April has been a busy month for us. Last weekend we were in Singapore for the ISUOG outreach program. This weekend we’ve been in Melbourne; Dan for an RWA meeting, I brought cases for the Radiodiagnosis Review Course. We got to catch up with friends for lunch yesterday and today. It’s been good.
We had breakfast with Shannan, at Hard Pressed on Wellington St, our trams arrive almost simultaneously. Afterwards we caught a tram up to La Trobe and Swanston to find a Shaver Shop; Dan wanted to get a beard trimmer. I found a phone screen repair shop and forked out A$119 to get my shattered iPhone screen replaced. It is surreal to be a able to clearly read the text now; I spent the past week reading my ebook around the fracture lines.
Kurt and Chris joined us in the shaver shop and we went around the corner to Touché Hombre, a Mexican restaurant, for lunch. The food was good but I had just eaten. It was serendipitous that the boys were in town from Sydney the same weekend we had travelled to Melbourne.
Months of preparation of cases and a Powerpoint to run through the cases for a practice RANZCR fellowship viva ended yesterday with my 3-hours of official work for the weekend. I got to the Sofitel just after 3 pm, and ran through the images for the cases I’d sent. Turned out that all the cases where I’d sent images with 2 modalities (e.g. a CT abdomen & pelvis, then the subsequent ultrasound) only had images for one modality. I’d sat next to Chris at OPH when we exported our cases to be anonymised. We’d selected every series of every study to burn to CD, which Em had sent by registered post to Melbourne. I should’ve double-checked the CD after burning; each study must have overwritten the last. Thankfully I’d over-prepared and had 5 cases per candidate but only needed 3 per viva. It was an interesting set up: the cases were projected on a monitor with us in front of microphones, next to the candidate talking to the case. In a separate lecture hall the rest of the course delegates were watching the case images and listening to the presentation. I’ve never examined for the FRANZCR II exams, having only sat them myself 4 years ago. I examine for the ALS II in-hospital resuscitation and it’s a similar process: give a history and the candidate leads the scenario. Minimal prompting is allowed in the FRANZCR exam however, and as it was a teaching course I prompted a bit much. It’s amazing how when the stakes become “The Exam” even the most simple run-of-the-mill case becomes somehow complicated. I think we did OK.
Albert picked us up outside our hotel, on Flinders Street, opposite the train station. Downtown traffic in Melbourne is starting to look like Sydney, a chaotic rambling of vehicles moving and parked barely contained by lane markings. We met Tim & Vaughan at Brunswick Street Cider House. It had just opened. The menu revolves around shared plates. We ate. We talked. We updated each other on our lives, our careers and our health. Tim spent the first hour battling with the street parking app on his smartphone – a green icon that had the word, “park” in the title. You are meant to input the code identifying the nearest ticket machine and pay for your car number plate ID. It wasn’t working. When Vaughan left the table to manually add coins into the ticket machine Albert showed Tim how the app had worked for Albert, earlier. It was a different app. Tim was trying to pay for parking in Brisbane. When did technology start to beat us? Tonight Tim SMS texted me to confirm our dinner plans tomorrow and I replied with my mobile phone number, to check he had my new phone number. His reply, “Um… that’s what I’m texting you on…”
Melbourne is hipster central. We went for coffee after lunch at Industry Beans. Daniel’s green tea was served in a beaker. Between the beaker and the cup was a plastic petri dish shaped filter with tea leaves. Dan enquired how he was supposed to experience his cup of tea. “Oh, that’s in case you want to get a refill later!” I had just offended the waiter after having become instantly confused by the layout of useless data that was the coffee menu. Instead of communicating: “Coffee: Blend Choice 1, 2 or 3,” the menu wrote, “Espresso blend Fitzroy Street Sweet Citrus Plum Chocolate…” there was a Venn diagram without a title and then under the blends there were descriptions of different coffees with icons like those that tell you how to wash or iron your clothes. The waiter had tried to explain that there were several choices, pointing to the menu, and we could chose. So I chose: An Espresso, Sub-Category Fitroy, Sub-Sub-Category Citrus… Turns out the blend was a mixture of the described flavours and the Venn diagram was, I don’t know, probably something to do with beans.
Albert’s cold press and cold filter coffees came in two separate but identical glass bottles, served in identical espresso cups, over ice. Halfway through drinking them Daniel exclaimed, “Oh! That’s what you ordered!” Dan had thought that perhaps Albert had been served a taster sample, before having to decide on which coffee to get. No, this was Albert’s order. If I’d worn my thick-rimmed glasses and had a man-bun perhaps I would’ve navigated the experience better.