Feb 28, 2014

The non-doctors without borders

People often think that "Doctors without borders" (MSF) is an organization for doctors - not a far fetched assumption given the name. Some people, though luckily not that many, think it's an organization only for doctor which is very far from the truth. It's not even an organization exclusively for health care providers - it's an organization for everyone. I would say that most people (if not everybody) could find a way to contribute if they wanted to, and luckily for us doctors, many non-medical people do contribute and get involved, because without them we couldn't do our job.

I've heard from both logs and fins (logisticians and finance people) that "sure, what they do is important or interesting but not as important or interesting as what the doctors do". I've even heard people talk about how insignificant their contribution is when they're not doctors - and worst of all - I've heard (ignorant) doctors talk about how they're the only ones doing any "real work". These statements make my blood boil - or depending on the mood my tears flow. The thing is it's just not true.

When working in the types of environments that MSF do (actually working anywhere in the world, but that's kind of beyond the scope of this text) working together is the key to everything. We're so completely dependent on each other. Good work is done when everyone involved is doing what they're good at. During my months in the field I think I've been most grateful to and most impressed by the non-doctors for their hard work, often done behind the scenes. They are the people who take care of all the stuff I wouldn't even know had to get done much less know how to do them.

 Just to mention a fraction of what they do;
  • Provide drinkable water
  • Find a proper place for us to sleep
  • Fix leakages in the grounds of the hospital
  • Manage hundreds of people - and their never ending complaints over everything
  • Fire people when needed
  • Figure out how to transport us to our patients (or the opposite) come hell or high water, which literally means hellish conditions and high floods
  • Build wards trying to please the doctors very optimistic requests
  • Build boxes to heat blankets and water bags for cold patients
  • Make them selves available when I call in the middle of the night to inform them that we don't have any electricity in the neonatal ward - where the babies kind of need the electricity driven oxygen machines...
  • Figure out how to manufacture clothes so that my babies can get skin to skin care in a muslim environment where skin isn't something you show - ever
  • Provide food
  • Make reasonable budgets where they see the bigger picture - and not only my irrational wish to use all the projects money on one case
  • Make new expats feel welcomed
  • Make the whole team feel safe - no matter how unsafe an environment you're in

And like I said, this is a fraction of what they do seen from the clueless doctors point of view. They do something hugely important for the community and are essential for any project. The thing is, I get why they sometimes might loose track of why they are doing what they are doing. I always say that sure, I have a hard job, calling the death of a child chips away at your heart, and they don't have to do that, but at the same time I get to see the effect of what everyone is working for. I get to discharge healthy kids and I get the thank you from the parents. I see first hand how important the effort that we've done together as a team has been, and that makes it easier for me to se the point of it all when things get dark. So I've tried to make sure that whenever possible the people not working directly with the patients get to come along and see what we're doing, see the tiny babies now sleeping in the cradles they've built, under the roof that's no longer leaking and having received the skin to skin care that's going to help them survive.

So here's to the Fins, Admins, Logs, HR's, FieldCo's, WatSan's and Supply's that make the projects go from elusive ideas to tangible walls and floors, you have my deepest respect and admiration. 

Feb 18, 2014

A newfound respect for life

Do you remember Ross's newfound respect for life after riding along in a police car? I've always thought it's a funny episode and he's hilarious with his newfound clarity and "carpe diem" mentality. It really makes fun of people that suddenly have found the "real" meaning of life, people you normally roll your eyes at as soon as they turn their backs.

It's been two months since I came back to "the real world". It's been an adjustment period, and I guess it still is, some things might never go back to the way they were, but most likely a lot will. In this period I've gone through a lot of different feelings, though they haven't all been good, the one that keeps popping back up is the feeling of just being happy and content. I don't remember the last time in my life when I felt that, content. Ok, so I must add that one of the first things that happened this year was that I got into my specialty - I'm going to be a pediatrician, a lifelong dream has just fallen into my lap, so that must be taken into consideration when I say I'm feeling content. 

Almost every day I come home, prepare dinner, do yoga and curl up on my couch with a book or an episode of a good show and this rush of happiness flows over me. I sit there with a big smile and contemplate how lucky I am, how wonderful my life is and how I can't understand how people let them selves get down over the small stuff. It's gotten to the extent of almost feeling a little bit like Ross, like I'm on some sort of high and that it's ridiculous to everyone around me. The thing is, I don't care. So what if people think I'm nuts? I've been to hell and back and I know that there are bigger tragedies than people thinking you're crazy. 

That being said I'm obviously not immune to being nervous, sad or scared - just now for example I'm debating with myself how to handle my first MSF presentation on Sunday. There's a story I want to tell, the story of Lahai, I feel really strongly about telling it, but so far I haven't been able to tell it, or even write it down without crying, and I don't want my voice to crack in front of a bunch of strangers. So yeah, I'm nervous, but the thing is, no matter how bad it goes, it's still not even going to come close to being as horrible as some of the other things I've been through. 

I guess it's like surviving being shot at (or in Ross's case, a car backfiring), you do find a new outlook on life and it does look and sound silly from the outside, but it's the most marvelous, liberating feeling in the world, from the inside.

Jan 4, 2014

To have gone

I'm not sure if there's magic where you're going, but there's magic in the fact that you dare to go. One year ago on the day I wished for this exact feeling. Mission accomplished. 

Jan 1, 2014

A pink cotton candy year

This past year has been so much more than can be put into a couple of sentences to summarize it all so I won’t even try. But I will say this – it’s been an amazing year, I’ve accomplished a lifelong dream and I’ve done things I never would have imagined I could.

Some random occurrences this year – not necessarily the biggest or best, but stuff I’ll remember always.
  • Eating spicy barbecued meat (I’m hoping cow meat and not some strange bush meat) bought in the street during a night out dancing in Sierra Leone
  • Saying goodbye to my girls in the airport in June and suddenly getting hit with the hugeness of what was about to happen
  • Running around GRC trying to find a catheter for a boy, praying to the God I’m not sure is there to please not let him die. Having to call his time of death less than an hour later and then crying in rage over the hopelessness and helplessness of the whole situation in the car ride home
  • Changing to my dirac and hijab in the bathroom on the flight from Ethiopia to Somaliland and then stepping out to realize everybody is staring at me and my thoughts immediately jumping to “what if this colour/length/type of dress is only worn by prostitutes!?”
  • Coming home to my new house after a 12 hours shift in the hospital to find that my roommates have saved dinner for me – and will sit with me so I don’t have to eat alone

Last year I promised to be happier, healthier and gutsier. I’m not sure if eating oily African food, drinking a coke a day and working 250 hours in a month could ever be called healthy, and I’m pretty sure that the amount of days that I’ve cried, have been more than any other year so probably not my happiest year in the sense of smiling and laughing – but I am certain beyond a doubt that I’ve been the bravest I’ve ever been, so I guess gutsier is the only accomplished one, but the way I see it it’s the most important one, the one I really needed to prove to myself I could do.

Next year I actually do want to be happier, I want to do things for fun and for me. Hopefully I can have as many laughs this year as I had tears last – I might have to start going to a stand up club or something to make it happen, but at the very least I’ll try. Maybe I’ll be able to fulfil some other lifelong dreams this year – but if not, that’s fine too, some fun, carefree, light-hearted months might be needed after this roller-coaster of a year.

Cheers to a cotton candy and pink bubbles year!


Dec 21, 2013

Sit... Stay

I'm back. I'm wearing boots and a winter coat. I've had my first (and second and third) latte. I've stayed up late and slept in. I've eaten moms food. I've had sushi. I've hugged my family (and I've argued with them). I've gotten sick (and checked my temperature like crazy!) and let my (ecstatic) mother take care of me with tea, sandwiches and teaspoons of lemon and honey - supposedly it's good for the throat and/or cough, I don't know if it's true and I don't care, it tastes good.

There are so many things to tell about Sierra Leone. I wrote a little bit when I was there but I know myself, when it's too big, when it's too heavy I can't write it down, it becomes too real, I need time to process. I've started writing a bit more now but I don't get very far before I get too overwhelmed and have to stop. I guess it's just starting to sink in. I guess it'll take time.

I understand why people jump from mission to mission. I know that if I signed up for another mission in a couple of weeks I'd get lost in the craziness of the project and I wouldn't have to deal with all this - I'm not sure what to call it, the realization process, coming home, going back to normal. But knowing that, I think it's important that I don't do it - also I don't think I've ever been this tired in my life so I'm not sure what good I'll do anyone.

So for now I'll stay put. I'll celebrate Christmas with my family, I'll join in the hope for snow, I'll wrap some gifts and I'll make my meatballs, and when the world for a second seems dark and I get struck by a heavy sinking feeling I'll try not to run but deal and it'll all be ok.

Sep 23, 2013

Freak like me

One month in and hopefully the adaptation period is slowly coming to it's end, it's been a hard couple of weeks. Swishing in from one place to another is surprisingly difficult. I'm not sure if it's the swift change from one mission to the next or if it's something else, but it's like I'm not fully committed to being here yet, I guess my head is somewhere else. Hopefully it'll catch up before the mission's over.

One of the things I'm finding quite difficult is the roommate situation. Not that I don't like my roommates! They are nice people, all of them. I'm just really used to living alone. It's actually strange that this never really got to be a problem in my last mission. Here I'm constantly reminded of how not used to "dorm-life" I am. I'm not sure how people normally walk around at home; I'm sure some people get up, get dressed - including shoes, brush their hair and put on make up and then just lounge around in their house on a Sunday. I'm just not that kind of a person. Clothes are (more or less) for going out in my book. Every morning when I get up I argue with myself for at least five minutes about wether or not to put on pants and a bra (and a shirt of course, but I'm hoping that's a given!) before going to the bathroom. So far modesty has won every time, but I hate it! Actually a couple of days ago I woke up at 5.45 in the morning and decided to slip out to the bathroom without putting on pants or a bra under my t-shirt, I figured everybody was still sleeping. But turns out one of the guys had gotten up really early to eat breakfast and when I stepped out of the bathroom I just saw a big dark shadow coming towards me, of course I screamed bloody murder and freaked him completely out. After that I spent a half-hour with heart palpitations and a stomach ache before I could pull myself together to go out and apologize for being a freak. To get a positive spin on it at least we had fits of laughter all day every time we saw each other just thinking about how much of a weirdo I am.

Oh well, I still have a couple of months to get into the hippie/commune way of living... I did say once that I was born in the wrong decade, I guess this is my way of trying it out.

Aug 20, 2013

Bountless amounts of love

I have this pretty great quality (well, I think it is) that comes in handy with the kind of job I'm doing right now; I don't really get homesick. During the soon to be decade that I've been living in Denmark (please don't remind me of how old one has to be to be able to say that!), I can't say I've been particularly homesick at any time. Sure it would be great to be able to curl up on moms couch and get taken cared of when you’re sick, but me sick isn’t really me (I’m the biggest baby and bitch combined into one not very charming person at those times…), so it doesn’t count. The point is, I’m comfortable being away from family and friends and I’m quite quick at making a new place feel like home and I’m not constantly wishing to be somewhere else.


That being said, I do like vacations! The last couple of months I’ve been imagining myself on a sandy beach, under a huge parasol with a good book and a salty drink by my side looking out on a vast beautiful sea. It’s been this kind of mental break from the hard work and dessert sand (that is in no way close to as marvellous as the beach sand!) that I was living in. The image of coming home felt too far off and maybe even like too much of a hassle to be of much use. But then things changed and everything got turned on its head. Instead of the beautiful beaches of Zanzibar my vacation has turned into a couple of days of pure relaxation and quiet time in Scandinavia. I’ve had some stress free days at a friend’s house, some a bit more stressful days in Stockholm and now I’ve landed at my moms for a week of doing absolutely nothing. Here I get up, get breakfast, walk around in a t-shirt and panties for hours and listen to moms well-known stories that I already know the ending of. If we’re up for it we take a walk, maybe get a cup of coffee in town and I listen and listen. I organise her stuff – closets, storage-room, old flowers and books. I wish for special food and she makes it. We eat way to late and I complain, but that’s just the way it works here so I try not to complain too much. I go to bed later than I normally do and she comes in and sits on my bedside and we talk for another half hour, then she kisses me goodnight and I sleep better than I have in months and months.


In less than a week I’ll get on a plane again and even though I won’t be homesick once I’m gone, I’ll be sad to leave, like I always am. This place might not have famous beaches, margaritas and exciting new stories to tell, but it’s home and having this base, being able to come here and get recharged with love and care is what let’s me do stuff and go places where I have to give everything I have and then some. I always know there’s more where it came from so I know I’ll never run out.

Aug 18, 2013

Two months in less than 400 words

So about two months ago I wrote the last post before what was supposed to be a six months long hiatus from blogging, but as it turns out things change. These last two months have been the hardest most exhausting months of my life – and yes, I remember starting medical school in Denmark not knowing a word of Danish or flunking my first big exam or studying like a dog for my final exams – and no, it doesn’t compare.

The first three weeks I worked, slept and ate. When anybody asked how I was the only answer I could give was “tired” – not good, not bad, just tired. On the fourth week I didn’t feel quite as tired and I actually had some good days. Naïve as I am, I thought that was it, I had gotten used to the hard life as an ex-pat. Then came the fifth week and brought the worst day of my life. I even cried in public, which I hate (HATE!) to do, because everything was just too much, too sad, too hopeless. I honestly don’t remember ever being so sad before; the expression “heartbreakingly sad” has a whole new meaning in my mind now. When my long-weekend arrived it couldn’t have come at a better time. I really didn’t do anything exciting or extraordinary – I slept, watched series on my computer, bought chips and soda and had a different view from my window – but I came back feeling like I’d gotten just a sliver of myself back. I was happy, I smiled and I felt up for the challenge, excited actually about all the plans I’d gotten the chance to form in my head for the next six weeks. The week that followed was pretty great and this is something I’m insanely grateful for, as it turned out to be our last.

When working with MSF you know that you have to be able to roll with the punches, and being pulled out of the country was nothing less than a fist in the stomach. So many thoughts run through your head, all from concern for your patients to unwillingness to be separated from your ex-pat colleagues and of course the selfish (but normal) practical concerns of “what am I supposed to do now?” When they say you need to be flexible to do this job they are most certainly not kidding.

Jun 12, 2013

The Journey

I reach down and give the 20 months old girl a kiss on the cheek while she looks at me with a shy but warm smile. She’s sitting on her favorite mini-scooter and in her hand she’s holding a white and red flag. Her dad is instructing her on how to wave goodbye with it while the cars drive off. She’s not mine – obviously. I wouldn’t be leaving for Africa for six months if she were.

The essence of what I've been doing the last ten days

In the car with the girl’s mom I can’t help but tear up. I’ve been living with my friend and her little family for the past ten days because my departure date got delayed and if you’re not made of stone you can’t help but get attached, I’m going to miss my little adoptive family! I've simply had an amazing time staying with them. 

At the airport stress takes over, as my bag is about ten kilos over the weight limit. It’s insane – I’ve hardly anything that is of very big importance in it, and up until a couple of days before leaving my apartment I was sure I wasn’t even going to be able to fill the bag. How wrong I was! But as I said, it’s just filled with “junk” so it’s actually not that hard to start pulling things out. I take it down 8kg and then the man in the counter takes pity on me and lets me get the last 4kg of overweight for free. I guess the MSF T-shirt and my friends talking loudly about how I’m going to Africa to “save little children” helps.

The essentials for a first time missioner

Suddenly it’s time to go thru security and my three best friends who’ve come to send me off all give me hugs and words of encouragement, and I’m reminded why it’s been so long since anyone has accompanied me to the airport; I can’t handle it. All the nerves and scary feelings bubble up and I can’t imagine how I’m supposed to manage the (probably) hardest six months of my life without them. Just before I go to the gate I take a couple of minutes in the washroom to splash some water on my face and try some deep breaths. Still the image of Aarhus getting smaller and smaller seen from the airplane window is completely blurry with tears.

One last day in civilization as my sister calls it - touristing in Brussels 

In Brussels I sleep amazingly well at the hotel that MSF has booked for me. The next day I have my HQ briefing – a long and a somewhat frustrating day, as expected. I find out that I’m not leaving for the field the same night as I’d been told, as there were no flights available, instead I’ll be leaving the day after in the evening. This means I get another night in a hotel and a day to explore Brussels, since it’s my first time here – it's fine by me! Though it would have been good to know before checking out of the hotel the same morning and having dragged around my heavy carry on all day, or having left my big luggage in a 24 hour box at the airport. But anyways...

A nice lunch and a stroll in the sun, just what I needed before my 9,5 hour flight

Today has been good. I’ve slept in and had a long and calm breakfast. I’ve ridden the tourist bus all through the city; I’ve seen the Atomium, eaten chocolate covered strawberries and had a nice lunch in the sun. Now I’m at the airport way before I’m actually flying. I don’t think I’ve ever been this early for a flight before! Then again I’ve never had a whole organisation involved in my trips before, and if I have one motto for this trip it’s better safe than sorry. So here I am, at the airport, four hours before take-off – and even before the check-in counter is opened! I’m doing a lot of new things this year, I’m guessing being early for a flight is going to be one of the smallest ones.

All changed and ready to go - and the last bit of luxury, a chocolate eclair while sitting on the floor of the airport

Well, I wrote that yesterday in the airport but turns out Brussels Airport doesn't have free wifi - cheap much...? Luckily the hotel here in Addis does - so here it comes, but pretend you're reading it yesterday ;-

Jun 5, 2013

The rush

Adrenalin is an amazing thing. When I get a call to hurry over to a baby that isn't breathing I immediately feel the rush of it bursting through my body; my muscles tens, my heart rate increases and my breathing quickens. For a second all my thoughts get jumbled up in my head and I start shaking - but just as quickly I'm on my way, I'm moving and my thoughts form around one sentence; "all you need is air!" It's what I build everything on - the baby needs to breathe and so do I - everything else is useless if that first thing isn't in place. It makes this insanely stressful situation manageable because if you know the first step it leads you to the second and so on. I know what to do and the difficult part is always the start - once you're going it's like riding a bike (on a tightrope between to skyscrapers - but still...). After you're done and the baby is good and stabile the adrenalin level falls quickly and the resulting exhaustion is comparable to the feeling after a good and long massage. It might sound like a weird comparison, but you're so relaxed and tiered that you feel like you could just sleep for days. 

I love the rush of adrenalin in that situation. It gives me the kick I need to perform my best no matter what time it is or how long ago I've slept or eaten. The thing is, that's not the only situation in which I get that rush. Lately I've felt it in various mundane situations provoked by random thoughts - well maybe not that random... It happens every time I start thinking about going to an underdeveloped country where security is an issue and where I won't have the same means to work with as here. The problem is that I don't know what to do with my tens muscles, shallow breathing and beating heart when I'm sitting on a bus on my way to work. I don't have any release for it so it just keeps building and I'm left with shaky hands and jumbled thoughts. I've scanned and printed my papers, made important phone calls and written important e-mails (which incidentally aren't as good an outlet for the overflow of adrenalin as bagging a baby, in case you were wondering...) and now all I can do is wait. Four more days of medium levels of adrenalin rushing through my system followed by six months of probably pretty high levels of the same - I'm thinking I'm going to sleep really well in December.

In the meantime I'm trying my hardest to relax, enjoy the summer and charge my batteries as much as possible.

May 31, 2013

Moving out

I don't remember how many times I've moved since I moved out on my own for the first time a bit over 9 years ago. I could count but I'm to tiered to do it right now. I have a love-hate relationship with moving. Mostly it's on the hate-side, but there's also something fresh and new about moving into a new place, like getting a clean slate to start on. 

Today I'm leaving my apartment and if everything goes as planned I won't be back until december. My stuff is packed tight in the basement and the apartment looks white and clean - and empty. I still have my furniture, they'll stay up here for the girl who's renting the place while I'm gone, but it still looks extremely empty. I know it's a cliché and I know I say it every time I move, but it just hits me equally hard every single time - how is it possible to have this much stuff!? I feel like I haven't done anything but packed and stuffed and managed an advanced game of Tetris in my tiny basement this last couple of days. I can't possibly need that much stuff. I have these last couple of weeks gotten rid of six or seven grocery bags full of clothes and shoes and I could probably get rid of three or four more. It's shameful is what it is; all that space and all that money wasted on something I maybe used once or twice.  And don't even get me started on the books! My books will be my downfall, literally - I'm going to fall down flat on my face when my back gives up after carrying down 200 liters of books. I know it's a strange measurement but I have filled out over three boxes (of 65L each) with books and obviously I haven't weighed everything so that's my measurement and that's my way of saying - a lot!

Now I have one hour to wash the floors, dust the cabinets and carry the last couple of bags down, and then I'll take a loooong shower, slip into a cute dress and enjoy an evening with the best girls in the world. Cheers to a great weekend! ;-)

May 19, 2013

The chapter before the story can start

A little over two weeks ago I received a phone call that has started a huge chain reaction in my life. I'd been preparing for it, knowing it was coming but like with so many things in life you can't really imagine what it's going to be like when it finally happens. I had been matched with a mission. Despite the fact that I've been thinking about it for years and that it's exactly what I've been planning for, for months now it still came as a chock. Obviously I was happy, I kept jumping up and down and smiling while I got the details, but then came the nerves. I felt like someone had kicked me in the gut, like I needed to throw up. This was it, this was real and it wasn't just some dream or far away plan, this was going to happen - and soon.

I got the weekend to think about it but to be honest I didn't need it, I knew I was going to go, it's the perfect mission for me - I'll be working with babies, how do you say no to that? Well if you're me you don't. I was scared and that was the big hurdle, but once I talked to my family and they bombarded me with all the questions a loving and protecting family could possibly think of, and I had to answer them with what I know and try to calm them down, I found that the fear slowly disappeared. I told them that I felt safe going - and I didn't lie. Still, I was concerned and nervous about everything from cultural differences to my own competencies as a doctor, and the more I thought about it the more I got confused and blocked. It was just such a typical "me" reaction. I over-think and over-analyze everything and mostly the answer I find is that I can't do it. I'm not good enough or brave enough or whatever other reason I might come up with, and I end up not doing anything, just feeling frustrated and stuck. It's the story of my life - but I'm so sick of that story! So the evening after receiving the phone call I decided that not only was I going to go, I was going to kick ass. Yes, just that simple. I'm going to go and I'm going to do my very best and no matter how it turns out, at least I'm not going to be the girl who stands in her own way anymore.

This was cold winter ground in April, you forget how much can happen in a couple of weeks.

May 14, 2013

When the present turns to past

One click leads to the next and suddenly, without really knowing how, a familiar tune begins playing on my Spotify. Immediately I'm transported to another time, facing another screen, where words quickly and emotionally are tied up together to form a poem, a note or a letter. I can feel the teenage heart pounding in my chest and the deep sigh of relief when the words are out - out of my head and on "paper". Words that no one will ever see, but that still exist, as a proof of all the jumbled up thoughts that once lived in my head. Words I had forgotten but that are brought back by lyrics sung by Swedish boys. I can even now feel the calmness that settled after a good writing session. The song also brings up faces I haven't seen in years, names I haven't said in ages and emotions I'd even forgotten I could experience. Youth really is for the young - no one else has the energy to feel as much, have highs as high and lows as low as them. I always forget that I've had that range, that even now, when I freak out and tears are unstoppable, it's not a teenage-freakout, it's a grown-up-freakout - and those are far easier to handle, because no matter what, you know that feelings pass, times pass and suddenly you're not in this moment anymore, suddenly it's just a memory triggered by a song.

Who needs a time machine when you have music?

Apr 28, 2013

Finding your words

People say that the biggest changes in your life come slowly and you don't even notice when suddenly you're a completely different person. The big things are so big you can't see them until you get some distance. This has become surprisingly evident the last couple of days. 

Let's flash back twenty years; I'm an eight year old girl who loves school is good at it but never wants to say anything in class, horrified by the thought of everybody looking at her. We move up a couple of years; I'm now in eight grade and I write a story for my Swedish class that is about a girl dealing with grief. My teacher takes me to the side after class and tells me that there's an author hidden in me, that I have a way with words. I go home floating on clouds after that and it makes me speak up at school - I feel like I have something to say. We head up another couple of years; We're having a class in high school where we're supposed to talk for five minutes each about three things that has formed us in our lives. After the class the teacher writes a note to each of us, mine says; "you have a way with words, people listen when you talk - make use of this gift, it's rare!"

During my last couple of years of high school and start of university I slowly became more and more active during class, I figured out that asking and answering questions actually makes you better at the subject and nobody else knows better than you anyway. It became natural and I forgot that I wasn't always that way.

This week we had an exercise where we had to choose a leader of the class - and I was chosen, which in it's self was a surprise. Me - as a leader? Are you kidding me? The exercise was leading the rest of the group in finding a rope outside on the ground and then make it to a perfect square with all the participants inside - while everybody, including the leader, are blindfolded. It was quite hard and we were outside for an hour and a half! I was a bit embarrassed when we came back inside, partly for taking so long, for shushing people and at one point even yelling obscenities to the rope, but then something really interesting happened... I got really good feedback. Sure there were things I could do better - plan ahead, delegate and keep a distance as a leader as not to loose the overview, things I know I suck at. Most surprisingly though was the fact that people thought I had an innate authority, I was assertive and people felt safe with me. I was a leader - an inexperienced leader for sure, but still, a leader. 

As a little girl I always imagined talking loudly, speaking out, daring to, but nobody ever thought I could so I believed them. I was the quiet girl with her head in a book. It wasn't until I became aware of the fact that words isn't something that is only given to me from a book but something I can create myself - writing or speaking, that I can put something out there, and some of it might not even be half bad, some things might even be worth listening to.

Apr 7, 2013

You better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone...

I have this feeling that something's off. I'm not quite sure what or why, but there's just something... I can feel it in the pit of my stomach. My head is too fuzzy and there's something I'm missing or forgetting. I have a lot on my plate right now and that's usually a good thing, but right now even when I finish one thing I don't feel like it's good enough, like I'm really done, so I keep going back and checking - and that's definitely not the way to get things done! 

Maybe I'm just having a weird day. I worked last night and despite of having been up between 3 and 5 in the morning I got to the gym after work this morning (I was very impressed with myself!). Then I was supposed to have a nice relaxed day - I made healthy pancakes (I'll get back to that - they deserve their own post) and started to read my book for this weeks course, but I just kept drifting off, feeling nauseous and unsettled. This evening has been a long walk back and forth in this teeny apartment feeling trapped and anxious. Maybe I'm going insane?

I guess I'll just go to bed and hope for a better day tomorrow. 

I'll leave you with the man I've spent my evening with - Bob

Apr 1, 2013

Some dudes marry dudes

Did you see this photo of Ryan Gosling? Like I wasn't crushing enough on him to start with... Now obviously I want a shirt like that too! I'm thinking this outfit and a night at a gay-club, that way it's all about the dancing and nothing about the dudes, except supporting them that is. 

The stuff can be found here

Mar 31, 2013

I love it

Let's see this pretty great sunday through my iPhone. 


The day started out sunny and with the promise of spring. I took my spring jacket on and headed out for a walk - and it wasn't even very cold! Though we do still have snow some places, but that's just part of a Scandinavian spring after all. 


When I got home I had all this energy so I started redoing the living room (as always!). I removed the carpet and moved the couch around a bit and finally took the TV down to the basement, it's been standing unused in a corner for a year now so it's actually time to get rid of it for good, but I'll get to that eventually. For dinner I had sushi and enjoyed eating it in my new favorite place on the couch! (I'm not even sure why I have a dinner table, I never ever use it for dinner...).

It's been a pretty efficient day, I've done things I've been meaning to do for months and months and it's all because of the sun and the up-beat tunes I've been blasting all day - one of them is Icona Pops "I love it" it totally makes me want to go out dancing, it's been way too long!

Mar 30, 2013

The L word

So how many hours are you allowed to spend learning to do the "cup-song" before you're officially a Loser (yes, capital L, preferably marked with a finger and a thumb on my forehead)? I've gotten the moves down pretty good and I know the lyrics, but my voice is so horrible I can't even stand to hear it, and also the combination of the two things (sing and beat) is so difficult that I keep accidentally sending my cup flying every which way. I seriously don't understand how I (on occasion) manage to walk and talk at the same time. Actually I don't manage that very well either - I think I've mentioned my ability to trip over nothing at all on a daily basis before, and right now I have a lovely scrape on my right knee as proof. 

Apart form adding sick cup-skills to my resumé I've been reading a pretty interesting book today (yes, I have actually done something a bit more intellectual than cupping this fine day, hmm... that sounds wrong... but anyways...) it's called "Thinking, fast and slow" and it's by Daniel Kahneman. So far it's really good. Apart from that one I have three other books on my nightstand that I'm reading right now - hopefully I'll get it together and finish one of them soon so I can start on yet another book that I bought in Sweden this week. I think I might need a pool, a sun-chair and some sun to finish all of them though. 

Source; 1

Mar 13, 2013

Taking a break

I'm really sucking at keeping this blog updated. There are just so many things on my mind that getting them down to words and sentences is just really hard right now. For example I've been staring at the screen for ages with thoughts just randomly dropping by and being pushed away by bigger and bedder ideas. I keep trying to focus on one thing at the time but everything gets jumbled up. 

Somehow I keep coming back to vacation, spring, light clothes and beautiful bags, yes it's superficial and irrelevant, but I suppose it's my minds way of taking a break. So here are the latest pause images in my head;

Everything is from stories.com

Mar 6, 2013

An extremely cruel unfunny joke

For as long as I can remember I’ve discussed aging and death with my father. We have very different views on it; something he thinks is explained by my young age and inexperience. He’s one of those who think that at some point we’ll find a cure for death (or aging) – and it can’t come fast enough! I’m one of those who can’t understand why we’d want to. Obviously I don’t “like” death, as you know I’m in the "cheating-death" kind of business. I do everything I can to prevent it, when that’s the reasonable thing to do, knowing that in the long run death always wins. In my way of thinking death is part of the deal, it’s natural and mostly not at all that dramatic. When you work with old and sick people death isn’t a far-fetched outcome, and as a professional you need to accept that.

The thing is I don’t work with old sick people. I work with young healthy people; kids and babies who aren’t even people yet – teeny humans who haven’t even gotten the chance to start. Here death as an outcome feels highly unacceptable, it feels unfair and like an extremely cruel unfunny joke – “here’s a new life, oops no, fooled you, I’ll keep this one!” Devastating and heartbreaking.

So having experienced that, can I still argue that death is part of the deal; that it’s ok and an outcome that you have to be prepared to handle? Of course I can, because that’s just the way it is, no matter how horrible and tragic it is when it happens, especially in a way that we normally would call prematurely and unexpectedly.

Ever since the first day I got called in to a complicated labour and felt the gut wrenching horror when a birth is accompanied by complete silence (and luckily quickly followed by a huge adrenalin kick on my part) I’ve felt an immense calmness when hearing a babies cry, a huge relief. It’s the babies way of saying I’m here and I’m fighting. That's the norm, that's the most likely outcome and it’s what everyone expects – but for me it’s a wonder, every single time.

People wonder how you can work in paediatrics having to accept that some children die. I always think that children die whether you work with it or not and not seeing it doesn’t make it go away. For me, the fact that some births are followed by silence actually makes the cries better, when one dies all the others that live feel like a huge gift. As long as that feeling can crawl it’s way through the “punch in the gut” feeling of loosing one I think I might be able to keep doing this job, that despite everything still is the most amazing, worthwhile job in the world. But damn, some days are hard.

Photos from here