Life to death, black to white, dawn to dust. On the middle ground where it’s so uneasy to stand.

Tales of the Undead

This is not about a zombie apocalypse, don’t worry.

Or do worry, because it’s not about a very lighthearted subject either. It’s about Ms B.

Ms B. Is a patient in our ward. She’s not supposed to be, because I’m in a Surgery unit, and she’ll never get an operation. She’s a very quiet old lady, always smiling. She has cancer, the nasty type. In fact, she has more cancer in her body than there are Starbucks in New York, probably. She arrived last week to the Emergency Room because, basically, her cancer is so eager to take over everything it digested her stomach and now there’s a hole in it. In a very non-scientific way, it means shit is everywhere. And there’s no way we can close the hole because it’s all cancerous and dead stuff around it and she’s not really fit enough for any operation. Continue reading

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Book Review

Bill Bryson et All: Icons of England

www.amazon.co.uk

I’ve been in Canada for 3 weeks and I’ve already finished all the books I took with me. I’m on a crusade to find a library that would accept a foreigner (my God!) as it’s member and allow me access to books, my drug of choice (or does coffee come first? Too difficult to answer that…), well, anyway, while on search for more books I borrowed this one from my English roommate. I’ve read a lot of Bill Bryson’s books. It’s always clever and funny, he manages to highlight the quirks and absurdities of countries and people without ever being condescending. This one is not by him, though, it’s a collection of short essays about the English countryside, by just about anyone from Michael Palin (hihi) to Eric Clapton. Continue reading

A quote

I’m always at a loss for words. When trying to describe a particular feeling, when trying to console a friend, when faced with death or the unknown, well, ever and ever. I’m a pretend-writer without words. So I collect quotes, usually on bits of paper I loose a few steps further down the road, on restaurants tablecloths, on used bus tickets, but some seem to hang on to a corner of my mind. I decided I should write those down somewhere, because if brilliant minds have written or spoken so many brilliant words, it should be a shame not to pay my respect.

This week, somehow, a passage from Zadie Smith’s White Teeth is stuck in my head. (Read it, read it now!!!)

Our children will be born of our actions. Our accidents will become their destinies. Oh, the actions will remain. It is a simple matter of what you will do when the chips are down, my friend. When the fat lady is singing. When the walls are falling in, and the sky is dark, and the ground is rumbling. In that moment our actions will define us. And it makes no difference whether you are being watched by Allah, Jesus, Buddah, or whether you are not. On cold days a man can see his breath, on a hot day he can’t. On both occasions, the man breathes.

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Shut down the TV and go play outside, or wait, go play on the internet!

a.k.a Short attempt to show any techno-sceptic that the internet isn’t only filled with hateful youtube comments and cat videos (though, actually, some cat vids are in the list…)

Note: this is largely inspired by Sas Petherick’s List of Awesome, which is, indeed, awesome;-)

Note nr 2: There’s no order whatsoever (surprising, isn’t it?)

1) Sarah Kay’s spoken word poetry:

http://www.kaysarahsera.com/

And specifically her TED talk and “point B” poem:

http://www.ted.com/talks/sarah_kay_if_i_should_have_a_daughter.html

2) Humans of New York, by Brandon Stanton

https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork?fref=ts

For days when you despair about the human race…

3) McSweeney’s Internet tendency, for random craziness, like:

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/the-best-cappuccino-in-europe-quite-possibly-the-world

and all the lists

Continue reading

An introduction: On back pains and blog pains

What on earth am I doing here?

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You might have expected, if you’ve wandered here – surely by mistake, feel free to click on the “go back arrow” and return to a safer world than this blabbering mess – that I started this blog with a plan.
You couldn’t be more wrong, my dear, but thank you for the vote of confidence!

I suppose I should start with general information about myself, my purpose in life, my interests, and all those sensible subjects one is expected to find. Well, let’s try!

1) Me (very narcissistic, but then, the whole idea of a blog is narcissistic)

muffinsI always feel like I’m the worst judge of my own character. Wouldn’t it be great to have a permanently good, whimsical, and slightly self-depreciative classic writer on demand to write those “tell us about you” and “edit your profile” pages?

Jane Austen, perhaps? I always marvel at the way she can paint a character in a few words (come on, look at the first pages of Persuasion, she gives you Sir Elliot in a nutshell, it is pure genius…) Well anyway, she would probably scorn my not-so-well-hidden romantic mind and mock my claims of being “an accomplished lady”.  So maybe Nick Hornby, when I feel self-destructive enough, or even Lewis Caroll, because frankly, I don’t seem to be making any sense anyway.

Well, without all of that – I do realize that starting a blog somehow means you’re going to have to write a bit – let’s “talk about me”!

I’m a part time traveler and a full time doctor-to-be. I think this is as specific as it might get for now. I’ve scribbled over pages and pages of fancy and less fancy notebooks, depending on my budget, all more or less categorized: the one for the travels I do, the one for the books I read, the ones for the recipes I make up with the contents of my empty fridge, the one for the dreams I have, the one for everything that doesn’t fit in the others, the one for when I can’t find the other ones in the chaos that usually is my room, well, lots of scattered words and pages…

And yesterday, stuck in bed in a yet unknown city with a nasty back pain, I thought I might actually put it all in one blog, it would at least save me the trouble of having to get out of bed to get my notebook, which, in my present state of handicap, should be classified as an Olympic discipline. (Slug running, maybe?)

Which leads us to:

2) Why this blog?

I had planned to start a blog by next year, because I’m finishing med school next august and will then go on a trip around the world, trying to combine traveling and volunteering as a doctor in developing countries. Well, that’s the plan anyway, it’s going to change about a billion times, for sure.

So why start in advance? It is not the kind of thing I usually do – in fact, I’ll wait ’till the last millisecond if I can, it’s a mater of principle, I think, a sort of way of defying my Swiss identity by being always late and on the rush – but I thought I might have other stuff to write about, after all, this last year of med school is going to be quite travel-filled as well.

So, ideally, this is going to be a place where I tell stories about my hospital days and the amazing people I get to meet when I try to figure out why they’re in pain, a place to review the books I’ve read and hope that other people might recommend some of their favorites, a place for random thoughts, a place for anything that goes through my mind (don’t worry, there’s not that much going on in there;-) and through the lens of my camera.

Let’s see what shall become of it!