out of the fog

Over the week-end I finished reading Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. This is a novel that I’ve wanted to read since I can’t remember when, but it’s always just been on the TBR list somewhere, and not at the top. However, when it was recommended (and lent) to me by a friend from work who has a particular interest in psychiatry, I pretty much ignored my reading plan for the remainder of the year and bumped it up to the top of the queue.

And when she told me there were a few drug references and the like, I was even more eager to read it. I’m a bit of a pharmacy nerd like that – I like novels/movies with factually correct drug references. Plus, I reckon psychiatry is an interesting field – and this is about psychiatry in the 1960s! (Despite forgetting the majority of what I learnt in high school History, I still have some interest in the subject in general. Gotta learn from the past and all that, right?)

I’m guessing most people are familiar with the story – quite a few people who have seen me carrying the book around have commented about having also read it, or having watched the film – so I won’t summarise it here (I realise that I hardly ever do that, anyway, even if the book I’m writing about is a bit more obscure).

From the very first chapter, I knew this wasn’t like anything I’d ever read before. I feel like I say that about every second book I read, so maybe that’s a good indication of the broad variety of books I’m reading…? Maybe I should try to read more books that are similar to the ones I like…?

Cuckoo’s Nest is narrated from the perspective of one of the patients, “Chief Bromden”, and sometimes it takes a while to realise whether he’s describing something that’s actually happening, or if it’s just in his head. For example, near the start somewhere, Bromden talks about this fog machine that the hospital ward uses to, well, make a fog that blocks out his vision, etc. At first, I thought this was “real”, but I soon realised that it wasn’t really real… And same goes for the noises he hears in the wall – all the things that make him paranoid. Or maybe it was all real!? Either way, I thought it was all really fascinating.

Something else that made Cuckoo’s Nest a bit different was the inclusion of sketches of various characters. It makes for a nice change. But I was a little bit disappointed that they were fewer and further between, the further in to the book you got. But it must’ve been alright because I didn’t really notice the lack of sketches in the later parts, and pretty much only realised after finishing the book.

There were some really good quotes and insightful life lessons/observations throughout the novel, and I would include some here, but I’ve returned the book already. You should probably just go read it for yourself. One that I can kind of remember (because I was re-reading it a bit on my way to return it) goes something along the lines of “It’s the truth, even if it didn’t happen”.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It’s not something that everyone would enjoy reading, but it’s certainly a worthwhile read if you have even just a vague interest in psychiatry and the minds of others. It’s truly, truly fascinating. Almost makes me question my own thoughts, perceptions and reactions.

reading, running, reminiscing

Today I was packing my bags. On Monday I’ll be at a different pharmacy, up north. Just for three weeks, but even that seems like a long time, especially considering that I haven’t been out of town for that long since I first started working at the pharmacy. I paused a lot during the packing process, overwhelmed with the enormity of this trip I’m making, and thinking of all the people I’m going to miss while I’m gone.

Next on the agenda today was to finish reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which a friend/colleague had lent to me. I only had about 50 pages left, so I decided that I had to finish it before my trip, so that I could (1) return the book, and (2) take a new book with me.

Finishing the book today by early/mid afternoon also had the added benefit of allowing me to return the book today, and thus visit another friend/colleague at the pharmacy. Yes, ok, I am possibly a bit too attached to my work and my work family… But they are great people! (most of them)

(I was actually going to write this post about One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but it seems that that’s just not going to happen… I’ll publish a separate book post tomorrow or the day after.)

To be honest, though, I was a bit conflicted about whether or not I should make the effort of going to the pharmacy today just to return the book and see someone very briefly. I mean, I’m going out for lunch tomorrow, so could easily drop by then instead, and then I could have stayed at home all day today to do productive things like write posts I can schedule for the next few weeks. But then I thought about the other pharmacists I’ve visited over the years, and I thought about whether or not I would regret visiting today, and the decision was easy.

(The “what would you regret?” test is my go-to strategy for decision-making.)

Also – side note – I kind of planned it so that I could then run home from work. I caught the bus/train in, as I usually do, hung around to chat for a bit, then ran all the way home. I’ve wanted to try it out for a while now, so I’m glad that I can cross that off the list. It took less than 80 minutes, which is alright considering I walked a lot (it is so hot and humid!), and I kind of made up the route as I went along.

Well, anyway, people who I’ve spoken to over recent weeks (particularly work friends) all know that I’m super excited about this upcoming trip. Still, me being me, you can’t eliminate all apprehension and anxiety with excitement alone. Not to brag or anything, but I’m pretty good at worrying about everything that could possibly go wrong, which, of course, includes the possibility that there are many possible scenarios which I have not considered but will occur when I’m there.

Yes, ok, that is probably overstating it a bit. I’m pretty amateurish at worrying sometimes.

And I’m sorry that I can’t reveal the actual name of the place that I’m going to – well, I don’t think I should anyway. I mean, I don’t know… Maybe I should review my pharmacy’s policy about social media… Then again, I’m pretty sure that no one I work with reads this blog. But who knows… I seem to have a number of “silent readers”.

post schedule

I am in the process of writing some scheduled posts. This, in fact, is a scheduled post. As I’m writing this, it is Saturday. However, when I finish writing, I will schedule this post to be published in two days’ time, on Monday.

The reason I’m scheduling these posts is because I am genuinely afraid that I will not have the time and/or energy to (remember to) write posts in the next few weeks. Well, I mean, I’d probably manage it with some effort, but this will kind of be like a safety net. Besides, if I take the time to write the posts now, when I have reasonable time and mental capacity for writing, then maybe these posts will be better quality than frantic posts written at the eleventh hour when I realise that I haven’t posted anything for the week yet.

Does this sound like I’m getting a bit obsessive?

Well, I made this commitment to publish a post at least once a week. But nothing bad’s going to happen if I miss a week or two here and there. I might feel bad for a while, but surely I’d get over it. Surely no one (or very few people) would actually even notice. I won’t be reprimanded or punished. There’s nothing to worry about.

But it will put my mind at ease to know that these posts have been written and are ready to go, bristling and pawing the ground at their respective starting lines.

Maybe, for the next few weeks, I won’t check WP at all. I’ll just let the posts publish themselves, as per my very arbitrary schedule (but not completely arbitrary because they’ll probably be scheduled so that they look nice and spread out on the calendar widget thing in the sidebar). I won’t respond to comments, and I won’t read other blogs in these coming weeks. It’ll be like a hiatus.

Heck, we all know that that’s probably not going to happen; I’ll probably still read my regular blogs. Probably not as often as I’m used to, but I’ll get around to it.

It’s still a bit weird, though, all this future scheduling stuff. I mean, the future is so uncertain. Wouldn’t it be weird if I wrote a post about why I dislike hot weather (I probably won’t, since I reckon I’ve probably already written too much about that), and then on the day that I schedule it, we have a cold snap?  What if I wrote a post about my work family, and how much I like working with the team we’ve got now, and then someone quits the day after it’s published?

Maybe I’ll just play around with publishing times. I could schedule posts for 3am when I’ll undoubtedly be sleeping, or for mid-morning when I’m busy at work.

I’m going to forget which posts I scheduled for when, and I’ll forget what I wrote in each one. Maybe I’ll just start following my own blog.

*Tangent alert*

There was this website I’d been told about a long time ago, where you could send emails to your future self. I can’t remember what the site was called, but I used it a couple of times. I’d set it to send several years in the future, and the email would just be me wondering if certain things have changed. It was like a time capsule thing.

I’m not sure how far ahead WP allows you to schedule posts (I got up to Jan 2017, then gave up) but I suppose even a year is enough time to forget you scheduled a random post, and then get pleasantly surprised by the random post popping up on your blog and getting random comments from people.

Oh, the possibilities!

wasting time

It’s been a whirlwind last couple of days. I flew up north to help with cover at our group’s pharmacy up there while HR recruits a new pharmacist. I was there for maybe a grand total of 31-32 hours (just one night) but, gee, it was pretty intense.

And now I’m just exhausted.

Strangely enough, I did some laundry and cleaning this morning, and I’m probably less tired, but still sleepy. I kind of just want to lie down and not move for the rest of the day.

It doesn’t help that it’s super hot today – around 36 degrees Celsius. I’m just going to stay in my room and enjoy the aircon.

And the laptop has made a triumphant return! I am back on my laptop for the first time in over a month because, as much as I would like to lie here doing nothing, I’d feel bad, so I’ve brought my laptop in. Still going to be wasting time, but I’ll be getting something done – like this post!

Isn’t it terrible that we have to feel guilty about doing nothing. I mean, sure, if you’re at work, or there are jobs people are expecting you to get done, then doing nothing is probably not the best plan; but if it’s the week-end and you need a rest and there’s nothing that desperately needs doing, then surely you can be allowed to laze around doing nothing…?

Well, I suppose it’s this whole notion of opportunity cost (one of my favourite / most remembered economic principles). It’s that voice in my head that says, “Yes, you can sit here and do nothing – you’ve probably earnt a break – but think of all the other things you could be doing!”

But it’s ridiculous to be expected to be constantly making the most of every minute.

Hmm… I feel like if I keep going with this post, it’s going to quickly devolve into a weird internal argument, so I’m getting out while I can. Good-bye!

high flyer

Just a quick post today because I’m feeling like this is the sort of week that’s going to quickly get away from me. Yes, it’s only Wednesday night here, but I’m already worried that I won’t fit in a post before week’s end if I don’t write one now.

And this isn’t exactly the ideal time to be writing one either. I’m supposed to be up at 5am tomorrow to catch a flight. It’ll be my first work trip. I am ridiculously excited. This one was extremely short notice (only got told this morning) but there are already more planned. Who knew being a pharmacist could involve/require this sort of travel? Well, I suppose you just have to work for the right companies.

Best thing about work trips is having all the expenses and organising sorted by someone else. It’s a great feeling. I don’t even mind that I’m going there for the sole purpose of work (there’ll be no sight-seeing or touristy stuff this time). I’m just excited to actually be able to meet the people in our partner pharmacy and corresponding location.

Ok, ok, really must sleep now … or at least try to…

[no title I can think of seems adequate for this post]

Today was a lie-in-the-grass-in-the-sunshine kind of day. It was a reasonably cool day for late spring. Today was almost perfect: met up with friends for breakfast, did some shopping, chilled out at the park reading, dinner with parents.

But something didn’t feel quite right.

Yesterday morning (Saturday), I was lying on my bed listening to the radio while I read through a CPD module about asthma and COPD. My sister was coming over later to take Mum and me to her apartment. It could have been a day like any other, and in a way it was.

But between the songs and the ads, one of the “news headlines” segments mentioned that there had been terror attacks in Paris. It was a single sentence (maybe two), and I wasn’t really listening, so, at first, I thought I might’ve misheard it. I put down my booklet and did a quick search on my phone. Yep, I’d heard correctly, alright.

I have a couple of friends travelling around Europe at the moment. Thankfully neither of them were in Paris at the time.

Still, it’s devastating news.

There’s been a lot of news coverage about the attacks, a lot of people posting on social media, a lot of people talking about it. I will admit that, for the most part, I’ve gone about life as per usual, but it just resurfaces in my mind from time to time. It doesn’t seem right that I can enjoy a beautiful, carefree day when so many have had their lives ended so abruptly. On the other hand, it’s a kind of reminder of everything we shouldn’t take for granted.

Of course, there are plenty of other tragic stories in the news – the attacks in Paris are probably just the most talked about right now. Every day, there’s a fire somewhere, or a missing child, or a car accident. But, you know, most people, unaffected by these goings on, spare a thought (and perhaps a prayer if they’re so inclined) for these people, and get on with their lives. Society would not function if we let ourselves be oppressed by fear and devastation.

What really gave me pause was this article from the UK’s Telegraph, which includes names and photos of some of the victims. Some are also accompanied by brief descriptions or statements from those who knew them. I don’t know any of the people in the article, but that’s not the point.

Usually, when someone dies suddenly and unexpectedly, that person’s friends and family talk about their positive attributes: what they were passionate about, what a great friend they were, how much they had achieved, and all the promise that lay ahead of them. This makes it all the more sad that they’re gone, but kind of also inspires me to (try to) live life in a way that would also be remembered positively.

I really didn’t want this to be a mopey sort of post. I don’t want to tell people how to react/respond or what to think. I know there’s nothing revolutionary in what I’m writing. Like most other things I write about here, I just really needed to get my thoughts out into words, and this happens to be my preferred medium. Also, by having a post about this here, and knowing that I do, from time to time, look back on old posts I’ve written, I’m helping to ensure that I don’t forget about what’s happened. And not just in Paris, but all over the world.

So I’ll continue living my life (although perhaps with new perspective and new gratitude), and I won’t mope and dwell on things I can’t change, but I won’t forget either.