Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Trust and safety

Today I simply present a longish quote from the book "Evidence-Based Medicine: How to Practice and Teach EBM".  Those long-time readers familiar with my tribulations in 2010 will understand why it resonates with me.

First, an extract from a table:

"Table 7.3 The top 10 mistakes we've made or seen in in teaching EBM.
Teaching EBM fails when:
...
9. When it humiliates learners for not already knowing the "right" fact or answer.
10. When it bullies learners to decide or act based on fear of others' authority or power, rather than on authoritative evidence and rational argument."

Then, the discussion:

"The ninth and tenth entries are included here because they are still commonplace among medical education programs, and at some of these institutions they remain a source of twisted pride.  Such treatment of learners by their teachers is not simply wrong in human terms, it is demonstrably counterproductive.  First, the resulting shame and humiliation learners feel will strongly discourage the very learning that the teacher's ridicule was meant to stimulate.  Second, in adapting to the rapid loss of trust and safety in the learning climate, learners will start employing strategies to hide their true learning needs and protect themselves from their teachers, undermining future learning and teaching efforts.  Understandably, learners with prior experiences of these behaviours may be very reluctant to even start the practice of EBM by asking a question, since it exposes them to the potential threat of repeated abuse.*

"*Contrast this with the actions of colleague David Pencheon, who asks new medical students questions of increasing difficulty until they respond with "I don't know".  Upon hearing these words, he rewards them with a box of Smarties and tell them that these are the three most important words in medicine."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Confidence booster

PTR
Hello, is it okay if I put a drip in your arm?

Patient
Oh my god! Oh Jesus!

PTR
Do you have a needle phobia?

Patient
No, I just saw what you did to that other woman.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Welcome to Port Adelaide

WELCOME to historic Port Adelaide! 

THRILL to the wide open vistas of the deserted streets. MARVEL at the endless blocks of boarded up shopfronts!  RELAX in a neighborhood cafe where moustachioed women ignore your every whim!  PONDER the local economy which seems to be dominated by the police station and magistrates court!  FEAR for your life as belligerent bikies roar past!  TRUDGE down the waterfront and wonder if things will open some other day!

Port Adelaide is happening.  No really, it is!  It's happening to you, right now!  Can you feel it?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Crazy horse

Being a parent sometimes seems to be a kind of benign psychosis.  You get so caught up in it that you lose track of reality.

The Hatchling really laughs and smiles when I bounce her up and down on my knee.  While I do this I sing an amazingly tuneful song that I made up about riding horses.  It goes:
Doo da doo doo doo-da-doo,
Doo da doo,
Doo doo doo-da-da-doo!
Riding on a horsey,
Riding on a horsey,
Doo doo doo-da-da-doo!
I've been doing this several times per day for the last two weeks and it only just occurred to me tonight, for the first time, that she has no idea what a horse is.  She doesn't understand a word I'm saying.  She just likes being bounced around.

It isn't her pretending that she's riding a horse, it's me.

I can speak English

Elderly Man
We've just been admiring your beautiful baby.

PTR
Thank you!

Elderly Man
If you don't mind me asking, where is your partner from?

Smaller Half
Queensland.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Leopard hunting

It is a truth universally acknowledged that it is more embarrassing to be caught staring at someone peeing in the park than to be stared at while peeing in the park.  Okay, perhaps it's not universally acknowledged, but it's the core tenet of my moral philosophy - one which finally came in handy yesterday when I caught someone peeing in the park.

We were taking a stroll in the crisp afternoon air down by the parks near the racetrack, when I glanced to my side and noticed someone behaving furtively.  She was middle aged, well-dressed, and would not have looked out of place sharing a bruschetta in a trendy cafe with her friends.  Except she was standing beside a clump of trees, looking back and forth anxiously.

Curious, I stared.  Suddenly she whipped her daks down and squatted at the base of the tree.  It was apparent to me that she was peeing in the park.  Normally I would have laughed and looked away, but now she'd committed to the act she was carrying it off with great zeal and elan.  In fact I wasn't even sure that she was peeing at all.  She wasn't hunched awkwardly forward - she was restfully squatting with a split-stance and gazing calmly into the middle distance in the manner of someone who is hunting a leopard and has just finished contemplating its spoor.  Perhaps I had misjudged the situation.  Perhaps she was in fact hunting a leopard in the Adelaide parklands.  With her pants down.

At this point I realized that if she were to look around and see me staring in astonishment I would be mortified.  The tables would be turned and I would feel like a creepy pervert.  The thing is, if you need to pee in the park, so be it - you just have to.  Whereas I was a voluntary participant in this sordid drama and I felt it reflected very poorly on me indeed.  So I alerted my companions to the situation so that we would be in the majority.  Excellent!

The woman then stood up, whipped her daks up again, and briskly strode off casually adjusting her fly as she went, in that way that people do when they are trying to look as if they aren't really fiddling with their groin when they actually are.  About 40 yards away a family picnic continued in blissful ignorance, which she then rejoined.

I wonder what she told them she was doing?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Aristotle said

"All men who have attained excellence in philosophy, in poetry, in art and in politics, even Socrates and Plato, had a melancholic habitus; indeed some suffered even from melancholic disease."

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Maybe we still are in Kansas, Toto!


As usual, we went out tonight to celebrate Willie Nelson's birthday.  We had a great time, going back to our favourite Japanese restaurant.  We ate extravagantly, and lapped up the admiration of our fellow diners for the Hatchling.

Afterwards, we headed south and checked out a new dessert-only cafe.  Its doors don't open until 8pm and we fortunately arrived on the dot and secured a table to beat the rush.  Sticky black coconut rice, rose panna cotta and a stein of teh tarik.  Mmmm.

We got up to pay at the counter and I overheard one of the girls behind me admiring the Hatchling:

Girl
(to friend)
Look, look, how gorgeous!

PTR
(turning to show off the Hatchling a bit more)
Thank you.

Girl
(to friend)
Look at the little half-caste baby!

Gotta love Adelaide...