Friday, July 24, 2009


So, I arrived in Darwin a couple of weeks ago now, and have settled in nicely!!

Adam, the cyclist I met in Alice Springs, picked me up the day after I arrived in Darwin and we went bicycle hunting. We went to K-Mart and the Big W (Walmart for those back home) but couldn't find one that was the right height for me or for the right price. So we drove to Toy World (Toys 'r us) and I found a decent bike, a little bit more money then what I wanted to spend, but I only had one day to find a bike and I was running out of options. We brought it back to my place, he raised the seat for me, put my lock on, attached my water bottle holder and gave me some tips on maintaining my new bike. That afternoon I hoped on my bike and rode my way to the hospital. It took me 45 minutes going at a pretty good speed. I met the recruiter, filled out my paperwork to start work, got uniforms and met the manager of my new ward - 3B, acute medical/oncology. All brand new to me, but I was up for a challenge. I started the following morning, but didn't have to start till 8am as it was more of an orientation to the ward and was going to be spending most of the morning with the manager. I rode my bike home, this time it was a bit more the 45 minutes, but hey, I got home in one piece as it has been years since I last rode! I estimated that it would take me 45 minutes, so I was happy with that, and after looking at a map, I realized I was actually going the long way. However, I wasn't about to start testing new routes my first day of work, I would just take the long way until I knew the city a bit better and felt more comfortable trying new routes.

So, my new place. First of all, I was supposed to be staying in staff village housing which is located right across the street, however when I was getting all my work arranged, I was informed that there was no staff housing available. Period. That was it, I was on my own to find accommodation. So I totally lucked out when I met Zoe and had the opportunity to stay with them! I am living in a small duplex about 12km's from the hospital and have 2 full time roommates, Ciaran and Zoe. There are also 2 other roommates, Kym and Coxy (Steven) that stay with us when they are not pearl farming. I am actually staying in Coxy's room, which means I get demoted to the couch when he is home.....but as it turns out, it is more comfortable then what I sleep on when they are not around, which is an air mattress :) The house is pretty cozy, and there is only one bathroom which really really sucks when all of us are home, but we manage. They have 2 hammocks set up in the front porch and the weather is always nice, so we spend most of our time in the hammocks or relaxing outside. They also got a new fridge which means the old one is in the front porch holding all our beer! I remember after the last time I lived with roommates I vowed never to have them again, however, under these circumstances I don't have much choice. And to be honest, I have been kind of enjoying it and I have had a blast hanging out with them and meeting all their friends, and they have lots :)

So, back to that thing called work. My first shift was a very overwhelming one. The whole morning I spent with the unit manager as there was no educator working yet. She went over everything with me and set up anything that needed to be. I spent a couple hours on the floor in the afternoon with one of the nurses just getting a feel for the floor and how things worked. The best way however is to just get thrown in and figure it out on my own. Which is kind of what happened as the next day; I was paired up with a nurse and I was given two patients. Then that afternoon there was an OT shift available, so i stayed for the afternoon shift, had my own patient load of 5 and had 3 discharges and 2 admissions. I worked my ass of that shift, and made some good cash!! Thank goodness Zoe's van was still working and she was kind enough to come and pick me up! My legs where sore from riding my new bicycle, plus I worked 14 hours and had to be back for 7 the next day. That Saturday was my last shift before a couple days off and was I glad about that! I got right into the swing of things at work and the ward is set up so well, they even have computerized med charting - much better then paper charts, and all the patients medication is at the bedside - much nicer then walking back and forth to the med room. My first few days of work was turning out to be much better then I expected. The staff where super nice, the ward itself is great, and we don't get any long term medical/nursing home patients - which I was worried about and I am learning new things about oncology.

The next few days where spent relaxing, reading, spending time on the internet and of course, drinking! I went to a BBQ at one of my new friends houses and met a bunch of new people. They are a range of different ages, some Aussie, some Irish and we all have one thing in common, we like to drink!!

I have a full time roster and have already been able to pick up two OT shifts, the last one was a double shift on nights, which was a Saturday/Sunday, which meant the Sunday portion I was making double time for the premium (all Sundays are double time) plus double time for the OT. $$$$$$$$!!!!!!
I am on a stretch of nights right now, working the weekend as well as a public holiday, so I should be able to make lots of money, which is good as it will allow me to live more freely when I travel down the east coast/New Zealand.

I have also been out with my new friends enjoying life, going to the movies (Bruno and Hangover which are both hilarious movies!) going to the pub for one too many drinks, and of course hangin' out in the lovely hammocks at the house which I have managed to leave an ass imprint in!
So, life is great right now, I'm getting excise by riding my bike to work - which by the way, I have found a shorter route and on average it now takes me 35 minutes to get to work, sometimes longer on the way home depending on how my day goes! Enjoying my new found Darwin friends, and LOVING the weather - you don't need a meteorologist here, guaranteed, 32 degrees every day :)

Gotta love the 'roaches :)

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