Monday, October 30, 2006

Power Problem

I have somehow broken my laptop's power cable, which accounts for the grievous lack of posting. When the new cable arrives on Wednesday, normal service shall resume. I have a post written on last Friday, that I will post, but at the moment it is trapped on said laptop.

Right now, I am sitting in the hospital undergrad common room, supposedly working on my respiratory case presentations for this afternoon. Better get on with it!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Story of Friday Night

Ah, Friday night.

My brother and cousin came up to Brum. Always an absolute riot, mainly because the three of us get on like a house on fire. Quite literally at times…

We went out for a curry (the boy needs his authentic Brummie curry), then to the pub and finally to Snobs, Birmingham’s most infamous alternative night club.

My housemate Mirabelle came too. And Tom. Ah yes, Tom.

Last night he came out to the club to be with me. There was no.other.reason. He doesn’t know Mirabelle or my brother and cousin, and none of his friends were going. While on the dance floor, there was very much close dancing, much drifting of hands to touch and hold close. He came back to our house after, for tea and biscuits and chat. We live a good twenty minutes walk from him, its not just popping next door.

As he left, we had a stilted awkward conversation. About how I would like us to be more then friends. And how he is still hung up on the Other Girl. I dislike this other girl intensely. They went out for 3 months during third year. She then ended it, because she is Muslim, and ‘can’t’ have a white boyfriend. Her family never knew of his existence. She sort of broke his heart a bit, and now is still stringing him along. Its not fair on either of them. Every time we talk about such things, he brings her up and says ‘I’m stopping it, because it’s pointless.’ They are not seeing each other, but still speaking, and he is still hoping. Personally I think it’s a waste of his time. If she won’t acknowledge him to her family, how can that be a real relationship? She is trying to have her cake and bloody eat it. He needs to walk away for his own good, and to an extent her own good.

Anyway, that’s how the damn thing now stands. I went out there and I told him how I feel, leaving myself without a leg to stand on. I didn’t make a fuss, I didn’t throw myself at him. But last night made me see how easily we could fit together.

Last night I was sad. Sad and lonely. Mirabelle hugged me, and listened to me, and was and is the best friend I have ever had. Again. What would I do without her?

Today I am still sad but also pissed off. I hate that he can lead me on. In a way, he is bringing just as bloody minded as the Other Girl. In the last few weeks I have seen a lot of him, and been texting and messengering. And then he comes out last night and bloody flirts. Flirts! And hugs and touches. And he is neither flirty nor touchy feely.

I hate that anyone can influence the way I feel so much, without knowing. Except that now he does. And I have this awful feeling it will taint our friendship in the future, and what is was in the past.

And most of all, above everything, I hate that I feel it is all my fault. It is my fault for not being enough.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Busy but losing myself

I’ve been so busy this week! This is my first and only night in, which was house meal, so’s been pretty unproductive. But good fun – house meal always takes at least two hours, because we always have two courses and lots and lots of talking. It’s great to have scheduled time together each week. Tonight Sally made a vegetable chilli-esque dish with mashed potato topping, sprinkled with cheese. My, it was goooooood. And the chocolate mousse pudding was amazing. Rich, velvety smooth, and very very chocolately.

On a more serious note, I’m still troubled by the future. I am still unsure whether this is the right thing for me. I oscillate between ‘I can’t’, ‘I won’t’ and ‘I will, goddammit’. Some of the time I feel this is the right thing for me, that medicine is my vocation, and it fits me, and I it. Sometimes I feel I will never be enough, and I think the fear is manifesting as I don’t want to continue in medicine. I don’t want to fail, and I am so scared of failing that I almost would rather leave. But the stubborn core of me says no, you can do this, and you will do this. I am trying to hear the core, and ignore the bleatings of the rest of my mind.

Although hearing about the MMC (modernising medical careers) plans from a BMA speaker this week was very distressing. It seems that training schemes in this country are in a crisis because the Government is pushing through a new system that is not ready and does not seem feasible. I feel I am being asked to give even more of myself to medicine than I could have ever envisaged before I began. When I decided I wanted to do medicine, I wanted to eventually become GP and work part-time, firstly so I could have children, but also so I could paint and sing. I have never wanted to be only a medic. Now I am frightened that the bit of me that is creative – that sings, paints and writes – is being lost.

Which is why I sat in front of Grey’s Anatomy tonight with a pad of paper and my colour pencils!

Currently listening to: Razorlight’s self titled second album. It’s rocky, tuneful, and great to dance along to while singing at the top of your voice.

PS I’ve updated the links - go check em out!

Sunday, October 15, 2006


The pumpkin is coming on a pace. I put a layer of paper mache on today. Not sure how many it will need, but I’m hoping this one will do, as I have a short attention span. That’s why I paint in acrylics – they dry in minutes, so you have to paint fast, but can make total revisions just as fast.

I have a frog painting (hopefully a series) in the pipeline at the moment. As well as something for my parents wedding anniversary. They’re currently being very understanding about me getting it done…

I’m feeling better today. Going to church this morning was rubbish to begin with. I felt ignored and alone, while sitting in the middle of the choir. I was wallowing and felt no-one has noticed my ‘agonies’. But at the end of the service, the Sunday school group showed us a church family tree they had made, by writing the names of people in the church on paper leaves and colouring them, then sticking them on a tree picture. And someone had put my name on. That made me feel remembered and loved, and made me realise I should buck my ideas up.

So I came home, had some lunch, went to the Bullring, tried to buy some shoes (didn’t have the right size grrrr) and bought some PVA glue. Which meant I could spend 2 happy hours tearing up newspaper and splashing glue around. Bliss.

Then I went for dinner at our local with Mirabelle. I haven’t laughed so much in a very long time.

Funny how the little things can lift your mood.

What am I doing here?

I’m in on a Saturday night. Mainly because I’d be rubbish company as I’m in a baaaaaad mood. Have been on and off for a while now. I’m so tired of feeling miserable.

I told Jenna that I wanted to give up medicine last night. She said ‘Not again.’

Maybe I’m in the wrong profession. Sometimes I love medicine. Sometimes I hate it.. Sometimes it feels like I am losing myself in it all. I think that I am mostly just scared right now.

On the upside, I have made a good start on my Halloween costume. I’m going as a pumpkin, complete with lights… I’ve now made the wire frame, still got to paper mache and paint.

Currently watching: rerun of X-factor results show, as I missed the first one to watch Cruel Intentions. (I wanted Ray or the McDonald brothers out. But they’re still in…and the Unconventionals are out. Sigh.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I got tagged by med neophyte, so I now present you with 20 random facts about myself:

1. I hate (to almost phobic proportions) furry plants, especially furry fruit. Peaches and kiwis are the main offenders, but anything with furry leaves also creeps me out.

2. I love big rings. My current favourite is a large oval of blue-green shell mounted onto a silver band.

3. I love the changing skies of England. You never quite know what the weather will do. However, rain seems to feature quite highly. I met some Americans once, who told me how much they admired the English who carrying on even when it was pouring with rain. I just laughed – how else would we get anything done in this country?

4. I was born in Sussex, and I will forever feel at home there, between the rolling hills of the North and South Downs.

5. I don’t have one favourite song ever, and am highly suspicious of those who have. Bit narrow minded really isn’t it?

6. Or am I just indecisive? Right now, if I had to pick only one song, it would probably be Muse’s Plug in Baby.

7. I play the piano, and enjoy playing classical and modern piano pieces. But mostly I love to accompany my own singing. That to me is the point of all those lessons and the hours of practice I did as a kid!

8. I failed the scales section of Grade 4 piano when I was about 13. I only passed that exam by 4 marks. I failed a piece (!) in Grade 5 piano a couple of years later. I only passed that exam by 3 marks. I stopped after that. The torture was too much. And I couldn’t be bothered to learn enough theory to pass Grade 5 theory, which you have to have to do Grades 6, 7 and 8.

9. I did get a distinction in Grade 1 piano when I was 10. That was an achievement.

10. Singing is my real passion though – I live to sing. I’m a bit of a music whore and will sing anything with a good tune! I’ve done classical, pop, musical, jazz, everything. If I could not sing, I would only be half a person.

11. My Dad once dated Anneka Rice (yes, her of Challenge Anneka fame). It didn’t last long: he started going out with my Mum when he was 18, and she was 15.

12. I could never be a politician. I just don’t have the conviction or the ability to lie (my guilty expression is a dead giveaway).

13. I am pretty liberal in my political outlook. I am a true believer in state maintained NHS and benefits and so on and so forth. I just wish our country could decide one way or the other. I mean, is it higher taxes and better public services? Or is it lower taxes and private all the way? At the moment I think we were doing neither scheme very effectively.

14. My little sister is 10 years younger than me. It’s a great gap. My brother is 7 years older than her, and it works really well. I’m just gutted by the fact than when she’s the age I am now, I’ll be….gulp…32...

15. I’m an Anglican Christian via upbringing and my own choice. I still go to church but am going through a stage where I am not sure about the existence of God. However, going to church on a Sunday morning clears my head and opens my mind to spiritual thoughts. It’s pretty easy for life to pass you by on a completely superficial level if you don’t ever stop to think about it.

16. I try and avoid dairy to reduce the amount of gunk clogging my sinuses. If I avoid cheese, yoghurt and milk I can indulge in chocolatey treats without too much of an effect. The phlegm ain’t so good for the singing!

17. My favourite film is the Sound of Music. I love the songs, I love Julie Andrews, I have a bit of a crush on the Captain…..

18. I have my Dean’s Chorister Award, which is now called a Bronze Award I think. It’s for church singing. You have to sing hymns, anthems, pass a bit on aural skills, answer some questions on the church year.

19. One of my pet hates is sniffing. This comes from my mother, who has been known to offer sniffing strangers tissues, for instance while standing in queues. Ooo, I also hate people who let drips dangle from their noses. Urgh. That is disgusting.

20. I love tea. My whole family are massive tea drinkers and so I think I inherited it.

My personal choice is weak, black Earl Grey.

And there you are, 20 highly useless and irrelevant facts about moi!

I tag…. Marysienka

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Why is it so hard to say to someone important 'I like you'?

I just go round and round in circles in my brain. Is knowing that he isn't remotely interested better than hoping but not knowing anything? And what happens if I screw up a good friendship? Its a newish one, but one I am loath to lose. But do I only care about the friendship because I want it to be more?

I don't know what to do, what to say, who to be...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

While watching Grey's Anatomy...

I’m writing this in the breaks in Grey’s Anatomy, so it might be a bit disjointed…! I do love GA. Yup, I know that’s totally uncool for a medical student, but I really do. Mainly for Dr Burke, but also for the soap opera drama-ness of their lives. Nothing that exciting ever happens to me. There’s also a less shagging in the on-call room. None for me in fact. And I’ve never met any doctors as hot Dr Burke…which may explain the lack of on-call room shagging…

You know, it really is unrealistic isn’t it. The specialist paediatric surgery from a district general cardiothoracic surgeon and all.

Ooo, made a cup of tea in that break. Earl Grey, black, in my favourite bone china mug with sunflowers on. Also got my half tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream out of the freezer. Ah, doesn’t get much better than this.

It’s been a beautiful day in Birmingham. Fresh and clean, with that hint of autumn – crisp air, leaves on the turn, conkers on the pavement… I went for a walk, after a mammoth clean up of the entire ground floor – kitchen, living room, piano room, my bedroom and my bathroom. I then took the empties wine and beer bottles (we’d accumulated two carrier bags full in the last two weeks…) to the bottle bank. It’s only five minutes up the road, but once I’d walked there and dumped the bottles (does anyone else lob them in the bins as hard as possible, trying to make the biggest and most satisfying smash?) I decided it was too beautiful to go home. So off I trotted round Selly Park, looking at some very lovely houses and some absolute monstrosities. I have sooo many ideas for when I build my own house. I am not sure exactly how I will accommodate them all…

Beautiful weather, especially now, as the nights draw in, always makes me so melancholy. I think it is the transient nature of the day, of time. I was having some very deep thoughts (well, deep for me, generally noted to be deep as a puddle) on the subject as I walked, but could come up with nothing more than it should be an encouragement to get out there and seize the day. Because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

And really, right now, that seems exactly what I should be doing.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I was in gynae theatre this morning, watching tension-free vaginal tapes for the control of stress incontinence being fitted under spinal anaesthesia. One patient was in for her fourth gynae op for incontinence, poor woman. When he was finished, the consultant began talking to the patient, telling her how it had gone. He seemed confident he had improved her situation. He leaned over the screen and said to her:

‘It was difficult, as you have been so messed about by other operations that your anatomy is completely different to normal. When you cough, I cannot predict what your vagina will do.’

Then he pointed across to me, perched on a stool next to the patient’s head and said:

‘That young woman, I could predict exactly what her vagina would do it she coughed.’

Cue strangulated noises from me and gales of laughter from the theatre staff…

Monday, October 02, 2006


I apologise for the long hiatus between entries. It was freshers last week, followed by the busiest weekend of my life.

I spent it at the Medschool – 3 hours on Friday night, 12 hours on Saturday and 9 hours on Sunday. It was all for a good cause though – a pre-hospital trauma course.

The course is the only undergrad pre-hospital trauma course in the country, and is run by the West Midlands Care Team. It was fantastic! A volunteer team of doctors, nurses, fireman, policeman and armed forces types came and gave lectures and taught practical skills in small sessions.

I learnt how to open and maintain an Airway, the importance of C-spine control, what Breathing problems can occur and how to deal with them, and how to manage external and internal haemorrhage to maintain maximal Circulation.

Easy as AcBC…

The course content and teaching was interesting, stimulating and very important. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It’s just now I am so tired, and I haven’t done any of the things I normally do at the weekend, which all allow me to fully function during the week. I think I am going to be playing a lot of catch up!

However, I did find the whole thing quite upsetting. Some of the cases and photographs shown as the lectures were horrific. Very traumatic and very frightening. Frightening in terms of that could happen to me or my loved ones, but also because I am not sure I could cope with it from a professional standing. I felt nauseated and scared by the pools of blood and disfigurement, and my stress levels went through the roof just thinking about dealing with a trauma case.

I hope and pray that I will never need to use what I have learnt. I also hope and pray that if called upon I will remember what I have learnt, and be able to apply it to the best of my skills, and save someone’s life.

If one person on the course this weekend uses the skills we learnt to save just one life, then it is worth all 382 of us giving up our weekend.