Tag Archives: hiking

Wildchild (#16, #17)


I’ve spent the past couple of weeks working at a wildlife hospital. It was a fairly long drive to make, but everyday I would park my car amongst the trees and step out to the faint smell of bushfire in the air, and that made it all worthwhile. This was a not-for-profit wildlife rehabilitation center that was run entirely by volunteers. I would admit any injured wildlife that was brought in, assess them and treat them to the best of my abilities, and refer to a private veterinary hospital if it was a case I could not handle, or if the patient required further diagnostic work-up (radiographs etc), or surgery. As there was no on-site vet, the onus of making decisions regarding treatment plans and euthanasia considerations often fell on me. This was both good and bad because it forced me to be more decisive and to have more confidence in the clinical decisions I made, but also meant a lot of sleepless nights worrying about possible misdiagnoses, and that I wasn’t really learning as much as I could have because there would be no senior vet there to correct me if I were wrong. I spent some days in the lab looking at faecal samples with a microbiologist, and others rushing around the hospital administering treatments and euthanising patients with very poor prognoses. All in all I think I learnt a fair bit, and feel like I have made a minor but practical contribution towards wildlife and conservation. It was also really good for me mentally, I think, to take a step back from my usual high-stress environment and re-connect with the side of medicine that I love.


I’ve been spending all my free time (and also time I probably could not afford) hiking, camping, star gazing and climbing over the past few weeks. I have learnt to not let a lack of company stop me from doing the things I love, and to care less about what people might think of me – because chances are they probably don’t think of me at all.  I’ve been taking myself out for hikes and stopping my car to watch beautiful sunsets. I’ve been pushing my comfort zones and forcing myself into situations that require me to socialise with new people. And I think I am getting better at it – or getting better at not hating it. It is back to the daily grind of rotations and exams and I am as behind on sleep as I am with my studies. My muscles are sore, my finger tips are bleeding, my shoes are caked with dirt but my heart is a bit more full than it was before.



Be Present (Fickle Friday #40)


Be Present

As long as my feet continue to carry me,
Above green pastures; and across hilly grounds,
I will remind my heart to be joyful.
As long as my eyes may delight in,
The wildflowers tall; and the streams meandering,
I will remind my heart to be joyful.

As long as love and compassion dance in the atmosphere,
Even if silent as dusk; and sly as the unseen,
I will remind my heart to be joyful.

The most majestic things humble themselves in ways I have not yet learnt:
They will not be held or taken to idealistic ownership;
But in true altruism, allow themselves to be taken upon oneself.
All it’s extravagance- for whomever desires it.
And when the time comes, they with grace slip through hands,
Fingers almost touching, mimicking juvenile buds.
Like water through cracks in the ground; perfume permeating silk cloths.

As long as my feet continue to carry me,
Through a tempest of greens, blues and reds,
I will be joyful.


Treasure Hunting


Treasure Hunting

The first time you told me you loved me
In that red metal tin, I
Did not say it back

I fell in love with you in pieces:
Fragments scattered across the state

I have been
Visiting these places with
Metal detector in hand
To see if any
Bits of me can be salvaged

I thought I needed those
Drops of iron,
Stray hair and flakes of skin
To become whole again

Our love was precious metal
Turned to scrap

But whilst tracing our old steps through
Rocky cliffs; and
Blooming flowers:
New prints in the sand-
Just one set

I realised that these pieces
No longer fit in my cracks

Yet I still chase the ghost
Of our footprints because
The me before you, and
The me that existed with you
Loved the flowers, and
The sea, and
The bugs and the birds and the fishes

And the me after you
Continues to love these things

When you left; a
Gaping hole in me
I tugged at my hair and
Wondered what I would do with
My hands
Listless in my lap

Now I think:
What can I do
With so much space
Now freed up inside of me

I will fall in love with
So many things, all
The bugs and the birds and the fishes
And also the
Mountains, the ones
You have not touched

And I will find new
Things to fit in my
Cracks and fissures, to
Become whole again




















A Deeper Paw


Finally finished off the last remaining anatomy assignment before the finals and it was to research and present a deep dissection of the canine manus (forebaw). And whilst this was a pretty simple task to pull off because all of us had had our brains turned to mush trying to memorise dog anatomy last semester, it still required a whole lot of work because we were also to be graded on aesthetic appeal. I spent about 20 hours and went through twice the number of scalpel blades just trying to clean out the fascia and expose all the fine details like the manica flexoria on the distal phalanges. Needless to say, it was a rather bitching process that resulted in a very sore back and terribly dry eyes. Thankfully, the report and drawings came relatively easily. The most exciting news though was that mine and my partner’s dissection got selected to hopefully be preserved and immortalised in the anatomy museum ( FOREVAHHHH!). More importantly, this hopefully means we got a good grade which will help to pull up my current average since I did miserably on my mid-sem exam (Ran out of time leaving 30 marks blank)
I had been so looking forward to study break but I now find myself unable to completely rest because I feel so guilty every time one of my classmates post on Facebook about how much revision they’ve gotten in whilst I continue idling my time away.. Either way, I have been climbing, having late night churros and early morning coffees with friends, playing touch rugby and soccer on the beach and watching countless movies in bed. Yesterday I had the most fail camping trip ever: After spending the entire morning buying groceries and packing, Li and I set out for the hour or so drive to the Bibulmen Trek in Mandaring. With 10-15kg loads on our backs, we set off into the bush following the Rainbow Serpent Trail. I saw a wild kangaroo not even 2 minutes into the hike, and then sliced my fingers open grabbing the wrong plant- how beautiful is nature? After a couple of kilometers we finally reached the first checkpoint where we were to camp for the night before continuing 9km to the next checkpoint the following morning. There was already a fire going set by 4 other campers already there, and we set down our stuff to start setting up our tent, only to realise that Li hadn’t checked the equipment prior to leaving and we were missing tent poles! After about 20mins of failed attempts to compromise the missing poles, we decided it was best to high-tail it out of the woods back to the car before sun-down. But I still got my campfire- just on a beach instead of in the forest. I have been happy (see attached happy picture below) and I am thankful for everything that I have been blessed with- the friends and family, an able body and a free mind. I hope I never forget to be thankful for the simple things.