Port Hedland


Desert Skies


Entering into a different world,

So very dry and dusty, yet tropical and unfurled,


Skies as big as eyes,

And palm leaves that leave you curled,


Figuring it all out is just another quiz,

Bearing the answers of a why?,


There is peace here too,

Beyond the disturbance of a sigh,


And everything is once again anew,

As your eyes open to the colour and the hue. 


30-1-12  A new locum emergency job, and new location. Today was my first day working in the Port Headland emergency department, a part of the world that I have never before been. I left Sydney in a rush as I tried to finish my PhD outline late the night before, leaving the house without my jacket – but where I was headed I wouldn’t be needing that. Jumping on the plane was as exciting as it was scary! Even from the moment I was boarding the plane I noticed things were different – such as the fact that more than 50% of the aircraft passengers were wearing uniforms with that were either orange or yellow with reflector patches! 

The Port Headland hospital is a really nice place to work I sensed this from the first moment I was orientated (*being orientated formally in an emergency medicine job is a luxury, so today I felt very lucky!). The first day of any job is always a huge stress because in emergency medicine one of the key elements of practicing emergency medicine relies upon knowing how the local systems work, what to do by oneself, and  when to call for help, and how to call! In other words it’s about knowing the culture of local practice in that department and that particular hospital. Learning cultures takes time and when you are in a high pressured environment it is natural to want to feel like “I wish I just knew how to do things faster”! What is comforting to know is that almost everyone faces this same learning curve when they start in a new place, so we are not alone! 

Another other great challenge of first day on a new locum is to do with making diagnoses in populations that you don’t yet understand. This is something I learned from my supervisors in Toxicology, one of the key clues to the diagnosis lies in knowing what types of poisoning are prevalent in the particular community where you are working (eg a semi-conscious 28yo male coming in with pin-point pupils is opiate toxicity until proven otherwise if your hospital is next to Kings Cross, but in Rural Sri Lanka it’s more likely to be organophosphorus poisoning!).

Port Headland has a large aboriginal population and today I felt like I was in a different world – ie I encountered more aboriginal patients in one day that I have in my whole career put together. This is quite Ironic given that I have practiced medicine in Australia for over a year but this has been in Eastern Suburbs Sydney, and before that North Sydney. It was so challenging for me to treating the aboriginal people, as I there was a culture that I am still learning to understand and I’m looking forward to learning more by working in this region.  I remember when I was in rural Sri Lanka, it was in learning the culture of the villagers who made up the majority of the patients that was the key to being able to deliver service.

Well I guess it’s time to sleep – I’ve got another shift tomorrow and got to do a teaching session on one of my favourite topics – organophosphorus poising! 


How Blessed we are!


How blessed we are.

We can see things with both eyes.

We can hear sounds with both ears.

We can carry things with both arms.

We can walk with both legs.

Even if you are given millions of dollars,

There is no one that would want to give away these rights.



How blessed we are.

We can breathe with our lungs without thinking.

Our heart is beating without resting even for a minute.

It is so wonderful to be able to

Think with our brains

And store it as memory.

It is like magic to be able to

Tell others your thoughts by words.



Oh, how blessed we are.

We can read books.

We can enjoy music.

We can watch TV.

And we even have families.



It is so wonderful to be living.

It is so wonderful to have today and to have tomorrow.

Life is very sweet and beautiful.



Poem taken from “A guide for the mind” (No 71) – by Master Ryuho Okawa


Visualisation of academic success

I can see the end product,

The goal is here,

The final chapter is near,

The graduation bells sound clear,

All I have to do is move beyond fear,

And I am moving forward,

Enough too-ing and fro-ing!

For now it’s time to steer where I am going,

After all, “this” is the key to personal growing,

And moving into a greater knowing.

18-1-12  Sitting in the Chiefly library and confronting my old friend “procrastination” and my old obstacles of completing on time. I realize that all I have to do is write an email and press send and be happy with less than perfect material.

I am also going to look at what I fear most in the eye and be still, and realize that it wont kill me. I am just going to try and put it all together in the best possible fashion, create a plan that I am happy with and work towards it. This is the real goal of this final chapter of the PhD – to create a plan that “I”am happy with in a timely fashion, and then to execute!

To get here I have to painfully read through what I’ve written and first appreciate it for the good points, but also  go back and edit what is obviously out of kilter. 

Ploughing on!

Keep Ploughing on,

Never give up,


For the journey is about each step,

Not the envisaged destination, 


Besides, that space is of your own creation,


So, if you try and savour the step,

Then you will feel more adept,


For we are all surrounded by gold,

And if we don’t realize this soon we will grow old,


Our time has come,

The new age has begun.

Overcoming the obstacles of PhD writing…


 Ego is the Challenge


The ego will betray you,

“Let go of it” – I pray you!

For only then you will see your true soul,


It is what makes you whole,

Even beyond your imagined goal,

For the ego is but an imposter,


So don’t give it the food to foster,

And fret in you head,

Otherwise it will make your spirit dead!


Advice of a Sage…


“How then do we manage it?” dear sage,

If I don’t learn the secret soon I am sure to age,

And it will happen so swiftly that I will not be able to gauge,


It is true my ample student,

And to ask of this truth is prudent,

For you already know the answer,


What you should do is let go of “thought”,

Do it soon before you are caught!

To the eddy currents of the mind.


But Sage I feel it is already too late,

Is this really my fate??

It is as if I am blind to common sense,

Surely letting go is ‘too hard’ if you are “this” tense!?


Wrong again my worthy learner!

For ‘letting go’ is the way to put thought into the burner,

Releasing the veil to the consciousness that lies beyond,

Both the flower and even the lotus pond,


Thank you dear sage,

For even though you speak in riddle and rhyme,

I feel the wisdom of my inner bell chime,

And I will, for sure, let go next time!


The feelings of a new consciousness


It feels like a bird soaring in the sky,

Why did I for so long deny,

Myself of this great aptitude,

All for the false promise of what my friend ‘Ego’ brewed,



But at least now I am aware,

And with you I will share,

That the Ego is always there,

Weighing you down, like a ripened pear,



Nevertheless it’s okay – you don’t need to frown,

Or even run around,

Just accept it as a very necessary part,

For to live on this Earth, identity is where we all start,



But it is certainly not where we end!

The new journey is starting,

And today is where we mend,

So keep going and I’ll see you around the bend!