Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Well, zap my head with an electric fish!

I couldn’t resist this paragraph from an article in this week’s New Yorker about transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). 
What a great piece of writing!

The human drive to zap one’s head with electricity goes back at least to antiquity, and was originally satisfied by means of electric fish. “Headache even if it is chronic and unbearable is taken away and remedied forever by a live torpedo placed under the spot that is in pain,” the first-century physician Scribonius Largus wrote. He also used the torpedo, a species of ray native to the Mediterranean, to treat hemorrhoids. In the eleventh century, the Islamic polymath Avicenna reportedly recommended the placement of an electric catfish on the brow to counteract epilepsy. As late as 1762, a Dutch colonist in Guyana wrote that “when a slave complains of a bad headache” he should put one hand on his head and another on a South American electric eel and “will be helped immediately, without exception.”

Monday, 30 March 2015

Tell Us Your Story

Fifty posts down and a million more to go!

Dr Isabel McTigue -
star of our most popular post
Thank you all for taking the time to read the first fifty posts on the Creative Doctors blog. Thanks too to all those who have contributed information and ideas to keep us thinking about creative doctors and their activities, and creativity generally.

This post is both a celebration of our first half century of postings and an invitation to everyone to contribute to our blog.
If you are a doctor involved in creative activities of any kind we would love to hear about what you are doing and how you think it benefits you professionally and personally.

Contact us to tell your story via the contact form on right hand side of this page and watch this space to learn more about what your colleagues are up to in their leisure time

We also love to get your comments on the posts so just click on "Comments"  (or possibly "no comments") below and your thoughts will go to the moderator before they appear

Let's get a conversation going!

Thursday, 26 March 2015

How About Some Haiku?

If writing is good for our spirits a little haiku can provide a patch of happiness in a difficult day. Here's a "medical haiku" inspired by a patient who was very proud of his seven syllable diagnosis:

Body pain, mind lame
The knife will fix it

Writing it gave me the breath of fresh air I needed to get through a long day in general practice. It's the structure and the brevity, the creativity and the intellectual challenge that combine to make writing haiku so refreshing.
Is this Murray River sunset worth a haiku?

Monday, 23 March 2015

The Naked Physician

As the "Hangover" series of movies may not be quite your cup of tea you might not have heard of actor/comedian Ken Jeong or know that he is also a physician.

Here's a link to his Wikipedia entry, but it was this video that appeared on my Facebook feed that drew my attention to him.

Dr Jeong - your life in his hands?
Even if his comedy is still not your thing you can't help but be touched by his story

If you're a Creative Doctor with comedic aspirations you might find some inspiration in this short but hilarious interview Ken did with Ellen DeGeneres in 2010.

If you're only a fraction as funny as Dr Jeong please put our Creative Doctors Performance Night in your diary. We all want to see you there!

Creative Doctors Performance Night 2015 will be  at Camelot Lounge in Marrickville Thursday Sept 10th. There's still time to get that routine polished up for the night (and to find the outfit).

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Medicine and Creative Writing

It was a grey old day in Sydney yesterday and under gloomy skies twelve of us had a wonderful time at the Creative Doctors Writing Workshop. 

Led by Dr Hilton Koppe the workshop was called "Beyond the Medical Record" and, although several of us have been to one of these workshops before, it was no less rich an experience the second time around. Part of the reason for that was that each time we have done the workshop it has been with a different crowd. Each participant brings his or her own particular talent and their own particular view of the world to the workshop, and we all learn something from each other.

That's not to diminish Hilton's part in it all. Hilton is a gentle man with a wonderful gift for teaching. He has a wealth of human experience as an observant and empathetic country GP and he brings all that to his workshops. He designs the workshops so that not only do his participants learn something about writing they also learn something about themselves and each other. 

What did we do all day?

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Learning Not to Suck

I just read something I think is really quite profound. It said "the path to not sucking always starts with sucking"
It's from a 2011 article by Lisa Chu on a blog called "Medcrunch". The article is about making mistakes and medicine's culture of shame.

Two things have come together to make this pertinent for me.

First came news of tragic deaths of four young Australian doctors earlier this year.
Second there's the doctor's group I joined recently which seriously upset me for a while, leaving me questioning my competence in the context of all these incredibly clever doctors telling tales of great clinical successes and displaying evidence of comprehensive knowledge of every aspect of medicine. It feels like being an intern all over again.

Lisa Chu is a medical graduate and a life coach who focuses in her work on encouraging people to live more creatively. She suggests that the pressure on medical students to perform perfectly from the first day at medical school is the most salient thing underpinning burnout in medical practitioners. She claims that medical training is a just performance environment and that all our learning is done in privacy and in fear.
Lisa suggest we need to approach medical learning more creatively and to talk openly about the things that go wrong so that we, and others, can learn from them.
From that we might also learn that we are no more or less human than our peers.
What do you think?
Do we talk openly enough about the things that go wrong in our practice?
Would it be as useful to do so as it is to brag about the things that go right?

Monday, 16 March 2015

Save the Date for Czech Mate - Musicus Medicus 2015

Musicus Medicus - also know as the NSW Doctors Orchestra - will hold its 2015 charity concert at   2.30pm on Sunday 24th May the Concourse Concert Hall in Chatswood.

The program will focus on Czech composers and feature Dvorjak's Cello Concerto in B minor. David Periera will be the soloist. (Here's a link to David's website if you'd like to find out more about him). Also featured on the program will be composers Smetana, Janacek and Weinberger.

General Practitioner David Banney, winner of the 1995 ABC-Westfield Australian Young Conductor of the Year Award, will conduct the orchestra of doctors from all over NSW who come together each year to perform in this concert.

Dr Cathy Fraser - founder of the NSW Doctors' Orchestra
"Musicus Medicus" 
Proceeds from the concert this year will go to  Perinatal Research and Maternal Medicine (PRaMM - here's a link  to their website) at the Kolling Institute at Royal North Shore Hospital and to the City of Sydney Eisteddfod to support the NSW Doctors Orchestra Instrumental Scholarship. The scholarship, worth $10,500 dollars annually, is awarded each year to an outstanding instrumentalist between 16 and 25 years of age. The orchestra also funds 3rd prize in the Young Virtuosi Program run by Fine music  102.5FM.

Follow this link to find all the concert details on the NSW Doctors Orchestra Website.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

"Man created God in his own image"

Who said it first? Sure sounds
like Nietzche!

Dr Frances Black, Sydney based general practitioner, playwright (They Came for a Drink) and author (My Retirement Gap Year - Adapting to Retirement, You Are Not Alone), extends an invitation to us to attend a reading of her new play "Man created God in his own image".
Dr Frances Black

The play is a "gentle satire on man's need for religious beliefs" that points out the frailties present in all religions.

The reading, by professional actors, will be held at the Old Fitz Theatre in the Old Fitzroy Hotel, 129  Dowling St Woolloomooloo on Monday 23rd March at 7.30pm. Entry costs $10.00 and all are welcome.

If you are generally interested in the subject of the play here is a link to an article on scienceblogs.com about psychological research into the same subject. A conversation starter perhaps?