Medical Times...

Thursday, 24 June 2010

"Last Post - 17th April"... seems like a long time!

And I faithfully posted that I would try and keep this a bit more up to date. Well, that pretty much stopped as soon as it started!

On a slightly defensive note, I have been doing final exams. Yes, the dreaded Final Final Final Finals are upon us, and life has consequently developed a new and slightly less enjoyable pattern, involving a lot of writing, revising, sitting at a desk, and taking out as many books as is humanly possible from the hospital libraries...

However, the written exams are over, thank goodness, and varied from a dance through a fairly pleasant (I think and hope!!!) paper, and, to quote a friend, a trainwreck. Apparently, I am no longer an ethical person. Oh well.

Today was the first of three practical exams. I like to think of this one as the "procedures" exam, while the two next week will involve real patients with real problems and real clinical findings. The exam was... not the worst ever. The worst issue I had was the amount of 'rest' stations there seem to be; there's nothing worse than getting all the adrenaline going in a brilliant station, and then having to sit for 5 minutes and just wait. Not fun.

Also, apparently this makes me hungry and so by halfway through my stomach was making a LOT of noise. On the plus, biscuits ARE provided (no penguins today though, which did disappoint!).

In other, slightly more exciting news, we have a beautiful garden courtesy of wonderful boyfriend (nothing more terrifying than a man with eyes shining and a dangerous-looking hedgecutter/chainsaw thing in his hands...), with flower beds and sweetpea canes and exciting things! Also a new and VERY exciting hose - which it now looks like I won't be allowed to use, courtesy of the possible hosepipe ban...

The final interest is, of course, summer sport (watching, not playing, you understand). What with a ten hour Wimbledon match, and the excitement of England getting through to the final 16, my interest has been caught. This may, of course, have something to do with the revision-avoidance technique (never has Facebook been this desperately interesting before), but actually I DO enjoy the World Cup, despite the many miseries who tell me about the "22 men running around trying to kick a pigs bladder". I like being proud, for once, of our nation, and people actually displaying this - I love seeing all the flags flying - and people smiling and excited on the day of the game! I also like all the talk afterwards - not that I have any real knowledge of the rules and so on, but I do know the names of most of the England players, and can recognise talent, skill and frank failure!

Happy days... and it only happens every four years. Let's hope that the Olympics bring as much pleasure - maybe having it here will boost our optimism! Incidentally, we have signed up for the tickets list - pingpong is something I'd LOVE to see! - and I hope everyone else has too!

My final pleasure (and piece of advice for those in the Lancaster area) is something that another medic and I have been saving up until after this exam. Tomorrow we will be going (after a revision session tomorrow morning) to Barton Grange (just south of Galgate on the A6), a huge garden centre, with an excellent coffee shop for CAKE! Hooray for that mythical, delicious substance!

Now, however, I think it is time for bed. Exams make for an exhausted student!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Fail, Fail, Fail....

Hmmm. Up to date. Well, I kind of managed to keep up with the blog for a wee while. Never mind eh?!

So... Palliative Care. A topic in itself, and one for another day. Suffice to say, it is amazing. Wonderful. A FANTASTIC speciality. And I have absolutely loved it. I have learnt so much about myself. It's been hard, it's been emotional, but at the same time, it's been an absolutely unbelievably great experience.

Ok, glowing review over... and rest of life update beginning...

Mock exams over, life is good. Mock exams passed, life is wonderful! Very pleased with this... but at the same time, still rather panicked about the next lot, which are, let's face it, a bit more serious. Hopefully I shall be a bit less, um, disadvantaged physically - my wrist had a lovely flare up which necessitated the use of a computer for the exams, and the use of a "seeing eye dog" (aka assisstant/scribe) in the practical exam. It was good fun, in any case...

Then came a lovely Easter break - although revision-filled, it was still just lovely to be home. Best beloved was with me for the first week, and, bored of watching me scribble notes and "shhhh" him every time he opened his mouth, he organised and tidied the basement. It is BEAUTIFUL. He is an absolute star :)

Best beloved and I spent Easter Sunday with both mothers and my brother, and two dogs, and had a lovely day, playing on the beach, eating vast quantities, and enjoying the Easter bunny's delivery - Easter egg hunt, anyone? Good times!

And now, we are back, officially, in Lancovnia, gearing up to power through a killer term - 8 more weeks of surgery, 3 weeks of exams, and then 4 weeks of essaying. Hard core times. I am mainly wanting the exams to be over, and also wanting to sit outside and enjoy the absolutely stunning weather we are having. Alfie alfie (the tortoise) has loved ambling around in the garden, eating dandelions and exploring.

So now, it is 11 on a Saturday night. The majority of cool kids will be out on the town/chillaxing with friends/etc, but this cool kid is off to bed ready for more revision tomorrow. C'est la vie!

So, tous le monde, bon nuit!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

So very very sleepy!

Ah yes, it is Wednesday, here I am in Barrow, and already it's half way through the week, hooray! I am so sleepy you wouldn't believe (not helped by a rather restless night, brought on by sore muscles/bruises following an epic hula hooping session!)

Well, what has happened this week or so?

I have finished the wonderful world of Paediatrics, which was very enjoyable and I am disappointed not to be going back this week; I am already missing it! However, I have moved on to Palliative Care, and despite absolutely dreading it, I am actually enjoying it for the most part. Yes, it's not the most cheery of subjects, but actually it's a very human subject; everyone is allowed to have emotions, and it's a very open speciality. Frankly, it's actually a very priviliged job and I am so impressed with all the people who work in the Hospice, and with palliative patients.

What else?

I have enjoyed the company of my dear Bristol best friends this weekend, as they visited Lancovnia for the first time. Sometimes, it takes showing someone new around to remember why you love a place, and you know what? I LOVE Lancovnia! The castle, the views, Ashton Memorial, it's all wonderful.

We spent many an hour just talking, and playing the wonderful Bananagrams. Plus of course, taking millions of photos and eating things that are deliciously bad for us!

So here I am, back in FGH, after a far-too-short weekend, watching the days and weeks fly by, coming closer and closer to the inevitable exams. I waver between total confidence and absolute fear, and this really is every two minutes - I can be sitting, thinking "yes, I understand this" [be it renal function, cardiology, palliative medicine, or whatever] and the next minute be completely shot down and feel entirely stupid. This is not so much fun, but there we go!

On the plus, we received our portfolios back from the powers that be - and in mine, the Big Cheese herself (who has made my life hell in the last year) had written as her comment "good logging". Phew. Yes indeed, words to live by, eh?! [Never mind the extra work, full portfolio, lovely feedback comments etc].

But still!

Work, I'm afraid, is calling me. I have vast quantities of things to read about cancer, death and dying. The joys of being a medical student!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Oh baby, baby, it's a wild world...

Yes, I have been listening to Cat Stevens (or whatever his new name is... anyone?) a lot recently. Something has got it into my head, and I feel the need to listen pretty much all the time! You will be relieved [for my housemates sake!!] that I manage to resist this most of the time... but some days, I just need to here the classics!

Anyway, I'm actually using that lyric as a title because of the insane weekend I just had. And by insane... well, ok, just a bit odd really.

How can it be, that I have an entirely isolated weekend, spent 1) working 2) washing and 3) cleaning (and that's actually it. Seriously.), with very little going out/talking to people the entire time. My only face to face interaction on Saturday was when I felt cabin fever getting the better of me, and strolled up to Spar to buy milk and the Telegraph - I LOVE the crossword!. Thus, I spent a grand total of £5 or so over the weekend (I also bought oven cleaner, I know, crazy times eh?!)...

And then Monday happened.


I managed to triple book myself, and thus miss two [important] things in the morning - a meeting and a revision/work session. Oops. Just entirely stupid on my part.

But I *did* manage to take the car in for MOT & service - due both, not concerned about the car at all, booked in for Saturday originally but the garage rang and asked me to put it back to Monday. "No problem", she says, "makes no difference", she says.

Fail #2.

So, I dropped it in, and was told - teatime it'd probably be all done.

1.00 (with my lunch sitting in front of me, not even ONE bite eaten), and the phone rings - the garage. Fantastic.

"Well, the good news is your car has passed it's MOT"...

[Bated breath, waiting for the 'but'... yeah, I was too]

"TechnicalcarstuffIhavenoneedorwishtounderstand" (seriously, I am TRAINED to not talk jargon to patients, because it doesn't make sense. But apparently everyone should know about car calipers. Much like the hairdresser, asking if I want my hair feathered/layered/harsh/soft/razor/scissored/rough scissored/etc. I just want it cut).

The long and short? Brakes are shot to pieces, crumbled when the guy took them apart, never been replaced, brake fluid not working, brakes misaligned, tyres gashed, some stupendously important bolt rotted/corroded/rusted, etc. The guy doing the test refused to take it on a road test because it was "too dangerous".



And what's so concerning? I didn't even know - the car has been FINE. Literally. No concerns whatsoever, "2 careful lady owners - one only took it shopping" (and that's the truth - my grandmother had it from new, and when I got it, 3 years ago (when it was 9 years old), it had 6,000 miles on the clock. Really. It now has 20,000).

So all of a sudden, my £120 for MOT/Service has turned into £450, brings-tears-to-eyes, knee-weakening, bill.

As one housemate put it... for that money, I want it to FLY when I get it back.

Oh, and one final little kick in the teeth. The absolutely integral bolt they needed to replacement (a snip at £20, incidentally, the absolute CHEAPEST thing!), was, of course, not in stock. So they had to keep it. So I had to brave the Barrow BUS this morning. Which didn't so much turn up on time. Insult to injury chaps, insult to injury.

But, hey ho, here I am in snowy Barrowlands, after a BRILLIANT day at GP land :) I love GP land once again! Last week of Paeds as of tomorrow, and, dare I say it, I might just be entirely prepared (five presentations ready to go, all cases done, logbook handed in, all practical skills done, life is sweet!).

And now, I think it might just be bedtime.

Sweet dreams, tout le monde (of a world where MOTs are free and cars don't break, but ALWAYS brake!)

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Slacking off again!

Well, so much for keeping this blog up to date, eh?! Poor effort really, poor...

But I have been very busy - my Obs & Gynae rotation flew by, and now, here I am in the third week of my paediatric rotation... and in Furness General Hospital. Where is term going?! It's the end of week 7 already, good grief!

Paediatrics is so much fun, although exhausting some days - children are great fun, children who are poorly can cry an awful lot... But there's some fab toys in the Paediatric ward, which helps!

A lot of this blog is now probably going to contain words such as the "E" word, the "R" word, and, of course, the "F" word... I am referring, clearly, to "exams", "revision" and, the big F, "FINALS"... Cue big cloud of doom hovering above me - and all other fourth years.

The other thing that will be featuring heavily over the next couple of months (provided I actually get my act together and keep writing) is of course, Barrow-ness, my new accommodation for 3 nights every week. I will try and keep whinging to a minimum, and be objective... but I feel I am allowed to mention the sauna-like quality of my room - it is INSANE. Literally. Despite the fact it is snowing today, and February, and COLD outside, I have not shut the window once since arriving. Seriously.

I shall leave it at that for the time being, I think, Sunday night and my brain is frazzled from all the work I've done this weekend - and all the cleaning fluid fumes I have inhaled, having cleaned the house while the wonderful housemates have been off on time away...

So, I must bid you adieu...

Friday, 4 December 2009

It's been a long time, Snoopy

It's appalling long since I have posted, and I do judge myself for this. BAD medical student.

In my defence, it has been a crazy 2 months or so (now that really is terrible - a shockingly long time).

So what has happened to stop me from posting - other than generalised laziness?

Unfortunately, my dear father died on All Saints Day, from a horrible fight with oesophageal cancer. This was diagnosed in March of this year, and despite putting up a brave & optimistic battle, the cancer grew & spread. We were told it was terminal in summer - the very end of June, and were advised not even to try chemotherapy.

We were, however, fortunate enough to know that the end was coming, and spend some wonderful time together as a family - in the summer, when we went to France, went sailing, and generally enjoyed being four of us plus a dog, and particularly during the last week or so that we had with Dad, when we passed the time talking, laughing, crying, and reminiscing. It was, in a strange sort of way, a very happy, very blessed time. He died with my mum, brother and myself next to him, as he had wanted.

The funeral was an amazing service, a real celebration of his life. Apparently, around 300 people came, and were able to hear a very fitting eulogy delivered by dad's very close friend, a vicar who did the entire service. As a mark of respect, the three of us travelled in our Landrover (Dad's pride & joy) to the funeral, and Dad himself had his "blue badge" in the hearse with him (it had been a VERY happy moment when the blue badge arrived....Dad loved free parking!)

The wake was real proof of how well-loved Dad was; organised & catered for by the church congregation, it was amazing to see how many people stayed & wrote lovely things in the Book of Remembrance... however, I was asked (more times than I care to remember) "how are you" - quite a difficult thing to answer!!!

The rest of my time really has been spent in catching up on the work I missed during that week at home. Unfortunately, while the hospital have been extremely supportive throughout this pretty awful time, (as have so many friends, neighbours, colleagues, and occasionally strangers), the department have not been anywhere near as good...

And of course, Christmas (the dreaded "C-word") is coming nearer and nearer... and with it all the stresses that come at this time of year, namely Christmas shopping, Christmas decorations, Christmas music, Christmas cheer, you know... that stuff! I am feeling underprepared - so have spent particularly the last week racing off in free minutes to try and sort out my Christmas presents, etc. Thank goodness for the joys of internet shopping - how did we manage without ebay?!

So, overall, a difficult few weeks, and a fairly good excuse for not posting, I think! But I hope to be getting back into the swing of things now - I think I am, anyway! - and so with any luck, normal service will resume shortly. For which we may all be grateful.

In any case, TWO WEEKS til the holidays! So I will trudge resignedly on until then, when I can sleep, eat, and chill to my hearts content...

Sunday, 18 October 2009

What happened to the weekend?

I'm sure it was Friday about 10 minutes ago. But no, my clock and my housemates reliably inform me that in fact, it is Sunday evening, and I need to get ready for the hospital tomorrow.

It's been a busy few weeks, what with skiing (!!!), a visit home, cake-baking and video-planning, I've barely had any time for hospital work.

And what an amount of hospital work it's been.

In the last couple of weeks I have

1) attended (and worked on) 2 cardiac arrests
2) taken everyone's blood. At least once.
3) been responsible for 2 work experience students (they're such babies!!! ahhhh)
4) acted as junior doctor for the entire ward when no other doctors were around - for a WHOLE DAY.

This last was genuinely terrifying... I have never been so stressed in all my life...
And I was entirely knackered afterwards. I am now officially dreading graduating!

But on the plus, we are making a video about our life in the hospital... a skit... and any more information than that is classified until I feel the need to divulge it. Except to say that it is going to be HILARIOUS.

Oh, and the most exciting/lovely moments of the last few weeks... meeting two gorgeous wee babies, one belonging to a medical student who is a very handsome young man, and a second who belongs to some lovely, lanky people, and is just about the most beautiful baby I've met (and I'm not exaggerating, she's literally perfect!).

So all in all, rather a good few weeks.

It's just a shame it's Sunday evening. I may petition for 4 day weeks...


About Me

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Slowly, slowly working my way through medical school thanks to a good sense of humour, some fantastic friends, a wonderful boyfriend, a brilliant family, and a relaxed faith.