Sunday, December 31, 2006


<>For those of you concerned for the welfare of my little brother’s Christmas present, you will be very pleased to know I found it! Yes, indeed, the DVD of Slither was oh so logically placed on my bookshelf, in amongst my Discworld collection. I must have put it there, but I really don’t remember doing it… Anyway, I discovered the errant present’s whereabouts on Wednesday morning, wrapped it there and then before it could manage to escape again, tied a big shiny bow round it and delivered it – by opening my bedroom door and lobbing the present across the hallway into my brother’s room to land on his bed. He was still in it. Thankfully, it being a very light present, no grievous bodily harm was caused to the recipient of said Christmas gift. But he made an awful fuss. My mother told both of us to ‘stop behaving like children!’. I hate the fact I can no longer say ‘but I am child’, as my little sister (aged 12) is wont to do.

Anyway, after all my fears of having a different Christmas, this year has turned out to be one of the most lovely Christmases I’ve ever had. Just goes to show, different is not necessarily bad.

Currently reading: I finally read The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. And I absolutely LOVED it. I read the whole book in the course of one evening, finishing at 2am. To me, that’s the mark of a truly good book – my willingness to forgo sleep to finish it!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I've lost my brother's Christmas present. Its's Christmas eve.

O shit.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I passed!

Hell yes – I got a B! Score!

So I’m very pleased about that, nut not managing to switch the stress off. I am wound tight as a spring, and have been biting off heads and crying for no reason left right and centre. I did pack everything in my room for my Dad to take home (after picking up my bro from Stafford, he swung by Birmingham, mainly to collect my dirty washing…) as well as complete all my Christmas shopping (and wrap everything). This evening I sung carols with the Medics chamber choir at the local hospice, St Mary’s, and then went to the cinema with Mirabelle.

I am now exhausted and my head hurts, and I cannot write anymore. I will fill the details in tomorrow, promise.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Anxiety is my friend

Finshed! The OSCE (observed structured clinical exam) was this morning, and I was in absolute pieces. Thankfuy the first station was a viva on anxiety, and when he askedme the somatic symptoms of anxiety, I simply related my own at that moment… The others (there were 8 in total!) were: risk assessment/OD OSCE; dementia/delirium viva; explain Venlafaxine to a patient OSCE; alcohol withdrawal viva; eating disorder OSCE; lithium viva; and explaining schizophrenia to a patient’s mother.

I hope to God I passed because I do not think I could cope with that experience again. I don’t feel at all confident of passing. I didn’t feel so bad immediately after, but having been feeling progressively more and more negative about the whole thing since. The results are published tomorrow afternoon…

Anyway, after getting through that trauma, the rest of the day has been lovely. I met Jenna for lunch, and we had the longest gossipy lunch ever, then only managed a mere hour of shopping before needing to stop for coffee… Jen then wentback to hospital,as technically she wasn’t finished (unlike me!) and I attempted to do all myChirstmas shopping. I didn’t quite achieve this, but did get the most stupendous Secret Santa pressie ever. And now it’s time for Christmas dinner, cooked by the lovely Mirabelle, so I had better run!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


One down, one to go!

Lily and I (plus another friend of Lily’s) went to the Selly Sausage for lunch after the dreaded MCQ exam. We all had carrot and coriander soup, followed by thick fluffy American pancakes. I had mine with raspberries in the batter, plus maple syrup and icecream on top. Mmmmmmm. Unfortunately, without realising it, we managed to sit chatting in the cafĂ© until 4pm…which pretty much snookered any OSCE revision this afternoon!

I went to an old school friend’s art show this evening, as part of the final year of her fine art degree. It was very good – interesting concept and gorgeous paintings. I am so jealous of her – I wish I had the time to hone my skills and indulge in that amount of creativity!

And finally, I had the most delicious bath before I got into bed. Hot, steamy, and bubbly, with spa lights in the tub and candles all round the bathroom. I steeped gently for half an hour, with a cup of tea and a good book. Totally blissful.

Currently wearing: a navy blue O’Neill beanie to keep my head warm in bed. It’s a very sexy look…

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Roll on Friday

Psychiatry has stolen my sanity. And I want it back. It wasn't much, it wasn't entirely reliable, but it was all my own.

Revision and Medbar

Today was a truly awful day of revision. I feel as though I have achieved nothing. How on earth am I going to get through these exams?!

Our second Medchoir concert went spiffingly well last night. It was a new venue for us, but we’ll definitely be going back! I absolutely nailed the Christmas song, finally getting the warmth and nostalgia to ring through every line. The trio I was in – an SSA version of Mozart’s Laudate Dominum was a little ropey - but not so the audience noticed… at least I hope they didn't! We all went to the pub after, to the Pear, as Friday nights are Medbar nights. Medbar occurs when the medics take over the upstairs of the Bristol Pear pub, on the main road through the student area of Birmingham. The Pear love medics, and we love the Pear. They subsidise our drinking, which works in their favour, because medics drink a LOT. At least they do in Britain – its part of the medical profession’s work hard, play even harder ethic. Putting that a little into context, the Pear make a special 'cocktail' at Medbar. It's called a Heidi. It consists of 2 shots of Archers, 2 of Smirnoff and 1 of Malibu all in a pint glass and topped up with orange or cranberry juice and lemonade. Delicious and fairly lethal. But considered normal drinking for a British medic... Anyway, most of the choir went last night, and the majority of those who went wore their fabulous choir t-shirts. Lily and I got a little (!) merry, then rolled home via a pizza place, which was fun. We get on soooo well! I like having new friends.

O and then the bloody builders next door work me at 9am this morning. 9am at the weekend. Argh.

Currently watching (and eating): Home Alone (and fresh-out-the-oven-still-warm mince pies mmmmm).

Friday, December 08, 2006

Finished! (well, almost)

I’m signed off from psychiatry! Hurrah! My consultant signed off my logbook and my ‘professional behaviours and attitudes’ form (an actual form to be ticked for attendance, behaviour and appropriate dress – no joke, that’s one of the boxes…). So I’m technically finished at clinical placement, yet still going in tomorrow. That screams commitment, don’t you think?!

Currently listening to: a personal playlist entitled ‘Christmas Favourites’. Its hitting the spot I tell you.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Medschool, Motherhood, Madness

Busy day today.

I went to outpatient clinic this morning, then out with the home treatment team in the afternoon (crisis management), then back to hospital to read up on patient notes, home to eat toast and get changed then a quick run to Medschool for my first carol service of the year. While sitting in said carol service, I realised that this was the fourth year running I had sat in the same seat, with the choir. And that next year will be my fifth and final year. I do not know where I will be the year after that…

Sylvia and I were chatting about life, direction, and motherhood earlier. We were both getting ridiculously broody over Sir Robert Winston’s A Child Against All Odds programme. We were discussing the relative pros and cons of when to have babies. I have always said I would like to have a baby before reaching 30. And that’s now only 8 years away. Argh!

Currently reading: An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Redfield Jamison. She is a doctor of psychiatry suffering from bipolar affective disorder. The issues surrounding her struggles were brought home to me by a patient I saw in clinic this morning. A patient who once again managed to confound all my expectations of psychiatry. She was young, fashionably dressed, pretty, spoke conherently, sensibly, emotionally – in fact seemed just like any of my friends. Except she was extremely psychotic. Everything she said was frighteningly delusional. The kind of delusion that almost makes sense, where you can see how it grew from a seed of truth…

Does psych scare me because it reminds me how fragile a grip we all have on reality? I am someone who defines my sense of self by my mind – my intelligence, humour, creativity and ‘quirkiness’. If I were to be hit with a mental disorder, how would I know were to come back to?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Too true sir

There is pleasure sure in being mad, which none but madmen know.

John Dryden, from 'The Spanish Friar'

Monday, December 04, 2006

Nice things happen for a change

Handing in my elective protocol as soon as I finish this! Hurrah hurrah!
And I also found out today that by taking part in a study during my anaesthetics block, I have won a prize draw for £75 of high street vouchers. How cool is that? Seems my helpless inability to say no when someone (anyone!) asks for a volunteer has finally paid off!
(It’s a study of the role of mannequin training when teaching undergrad students to place laryngeal mask airways, just in case anyone cares.)

Sunday, December 03, 2006


thanks to Steve at the Sneeze

Concerts and Candles

It was the first Medchoir Christmas concert last night. It was really good fun, and I think we sounded better than we have for a long time. Possibly ever. We raised over £100, which we’re splitting between the church we sung at and Oxfam – we’re going to pay for the training of a health care worker. My solo was ok – I’ve sung better, but equally I’ve sung worse. And I get another go at it next Friday.

(if anyone is in the Birmingham region on Friday night with nowt to do, come and listen to us bringing a little Christmas cheer to the Midlands!)

My Mum came to Birmingham yesterday, to take me and my brother to lunch then round the German market that’s in the town centre. John is at uni in Stafford, about 30 minutes train ride away, so it’s no problem for him to get to me. We had lunch at Wagamama, then had a lovely afternoon pottering in the market. It was so nice to see them both, but it did make me long for the Christmas holidays…

Anyway, I should probably go get some sleep as I am brewing a cold (yummy) and because I am stressing about psych exams next week. Stress is always so much better when you’ve had some sleep!

Currently smelling: the delicious cinnamon and mandarin candle my mum bought me yesterday (disappointingly from Muji not the German market…). Absolutely gorgeous! Although it did just set off my smoke alarm for no apparent reason – it didn’t all afternoon, then when I light it again before going to bed, it does. Odd. Especially when this is the same smoke alarm that did not raise a peep the time I burnt an actual hole in one of my wooden shelves… Long story that one, all you need know is that I was being particularly dense that day. Even for me.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Shoot me now

I wrote 800 words of my protocol for my elective this afternoon. It was a struggle. I came back to it this evening and my blasted laptop has no recollection of it. None what so ever. In my current fragile state, this reduced me to tears. I have to write the whole sodding thing again. The whole thing. I was sure I had saved it, but I probably did something totally idiotic and got rid of it.

Why am I such a fuck-up at the moment?