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No peppers, please

Originally written January 8th 2014 Firstly, huge apologies for my lengthy absence. The past two weeks have been Uni holidays and as such I’ve been enjoying some other parts of Australia with my lovely fiancée, Danielle. Melbourne, Fraser Island and most of the East Coast are wonderful places – do travel there if you ever get the opportunity. Now, for a blog post… I am an eater – I absolutely love food. I don’t think I’m a foodie (I don’t actually know what a foodie is) but I do have an enormous appetite most of the time. There is, however, one food I won’t eat. There is one vegetable whose taste I find so offensive and overwhelmingly revolting that 99% of foods I eat undergo a strict and thorough inspection before going past my lips. This vegetable, as the title of this post suggests, is the pepper...


As I’ve mentioned previously, I got my cancer diagnosis ten years ago. Well, today I’m happy to be celebrating my 10th Cancer D-day – Diagnosis Day.

Happy, celebrating and cancer aren’t really words you’d typically see together in a sentence and I get that it’s a little strange of me to rejoice at the discovery of my aggressive, life-threatening disease. Whenever I’m asked about why I celebrate D-Day, I usually refer people to a piece I wrote while I was ill. I won’t include the whole thing here as it’s five pages long and I doubt any of you have the time for that. So, here’s [an abridged version of] one I made earlier…

By way of introduction

Joe Blogs is an unoriginally named but exciting, inspiring and sometimes funny blog about one young Medical Student's life as a patient and how it affects his medical practise and life in general.

The original site for the blog is but it contains all of the same content as the AAD site, so enjoy it wherever you please!

NB: The original blog was started in mid-December 2013 so the posts on the AAD site may all look like they were written on the same day, but that's just because they haven't been backdated!

Give me morphine!

There are so many nuances to being a doctor. You can know the physiology. The Pathology. The typical presentations, the management, the treatment. You learn about how to elicit the historical details from the patient. And how to match these up to patterns of disease, to form a differential diagnosis. Then you narrow down your differentials, with investigations. Eventually you come to your diagnosis and you treat it. Along the way you probably had a conversation about the weather in Bristol, last night’s football results, and where you had your hair cut. You probably had to ask a nurse or another doctor for some help or advice. Somewhere along this process, which could have taken anywhere from 5 minutes to several days, you might have even got it wrong, and had to change your diagnosis or plan. And all the while, you had to be professional, courteous, charming and just generally a super-human.
But, what if the patient isn’t being honest? What if you don’t know their true motives? What if they are angry? Humans aren’t rational normal beings. Being a doctor involves trying to balance all these things at the same time, often with several of these scenarios playing out concurrently on a busy ward or in an emergency department.
And I’m still learning. And I still get it wrong. Sometimes, with nasty consequences.

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