a small win

A big part of what I do at work is checking chemotherapy order forms and batch sheets — making sure patient details and treatment details are correct, and making sure these have been correctly transferred onto batch sheets so that we can compound or make each dose for each patient.

In the course of checking an order this week, I noticed that my colleague had omitted what would appear to be the patient’s middle name. This usually wouldn’t be a big deal — we never include middle names on the batch documents — but this was not an English name. I recognised the name as Chinese, and for a number of Chinese people I know, the “middle name” is actually part of the first name. 

I considered the situation for a minute: There were other patient identifiers on the batch documents, so it was very unlikely that the patient would be misidentified or that any other treatment issue would arise from the omission of the second name. However, it seemed disrespectful to omit it just because we’re all used to seeing names consisting of a one-word first name and one-word surname (including when it’s hyphenated, which makes it count as one word).

So I emailed the team and explained it gently in a “you might not have realised, but just thought it would be good if we added this in” kind of way.

I sent that email pretty early in the morning, and got no response all day. I asked a colleague if he’d seen the email, and his response was that he agrees, but everyone else seemed unconcerned. I went home feeling despondent and agitated. I didn’t want this issue to be ignored.

The next day, contemplating how I could bring it up again, and at the same time wondering if I should just concede defeat in this matter, I happened to receive another order for a patient with a Chinese name. And this time all three names were included on the batch documents! It actually brought a smile to my face because this was not the colleague I’d spoken to (the one who already said he agrees) but one of the others who had seemed unconcerned the previous day.

It felt good to know that I helped bring about this change, and it felt even better to know that I was capable of helping to improve cultural awareness in my workplace. It is one thing to continue to learn, but it is another to help others learn as well.

in the house of Bolkonsky

Perhaps this will seem rather random, but I’m only writing this post in order to remember this early part of War and Peace. I’m quite sure that if I don’t write progressive notes (which will take the form of blog posts for my own ease of reference), by the time I finish the whole book, I could very well forget a lot from the earlier chapters.

At just over 200 pages in, I already reread some parts of the first few chapters in order to remind myself of who did what and who said what. And I am still referring back to the “principal characters” guide at the start of the novel now and then.

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home time

I was going to write a post to round up the year, and lead into the next one, but it feels like there has already been so much contemplating, reflecting and philosophising throughout this entire year, that maybe one more is superfluous. I think it is normal to see a surge in these reflective posts on the blogosphere around this time of the year, which is completely fine, but I think I’ll leave it to other bloggers.

As I started writing the previous draft of this post, I realised that there were only a few things I wanted to mention.

First, that it would be wonderful if I could just stay at home all day, like I have been over this long week-end, and just learn things (piano and Russian being the main subjects of study at the moment, along with the Napoleonic wars, which I’m inadvertently learning about from reading War and Peace). But, alas, one must have an income to support these hobbies (not to mention sustain life), so I’ll be back at work tomorrow.

Second, is that my partner has got me back into computer games. I haven’t played — as in, properly played — a video game of any sort for a very, very long time. Those little mini games or apps don’t count, and I don’t play those anyway (there are no games on my phone). I think good games need good storylines with interesting characters in order to captivate me, and make me feel like I’m not wasting time. The ones I’ve been started on — Dragon Age: Origins; and Spec Ops: The Line — certainly deliver on intriguing stories.

Initially I felt incredibly uncoordinated with the controls, having become unaccustomed to the movements of gameplay, but I’d like to think I’ve gradually gotten better. Yes, I’m playing on the easiest settings, but it’s challenging enough for me. Besides, if it was too hard, I wouldn’t have energy to appreciate the stories.

And so, as we approach the end of a year that most would probably rather forget (or bury as far down in the depths of memory as possible), I think ending on a quiet note is not a bad idea.

sunsets

Lately I’ve been getting Sunsets by Powderfinger stuck in my head. I don’t think I’ve heard it anywhere anytime recently, so I’m not sure how it randomly got in my head, but there it is.

This song was released back in 2003, and I do remember liking the song back then, but I think part of that was the music video, which was an animation rather than actual people. It was really cool, and I liked watching cartoons a lot back then (still do, really). Many years later, as it turns out, I still really like the song itself.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the MV on Youtube, but here is the original audio:

I found the MV on Vimeo, but the audio quality doesn’t seem as good (?) The little description thing says the video is based on a Chinese myth about a warrior named Hou Yi, and ten suns.

Anyway, perhaps it’s just a fitting song for the end of the year, and that’s why it has resurfaced from the depths of my memory. Or maybe I heard it somewhere recently but didn’t consciously register it at the time. Either way, I’m glad this song has revisited me, and I’m happy to be sharing some Australian music on my blog.

W&P progress report

I’ve been reading War and Peace for about two months now, so I thought it would be a good time to do a progress post.

About a month ago, I estimated how long it would take me to finish reading this epic tome, and based on my previous reading rate, it was somewhere close to two years. I’ve never taken more than a year to finish reading a book, let alone two years, so the prospect was quite terrifying to me. As such, I made an effort to read more, and have trimmed back the timeline to less than one and a half years. I’m hoping with all the public holidays coming up, I might get a bit of a boost to my reading, and cut this back further.

I’m currently somewhere in the middle of Part Two, which is all about military stuff — something about the campaign against Napoleon. However, knowing nothing about Napoleon (except that he is a significant historical figure, who was allegedly quite short), I’m not sure I’m following everything that’s happening. I kind of feel like I need a quick history lesson before I proceed, but, the weather being humid and lethargy-inducing, I don’t really feel like learning.

Hopefully the weather will mellow out soon, and I’ll consider it. Until then, I will just half-guess based on the notes at the back of the book. 

For some reason I expected this to be similar to Anna Karenina in the sense that I didn’t need to know historical facts to really grasp what’s going on. I suppose I really should have known better based on the title and the blurb.

I’m still enjoying it, though. Tolstoy’s writing is as excellent as I remember (although I do think Anna Karenina was much easier to read, but that’s probably because the concepts themselves were easier to understand than in War and Peace).

I think I’m also finally getting a grasp of who’s who, which is no easy task considering how many characters there are, multiplied by all the different names with which each character is referred to. It probably helps that I’m reading more than I was before. I suppose it’s all about keeping it in working memory (and keeping my memory working).

Well, on that note, I think I’ll go laze around somewhere cool, and do some more reading!

ask vs guess

I read something a long time ago about how most people are either “askers” or “guessers”. I’m pretty sure it was an article online, but I can’t remember how I stumbled upon it, or where the original article was from. Possibly it was shared by a fellow blogger or perhaps it was someone on some other social media.

Anyway, when I read it, I realised that it explains why certain people frustrate me, and I was reminded of it again recently, so I thought I should share this in case other people find it useful. (I thought I might’ve already blogged about this, but I can’t find anything on my blog about askers and guessers. And I guess if I have already written about this, it’s been long enough that I’m allowed to write about it again.)

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