Preemptively Nesting

All of my friends are having babies.

Okay, slight exaggeration. But it does feel like everytime I open facebook or my email there’s more news, more babies and more baby bump pictures than I can count.

Naturally, my mind turns to my own uterus and thinking about the potential of future motherhood.

I want children. Just eventually, not yet. I worry myself sometimes looking at mums and babies out in the real world and I don’t feel like I’ll ever be ready for growing and raising another little human being. It seems quite terrifying. And understandably life-altering.

But if not yet, then when? And what exactly am I waiting for?

I don’t feel any more grown up over the last few years, though I am in my mid-twenties. I don’t see a good enough grasp of simple household tasks and finances in myself that I’d feel safe adding more stress, mess, spending and worry on top of my not-as-well-organised-life-as-I’d-like. And I think about my career and the fact that I’d have to put any kind of training on hold to have a child, and then how on Earth could I manage work and a family.

Theory: We all expect to grow up and feel comfortable to a certain extent before consciously deciding to move on to the next level, and instead life just throws you into the deep end and expects that you totally went to those life-swimming-lessons that one time.

So instead of starting to dream about babies and buy their gorgeous tiny clothes, I’m doing the practical, perhaps slightly pessimistic, thing of starting to prepare. As in, I’m researching babies and pregnancy and raising children and troubleshooting issues like getting them to stay in bed all night and toilet training that works!

Maybe I did go insane.

Thought it was better than winding up unexpectedly in life’s deep end without any kind of advice, expectation or knowledge.

So I have an excel spreadsheet which I’m filling with all of the information the internet is throwing at me. Perhaps it would be better to get the ‘what to expect when you’re expecting’ book, but for one thing I think my poor boyfriend would freak out just a little if he saw that book, and for another, I did flick through it once at a book sale but didn’t see much useful child-raising information within the reflux, constipation and haemorrhoids section of the delights of pregnancy. Perhaps I’d flicked through the wrong part of the book, but as I wasn’t and still aren’t actually expecting anything yet, I thought I can save that one for the nesting stage.

I don’t think that I will have all of the answers when it actually comes time to have kids, but at least I’ll be somewhat prepared, I hope.

Pre-emptively nesting,



Common Wednesday

[I recognise it is a Tuesday.
And that I haven’t posted in such a long time.
There’s a thousand and one excuses for why there’s been a ridiculous delay, but to be honest it’s all quite mundane. Let’s just move on shall we?]

There are ways scientist can predict, with a 94% accuracy, the health and long-term viability of a relationship, no matter how fresh or new said relationship is. With this in mind, would you want the test early in your relationship? Always the pessimist, I see a few options if you and your partner score poorly on their testing: (a) cut your losses early, (b) find out where you may be going wrong and try to fix things, or (c ) continue along the same path, just not-so-blindly, and keep your fingers crossed that you’re the 6% they’re not able to predict accurately anyway.

Not so surprisingly, the important parts of a couple’s viability come down to the way they treat each other.
The couple should respond positively or with curiosity to one another’s bids for attention. They should try to rally their spirits when at their lowest energy to avoid neglecting small moments of emotional connection. They should be present for the good times, to actively engage each other and bring more of the good feels into the relationship.

This is what Common Wednesdays are all about. They’re the days that make up the years together, the ones you won’t remember, the time spent doing nothing particularly special at all. If you can connect on a Common Wednesday, you’ll probably make it.

I moved in with Ben several months ago. As in, I up-and-moved states, jobs, houses, gave up my dogs and left friends and family behind. I really don’t regret it. Too cliched to say he makes me happy? He encourages my happiness.

We did hit a snag in the relationship over Christmas. I won’t go into the details of it, but it boiled down to Ben being fairly relaxed, and me being too uptight. We clashed a little. If scientists had examined us at that time, I doubt we’d have scored well. But we’ve both made sure we were heard, we’ve made steps towards each other, we’re both trying. Things are good 🙂

My house sells this Wednesday. And yes I’m calling it ‘mine’ because that’s what it is, though I’ve been avoiding possessive pronouns on the subject for a while – it’s not that it’s an issue, I just don’t want it to become one. We’re kind of in the what’s-mine-is-your’s phase, though I do want to settle into a nice budget sooner rather than later. Selling the house means paying off all of the debt. This is fairly important, obv.

So it’s not exactly a common Wednesday, but I’ll be interested to see how Ben responds to my bids for his attention, and then to see whether you can teach good relationship habits and communication. (And if you can teach such relationship skills… is it just me who thinks we should have been taught this stuff in school?)

Perhaps ignorance is bliss only because you have to work harder when you have some knowledge. Feels like too much effort.

So, maybe I’m back for a bit?

12 Days

Here’s what you’ve missed while I’ve not been blogging:
1. Ben used the L-word (correct context, cute story; another time)
2. We decided on our anniversary date (when I called him to re-ask ‘what this is’; though in my head I still refer to our first date, some 3 months prior)
3. I got the job interstate (yay and whoa boy it’s actually happening now), and I leave in under three weeks.
4. Preparing to move interstate = long to-do list = sucky. (Also that I have a lot of craft stuff. Almost as many craft boxes as kitchen boxes, and I love food and cooking, so that is weird..)
5. Attended two weddings – one beautiful, gorgeous, magical, the other a little disappointing and oddly disproportionate. (Got me thinking about what I would want in a wedding, or perhaps what I wouldn’t want… ideas for another day, sorry).
6. Sacrificing a lot for this move. (Don’t know which battles I should fight for and which I should surrender; especially when things he doesn’t care about he says “If that’s what my girl wants, it’s what my girl gets”).
7. A mum of one of my best friends has been diagnosed with cancer. (Really puts everything into perspective and makes me want to do a lot of things in preparation for the inevitable with my own mum – though much further down the line of course. Also reminds me I need to update my will).

No theories today, only packing and boxes.
And 11 more days of work at the hospital that has been my home for four and a half years. *Sadface*.
– Gigi.

A Savoury Bradbury.

There are easily four topics I’ve had on and off my mind for the last few weeks and none of them are coming out right.

I wanted to talk about the possible moving in together stuff, but really I’ve only applied for a job and haven’t heard back yet about anything. So it’d be easier to talk about an interview prospect, or a job offer before I can stress about the decision about giving the dogs up or not, and whether it’s too soon for Ben and I to be making such a big step.

Then there was the hen’s party I was at a few weekends ago. Fairly tame as far as hen’s parties are concerned, but still loads of fun. Came away with a memory of the bride-to-be shrugging off the potential of a Murphy’s Law wedding (where everything that can go wrong, will), simply stating “I just want to marry him, that’s all”. Thought a fair bit about how my feelings about weddings have changed over the last few years and that ultimately now, I’d be fairly practical about the whole thing: a wedding is a celebration on one day; it’s essentially a party about getting to spend the rest of your life with this person you’ve chosen – why on Earth would you spend so much money on one day, on a party? I sincerely hope that Ben thinks as practically as me; when I tried to make jokes with Peter about eloping and he would say that he couldn’t do that because he knows me and knows that I would want the big party, with the big dress. (Bee-tee-dubs: I’d never imagined a “big dress”). I’m even at the stage where I’d thoroughly appreciate cheap, but expensive looking, jewellery (i.e. ‘the ring’) as long as it meant the money could go towards the house, or a holiday – something more useful than a rock on my finger that I’d worry about losing.

I’ve noticed how comfortable Ben and I have gotten all of a sudden – even though we’re so far apart and that we haven’t seen each other in weeks. Don’t get me wrong – he’s still on my mind every second, just that things have lost their urgency. This is somewhat of a relief really; it’s nice to go back to thinking about me for a bit and doing the things I want to do. Then again, I’ve been immersed in work and job applications lately and it’s entirely exhausting. Which means my sex drive has plummeted. This almost never happens to me. Thankfully the person I want is in another state, so at least the lack of drive isn’t being noticed. That reminds me I’ve got to book flights for next weekend. I’ve gotten a bit lazy it seems.

The final topic-on-my-mind is a bit of a controversial one. I’ve been trying to find a way to discuss the ‘anti-vaccination movement’ and where the concept spawned from. I’d like to go into more detail when I get the chance because the people who fuel such movements (denialists, naturopaths, homeopaths etc) can really do quite a lot of harm with their ‘theories’ and unfortunately people listen to them because of the persuasive power of anecdotal evidence (‘evidence’ in its weakest form I should say).      …I think you can get the feeling there’s more to talk about there, but for now I’m a bit too tired to be able to research the topic to be able to present the debate for a more invigorating read for you all. Another time.


On my way home from work today I was imagining myself waiting to be called forward for the job interview, and striking up a conversation with one of the other candidates (in my mind, likely a mole, since this would be the most logical step for properly analysing candidates: plant a fake interviewee to observe everyone in their natural, nervous state; judgy-mc-judge-pants style.) and when I’m called to the interview I wish the other candidate good luck. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do; because I really am that nice that if I thought they were also worthy of the job then good luck to them; and because if I’m going to have competition for the spot, I want to know that if I get it that it wasn’t just because I was the best of a bad bunch: a savoury Bradbury if you will.

Theory #21: Winning is still winning if it’s Bradbury style, it just wouldn’t be as sweet.

– Dr. Orist.

Ex-Files: Peter’s Pants.

While I would love to be telling you a sordid sex story where someone’s pants may or may not have been the focus, that’s not what this is. It’s nothing of the sort.

This is actually the conclusion, the breakup, the finality, the end to my longest lasting relationship to date.

The short version is that it took five and a half years for us to grow in different directions, we were probably raised differently, and ultimately we wanted different things out of life. It was a shame we didn’t see all of that early enough or we could have prevented each other a lot of pain. But that is life I suppose. At least I have learned from this mistake relationship.


If you’re like me and the stories are the interesting part, here’s the long version.


Perhaps the whole thing was doomed from the beginning.

Peter often said that he didn’t feel good enough for me, and would point out where my words or actions, however subconsciously, indicated that there were things about him that weren’t right and that I was trying to fix him.

I tried reassuring him; I tried focussing on all of the rest of him that was right for me; I even tried addressing the issues head on and said that while I didn’t care, if it was a big enough deal for him to be worried about it, we could fix things easily.

To generalise things, men like to, and sometimes need to, be in charge. Or, at least, they need to be superior to their counterpart women in enough categories that they come out on top. This makes for a happier, more stable relationship, even if it is true that

The man is the head of the house, but the woman is the neck – she can turn the man any way she wants” – the mum in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

So while I was still at university, Peter and I had a fine relationship – his much-less-than-medicore-job (that was perfectly fine for a someone in their late teens) was naturally superior to my waitressing-two-nights-a-week-to-put-myself-through-med-school, and things were simple.

I noticed things starting to go downhill when work started and I was in my internship. Ignoring the fact that I was now in the superior position in both career and money, I kept telling myself that the downturn in events was more about the stress of my work, and all of the complaining I was doing – something I know he hated. There was also a lot of strain financially. I was quite happy to contribute evenly for bills and rent, even though I wasn’t actually living there (mum was still needing me at home, so I tried to balance my time 50/50 between the two houses, with perhaps the larger half of my time spent at Peter’s), but it got to a point where I was paying Peter’s share too because he was having issues with one of the jobs not paying him properly.

(It’s now just hit me that it’s entirely possible that the job was paying him appropriately but that he was lying to me – though at the time I could see no reason for him to be dishonest, so I trusted him. It would explain why he was so mad when I eventually contacted his boss and asked him to call Peter because I had bills to pay.)

With all the extra time I was caught up at work, Peter was getting to spend more time with his friends. Dodgy friends. Friends who dealt with smoking certainly substances that helped to take you away from reality if that’s what you want. Friends who also introduced Peter to the synthetic version.

Looking back now, the spiral into depression and substance abuse probably began earlier in the year, but I had always thought the start of Peter’s slippery slope was towards the end of the year, where the strain of finances and time was much more evident on our relationship. I was also increasingly frustrated by having to do all of the shopping, cleaning, and cooking when my job was much more demanding. He cooked dinner for me twice that year, and one of those was on my birthday.

I had encouraged Peter to go back to university, and though he didn’t want to finish the final semester of the first degree he had abandoned a few years before, he had thought Business was an interesting and safe option and finally seemed to have more ambition – maybe even subconsciously to aim for superiority over my situation.

I offered help whenever I thought I could give it and where I thought I might be useful, but he declined (again, I think wanting to do it all on his own), so I stopped asking about his uni work, and stopped offering help and advice. His grades were quite good, and so I didn’t know that he was failing a subject or two going in to the final exams for the semester. Which meant that when I picked a fight (unintentionally – there’s something about a two thousand dollar electricity bill on your credit card that can make you see red without any rhyme or reason for the timing of other life events) on the morning in his exam week, I was blamed for his failing that subject.

And understandably blamed too. I still feel awful that he went into an exam after I’d started a fight that very morning. But I reserve some of the guilt aside since he was failing the subject to begin with and that I think it was more to do with early depression and substance abuse (things that weren’t really clear at the time).

From then I tried my best to make things as easy as possible for him – we went on a holiday and I tried to not stress about money.

I bought a house, and at the time he told me to make sure I was buying it for me because he wasn’t going to be able to pay for any of the bills and couldn’t expect that of me. I thought that was all he meant by it, but really there was the added layer that he didn’t want to be with me anymore and that I was probably going to end up in a big family house all on my own. He complained often that it didn’t feel like his house and so that he was never going to be comfortable. I probably shouldn’t have reminded him that he didn’t have much of a say in the matter anyway since he wasn’t paying me the minuscule rent that he was supposed to.

So we enter my second year of work (residency), and Peter decides to “take six months off uni” – without discussing things with me I might add, since I would have suggested that instead of focussing on short-term money solutions, that I support him while he finishes uni (and since I’d been supporting him for most of the previous year, this wasn’t going to be a big deal) so that he can have a real job and actually be able to contribute as an equal where the finances were concerned. But no, he’d thought that at least six months of purely working would mean he could earn enough to contribute and get his head back into gear where uni was concerned.

Neither of those things happened.

He said he wasn’t being paid. He also didn’t want me to interfere with trying to fix things with his work. He seemed to get paid every now and then, but that made it difficult to contribute to rent or bills.

The money he did have, he spent on himself. I never came home to the house having been cleaned, nor the dogs walked, nor the lawn mown, never was dinner ready, and only very rarely were any of the small things that I’d asked for actually done.

It became clear early in the year that he was suffering from depression, and I took him to the doctor’s to get help, and helped nurse him through the awful start to the medication. Things seemed to have reached a plateau – they weren’t great, but I was hoping that with treatment for the depression I might be lucky enough to get back the wonderful guy I’d fallen in love with. In any case, it certainly wasn’t the time to be breaking up – he was so fragile and I did my best to help him.

The day before a relatively important job interview, I asked my mum to come and stay so she could drive me to and from the interview (so I didn’t have to put any pressure on Peter in any way). He didn’t want to stick around when she was due to arrive, so even though he was sleep-deprived at that point, he went to visit his dad who lives maybe half hour away. Mum and I were happily catching up with cups of tea in front of us, and I find it’s odd that Peter hasn’t returned home as early as I was expecting. I check my phone, nothing there. As I’m putting it down, an unknown number rings. The voice on the other end of the line tells me that my partner, Peter, has been in a car accident and that I’m not to worry – he’s conscious. (Not the best word to use to a medical person no matter how true that is, because it doesn’t tell me anything in the way of injuries or whether his limbs are attached or not, or even whether they’d be working if they are still attached; nor the severity of the accident and whether I should be panicking more or less right about then. I would recommend “fine” or “okay” for general times, for future reference).

He was fine in the end. Four hours at the hospital with me telling him off when he moved his neck in the collar while we waited for the CT results to clear his head and neck since he’d lost consciousness during the accident. Oh and the severity of the accident? It seemed that Peter must have fallen asleep at the wheel, lost control of the car and it had rolled onto it’s passenger side door and been totalled.

Later we learned that the car had rolled/slid into three stationary cars (occupants all fine), but that two of the cars had been fairly expensive/new, and two (though we didn’t know which) were completely written off. Likely this meant a massive bill. Especially when Peter didn’t have insurance as it was his mum’s car – and she was only covering for CTP. Ouch. We estimated maybe $100-150k worth of damage.

We were then burdened with the task of trying to work out the best way of approaching this problem  –  my initial thoughts were that he could get a loan, maybe his dad and I could be guarantors on the loan, but everyone else was thinking he could negotiate with the insurance companies to be only paying a pittance back at a time because that’s all he’d be able to afford, or perhaps he would just declare bankruptcy.

This was when I raised my concerns with my mum – but I don’t want to be with someone who’s bankrupt for the next five or seven years; I want to be getting married and having kids in that time; I would like to have my partner share the responsibility of my current mortgage with me; I would like to be able to go together for a loan for the next place we’d want to buy and oh-my-god-what-does-that-mean-for-our-credit-rating?

Discussions with mum and her friends only came back with the awful thought – oh please tell me you’d not be counted as defacto, what does that mean for debt like that – do you share it like you would have to share anything else?

While I didn’t think Peter would expect me to take on the burden of his debt, I didn’t want it to be a legal obligation that I would have to sell my house to cover his bills, and then be left with a massive chunk that I would still owe. Especially since some of the money I used for the deposit was from my dad’s last will and testament. It hurt to even think that I might lose that all in one swoop, and even more so when I didn’t know if I wanted to still be with this person – even if they maybe got better from their depression.

I researched and came up that we had to have been living together for two years for the relationship to count as defacto – I breathe a small sigh of relief to Peter: we’d only been together for the less than six months at my house, and even if you added in the entire year before where was half-living at Peter’s place, it would still only total 18months max, so it was okay – I wouldn’t have to sell my house.

His reaction was not what I expected.

He said “I guess we were raised differently then”. He meant that if the rolls were reversed he’d have sold his house and born the brunt of the one hundred thousand dollars or more of debt that would have been nothing to do with him.

We argued.

I don’t even think we agreed to disagree on that one. I was incensed. Especially when it comes out that because it is his mum’s car, she’ll be the bearer of the insurance companies’ bills and had decided that she would probably declare bankruptcy herself. I thought it was interesting that I was raised differently, in that I could never expect either of my parents to take on such a massive responsibility for something that was my fault and that I should have the balls as an adult to stand up and face.

 Anyway. We let the differences in how we were raised slide, and things went back to the stale not-great-but-I’m-waiting-for-you-to-transform-from-toad-to-prince-already.

I did everything that I could. And I tried not to complain about work. Or nag or start arguments about the lack of housework or that I’m never home to find dinner waiting for me. Nor that the finances were even tighter because without a car, he couldn’t work, and his wallet and phone were still in the damaged car, which was still being held in police custody while the investigation was being conducted. It also meant that I was kind enough to lend him my credit card (and then later I even paid the bill for his car to be towed from police holding — all of the promised IOUs for this now non-returned-money live in a box in my head labelled “bad debt”).

I guess the main sore spots of the money of mine that he spent – when the credit card was supposed to be for food or emergencies – was on video games (because they gave him something to do and kept him happy), and on lots of synthetic marijuana.

His substance usage at this point had been sporadic and minimal and mainly with friends on nights off. But with less work, and perhaps less purpose in the mornings, plus a significant increase in his frailty and depression, he said smoking the stuff even on his own was something that enabled him to relax and that he enjoyed, it helped keep him happy.

But the smell made me sick, I didn’t like the person he became when he was high, and I worried about going to work smelling like any kind of funky incense and how that might impact on my medical registration. So I asked him to not smoke it in the house. Then when that plan failed, I asked for not in the bedroom. Then I had to ask not while I’m around. Then I had to add in the proviso not when I’ll likely have time off and want to spend it with him.

That last addition to the smoking rules was created on a Saturday morning before I went to visit my mum for the weekend. I made it clear that I was going to return on Sunday afternoon-evening and that I would love to spend some quality time with Peter since we were rarely getting any time together. I said it clearly – I didn’t want him smoking the stuff on Sunday so that way I could enjoy the evening with the person I love, and not while he’s high.

I sent a text before I left my mum’s that Sunday – giving him just over an hour’s notice that I’d be coming home. I was hopeful that maybe the place would be cleaned (I had kind of asked), but I was mainly hoping that he wouldn’t disappoint me and that he’d have stayed away from the pot.

It was the highest I’d ever seen him.

I walked into my house – unclean and untidy, in the same state I’d left it in. I walked to the bedroom to try to find where Peter was – maybe he’d fallen asleep? He was coming out of the bedroom, holding the pipe in one hand and the lighter in another. His face was slack and quite space-cadet. His eyes were bloodshot and droopy. His mouth was ruminating slowly on what was clearly the lack of saliva that probably meant he hadn’t heard my car come up the driveway, and instead of coming to greet me, he was heading to the kitchen to eat the snack food I’d bought for myself for work lunches.

I couldn’t even say anything.

I saw the redness of rage clouded by an intense disappointment in both him and myself – what the fuck was I doing? (And I rarely swear, so this internal dialogue was quite emphatic).

Even though it was seven or eight o’clock at night, I clipped up the dogs and went for a walk to burn off some of the steam. I called my mum.

I’d been keeping the drug use from her because I didn’t want her to seem him in that way – I didn’t want her to think that there was more to why he wasn’t good enough for her daughter. Don’t get me wrong, my mum liked him to begin with, but I think she’d hoped I was going to fall for someone more successful, or perhaps more good looking, or perhaps smarter, or maybe less flamboyant.

At this point I still hoped the relationship had the potential to be saved if he could only get over the depression then I could have back the same guy from a year or two ago. So I told her they were herbal cigarettes. This seemed less worrying than marijuana, even in its synthetic form. I thought that if the relationship could be saved, that I didn’t want her to look at him as someone who had ever been a pot smoker. (Months later after we’d broken up she said “they weren’t herbal cigarettes were they”. Smart cookie she is.)

I vented for over an hour, with hot angry tears welling but not quite falling, and I can’t even remember what kind of conclusion I came to about it all. Just that I was so angry that he’d done everything I asked him not to. Recently I wondered if he did all of it on purpose. But I don’t really think he was that cunning, nor in the right frame of mind to be able to formulate such a convoluted break-up-plan.

After I got home from my phone call with mum, Peter and I argued. We reached some kind of agreement I think, and somewhere along the way he moved to the spare room to help give me some space. I still got to clean up most of the rubbish that lived on his side of the bed (including two juice boxes that had exploded – orange juice on the wall and cupboard, and pineapple juice on the floor and corner of the bed  = excellent. p.s. physically cleaned the orange juice off the wall some two months after the break up, that was how stubborn I had been, and how awful things had gotten).

This meant that a few weeks later when my mum called me to say she thought she’d broken her arm tripping over the dog on a walk (I promptly told her to call and ambulance and that I’d meet her at the hospital asap – likely about an hour and a half later), I turned to Peter, and explained that if my mum has broken her arm she’ll have to come stay with me for the next week because I had four night shifts to go until my holidays and she’d not be able to cope on her own – which meant that he’d have to get out of the spare room, so I’ll let him know if I’d need him to kindly change the sheets over and move his things out of that room and that I’m sure as a couple of five years we would cope reasonably well with sleeping in the same bed.

Didn’t quite expect the huff that followed. Nor the annoyed tutting/sighs that I heard through the walls when I finally got her home to my house around 1am and our arrival (with mum’s dog) made my dogs bark.

The final chapter of the relationship had opened on a Wednesday.

We had a short conversation because he’d decided, again without me, that he wouldn’t be going back to uni for second semester either. This time more because of the depression and he was just starting to sort of see some improvements. There was more to it, but the rough gist of the conversation was thus:

In a fairly calm manner, I asked when was he going to grow up, when was he going to finish university, when was he going to be an adult and be able to contribute to the running of the household, to the bills, to the mortgage, when was he going to get it into gear and have a job to earn money to show he could provide for me and hence would be in the position to propose and for us to get married?

His half-joking mostly-not reply was that we both knew I was the one in the relationship that wore the pants.

But I don’t want to always wear the pants, I tell him. I want to be equals in this relationship; I would like to not have to go to work if I don’t want to; I would like to be able to continue with time off work when it comes time for me to go on maternity leave however far into the future; I would like to not have to wear the pants, but I don’t have a choice in the matter right now.

He responds. But he doesn’t want to wear the pants either. He doesn’t want responsibility. He just wants to be happy.

(And that doesn’t include me?) Implied, not outright stated.

Conversation concludes somewhat awkwardly and I leave the moment for working out what it all meant for later, because I didn’t want to have to face the facts: what I felt and wanted was that I did not want to be with him anymore, because even without the depression, I didn’t think that he still wanted to be with me, and how on earth was I supposed to break up with someone in a state like his, especially when he lived in my house?

I woke up the day after, on the Thursday – the morning after mum had broken her arm, and Peter and I have another short conversation. Again, there was more to it, but the important part was thus:

He said I get the feeling you broke up with me yesterday.

I do not speak.

He said he’s getting his dad to pick him up shortly and he’ll move out.

That was the end.

Anticlimactic wasn’t it.

It still took him two months to move all of his stuff out of my house.

It was an obvious enough break up that there were no doubts or questions left unanswered, but it was painful and so there’s little hope of returning to something of the solid friendship we had before it all started.

He’s doing quite well now. He’s off medication, looked happy and healthier when I last saw him, and has since moved to the states to work on cruise ship (as part of his mid-twenties crisis).

I think ultimately, he didn’t want to be with me, but didn’t know how to end things when I was completely supporting him, and besides, how do you end things with the person you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with? Especially when they’re still of that mindset and that surely there’ll be better days. Horribly bleak prospect to have to burst their bubble. Somewhat fair ’nuff then that he turned to getting high. Wish he had found the guts to put his pants on and break up with me when he first had the thought.

He tells people I broke up with him. I let him take the pity if that’s what he wants. I’d have had to have said it all anyway, he just saved me the trouble.

If you’ve stuck with me until now (I’m sorry and thank you), my theory today might be a bit abstract, but it’s perhaps simple enough for the occasion:

Theory #24: Pants have two leg holes: it’s easier to walk when things are distributed evenly.

– Dr Gigi.

Career Direction.

[This started out as a part complaining, part proud-of-my-work-&-achievements-today kind of post, but instead I’ve come back to the what do you want to do? question and on a possible career choice I’m not sure if I’ve talked about before, apologies if I have.]

Wise Words #1:
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
– Walt Whitman.

It doesn’t look like I did much today, but it was a busy day.
(Part of the reason was that I was in a more senior role today – little bit scary, but we got there okay.)

9hrs in the Emergency Department gave me…

Fractured nasal bones + relocation
Lacerated lip + suturing
Lacerated forehead (+ supervised student suturing)
Constipated (previously, now well) child
Abdominal pain + nausea (?UTI)
Missed miscarriage
+IV cannulation x2
Corneal abraision
Hand abscess/cellulitis

Everybody was discharged home (with adequate advice and follow up of course : P).
I also supervised the medical students + residents.
I was even bold enough to say to a registrar “you can thank me later” since I’d saved them a lot of trouble.

+2 hrs of overtime, mostly to finish writing my notes! (hopefully paid; I’ve requested this time)

My favourite was the abscess – there is something quite satisfying about relieving someone of their pus under pressure. If you enjoy pimple-popping you know exactly what I am talking about (and if you haven’t already youtube has some excellent videos of abscesses or comedomes or pimples being squeezed).
It definitely made my day (and I know that sounds weird).

Otherwise it’s nice to make someone feel better, or fix them, even if there’s not a definitive answer for what made them feel unwell.
I thoroughly appreciate it when a patient thanks me for the work I’ve done (today I got a “thank you, you’ve been amazing, you really made me feel better”) – it makes the hard work worth it.

Yesterday one of the consultants said that I’d be a good ED doctor because he saw me ask a patient’s wife “Are you okay to drive?” because she’d been up all night trying to make her husband feel better. Apparently it’s important to be able to consider the whole picture (because a patient’s social situation and therefore their family members are important too) – I thought this was just common sense!

I don’t know if I feel comfortable enough with the idea of working full time in the ED, or taking on more of a senior role.

At the moment I don’t feel like I know enough or have enough experience to be able to handle everything that gets thrown at me. But maybe with the extra study and the experience I’ll learn.

There’s also the fact that it’s shift work. And the shift work never ends. Though the lifestyle is more flexible and shift changes are much easier.

The only specialty I’ve so far really “enjoyed” (if you can call it that) was a term I was not expecting to like at all: Palliative Care.

______________________________(A little backstory)________________________________

My experience in as a student was tainted.

Depending on the university, third year med school in Australia is the first of the clinical years. I was part way through my palliative care placement (at the hospital I now work at), when my dad (stepdad) was in another hospital some two hours away, dying of metastatic prostate cancer. It was not easy to try to learn about the process of caring for the dying from a doctor’s perspective when I was already experiencing it from the family’s perspective. I used to say that I couldn’t understand how someone could work in the palliative field, how cold they must have to be to distance themselves from all of that grief and hurting, how could you go to work every day knowing that in the end you know it’s all futile?

My dad passed away on the 17th April 2010. I had left the hospital not two hours before. My mum was with him at the time (and has yet to watch Sweet Home Alabama since as it was playing on the TV at the time). The experience was also made worse by the university’s attitude. I’d already taken two weeks off to spend time with my dad and my mum in the time leading up to his death, but there were only a certain number of seminars that were allowed to be missed per semester – a number I had just maxed. The funeral was held on the same day as another seminar, and aside from the fact that I was giving the eulogy (mum didn’t have the strength, brothers weren’t going to be able to be there), this wasn’t exactly an event I could postpone, ask to rearrange the time for, nor was it one I could just skip — so I contacted the uni and offered solutions to the problem (repeat seminar in second half of the year with other students, go to another hospital for same seminar run at different time, just skip this third one with ‘special consideration’), but  – no. the university reiterated the requirements of my degree and of the components of the clinical placements. essentially making me choose between my dad’s funeral and a seminar. bastards.

For the principle of the thing, I attended the seminar, cried the whole way through, it finished early for my sake (hospital was completely understanding), and I drove the hour and a half to home to make it to the venue only 15 minutes after the ‘starting time’, but of course we had people filing into the room long after I arrived and it didn’t officially start until later so there was plenty of time. Never forgave the uni after that. And certainly left a bad taste in my memory of my term.


I did two weeks as the resident last year while I was on my relieving term. I found that some of my ‘skills’ (for lack of a better word) in medicine are perfect for palliative work – I am good with patients and their families, I have a lovely bedside manner, I care about my patients (sometimes maybe too much), I take a holistic approach to treatment and consider many of the non-medical factors that might impact on a patient’s treatment.

As doctors we spend our days trying to keep people alive, sometimes fighting hard and doing absolutely everything we can. But in this idea goes out the window – we’re already at the point of acceptance (even if the patients are still going through their own stages of grief); we recognise the eventuality of everyone’s mortality; we can help, as best as we can, to prepare a person and their family for death; we can try to bring a sense of dignity to the process, and also a sense of control for those who need it; and we can try to make someone’s last moments easier and more comfortable for them and for their families.

This was the side of my student placement I didn’t get to see because I was too wrapped up in the very personal situation I was going through. Strangely, I can now see working in palliative care as an incredibly rewarding area of medicine.

If this is the path I’m due to take, I would like more experience in oncology and general medicine – there’ll be a lot of work ahead of me.

Theory #24: When you have achieved what you want to in life, or found the path to take you there, contentment will follow. If you are not satisfied, continue your journey.

For now, we’ll see where life takes me.

– Dr Orist.

Charming Memories.

(Stories to do with my charm bracelet – might be a bit boring for some of you! No theories today.)

Let’s go back to my 20th birthday: I really, really wanted a charm bracelet. I had made enough hints to my then-boyfriend (Scott) that it was obvious what would be the perfect gift.

… I got a laptop instead.

That sounds like I was disappointed.

On the contrary, I was thrilled to get a laptop (yes, something I needed), but I do admit that part of me was a little let down that it wasn’t a small jewellery box with a charm bracelet waiting for me to collect little memories of my life into one small, simple piece of jewellery (and one that I always envisioned happily telling the stories of each of the charms to my children or grandchildren).

Scott, a small group of his friends and (mostly) my parents had contributed to be able to buy me the laptop and Scott had relied on his connections with computer people he knew to get a discount.

Later I learned that he had actually not contributed a thing because my parents fronted up almost all of the money and the $20-50 per contribution from each of his friends was enough that it looks like he probably made a bit out of my birthday present. Not the greatest boyfriend ever.

I did get a bracelet from my group of friends (at least someone listened) – but it was already full of charms and dangly bits so wasn’t quite what I expected. Still have and love that gift.

This lack of understanding about what I really wanted was helping to pave the way for things to go poorly with Scott, though that is probably a story for another post.

Ultimately, I had hoped that when Christmas rolled around a few months later there would be a charm bracelet waiting for me (I was not subtle about the hints). I can’t even remember what he got me, but it wasn’t a bracelet.

This meant that sometime in the following January when Peter, my closest friend of that past year and one of Scott’s closest male friends, handed me a small gift bag with “Pandora” written all over it, I was ecstatic to finally get the charm bracelet I wanted (though at the time of course I wanted a traditional charm bracelet, and probably in gold — I’ve now come to fully appreciate the flexibility of the pandora design and am quite happy with silver since all of the charms are hence less expensive and that my yellowish complexion doesn’t suit gold all that well anyway).

Peter got me two charms to go along with the bracelet:

Pink Four Petal Flower Charm

Heart Drop Dangle Charm






The first one representing the friendship that we had, and the second expressing the feelings we had of more than just friendship*.

*Also a story for another time I’m afraid.

Blue Dew Drop Dangle Charm








Much later on, Peter gave me another charm (above) to mark how long we had been together. I can’t even remember if it was for my birthday or Christmas or our anniversary when he gave it to me.

Last year, while on my Paediatric term, I was working an evening shift (and hence getting to wear my comfortable scrubs i.e. pyjamas to work). I was called into theatre to be in charge of the baby once it had been delivered by emergency cesarean section. This meant I had to change into hospital theatre scrubs, but instead I put the hospital scrubs over the top of my casual ones and took off my watch and jewellery, putting them into the pockets of the scrubs on top, to get ready to scrub, glove up and catch the baby.

You can predict what happened here I bet.

The newborn baby needed to be transported to special care nursery so I didn’t go the usual way out of the theatres and ended up staying in the hospital scrubs until the end of the shift. That was where I took off my top layer of scrubs and added them to the pile of other scrubs ready to be taken back to the changing rooms for cleaning.

I realised when I got home that my arm was empty.

The following afternoon when I got to work, I discovered that the scrubs had already been taken to be washed.

Attempts over the next 1-2 weeks to contact lost and found or the washing services, all of it was in vain. I did not get my bracelet back.

It devastated me. What was worse was that to help the pandora bracelet stay on, I had a small gold bangle that was adjustable size-wise, and was given to me by my grandparents when I was a baby. It absolutely broke my heart to have lost that piece of jewellery, I may never forgive myself for not properly checking the pockets before I was so eager to get out of the door.

I ended up buying a replacement of the bracelet and charms, not too long after Peter and I had broken up. It was a bit of an impulse buy, but I was shopping with my mum and explaining how upset I was to have lost it, and that it meant more to me for a thousand other reasons than the connections with Peter. I’m glad I did buy another one, and now it means much more to me since I paid for it all.

The following charms were then added to the bracelet:

Sparkling Square Dangle Charm

Dandelion Clip

Milkway Clip








The one on the left was given to me by Peter’s mum after she stayed with us for a week after his car accident. Considering this was after I had lost the bracelet it was a little bit weird. I think of this charm as the downfall with Peter and I, and his car accident and everything it represented. Again, that is a story for another time, sorry.

The clips were more so that I could unclip the bracelet and not fear for the safety of all of the charms. The Dandelion one reminds me of Gallifreyan (Doctor Who written language), which I love; and the Milkway one is a reference to how much I love the night sky and how I used to study astronomy because I found it fascinating. Perhaps neither of those are that exciting reasons to have charms, but they were the prettiest of the clips and I thought they were more interesting than the plain ones!

And that’s as far as I’ve gotten with building up my charm bracelet in almost a year.

Though I have thought about what other charms I would like to include.

  • Finishing Med School/becoming a doctor:

Medical Charm








  • Quilting:

Vintage Scissors Dangle Charm








  • Buying the house:

House Charm








  • Narcolepsy diagnosis and treatment

Treasure Chest Charm








  • Post-break-up-from-Peter (cup = furnishing my house/getting the things I want/drinking a lot of tea; elephant = painting I did that helped occupy my time):

Tea Cup Charm

African Elephant Charm








  • Graduating from pre-med:


Graduation Cap Dangle Charm








  • For all of the dogs, but also representing my little guy’s paralysis and spinal surgery:

Dog Dangle Charm








  • Ex Files (Scott = bear; Mitchell = duck; Alex = glasses I think, though candy would be better)

Polar Bear Dangle Charm

Duck Charm

Celebration Glasses Dangle Charm








  • Ben (haven’t decided which of these, or maybe all of them, or maybe I wait until things develop more):

Camera Charm

Snake Charm

Pineapple Charm

Passport Dangle w CZ Charm













  • Dragons are always special to me (I was born in the year of the dragon) – no specific reason though except that I like it:

Dragon Dangle Charm








  • Holidays (with Peter), particularly the first holiday I paid for after I’d started work:

Cruise Ship Charm








  • When I move:

Sydney Opera House (c)








  • Buying my first car (this isn’t as important, but it was still a big life moment):

Car Charm








There’s still a couple of other big moments in my life (my grandmother and dad passing away), but I haven’t found the perfect symbols yet.

We’ll see how I go, I don’t want to take up too much room with random things on the bracelet, but I love that I can change things around as I want.

Ultimately, I like the stories behind it all, so I guess it’s just what is important to me in the long run.

– Dr O.

To the wind the caution.

Be careful. Know what you’re getting yourself in to. Take it slowly. Are you sure this is the right thing to do?

It is wise to learn from your mistakes, and vicariously, through the mistakes of others.

I recently read a post by Of Fries And Men that reminded me of a story my mum had told about someone she was seeing when we lived in Scotland when I was five.

The guy was called Nick, and he was amazing. Mum talked about how fantastic he was, he was perfect for her, he was wonderful with us kids, he was everything she was hoping for and at a time when she really needed the reassurance that there are good guys out there.

Except he turned out to be a liar.

About everything. And he had a wife and kids he was lying to on the side. And his name was actually Matt.

And my mum was devastated. It crushed her. It took her a long time to trust again and be able to move on with life.

This, and countless other cautionary tales, serves as a reminder that even when the world seems perfect, it only holds that precarious position momentarily, as it can all come crashing unexpectedly down.

Now a more pessimistic person than myself might make a logical fallacious jump to assuming that my relationship with Ben is on such a precipice, and therefore to tread the ground carefully and take it slowly when uprooting so much of my life.

But I’m willing to risk it. I want us to succeed far more than I fear the consequences of us potentially failing.

If things fail, then you are allowed to tell me “I told you so” or “We warned you about this”.

I will listen to your advice and experiences, but I will not make a decision because in someone else’s previous similar situation it failed miserably. I cannot live my life cautiously and safely and not get to experience it at all.

Theory #23: Regrets are bigger for non-events.

Now it is just a matter of time until all of the pieces are in place.

– Dr Gigi Orist.

Accidentally good bad-advice.

Theory #22: Masquerades make it difficult to be properly seen. Gamble letting your guard down, and there’s always the risk of being hurt, but the prize is being found by the person you’re meant for.

So after my last night shift of the last two weeks (thank god – I’ve been in zombieland for too long now), my (married, male) friend and I went for breakfast at Maccas. He was trying to coach me on how to approach some things with Ben. He’s very perceptive and he hit the nail on the head about my neuroticism. Maybe I’m so transparent anyone could guess I’ve been falling a bit too hard and fast for Ben. Here are some of comments/advice from my friend (paraphrased because the conversation was long):

I think you’ve come across too needy, a bit neurotic. You don’t want to do that. He’s probably experienced that before – you don’t want him to think you’re going to be hard work.

Make your texts shorter, just try it out. It’ll make him want you more.

You want to look cool, laid back, easy going.

You need to have a conversation with Ben about him seeing other people – you want him to think you wouldn’t worry or care so much, and he can tell you about it or not, whatever he wants. If I was Ben, I’d not see other people because someone told me not to (or worse, begged me not to), I’d not see other people because if she said it was okay, I’d feel bad about doing it*.

How do you know he isn’t seeing other girls now? There’s nothing stopping him from going out with other girls while you’re in different states – how would you know if he did anyway and he’s just not telling you because you know you don’t want to hear it? There’s 300+ days a year you’re not together  – he could be doing what(who)ever he wants in that time.

Obviously the thing you don’t want is for him to have a relationship on the side – casually seeing other people doesn’t mean anything*.

I’m worried that you’ll make this big move and things won’t work out and you’ll have messed everything up here just to go and “why not” things with Ben. I don’t want you to get hurt.

While I mightn’t understand some of the *boy logic… His advice made sense – I didn’t want to drive Ben away by being too stressed about everything, and I honestly couldn’t be sure that he wasn’t seeing anyone else. Even right at that moment I imagined him having breakfast with one of his gorgeous single friends.

Initially I was thinking – I can’t use this advice. It’s not me. I can’t make things up and pretend to be this other amazingly cool, relaxed person. I tried that. Bottling did not help. What helped was talking to Ben about it. ‘Cept then I was concerned I might have already made it more difficult for myself because I’d already shown I’m a worrier.

So I tried to formulate the conversation so that I wouldn’t come across too needy, nor too bossy, nor too flippant… and I brought up the whole ‘I realise you could be seeing other people because of the distance, so if anything ever happened you can tell me or not’ thing.

I suppose my friend is like other guys – they want a girlfriend who is low maintenance, someone easy-going and carefree.

I guess I have found the perfect guy for me – one who isn’t like other guys.

Three seconds into the conversation I dropped the easy-going, carefree facade and was my honest self instead. Perhaps it’s some kind of exception-to-the-rule situation here, but instead of having to act like this totally cool/calm/collected awesome chick who’s the epitome of every guy’s dream girl.. when I’m completely myself I get to be Ben’s dream girl.

There was a lot more to the conversation, obviously, but here are the highlights between Ben and myself:

 “There’s no-one else because I don’t want there to be anyone else.”

“You’re everything I always wanted.”

“I’m not the lying type, if anything I’m usually in trouble for being too honest/blunt. I gave up on games a long time ago. I decided that whether people could handle the truth or not was up to them.”

“Alright. I trust you, and I’ll not worry about the what-ifs. We’ll be bluntly honest with each other if we have to be.  …  You might be the one to always jump in the deep end, but I commit for the long run. I’m stubborn like that, and very loyal.”

“I don’t want to dabble, I want to jump in.”

“I don’t want to dabble either. I feel like I’ve already jumped – just haven’t hit the water yet. I just meant you might move fast, and I’m okay to, but I’ll likely be sticking around, if you’ll have me.”

“That’s the idea : )  I’d say so if I wanted otherwise.”

I guess in the end my friend’s advice was very helpful – just not quite the outcome they’d have expected, but it’s certainly the one that has made me happiest : )

I don’t care that I’m letting my guard down completely now – I’m ecstatic: he likes me for me.

Once again, trust your instincts.

– Gigi, Ben’s girl.

Jealous Fire.

Why is it that we often feel more wronged by something done to us, when we’ve done virtually the same thing to someone else?

Theory #21: The closer you are to the fire, the more you feel the heat.


Ben and I met a thousand years ago.

Ok, that’s a lie.

Six years ago.

But it felt like forever ago.

It was at a new year’s party – hosted by a friend of my then-boyfriend, and whose girlfriend dragged a friend along, who brought her boyfriend, Ben. (Not in the least bit confusing. Let’s just go with the ‘mutual friend’ case instead).

We may have both been with other people at the time, but the feeling (at least the feeling I experienced) is something akin to ‘Koi no yokan’ (a Japanese phrase that roughly translates to ‘the feeling upon meeting someone that love is in the cards, in time’).

It was something I ignored, pushed back into the recesses of my mind, but it was his company I was always looking forward to when our ‘mutual friend’ held gatherings over the next three years or so.

And then he moved overseas for six months with the same girlfriend, returned without her and promptly moved states, so we didn’t see or hear much of each other for a long while. He wasn’t forgotten about, just not specifically thought of. So, basically, no Book of Faces stalking.

Then when everything fell apart last year, we reconnected by chance. This time, with both of us single, things were looking up.

But the situation was geographically difficult.

So while we made tentative plans to catch up the next time he was headed home, I didn’t let myself get too excited – who was to say if the reunion was going to be a good one, and then what would that mean when we live so far away from each other?

This was around the time that my friend had set me up with Arnold. While it’s a story for another time, the short version is that it was more a physical connection of convenience than anything meaningful.

When Ben and I finally met up for coffee at the end of October, it was better than I’d hoped for – everything was easy and relaxed (minus the few nerves of course), and when he kissed me the word that comes to mind: sparks.

We only got a small handful of hours together that afternoon, and I think it was written over both of our faces when we parted that we’d have both liked more time together, and wished that we didn’t live so very far away from each other.

As with any story, there’s always trouble. Mine was in the form of gym-junkie Arnold. He had sneaked his way into inviting himself around that night, and I hadn’t learnt how to say properly what I did and didn’t want. I’m not saying he took advantage of me – nothing like that. It meant that he invaded my space when really all I wanted was to reminisce on a kiss with sparks and a wonderful afternoon.

It took until after the next date with Ben for me to officially end things with Arnold – though since there was nothing official to begin with, it hardly felt like it needed an official conversation to break things off.


Here’s the kicker though.

Part of the history that Ben shared with me Australia Day weekend wasn’t necessarily something I wanted to hear about, and I’ve been a bit of a green-eyed crazy person since hearing about it.

That October weekend, he had made it into a bit of a road trip and travelled up with a friend, we’ll call her Bridget.

What Ben told me was that he and Bridget had had sex on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of that weekend, before he and I met up for coffee on the Sunday afternoon.

I’m in two minds about the information. On one hand, I’m glad he told me – he’s honest, we’ve got nothing to hide from each other, so the foundations for trust have been laid. But on the other hand, I didn’t want to know that the weekend we had was (further) tainted, I didn’t want to know that this girl was a contender – whether casual or otherwise (it doesn’t seem to matter to the jealous half of me), and I can’t help thinking that he went back to her on the Sunday night too and was just holding that information back from me.

Ben has assured me that it’s not something that would happen again, that she’s casual about these things, that it was a few years of curiosity that had lead to that weekend for them, and I guess that meant they got it out of their system?

And what’s worse was when I tried to open my mouth to tell him about Arnold, I couldn’t find a way to form the words. Ideally I’d have said “well I suppose I can’t get jealous about that since you weren’t the only one who got some action that weekend”. But I let the moment pass and didn’t get another opportunity.

So really, what right do I actually have to get jealous about Bridget when my situation was no better?


There’s not really anything I can do from here, and I don’t want to bring it up with Ben again or I’ll look even more crazy jealous than I actually am. I think I’ll just have to contend with the little jealous patch I’ve now reserved for Bridget, and hope that when I get the chance to meet her that I can judge the situation better for myself.

– Dr Gigi.


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The Orist.

Speaking an infinite deal of nothing (Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice).

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