While many people reach for a glass of red at the end of a long stressful day, I not uncommonly reach for my laptop and start writing.
A diligent journal keeper as a youngster (I wrote in my diary every day without exception between 1988 and 1998), I have now turned to blogging as a tool to debrief and reflect. My writings are irreverent at times, holding nothing sacred save human dignity. They can be playful, painful and poignant, sometimes simultaneously.
The following pages contain a selection of these pieces, taken from experiences in my working and personal life. You’ll also find more of these in my blog posts (links in sidebar, and below)
For those interested in developing the habit of reflecting more regularly on their own lives, you may like the try the following exercise, taken from Rachel Remen’s “Reflections on Happiness”:
At the end of each day ask yourself,
1) What surprised me? (Surprises keep you awake to the possibilities of new
2) What touched you or moved you? (Reflecting on emotional responses helps
with understanding of the meaning of the experience.)
3) What inspired you? (Inspiration can lead to new ways of doing things.)
My work as a doctor has been my biggest source of creative inspiration. After all, real life is not only stranger than fiction, it is often funnier, sadder and more poignant. Doctors are immensely privileged to be let into the most intimate and personal corners of people’s minds and bodies. With this privilege comes responsibility – patient confidentiality is paramount.
For this reason, details have been changed in any pieces referring to patients, to protect the identity of those involved (with the exception of when permission has been expressively given for real names (and/or details) to be published e.g. “Adam”).
Consent has been obtained (and documented) for stories that contain potentially identifable information.
Slice of Life pages:
1) The Last Word: Since January 2011, I have been a regular columnist for the most widely-read medical newspaper in Australia, Australian Doctor. I write humorous articles for the Last Word column, located on the back cover of the publication.
Links to the Australian Doctor webside are provided, and content is reproduced in my blog posts for those without access to Australian Doctor.