnies Resus Bay!
“Exclude submersion injury!” I thought I heard them say,
Soon followed by, “hmm, perhaps you’ll live to see another day”,
All know is that I’m lucky to be alive,
I feel grateful for the help form those five, (..and others!),
Now post-concussion in my bed under the covers,
But perhaps real moral is this,
If we see big whale so close we could blow it a kiss,
Stay back at least 30 meters and enjoy its bliss,
Or we may not be so lucky to see again the shore!
(Thank you for my luck! And thanks to all those who looked after me from the bottom of my heart x )
Today was a most interesting day, because I got hit by a whale whilst enjoying a Bondi morning winters surf. I’m still recovering from concussion but safe. Thanks so much for all the message of concern. I’ve attache some newspaper articles – will write more in due course!
Southern Right Whale (the picture and following whale info with thanks from; http://www.australiananimallearningzone.com/southern-right-whale.htm)
- They are known as the Right Whales because whale catchers considered them to be the right kind of Whale to catch due to their large size and slow movement.
- The Whales of this species float when dead.
- They can swallow 1.5 to 2 tons of zooplankton per day.
- One female can mate with up to eight males.
- The Southern Right Whales are believed to have the largest testicles among all mammals. Each of their testicles weighs around 500 kg.
- Hermanus in South Africa has become one of the world famous Whale watching centers because of this species.
Southern Right Whale Conservation;-
This species is included in the “Least Concern” Category by the IUCN. Their populations are protected by various laws in many places including Australia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, South Africa and New Zealand. The main threats to the Southern Right Whales include fishing and coastal developments.
News articles about incident;-
Surfer knocked unconscious as 10-metre whale tosses Bondi boarders with its tail
Article by Emma Partridge, taken form Sydney Morning Herald
A surfer who was knocked unconscious at Bondi Beach by a whale’s tail said the last thing he remembered was saying, “Hey, how’s it going?” to the whale which was less then a metre from him.
Bishan Rajapakse, 38, a doctor living in Bondi, was knocked unconscious for 10 seconds before he was dragged to the beach by his friend and a Bondi lifeguard.
“I remember trying to talk to it . . . before I realised I was off my board and on my front,” Rajapakse said.
The Sri-Lankan born New Zealander said he had been surfing at the southern end of the beach for about an hour on Sunday morning when his friend Chris signalled for him to paddle over.
“When I got to him I saw there was this dark, black shadow and it was just massive.
“The whale was moving in like slow motion. It was beautiful and it breached and we could see the barnacles and it was slowly going up and down and turning and it actually made a noise. It was amazing.”
Speaking from his bed at St Vincent’s Hospital, Dr Rajapakse said he had no injuries apart from a slight headache.
“Contacting whales is not what it’s cracked up to be. They look nice and soft but I can’t remember contacting it. Maybe it contacted me.”
He said he had no recollection of being thrown off his board. “My mate Chris was there when I came to and was like ‘Bish, you’ve been hit by a whale’.
Apparently my face was down in the water and then I was talking to one of the Bondi Rescue dudes. Then I was on the shore and in the ambulance before I knew it.”
Rajapakse joked that his encounter with the southern right whale had ruined his plans for brunch. “I’ve got a slight headache but I was really hoping to have brunch. Somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen today.”
The director of the emergency department at St Vincent’s, Gordian Fulde, said the surfer would probably be discharged by the end of Sunday.
- with Emma Partridge
I recently had the pleasure of meeting a fellow emergency doc who was a passionate musician at the “Social Medial and Critical Care Conference” (aka #SMACC 2013) and have been meaning to write this post ever since.
As the story goes, I randomly happened to sit next to a guy at the conference dinner who wanted to talk about nothing else than “music” and “dance”. Being a keen ‘salsero’ and guitarist myself, we got on like a house on fire and realised that we even shared many of the same friends back from Wellington, New Zealand where I grew up, and where Victor had first travelled to from the UK. Having friends in common is always a blast, however, the thing that inspired me the most about our encounter that evening, which inspired me to write this post, was finding out that Victor was not only a dedicated emergency registrar working in Sydney, but he was also an up-and-coming singer/songwriter, and a very good one at that! But don’t just believe me, have a listen to his SoundCloud page for yourself;-
After a good conference dinner where the dance floor was suitably attended to, Victor mentioned that he was spending the next day recording some tracks he’d been working on, and sure enough a few weeks later he sent me a link to his new EP Called “Factor this” which had his debut 5 tracks, which intrigued me further…
When he sent me the above link in a text message a few weeks later I bought the album, on spec, because by then I already knew that I liked his music from listening to his SoundCloud page, and ever since i’ve been enjoying his tracks on my iphone as one of my pep-me-up ‘study playlists’.
Actually, I liked the music so much that I left these initial comments on the iTunes feedback page;
“Great Debut album by Victor Steele. This album by Victor is packed with smooth sounds and easy listening lyrics, which for me creates a nice jambalaya of rock and R&B. Great lyrics about love, and some deep tunes with universal messages (eg check out the track “never learn”- one of my favorites) – I hope u enjoy this download as much as I did!
Being someone who loves upbeat rhythm guitar, and soulful melodies, this music really struck a chord with me. I also like the themes of love that are embedded in the lyrics, in quite a everyday humble way, and this is backed up by “blog stories” of each song (which are linked to the tracks in his SoundCloud account).
Last thursday, was his EP launch in Manly and we checked it out. It was a great performance – great voice, great music – Well done Victor! I would love to check out the next gig – keep us posted !
This is the message that came from the words that better describes the song that I just recorded. that I originally called “study jam”. As I pushed record on my computer I entered the words “study jam” because that was exactly what it was – some random chords and sounds that needed to be released quickly before heading to the office on a beautiful sunday to do some work.
Today I need to re-analyse data that collected in 2008 to try an answer a question related to understand what drives doctors to make clincial decisions. I never dreamed that I would still be doing this in March 2013.I am afraid of doing this data analysis which is why I needed to start with some inspiration.
Research and writing can be a lonely world, but I believe it is rewarding in the end. One of the reasons it’s so lonely is that I feel that very few people can understand what you’re talking about half the time, but still I try to explain. The reason I feel fear is that analysing data is not straightforward, and it usually take far longer than one imagines. I am also afraid becuase if what comes out of this analysis changes my findings, then i have to re-think the problem again and write about it in a different way (ie. “back to the drawing board”, yet again!)
“Why am I doing this?” is the question that comes to mind a hundred times over, but it’s already been answered a thousand times back. I had a dream in 2008, when working in the rural hospitals of Sri Lanka, of making a difference to the systems medical education in low resource settings. The research I was involved with opened so many doors, in my mind, mainly to do with understanding how making a change could be possible. However, not long after I had the vision, came a realisation that it would take a lot of time and committment and perserverance to make it all happen. These were all things that frightend the life out of me at the time, but I ignored it with enthusiam and a belief that it would be a breeze. Only much later when facing many road blocks I had to face the reality that writing up my research findings was going to be harder than I had hoped for.
Whilst I don’t expect many to understand the details of what I’m writing about, there is one concept my struggle, and occasional loneliness illustrates:-
“it is not easy for anyone to understand (and therefore judge) anyone elses struggles, no matter how trivial or signigficant they seem on the surface.”
This is why I try to maintain a deep respect for “all” human being because the chances are that I don’t fully know or understand their struggle. I believe the common suffering is the thing that binds as all, and it is something that we can embrace. Buddhist philosophy suggests that the struggle is common, and perhaps solution can be shared by all.
But what about the conditions – aren’t some people put in far more tricky situations?
Perhaps? Perhaps not? I the only thing I know is that I don’t know.
Again, I don’t profess to know about anyone else, after all i’m just getting to know myself!
I believe that the conditions of one’s external reality (ie what’s going on in your life) can really shape and affect our inner world, but only as much as we let it. It’s hard to change the external world quickly (or at all), but what we can do is change our “realtionship with that reality” at any given time through our “attitude”. Holding an attitude of hope, positivity, and friendliness, allows us to see pick up wth most import data points in the experience soup that hits our face on a daily basis.
This morning when I went out surfing the rough seas, with 4 friends, it looked like madness, but we did it with an open mind, and the result was amazing. We didn’t catch the best waves of our life, but we all had a fun time, and learned something. Ultimately isn’t this a valuable thing – this is my definition (at the moment) of what life is about – to learn something and try and have some fun in the process, and even better to share it with some others!
I hope you have a good Sunday whereever you are, no matter what the conditions.
My song has provided me with enough fun and inspiration to allow me to go and face the fears of the analysis in the office.
ps I hope you enjoy the song!
(Photography courtesy of Kester Boardman)