This is a GT (if you fish, you are salivating right now). A giant trevally. 30 kg of pure muscle. This GT was photographed by my niece, Christine, on the Great Barrier Reef. And if you dive, and if you dive and have a bucket list I would be bet the Great Barrier Reef is on it. And here’s why.
Truly some of the most beautiful coral I’ve every seen (and like the sunrises from my last post, I’ve seen a bit of coral in my life). And the amazing thing is how much of Great Barrier Reef there is to explore. Over a thousand km! A lifetime of diving wouldn’t begin to cover it; I was very lucky to have had this chance, and I want to come back (again, and again).
And if the bucket list is the highlight reel of your life, what about the day-to-day living? That’s where living in Dunedin has given me even more perspective on life that I could have hoped for. Like last night. I stayed at the hospital a little late to give the registrars a lecture, and then we all went out for dinner (Del Sol, one of the few Mexican restaurants in town). After dinner it was late, by Dunedin standards for a Monday, and there was NO ONE driving in the streets. (Dunedin, especially around the Octogon, on a Friday and Saturday night, with the Univ students, is a different kettle of fish). Back in the Bay Area of California there are millions of people crammed into one lovely little part of the state. It is beautiful, but it’s crowded. I don’t think you realize how crowded it is until you are in a city which, literally, has no traffic. Where it’s possible to walk everywhere in town (we walked from the hospital to dinner). Where you can walk into your favorite wine store (which here in Dunedin is Wine Freedom, to be sure) and the owner manning the store shouts out, “Dave!”. The same owner who offers you a ride to the airport in case I didn’t have one. There is just something about this town, maybe the Southland (the South part of the Southern Island), where everyone is just so friendly. Where some of my colleagues as work, knowing it’s my last week here, insist on giving me a hug goodbye and are genuinely sad that I am leaving.
And the patients I care for at the hospital…they are the salt of the Earth. Just honest, hardworking folk, who are kind, understanding and gentle people. Today I helped teach a registrar (similar to a resident back in the US) how to do a thoracentesis (take fluid out of the chest from around the lung). The man having the procedure couldn’t have weighed more than 40 kg; yet he just sat right up in the bed, didn’t mind that I was teaching someone (with several medical students watching), and thanked us all, individually, at the end of the procedure, saying it was the easiest thing he’s every gone through. Practicing medicine is always rewarding….always…but here it just seems more so. Because the overwhelming majority of the people are just extremely grateful you are here to help them, and are vocal about their gratitude, and appreciate everything little thing you can do for them (it’s like they don’t even expect they will get better, and when they do, they are so happy). I truly hope I can retain some of their perspective on life (for my own life) and be grateful for what I have, and gracefully accept what life throws my way.
And I will end today with the image of driving to work this morning, in the near light of dawn, as the full moon hung low over the hills surrounding Dunedin, its glowing image reflecting off the still waters of the Otago Harbour. (or Harbor, if you want to spell it THAT way). Yeah, I’ll miss that…