Memories in Gladstone

I mentioned in an earlier post that Michael and I spent 10 weeks in Gladstone, about 1.5 hours from Rockhampton.

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It was somewhat difficult for a number of reasons:

  • We didn’t know anyone initially, except for Jess (another one of us interns, who was in Surgery)
    • While I worked in Emergency and Michael worked in General Medicine, both departments were understaffed and it was always incredibly busy
  • It was really nice that accommodation was provided, but it just wasn’t home.
  • I was rostered alternating weeks of day and evening shifts. As a result, every second week Michael and I would go for days not seeing or spending time with each other.
  • No internet. Too much money was spent on mobile data.

With that being said, there were some lovely aspects of Gladstone, especially the people we worked with! Some really great and incredibly knowledgeable mentors that we hope to stay in touch with.

We didn’t eat out much but there were a few gems including Lightbox and Salt Rock – I’ll share more in separate blog posts!

Also, can’t forget Coffee Club for it’s free unlimited internet and perks of being a VIP member. What perks you say? Buy one hot drink, get one free – every day! Also, 10% off food Monday-Wednesday. The cost? Only $25/year!

The Coffee Club in Gladstone is super spacious with plenty of seating. We’ve popped in at all hours of the day and never had an issue getting a table.

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And, if you can’t decide on a dish, the chicken schnitzel is always a good option!

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Only a 5 minute walk away from our accommodation was The East Shores, a precinct that “spans along Flinders Parade and includes a water play park, waterfront boardwalk incorporating a viewing platform, barbecues and an abundance of green, open space to play.”

A breath of fresh air! A nice walk, lovely views, and so family friendly! Not pictured are the extensive playgrounds/water spouts for the kids!

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Photo at the park courtesy of Jin – thank you again!

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Gladstone also has its own gardens… Tondoon Botanic Gardens! An incredibly serene visit if you’re looking for some peace and quiet! There is also a restaurant to visit in Tondoon called Savour the Flavour, which I will also write about in a separate post.

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My handsome fiance :)

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There is even a Japanese Garden in Tondoon!

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Just sitting around enjoying each other’s company in the garden

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We worked hard and didn’t go on as many Gladstone-adventures as we probably should have (because we were always going back to Rocky for the weekend) but the few adventures we did have left fond memories! :) Thanks Gladstone, maybe see you again in the future!

Cafe Bliss – definitely worth a visit!

One of the most popular breakfast destinations in Rockhampton, Cafe Bliss made the perfect choice for our visiting friends, Josiah and Danya, from Bundaberg. :)

And, with a stroke of luck, we were able to grab seating for 4 on a late Sunday morning without reservations!

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Some of the first thoughts that went through our minds

  • Welcoming service
  • This place is very cute. It’s actually the most girly restaurant we have ever been to – which is not meant to be an insult! Splashes of pink everywhere!
  • Very bright with lots of windows and seating distant enough to give patrons a sense of privacy
  • The location of the display cabinet immediately draws your attention, and filled with lots of goodies!

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Look at the menu… hand made scrap books! I have never seen this at another restaurant. Obviously a lot of effort have gone into these menus, a unique pop of character!

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I could not resist ordering the Breakfast Bagel ($15.50). Toasted Bagel with crispy bacon, fried eggs, wilted spinach & Swiss cheese drizzled with outback BBQ sauce and a side of hollandaise. Alright, as a Canadian, this bagel isn’t fooling anyone. It has the consistency of a dinner roll – super light, soft, and fluffy – certainly not a real bagel. However, it looks charming and the perfectly positioned egg yolk is a nice touch. Not to mention, It was delicious and incredibly filling! I would definitely order this dish again ;)

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Both Michael and Josiah share the same code: Always order Eggs Benedict ($15.50) when trying a new restaurant. Why? Because that’s the benchmark against which their other dishes can be measured. Poached eggs, served on a bed of wilted baby spinach & your choice of ham, smoked salmon or bacon set on a toasted English muffin with fresh hollandaise. They weren’t disappointed! Generous salmon and the hollandaise sauce had the perfect consistency and right amount of zing.

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Thanks so much for visiting guys! We hope you have the chance to pop by again soon!

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Unfortunately, my second visit at Cafe Bliss was a lot more disappointing. Came for lunch with a friend and got Chicken Flat Bread Sandwich ($16.50). Premium chicken breast, fresh avocado, crispy bacon, baby cos lettuce, Swiss cheese & garlic aioli on home-made flat bread with beer battered fries. Unfortunately, as you might be able to imagine from the photo, the flat bread was incredibly greasy, tough and chewy. In addition, my chicken breast was under (or not) seasoned and was too overcooked, leaving it bland and dry. The fries were great and crisp though!

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I am hoping that my lunch meal was a fluke, and it certainly won’t deter us from visiting again soon!

We are especially looking forward to a dinner visit with finer dining: Bliss By Night. Their dinner menu looks tantalising and we continue to see good feedback online. Check out their menu HERE.

If you’re thinking of a place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner – would definitely recommend visiting Cafe Bliss!

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Oh, the Irony

When I first started working as a doctor in January of this year, I prepared myself mentally, emotionally and physically to be yelled at, and berated by my senior colleagues.

Haha, I know, that sounds horrible! Of course, I didn’t expect it to happen all the time, but after hearing some nasty horror stories, I would rather anticipate it than be taken by surprise. With that being said, I’m happy to say I’m approaching the end of my 8th month of employment and that still has not happened.

However, I have been yelled at. It was loud, terrifying, awkward, and made me feel like I had done something terribly wrong.

It happened during my first weekend shift at the beginning of the year. I was on Medicine, working ward call. I had just finished ward rounds with the consultant and met up with my colleague to see what other jobs needed to be completed. She asked if I could check in on a patient that she was just notified had gone into complete heart block. A precarious situation, I immediately went to see the patient. On the way, I was stopped by the nurse and given his latest ECG – he was back in 2nd degree heart block, no longer complete heart block.

The curtains around the patient’s bed were drawn and there were visitors behind the curtain. I could hear talking but could not make out what was being said. The health of the patient above all else, I excused myself and entered behind the curtain. I said hello, introduced myself to the patient and his 3 visitors, including his wife. I explained we had received a call from cardiology that his heart had gone into an abnormal rhythm and wanted to make sure that he wasn’t experiencing any symptoms of shortness of breath or chest pain. After a brief talk and examination, I was happy that the patient was clinically stable and apologised for the interruption. I told the patient that I would now go familiarise myself with his chart and have a chat with the senior and let him know if there was anything else that needed to be done. The patient and his wife said thank you and I excused myself.

As I reached the hallway, I heard a very angry, “Excuse me!” I turned around to have one of the patient’s visitors towering over me, 15cm from my face, who proceeded to yell at me at the top of his lungs, “Do you know how rude it is to interrupt a minister in the middle of praying?! How dare you! You should be ashamed of yourself!” Before I could apologise (again) for interrupting and explain that it was necessary for the safety of the patient, he stalked off.

I was shaking. Not because I was hurt, but because I was furious. How is it possible that an adult cannot treat another adult with respect and communicate more calmly?

Being yelled at, for the first time in my (short) career, by a Christian minister – OH THE IRONY. He who should practice what he preaches.

A few minutes later, I returned to see the patient, his family, and more importantly, the minister. Despite the fact that I stood by my actions, I wanted to apologise again if they felt I was rude. The minister was not there and the patient and his wife looked mortified. Both she and her husband apologised profusely for the minister’s behaviour. They said it was appalling and that they were so embarrassed. They agreed with my actions and thanked me for putting the patient first. I thanked them for their understanding.

And that, is the story of my first experience being yelled at as a doctor.

Intern year so far

Intern year has really been incredible so far.

Unfortunately, where writing and blogging used to come so easily to me, I now find it immensely difficult to sit down and make time for it, particularly on my days off! As a result, I have not been able to keep the promise to myself to blog regularly but I hope to share more of my work experience today :)

It seems like ages ago, but when Michael and I came back from our 5 week holiday in Canada (March 27), we completed our next 10 week rotation – Michael on Surgery and I on Medicine. In hindsight, second rotation passed by in a blink of an eye. I have always, and continue to absolutely love general medicine. The complexities of patient presentations, the intricacies of patient care, and the teamwork required with Allied Health to ensure patients are at their optimal level of function before going home. A great experience with wonderful teaching and support from all seniors.

Then, both Michael and I moved on to spend 10 weeks in Gladstone, 1hr20min away by car from Rockhampton, where Michael completed his rotation in Medicine and I in Emergency Medicine.

Now that, was an experience. Unfortunately, the ED was constantly understaffed with numerous new faces that came and went as locums. However, as a result, I gained a lot of independence and experience. It took a few days, but I got into my own groove and for once, felt comfortable handling anything thrown my way.

Here are some points I took away after 10 weeks of Emergency Medicine:

  • Recognizing a sick patient is sometimes difficult, but shouldn’t be. If the little details don’t fit a proper bigger picture, something is wrong. Trust your intuition. Never hesitate to present your concerns and get a second opinion, you will be surprised how often you are right.
  • I can totally handle paediatric patients – they are so much more trusting of you than I used to believe. You can easily win them over and make them feel at ease, even in hospital. That stethoscope they don’t want you touching them with? Let them listen to their own heart and suddenly the room is full of giggles. And always have a lower threshold for concern when dealing with paediatric patients.
  • Lots of patients will come in for abdominal and/or chest pains. And sometimes, you just don’t find a cause for their symptoms and have to send them away. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to learn that patients will rarely be upset if you cannot give them the answers they’re seeking. The key is attentiveness and good communication. Listen to their concerns, investigate appropriately, rule out the dangerous causes, good pain relief, follow up plan, and safety netting are key elements.
  • Finally got some proper suturing experience! Thank you patients who don’t shy away from letting a junior doctor stick them with needles.
  • Presenting patients and making referrals used to take a lot more time and thought. Now it is almost second nature as I was constantly seeing and presenting patients to seniors in ED.
  • People break a lot of bones. Some people are huge wimps when it comes to pain, others are so stoic you may not even think they had a fracture. Kids are almost always excited to have broken a bone because it means they can get a cast!
  • So many young men come into ED post electric shocks at work.
  • If a patient who rarely comes in hospital presents to Emergency 4 times in the last month, and each time sent back home, something is not right. Be their advocate. Whether it’s a medical condition that needs more investigations or a home situation that needs more support – something needs to change or they will continue coming into hospital.
  • Keep a log of patients you see! Record procedures you’ve done, interesting patients you’ve treated, those you want to follow up. Future case presentations, continuity of care, and personal interest are only some reasons to keep a good record!
  • Working at a small, understaffed hospital unfortunately has its disadvantages: No formal teaching and less opportunity to participate in “real emergency medicine.” I did not get the opportunity to participate in proper resus or trauma situations. As a result, I’m sure I will be terrified and at a disadvantage when the situation arises in the future.
  • Never be scared to say “I don’t know” and never shy away from asking questions. That is how you learn! Seniors would rather hear you don’t know and teach you, rather than hearing your pathetic attempt at pretending you know more than you actually do.
  • I don’t see myself doing Emergency Medicine as a career, but it is certainly an experience every doctor should have in their arsenal to be a better physician. As someone who wants to do GP, there was one observation I made: some of the terrible referrals from GPs in the community. Note to self: Keep that in mind on “How not to refer!”

And this past week? We started our 4th rotation, back in Rockhampton, yay! I have moved on to General Surgery (less enthusiastic “yay”) and Michael is in ED.

So far, I’ve survived! I’m back to feeling like a pen with legs, but I think the work load will pick up soon. Luckily, all the seniors have been more than pleasant and I haven’t been yelled at – always a bonus ;) I have no inclinations of being a surgeon, however, as a GP, it would be good to have surgical skills for minor procedures under my belt. I have made that known to the surgical team and they are keeping me in mind, which I really appreciate! Day 2 and I was called down to clinic just to do a punch biopsy because of my interest in GP. I’m looking forward to the next 2 months on surgery, will keep you updated!

Camping at Blackdown Tableland National Park

May 30-31, 2015

Our first camping trip this year :)

180km west of Rockhampton, it is an approximate 3 hour drive to Blackdown Tableland National Park. The mountainous terrain of the tablelands provides a unique landscape featuring gorges, waterfalls and diverse vegetation. It is also the traditional homeland of the Ghungalu people and they ask visitors to respect their land and take a moment to acknowledge their spiritual ancestors when visiting.

Beautiful drive up!

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Camping is only permitted at Munall campground, with nearby walking tracks that are incredibly peaceful and lead to amazing lookouts. Entrance to the park is a 11km turn off from Capricorn Coast and a further 8km to Munall campground.

 

We managed our drive in a little Honda Jazz but a 4WD would certainly make the trip much MUCH easier. Have fun though!

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A map of the campground and surrounding trails

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Here is a short video of our time in Blackdown Tableland National Park!

And of course, some photos!

Our campsite at Munall. A very reasonable fee of $5.75/person/night.

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There are 3 main walking tracks.

We started with the 2.8km circuit Goon Goon Dhina track. It was incredibly quiet and peaceful, not another soul in sight. “An easy walk past old cattle yard ruins, then follows Mimosa Creek upstream to a Ghungalu art site. Signs along this track offer insights into the park’s history. Learn how Ghungalu people used plants for food and shelter.”

Constantly reminded how small you are in nature

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Saw sundews in nature for the first time!

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Lovely trails and plenty of still water. I’m sure it is quite pretty when water is flowing!

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We stopped to admire the Ghungalu art site

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We came across lots of prescribed burning in all areas of the park.

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A short drive away is the 4km (return) Gudda Gumoo trail that takes you a lookout and further to the gorge. Head down a flight of 240 steps to the base of the waterfalls and take in the rainbows cast over the falling waters.

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The water was frigid but I imagine this would be an amazingly refreshing place to swim and cool down in the summer!

Rainbow! But no pot of gold in sight… :(

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We saved the Mook Mook trail (2.4km return) for last and so glad we did – best scenery!

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A zombie?

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So gorgeous and quiet

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Look at this incredible view! No words!

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On our drive down and back to Rockhampton, we stopped to enjoy the scenery from a different angle :)

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Winning at the selfie game!

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See you next time!

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I should also mention… plenty of cows on the road! But they always look so grumpy and always covered in flies!

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Visiting Rockhampton Zoo

If you have a few hours to spare in Rockhampton, definitely check out the Rockhampton Zoo!

A completely free attraction within the Botanic Gardens that offers an opportunity to relax in nature and see over 50 species of animals native to Australia.

Not all exhibits were open and some enclosures were not in use. We imagine due to ongoing renovations from cyclone damages earlier this year.

Nevertheless, an enjoyable time walking around and meeting all the animals!

Chimpanzees

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Red seal coot birds

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Basking alligator

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Freshwater crocodiles trying to hide

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Sleepy koalas hanging out in the eucalyptus

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Kangaroos! Unfortunately, no interaction with them as you can at other zoos like Australia Zoo or Lone Pine

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Lace Monitors! So cute!

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Rockhampton Zoo even has an aviary! Small but with plenty of birds to observe :)

Royal Spoonbill

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Emerald Dove

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I don’t know the name of this bird!

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Bar Shouldered Dove

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Showing off

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And of course, as with any park… you will get Ibises looking for food :P

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Worth a visit, check out Rockhampton Zoo if you have free time!

Great Chinese food from Dragon Gallery

We definitely have a weak spot for Chinese food and were glad to find an establishment in Rockhampton to satisfy our cravings.

Dragon Gallery is located at 1/295 Richardson Rd – next to the Asian grocery store Food Sing Trading.

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A small, simply decorated restaurant with limited seating so don’t forget to call and make reservations to ensure a spot! While dining in, we also noticed a very steady stream of customers coming in to pick up their takeaway orders. And speaking from experience, perfect for a night in!

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There may be a wait for food if it’s a busy night, but service is always good with frequent checking in to make sure you’re enjoying your meal.

(Menus provided by Dragon Gallery)

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At our first visit with a few friends, we decided on one of the banquet options for value and variety.

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We decided on the $32/head option and were not disappointed!

Mixed entrees – mini spring rolls, fried dim sims, and fried mashed prawn with sesame on toast.

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The spring rolls were large and delicious with the perfect hint of five-spice seasoning, something I’ve never seen before. Dim sims were also great. The prawn toast, however, had so little prawn they seemed more like fried sesame bread. I’m a huge fan of prawn toast and make it quite often at home slathered to the brim with prawn paste so it made me a little sad.

Pork with vegetables in oyster sauce. The pork was tender, vegetables still crisp and the sauce not too overpowering or salty!

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Boneless crispy chicken in lemon sauce. Piping hot and crisp with a delicious sweet and sour lemon sauce – always a favourite.

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All the dishes were served with generous portions of Fried Rice. Unfortunately, I forgot to grab a photo but it was simple and delicious.

Mongolian Beef – Sizzling hot, incredibly tender and not overpowered with onions.

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Honey prawns. This dish is always a treat. Perfect when they’re fresh out of the fryer with a delicate crisp batter coating and tossed in a sweet honey concoction… delicious!

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Included in the banquet is the option of dessert – banana fritter with ice cream or deep fried ice cream. We chose deep fried ice cream that came on a bed of canned fruit. The batter was interesting… coconut based and crumbly. I think we would choose to try the banana fritters next time.

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We prefer dining in as the food is piping hot and fresh but takeaway is a great option as well – we love the family options! Your food is often ready in the time frame given when you place your order. The only disappointment involved with takeaway is having to get the food home before you can eat it. And in that time, crispy dishes can get soggy from the steam!

Head in to Dragon Gallery for some delicious Chinese food! You won’t leave dissatisfied! :)