Isolated thoughts

Month: February, 2017

In betweens

The humdrum of farm pracs has ended and I have been feeling very lost as of late. Despite keeping myself busy with submissions, organising, cleaning, experimenting with cooking and preparing for the next 4 months of university I feel very bereft of any purpose. Perhaps it is burn out from the three weeks of pracs and running around doing hard work, all just to leave a good impression on others’ minds.

As with anything else, these past few weeks have been constantly changing faces and involved the drawing of more boundaries than ever. I don’t think that I was severely out of my comfort zone, but it was still a very valuable learning journey, as everything is. 

I have gone from being deathly afraid of touching lizards and maggots to playing with them and handling them with no issues. I am also much more confident of working around cows and moving them around yards, and have stuck my hand into their uterus for the very first time. Horses have been a constant so it goes without saying that I was already quite confident with them. I was happy to work with them as well though. More importantly, I now feel more confident and comfortable about going to new places and meeting new people. 
Despite this, I still feel very apprehensive about the start of uni. It honestly feels like high school again with the small cohort and having classes from 9.30-4.30 almost every day. I also don’t feel very prepared for the amount of material that will be taught, and I fear failure which I simply cannot afford. It is not very reassuring to have breezed through the year as with everyone else but be told that this year will be a very big leap from the previous. I really just want to pass. 



8. Wear & tear

I find myself feeling quite weary these few days. I am very tired, even though school hasn’t begun and I still have one last week of pracs to go through before I am done with my 3 weeks.

Rushing back from the farm last Friday was quite the feat, for it was a long drive in inclement weather. It didn’t help that I had to rock up for another prac the next morning. In the midst of these pracs and being on shift the entire week, I still had stupid things to settle and do.

It has been a year since I have first arrived in Perth, and I feel very wistful and rather nostalgic. I still remember the adrenaline rush and the sunset when I first landed as my mom and I made the drive to a friend’s house. First visiting Freo and Murdoch, and feeling terribly lost, quite unimpressed but sucking it up because it was all very exciting and new. Mom and I went to King’s Park, and had fish and chips but it was so windy and cold that we finished it quickly and went on a drive around different parks that overlooked the swan river.

I still have 4 more years in this city and I am not sure if I will stay, move to another or go home but I am quite happy, I think. I know where to go to get what I want and need. I have a very nice place to live in and have been learning so much every single day. I feel like my perspective about many things and many of my habits have changed, which is not unexpected, but one really can’t project and anticipate the future when they are faced with uncertainty.

Good things:

  • Spudshed trips where I got a lot of food for cheap, and managed to snag a whole carton of Yeo’s (!!) soy bean milk for $11
  • Got snake skins from the centre
  • Flowers that now make the table very homey
  • Cut Thumper’s nails. He has learnt how to hop onto my bed and now spends his afternoons lazing on the edge of my room’s large window. He does binkys on my bed and hops from window edge to bed to table, luggage and shelf.
  • Reading All Creatures Great and Small
  • Alone time at home. I don’t have to tiptoe my way about someone else’s home anymore.
  • Figured my printer out so it can finally print pages double sided, so no more mistakes with printing!
  • Submitted report for last week’s prac

The not so good:

  • I skipped a day of prac because I just couldn’t bring myself to drive 20 minutes in peak hour traffic to do thankless, laborious work after another draining night. Prac is leaving at 8am, coming back at 430pm and cleaning up after (very dirty) animals that I do not particularly like when I am there. I come back and have patients to care for from 7pm to 7am the next day. And I just haven’t had a break from changing IV bags at 3am, having occlusions occur throughout the night and dealing with the constant barking and howling of the understandably distressed dogs. It feels like a nightmare for literally every single patient I have had stay in since Saturday has been an entire Rottweiler that is in quite a bad state. I simply cannot trust them as they weigh more than I do, and their jaws look like they can snap my arm.
  • I have also broken my laptop. Genius move, Jolyn.

On my self-declared day off I have spent some time lazing and scrolling social media. Everyone seems to be progressing, growing more beautiful and refined by the day and I’m still little old me with the awkward hair and plain, if tom boyish dressing. I feel very unfeminine and ugly duckling-esque in a world where beauty is pretty clothes, nice hair and makeup. I guess I just wished that I fit into society’s mould of what is desirable more often than not.


I feel mind bogglingly exhausted. It’s that wave of inertia and profound fatigue that just washes over you when your eyes feel heavy and hot, and your mind is literally shutting down but not really, for I am typing this out and it is still whirling away.

I am almost at the end of my week at a dairy farm, and boy, what a week it has been. I have given cows IM injections, drenched them with potent chemicals, terrorized them in yards and dodged them countless times in the dairy. I have squirmed through many dubious fences, gotten several splinters from chunks of wood, and gotten peed and shat on so many times that I just give up. Cow poop smells dubiously like teh tarik in the mornings when I hose the yards down, and the industrial hoses make my arms ache. The water that comes out makes fleeting little rainbows that dance across the muck, as I try to enjoy the process. I am not above this.

I have fallen asleep on a huge cow transport truck, sitting precariously cross legged on the in between of the two proper seats whilst the truck rumbled through back lanes at insane speeds. I have swung my legs outside the buggy whilst it raced across the rough terrain of wild fields as we searched for stray cattle, and have been on so many cattle chases I cannot remember much anymore. On my last day I watched over a labouring cow in the chilling rain, and only when we pulled it out did we know that it was dead inside. I dissected in the woods behind. I have also played with little calves, letting them suck on my fingers, and bottle fed the littlest ones.

My arms ache, my shoulders hurt, and my legs are sore from the abrasions I have garnered from running about in combat boots and rubber wellies in the dairy. I detest every step that I take, and stare at myself in the mirror in the bathroom every single day after a much needed shower. I check for tan lines, and how my body has changed. I do not care too much anymore – I just go through with the days.

I have become very detached from many things around me. I no longer form attachments to people, places, animals or any other fleeting thing. Everything has become a game of now and the future, choosing to do things the way I so want it to be. Got a problem? Solve it. And if not, wait it out or do something to change the circumstances. Despite how much I love my independence, being able to do literally anything and everything that I so desire, I still feel like I’ve been thrown into the deep end. Sometimes.

I find it strange that I no longer wish to be back in Singapore. I do not find it sad to be estranged from people I once knew. Yearning for home is a given, but I no longer care about much else. If I try to visualise it, my memories of Singapore are sealed up in a box – I can stare at it blankly from the outside. But the moment I delve into it that’s when things start to unravel and get messy, and I simply cannot have that.

6. Away

I will be spending the next week on a farm 250kms away from Perth, surrounded by dairy cattle and, hopefully, little calves.

It will be my first time driving for such a distance all by myself – I usually have company when I explore new places but I feel quite out of my depth this time. Despite driving about solo quite confidently most of the time, I don’t have much experience with long distances. The only relevant experience I’ve had was a drive from Johor Bahru back to Singapore about 5 days after I got my license. But that was with the supervision of my dad, of course.

I am counting on my car to take me there safe and sound, as well as a stack of old CDs that I had brought back from Singapore to keep me company. The mechanic has checked Marcello over and said that it had no problems, with nothing major to be done. This comes as a relief for I had purchased it without any help. Marcello currently has pink floor mats, which makes me feel quite bimbotic but happy just because.

After the whole lost guinea pig fiasco, I now have a little bunny named Thumper. He was brought into the clinic after being found under a car. He’s the cutest little thing and runs freely around the house. I think that he’s brilliant for he is litter trained, low maintenance and wanders around the apartment by himself.

Over the CNY holiday my mom told me that they might fly over to Perth for a visit sometime this year, which makes me very excited. I don’t quite get to see them all quite enough already, and it will only get worse from here on out once I hit year 3-5 with clinical placements to complete on top of my live-in commitments and eventual 42 weeks of annual term time. Everyone is growing up and it is so difficult even planning dates since all 3 of us are studying – in university and polys respectively. Also, since it isn’t very often that I fly back, coupled with the last family holiday being ages ago (end 2014!), I am hoping that these plans come to fruition this year instead of the next.

My job tonight is to drain a Jackson-Pratt drain attached to a cat, and the prospect of doing such *cool* stuff in the future makes me very excited. I am still very ignorant, and I do have a very long way to go but I love this hands-on, practical learning and wisdom that I get almost every day. This fills me up with a lot of anticipation for the next 3 years and 10 months and the lifetime ahead. I’ll get to be a vet!

I don’t feel quite prepared for the farm prac, but there’s always going to be a first! Just happened that I’d snagged an extra placement and it’s solo from the very get go. Praying that I don’t get lost, and get fed well for the next week hehe.