Who am I?

cropped-20160820_143634I am a mother to a beautiful 2-year-old who keeps me on my toes daily. I am married to a kind-hearted man who I believe is the result of God’s decision for me- an answered prayer and tries to tame the crazy in me. I am also a family physician with a passion for patient empowerment and education about all things health. I am always learning and trying new things the current flavour being all things cross stitch- sewing and baking which my hips are regretting every day. I am also an aspiring author and currently writing some books inspired by my cheeky son. Join me in my adventures as I juggle all these balls…

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Crazy socks for docs!!

 

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Mental health affects a lot of us in the health profession as previously highlighted in my blog post about doctor suicide. Wear your odd socks today to show your support and have a conversation about how vulnerable we all are…

The day endometriosis nearly killed me…

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I woke up with the most excruciating pain and large volume, sudden onset vomiting. The time was probably a little before midnight as I staggered to my parents’ bedroom to let mum know I wasn’t feeling all too well. As mum is a sympathetic vomiter, i.e vomits when she sees anyone else’s vomit, she kindly advised me to try and small sips of water and she would try to get the floors clean. I had to sit in the lounge room, covered with a little blanket as I tried to deduce what could have made me so violently unwell. I recalled the day well. I had been to school and been home without anything eventful. Dinner was a non-event either and the following day was another school day. Every small sip of water or milk seemed to increase the pain in my tummy and before long I was vomiting again. Mum, although not a doctor, diagnosed a simple case of gastro and told me to try and sleep it off.
After a lot more vomits, the spilled contents gradually changed from food to bilious green and eventually coffee grounds colour with flecks of blood. Only on seeing the blood did mum think it wasn’t’ “gala” (gastrointestinal imbalance) and thought best we presented to the hospital. By now it had been a few hours of ongoing vomiting with me feeling completely weak and unable to walk. We quickly drove to Gaborone Private hospital, as I cried in the back seat, urging her to drive through red lights as the pain was most excruciating. On arrival, almost passing out from the pain, I was immediately sent off for surgery to manage a bleeding peptic ulcer. I remember telling the doctor in charge how much I loved him for the morphine and anti-vomiting medication he had administered.
I was 15 years old at the time and used to having severe debilitating period pains that would often make me miss a few days of school each month. I had had my period the day prior to being unwell, and not trying to miss school again, had inadvertently taken an overdose of ibuprofen to manage the pain and had caused myself to have a bleeding ulcer. My mum and I thought that severe period pains were “normal” aspect of being female and even on post-op follow up with my GP I was informed that having excruciating period pains was an accepted part of being a female.
It wasn’t until being a medical student and having ongoing issues that I was eventually diagnosed with endometriosis. On reflection, I was able to realise that I had suffered and almost died from self-medication of this condition without ever having a diagnosis. I was made to feel that, like labour pains, there is a lot of discomfort that comes with being a female when in fact this is very far from “normal”.
Let my lived experience act as a cautionary tale that not all period pain is created the same. So educate yourself about the condition, there is plenty of information on reputable medical sites and present to your doctor if you have any suspicions that you might have this condition. Like Emma the yellow wiggle let those of us who are 1in 10 illustrate that endometriosis can be managed to some extent and, although it has no cure, it doesn’t have to define who you are.
Other sites to look up

Our first magazine feature!!!!!

First Feature

We celebrate all milestones and this one is no exception.

We have been featured on MamaMag Eastside issue for April/May 2018 discussing the importance of “Keeping Language alive.” Grab your copy/read our article online and please support Losika Writes as we strive to celebrate our language diversity.

Our books are available as English only text or bilingual (Tswana/English and Ndebele/English books)

Losika Writes website – www.losikawrites.com

MamaMag link – Keeping Language Alive – page 42

 

 

 

5 quick ways to save money*

 

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I am yet to find someone who is always happy spending exorbitant amounts of money on life’s basic needs. I know people who can spend a whole weekend going from one store to another chasing bargains or those families in the USA who take the art of “couponing” to the extreme. I chose to think I am not that extreme but admit I am always trying to find ways in which I can get what I need/want for a reduced price. Outlined below are 5 of the ways I use to try and save a penny and I look forward to hearing some of your tips.

1. Ask- As my favourite saying goes, “If you don’t ask, the answer is NO!” Since incorporating this thinking, I can say I haven’t paid full price for electronics and furniture in recent memory. Salespeople are occasionally allowed to reduce prices and you wouldn’t know unless you ask. I must admit there are stores where I obviously don’t ask for discounts like when doing my groceries but otherwise if there is a sales person and I am shopping, especially if it is for electronics or furniture, I will always ask if there are discounts available. I have been on a power-plan for the last 3yrs where I get 40% off my electricity bill because the power company is affiliated with my insurance company.  I didn’t know about such a plan until I asked the sales person if there were any further discounts available. As your mortgage, power/phone bills, insurances etc approach the policy renewal time, get into the habit of asking for discounts to get instant savings especially if you are able to provide a comparative policy for a much cheaper price point.
2. Off-peak use- I know the peak times for power, internet and try and get some tasks done at those times to reduce the overall cost. For example, I will set the dishwasher to start a cycle at 11am when we are all at work/school or at midnight as those are off-peak times. If I am downloading large amount of content or doing system updates, I will also use the same principle. This together with trying to buy energy efficient equipment makes me think that in addition to saving money, I am having a smaller carbon footprint which is great for the environment overall.
3. Use free resources- As an avid reader, I know that this habit can become expensive after a little while and this is where my local library steps in. I have signed up for free audiobook library with the local library which I use to access audiobooks for my daily commute. The aim to read 1000 books by 3 years of a child’s age can also add up after a while but the children’s library and toy library make this task affordable and somewhat exciting as I wouldn’t possibly be able to furnish little man with all the choice he gets from the library. Another thing is that, with more information available at our fingertips with the world wide web, things like recipes/instructions are not only found in the pages of a book as an example but are available in sites such as youtube or with a quick Google search.
4. Declutter- Sorting through the stuff you already have can save you a lot of money as you most often find things that are still of good use thus eliminating the need to buy more. It is with this process I have managed to “shop my wardrobe” and find some long-lost treasures in clothes and shoes that may have needed a small repair prior to getting back to full use again thus saving money overall. You can take this to the next step and host a garage sale to get rid of things that you have outgrown and recycling that money to buy you new clothes. You can also drop these items to charity which often results in priceless feel-good hormones.
5. Buy staples on sale- this goes without saying that staples like toilet paper, petrol or nappies shouldn’t be bought at full price. Getting into the habit of seeing when they are starting to run low and then buying in bulk when on sale can save money. Buying things that one may not use because they are on sale however, is a very expensive exercise and one that I don’t encourage.
+1. Another way to save money is to prioritise your health- eating well, exercising, spending time with family and close friends and nourishing those relationships is a great way to save money. The costs of being sick can spiral out of control even with health insurance and thus it is always important to try and be healthy to minimise the outgoing costs of getting you back to health and your previous earning potential.
These are my 5+1 ways I have used to try and make the coins we make stretch a little further. Obviously, it is always great to splurge a little where you can to reward yourself for all the hard work we do in our 9-5s as well as side hustles etc. I just don’t think the splurge should ever encompass basic things like power bills etc.

What are the ways you have used and what would you suggest I use too? Please comment below and let me know.

 

Celebrations all round…

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Losika Writes is proud to announce that we have made an e-book version of the Savannah book… Wooohooo!!! We are working on more books having the e-book format as well as increasing the languages on offer but until then we hope you can support our side hustle and get yourself or your kids/nieces/friends/neighbours a copy and writing a quick review about the books.

Below are the links to get you to the books (board books and the e-book versions).

Happy shopping and have a great week ahead!!!

  1. Losika Writes website
  2. Google Books
  3. Google Play 

 

 

 

 

Play time…

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As a mum to an active hyperactive toddler, play is always part of our day somehow. But with working full time, having 2 side hustles- Losika Writes and home, running a household etc, sometimes one wishes that there were more hours to the day let alone dedicate some play time. So I am proud to say, I recently made time to play with my boys and we sure had a great time. I have promised myself to try and do this weekly at the minimum and so far have been going well. I thought I would share some crazy pictures we took on our escapade.

Losika Writes (www.losikawrites.com) – Bilingual children’s picture books- get your own copy and support small business

Book binge…

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The clock struck midnight on 31/12/17 and I wrote down my intentions for the year following through with my “Write it down and make it happen mantra”. One of those intentions was to challenge myself and find out how many books I would read in one month. This was an upgrade to the previous year’s plan which I had truly accomplished of reading a book a month. By the end of 2017, I had read 30+ books of many different genres so I thought I would get a great start to the year and see if I could read more than 4 books for the month of January. Well, I am pleased to say I managed to read 8 books in the month of January, a record I am not sure I will ever beat with work back in full force and without the long commute to work I used to have. This count excludes the multiple books I have been reading on repeat for the little one or the Losika Writes books we have just published.

I thought I would do a quick review of each book and rate it to complete my book binge month.

How to break your own heart- Maggie Aldersonhow to break your own heart

This is a chick flick kind of book about a lady who has been married for 15yrs and then finally realising that despite never actually discussing parenthood with her husband, she is really keen to have a child. She is sick of the “missionary sex once a week with a condom” routine her husband has developed and seems content with. The book explores the people who come into her life as she tries to assert herself in her marriage.

3 stars for light-hearted reading but not much substance although I don’t think it was meant to be a book about substance

Mad about the Boy- Maggie Alderson

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This is a chick flick book about a couple and their toddler son who migrate from Europe to Australia only for the man of the house to declare that he has been queer all along and would like to move in with his boyfriend. The book then follows the deserted wife as she tries to get her mojo back by jumping in bed with some guy she met at the gym.

2 stars- this book just got weirder and weirder as you read and one minute I was about to stop reading, but I had to finish the book. From the criminal investigations, the gay purple haired uncle and the bookstore antics, I felt there was too much going on.

Don’t Bitch, Just Get Rich- Toney Fitzgerald

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This book is about changing your perspective about “what the universe has dealt you and getting on with life”. There are 7 people who enroll for a class through which they discover why their lives are stuck in a rut and what they can do to change things

4 stars- this book highlighted to me that we are all given 365 days a year during which we can choose to wallow in despair about the hand the universe has given to us, or we can choose to work towards something positive.

Hush Little Baby- Joana Barnard

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This book is about a little baby who is found to have a broken arm and everyone in the home has something to hide. He is then taken out of his parents’ house as investigations on whether this is a case of child abuse occur and things start to unravel.

3 stars for the let down of an ending after setting up the story for all ¾ of the book only for the ending to leave you wondering what the? Is that it?

Secret Keeping for Beginners- Maggie Alderson

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This is another chick flick book reinforcing that “all that glitters is not gold.” It is about a family of sisters who all have little secrets of their own they are not ready to divulge to each other whilst all putting up a façade that they all have their shit in order. Eventually, the secret longing for another man, the queer secret of one of the sisters and the true extent of how broke and in need of help the other sister is, takes a toll on the family and they have to come clean to each other.

3 stars for the light-hearted reading and true illustration that no family is “perfect”.

Bush Doctors- Annabelle Baryley

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This is a collection of reflection stories of doctors that are practicing medicine in rural and remote Australia and how everyone started on their journey to become doctors as well as how they ended up doing rural medicine.

4 stars for the enjoyable book and insight into how people choose their career path and how great a role chance plays into who we eventually become.

Leaving home- Jodi Picoult

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This is the shortest book of the lot. Basically, it is a compilation of short stories about transitioning from home ie leaving for college or burying a child.

3 stars for the beautifully written stories, however, as they are all short stories, by the time you get into the meat of the story it is then quickly finished.

Leaving time- Jodi Picoult

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Now Jodi Picoult is one of my favourite authors and her book Small Great Things is one of my favourite all-time books. This book, however, is a confused mish-mash of ideas and a great disappointment. Parts of the book are a documentary about elephants of Botswana, my birth country, a book about a young girl looking for her mother, a psychic trying to get her mojo back and a private investigator who is trying to solve a cold case. At the end of it, I was tired of the storyline as I felt it kept switching from one to another.

2.5 stars- a great disappointment by a great author

Pants on Fire- Maggie Alderson

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This is a story about a young lady who runs away from a cheating fiancé to try and start a new life in Sydney, Australia. She is immediately thrust into a very fast lifestyle of queer mates, loose sexual relations, drinking and drug use and eventually gets spat out after the merri-go- round ends.

3 stars- I guess it’s about a lifestyle I would never be interested it so I really could not relate.

The Scent of You- Maggie Alderson

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This is a book about a perfume blogger who sees and experiences the world through her sense of smell. Her husband moves out of home under mysterious circumstances only to be found out that he has been going to work as usual and living not too far from home. The book then follows lady of the house who smells her way to another man’s arms and all the challenges she faces as she transitions to being a ready to mingle single mother.

3.5 stars for the perfume recommendations at each chapter and for the education about the making of perfume.

On closer inspection, the books I read for the month of January were light-hearted chick flick type of books and I suppose they reflect the season and mood I was having at the time. With everything else being hectic, sometimes you just want to get lost in a silly, frivolous book and escape into its pages and I must say, I really cherished reading each book although admittedly some were more enjoyable than others.

I challenge you to try and find out how many books you can read in a month too…

 

*Images from Google

 

Introducing Losika Writes

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A while ago, I wrote a blog entry about ” Write it down and make it happen “ This was about how important it is to make your intentions known to the universe and working hard to make those intentions a reality.

Well, we have been working hard on one of those many “intentions”, hence the sporadic blog writing, and it is with great pleasure that I now let you in on a little secret…

Inspired by our son Losika, we have developed a collection of children’s picture books, some of which are bilingual (Tswana/English, Ndebele/English) to help in passing down our beautiful language to the next generation.

We are proud of the quality product and hope that you enjoy reading the books, as much as we have enjoyed creating the collection. We are continuously working to add to the collection and look forward to your support…

Head to Losika Writes and use discount code #LAUNCH to get a 20% discount on all the books…

Why medicine?

 

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Some hectic days at work, especially those filled with patients with mental health illnesses, challenging social situations and complex medical needs, can lead me to question why I do this as a career. I have already discussed other jobs I occasionally fantasize about doing on one of my older blogs ( The ultimate dream job…), but sometimes it’s about recollecting the multiple steps I took to get me where I am today.

So high school finished, and I guess I could say I had done okay. At that point, all I wanted to do was computer science as I felt computers were the future. I had just completed my IGCE examinations which included a project where I computerized my grandfather’s store inventory management and as I submitted my floppy disc for assessment, I thought that my career decision was well and truly settled. Given high school ended in early December and the results were published end of January the following year, I had a restless Christmas break fielding questions from family and friends regularly about what the next step was. To kill time and avoid the interrogation, I spent a lot of my time trying to distract myself from the questions by watching a whole lot of television.

I am a self-confessed television addict and I am happy to watch anything and everything on screen. That summer, I got myself addicted to a show called Forensic detectives on Discovery channel and with every passing day convinced myself that I should become one of the forensic pathologists. I persuaded my mother to organize an interview with a forensic pathologist locally so I could decide whether that was a career to pursue and the nice gentleman just burst my bubble. He could not understand why I would be interested in the field and basically said it was not as exciting as it was made out to be on the show I had been watching. “You are just a glorified police officer” were his exact words as I left his office dismayed.

As university approached, I figured I might as well apply to study medicine and see how I would go during my “pre-medical term”. Unfortunately, the pre-med term was basically all the sciences and mathematics and didn’t provide much in terms of taste of medicine. After 12 months of the course, however, all that changed as we were placed on a 2-week job experience placement at our local hospital where I fell in love with medicine in general. A friend and I decided to extend our placement by a whole month and by the end of it we were being treated as junior doctors. We were suturing stab wounds, managing fractures and assisting in theatre which was all amazing.

I left that placement inspired to do medicine and with that in mind worked hard through medical school and fellowship training to get to where I am today as a family physician. Choosing a speciality in medicine also threatened to cause some stress but as I wanted to be a general doctor who could still do obstetrics and eventually palliative medicine etc on the side, being a family physician was a no-brainer. So, when I hear another sad story about people, their social situations or whatever it might be they attend me to help with, I find myself very privileged to help in whatever tiny way.  I hope to continue practising in this field that continues to ignite my passion regularly. I must admit that “leaving patients at work” is something I will forever grapple with but with time, and hectic days included, I can say I really do love my career.

Dedicated to my UB partner in crime Morapedi 

Give thanks

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 2 Corinthians 9:6

Wherever I have lived, there has always been something growing in the backyard or windowsill and over the years mum has even commented that I could be a model of the “backyard garden revolution” that was apparently meant to boom in Botswana in previous years. I have had bumper crops in everything that I have sown and learnt a lot of myself as I have tendered to the garden.

The main principles for me in having a successful garden include the following: –
• Patience- you don’t plant seeds today and expect to reap a bumper crop the next day, let alone next week. It takes a lot of patience, making mistakes and hopefully learning from them to finally appreciate the product at the end of the usually very long journey.
• Faith- to put a seed underground, water it daily, provide just the right amount of fertilizer, sunshine etc, there is faith that even though it might not be apparent for weeks, there is a positive change that is occurring with each day and in time, our labour will come to bear fruit. There is a belief in that, although you cannot actually see the seed underground, something magical is occurring which will one-day break through the sand barrier and show you what it has been working on
• Protection- for each little seed to become seedling which will grow to become a plant and eventually a big tree, there will always be some obstacles that they have to be protected from. This may include weeds, animal pests etc that will need to be removed from the environment for our seedlings to flourish
• Not all seeds that are planted, grow
• Love- something that looks dead as typically most seeds look, can with the right environment and love, become something truly beautiful
I have recently harvested a bumper crop from my little vegetable patch and as I was sorting everything out, ready for freezing as there was too much to be eaten on the day, I realized that I had truly been abundantly blessed. Not only from my vegetable patch but for my life in general and for that, I ALWAYS give thanks.
As we start a new season, may we all sow into our lives generously, have the patience to tend to ourselves, know that with faith everything is possible, love ourselves and protect ourselves from all those that may be pests or weeds in our lives. In time, we will reap generously.
Thank you for those who have been there since the beginning and have stuck around the crazy me, those who have recently come to join the crew and may all our plants bear lots of fruit in the new year. And may all of us be thankful.
Much love and season’s greetings
Xoxo

*Excuse me as I show off some of my beautiful produce

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