Monday, August 27, 2007

Bank Holidays - They Should Happen More Often

I love the long weekend.

On Friday afternoon it stretches out endlessly in front of you, full of plans and achievements, enticing, exciting and other words beginning with e.

I hate the last evening of the long weekend.

I haven't done ANY of the work I had planned. I'm really behind on my paeds work, haven't finished stuff I wanted to do in Obs and Gynae, and exams are in 5 weeks. I'm on call tomorrow, and so staying over at the hospital. I only did my washing this evening, so I really hope I have something dry tomorrow to 1) wear to lectures and 2) take with me to wear on Wednesday.

That said, I have had a lovely weekend. I've spent a lot of time with friends - Lily, Vix, Tom, Jenna and her housemates, Di. It's been really nice. And the sun's shone - quite a turn up for the books after the weather we've been having this summer!

I just don't want to go back to work tomorrow :(

Currently addicted to: Britain's Next Top Model. Ok, so it doesn't have Tyra Banks, and our girls are never quite as stunning as the American ones, but it is so much fun....! And I am so pleased Stephanie is out because she was driving me potty.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Lily and I went shopping this afternoon.

We pottered about, and found ourselves in Selfridges, in Coast. Always dangerous territory - they have the most fabulous little dresses, that are waaaaaay out of the student budget. Lily spotted the most gorgeous little plum satin number, and a sweet black and white dress, and disappeared into the changing room. I, with tired feet, collapsed on a stool outside to wait the fashion show.

Dress number 1 (plum number) looked stunning. And was in the sale. Practically a bargain, 50% off, down to £110 (!). Dress number 2 (black and white), not so good, not such a bargain, and the zip was a bit tricky. So tricky I'd had to help. Easy choice - the plum dress.

So Lily gets out of the black and white one while I hang the plum one. Except that the zip starts to unpeel from the bottom up, and she can't get out the dress...

I go in the changing room, to try and force it back down. It won't go. Can Lily get it off without undoing the zip? Nope, because women go out at the top and the bottom and the dress was firmly wedged in the middle. I was in hysterics by this time, with Lily getting pinker and pinker and squeaking 'It's not bloody funny! Not bloody funny!'. After a frantic few minutes, we gave up and I fetched a sales assistant. She too had a good go (I don't think she believed our protestations of effort), but could neither fix nor force the zip.

The answer? Lily had to be cut out the dress. A beautiful dress costing £160.

Whoops indeed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Feeling Strangely Fine

So, the worse thing about paediatrics? The parents. Man, I hate parents.

Although the gorgeous kids I saw today in ENT clinic really made me want to be one. (A parent that is. Not a kid. TMaybe that would be fun for a short time - a holiday from responsibility! But I really don't want to have to go through adolescence again...) Just have to get this damned medical degree over and then I am so ready to move to the country and breed.

Oh, and the first patient I saw in paediatric ENT? Not for me the straightforward, the simple, oh no. For me, Fate arranged a gorgeous little girl of 11 weeks with a branchial fistula. Sounds fascinating, actually very dull in clinic - examination simply revealed a tiny hole in her lower right neck. She was otherwise quite perfect!

Currently listening to: Closing Time from Semisonic's Feeling Strangely Fine. I love the song, and also the fact that its available on cassette on Amazon. Amazing.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I Want You Back

Check this out on youtube. I love love love KT Tunstall and I can't wait to see her live (again) at the Academy in October.

And seeing Blogger is finally allowing me to post pictures hassle free, here's another:

It's loosely titled 'The Dream'. I don't know why either, but it's the first finished piece I've made in a long time that isn't for a particular person. It's a combination of watercolour, ink and salt. Yes really.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Another weekend ends, another week begins, and yet again I have done so little work I'm beginning to panic... Only 5 weeks until my first set of finals. (ogodogodogodogodpleasehelpme).

Lily wants me to go man-hunting with her. Hmmm interesting turn of phrase that. Man-hunt implies searching for a lost man, either to rescue him, or murder him. Which will it be I wonder, for the man Lily finds?

I, however, am a little reticent to begin a 'man-hunt'. It seems to be far more hassle than I have the time, energy or inclination to deal with right now. And after the worse date in the history of the world ever on Friday, I feel I have good reason to avoid future such situations.

I go to an Anglican church in the south of Birmingham, and we got a new vicar last year. He is Zimbabwean, 6'3'' and in no way slender. He's also a little odd. He likes to insist on hugging people. I am a defiant non-toucher. I do not hug people I know (unless very very well) let alone people I don't. This has always been an issue with him. And then he started sort of asking me out... Never in so many words ie not 'let's go on a date sometime', more 'we should go to the pub for a drink and you can tell me about ....'. Very difficult to avoid. I think I'd done admirably well to get out of it for so long. Anyway, he finally cornered me last Sunday after church and I couldn't conjure an excuse. So I agreed to meet at my local for a drink.

I decided to completely consider it a friends thing. It wasn't explicitly a date, and, to that end, I dragged Mirabelle and Sylvia along too. It was beyond awkward - I blithered a lot, but there was definitely NO flirting on my part. The girls agree my behaviour was impeccable. As for his... well, he is not so good with the whole conversation thing (hence my blithering) and his attempts to flirt were clumsy and misguided and just... creepy. He's 10 years my senior and a vicar. He should know better frankly. Thank the dear Lord for Mirabelle and Sylvia. I would have died without them.

We (naughtily) invented a story about a party and left after about an hour, to complete the evening's real activities. Not a fictitious party, but a trip to the supermarket, to purchase wine and chocolate (essentials for a night in) and then home to watch Little Women. I cried for most of it. It was lovely, especially after such a poor start to the weekend.

Important lesson of the week no.1: It is better to Just Say No to a date you don't want to go on. You feel bad for about 10 minutes after, but if you say yes, you feel nervous all week, and then have to endure a very bad evening of poor conversation that makes you feel increasingly uncomfortable.

Important lesson of the week no.2: Life is nothing without good girlfriends.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


So, we all rotated round on Monday, and I started the second part of my first block – paediatrics. I hadn’t really thought about this block that much, having never really considered goings into paeds. I love children, but I don’t think I want to work with them. That said, my best job in the world ever was working as a team leader in at a holiday activity centre for 6 weeks one summer. I was in charge of the 6-7 year old boys, and it was an absolute riot! I had such a good time.

Maybe I’ll love paeds. Maybe I’ll be converted. I’m not really sure yet, because it’s Wednesday and I’ve only been able to see ONE patient. A very sweet 15 year old girl with some striking LMN signs, and a probable diagnosis (currently that is…) of CIDP. Hmm yes, very helpful to my future…!

Oh, and the weather is rubbish again. We had two weeks or so of pretty good stuff after the floods, and now its peeing down again. Sigh. I think summer is over, and it’s rain until next spring for us. The poor weather did produce the most wonderful rainbow though...

(That's my road. I live in a house exactly the same as all those you can see in the righthand row, just a bit out of shot. Sylvia, Mirabelle and I were on our way to the pub quiz... We lost again.)

Currently reading: just started East of the Mountains by David Guterson on the recommendation of my housemate Sylvia. Will keep you posted.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I moved to Birmingham 4 years ago, in September 2003, to start my degree. But officially, I still live at home in Sussex. The bank, the university, anyone important – they all use my parents’ address as my home address. As far as they are concerned, I live in Sussex, with my parents, brother and sister, in a detached house built by my father in 1987. In reality I spend most of my time living with 4 other girls – 3 medics, 1 music graduate – in a Victorian terrace in Birmingham. This is my 4th address in Birmingham, my 4th ‘home’ here. And I do call both home. Which can be confusing… Some of my housemates and friends live in Birmingham – this is their only home, this is where they belong. Some are like me, equally divided in love and loyalty between Birmingham and their parents’ house. And some others still live at home with their parents, either within Birmingham or at a commutable distance.

I watched a property programme today, and began to think about owning my own house. Obviously this isn’t going to be happening for a couple of years yet (money will be tight for a few more years!), but it is a very exciting thought. My own home, a chance to put down roots. But right now I have no idea where I want to put down these roots. In October this year I will be applying for jobs, and so will probably be choosing to work in Hereford and Worscestershire, an more rural area to the south of Birmingham (at least, putting that area as my first choice!). Do I want to live there for the foreseeable future? I don’t honestly know. In some ways, I know that right now it isn’t that important, but it is unsettling. When I came to Birmingham, Sussex was still very much my home, and learning to love this place and consider it home has been a gentle, insidious process.

However, I feel that this will be the end of that duality. When I start working properly, home will be where I have my job and my life, not with my parents. I will have officially flown the nest, and I’m frightened by what that means. The sensation, if not the actuality, of being alone.

I hope that my naturally buoyant personality will pull through (laugh all you want. You only hear my woes because dumping them here is a superb outlet. I generally have an extremely sunny outlook) and I will find a way to make any place ‘home’. I already know I can find beauty almost anywhere, and I am an absolute sucker for beauty. Give me a touch of interesting lighting, and I’m head over heels in love. Easy like that, you see.

I’m trusting in God/fate/whatever you wish to call it that I will end up where I am meant to be. Be that Hereford, Worcester, Birmingham, wherever. And doing the right thing. I’m going to make choices that feel right, and hope that He is keeping a weather eye on my progress and will keep nudging things in the right directions. He’s done a grand job so far!

Currently wondering: if the bilateral cubital tunnel symptoms I have developed in the last few weeks will spontaneously disappear. Actually, I’m talking crap – I have just egaged brain and joined together the symptoms I had in March. Hmm. Think I will need my Mum to make me some night splints…

Thursday, August 09, 2007


My heart is tired. Tired of battering itself against a brick wall.

For the past year I have thrown it again and again at the wall. Sometimes we’ve been close to the top, my heart and I, and have seemed a mere hair breadth for scrambling over, but the wall rose higher, and flummoxed our plans. We’d step back, eyeing it surreptitiously, pretending we’re weren’t interested. Then I’d have another go, promising my heart it was the last time, and then throw it again. Every time I threw harder. And every time my heart fell harder.

And now my heart has had enough. The last time was bad. It thought it might break. But it didn’t – it pulled through, and decided to sulk. It’s sitting underneath the wall, arms folded, avoiding eye contact and refusing to talk to me.

It is trying to heal the wounds, to repair the bruises and knit together the scrapes, but is hindered by my mind’s repeating picking at the scabs. There is some mad corner of my mind that enjoys watching the blood drip, that revels in hurting my heart, that believes feeling pain is better than feeling nothing.

So my heart ignores me, and sits in the shelter of the wall. It isn’t very comfortable, but it thinks it is better here than being out in the world. It’s worried I’ll throw it again, looking for the perfect catch. Ha. I won’t throw it again. I will hold it safe. I’m going to be far more careful of my heart, now I know how much it can feel. But still my heart stays close to the wall, refusing to leave. It is safe there. Unhappy and uncomfortable yes, but safe. The wall is a known quantity, even if it is not a particularly friendly one. My heart is going to need a lot of persuasion to move. Much more than I alone can muster...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pub Quiz

I love our new pub quiz team. The core members are me, Mirabelle, Sylvia, Lily and Lily’s housemate Vix, then we have a few other floaters who join occasionally. Like Claire and Tom, who joined the team tonight. Our name is the Ladies of Negotiable Affection. Our motto is: ‘If you have to ask, you can’t afford. We’re not that negotiable.’

We’re generally alright at the quiz. Good at the picture rounds, great at 90s and 00s music, rubbish at oldies music (½ out of 10 last week), moderate at the general knowledge and news stuff. Mostly it’s just a laugh. I drink cider (I like this one and especially this one), Mirabelle has her usual large glass of dry white wine, and we always have sweets or chocolate. It’s to keep our blood glucose up to allow optimum neuronal activity. Hmm yes… imagine how bad we’d be without it!

I love the pub, and the pub quiz. It’s such an English thing. Ours is a busy quiz, and we see the same people every week… We like to sit at the table in the window, but we have to get there very early to nab it. Some teams end up standing. The prize isn’t even that good – just a few drinks at the bar, not much a prize for a team of a least 5. But it isn’t about winning. It really is about taking part.

Oh, and having a few drinks too!

Currently have a weird crush on: The Pimm’s man, Alexander Armstrong. He’s so undeniably attractive. Big ears, balding, intelligent, witty… oh yeah, totally my sort of guy.

PS. the right hand shift key of my keyboard has just broken. It’s really pissing me off. The space bar has been a bit sticky for a while, and the V key lost (a sad run-in with Clinical Medicine by Kumar and Clark. I think the title gives an idea of the size of the book…) but I have no idea what ruined the shift key. It is causing me quite a bit of grief. I think it might be time for a new laptop soon…

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Returning to the Keyboard

Oh, this feels hard. Squeezing porridge through muslin is the most accurate description, I think. I haven't been blogging becuase for a long time it didn't feel 'right'. And then I was worried about explaining the long gap, and obviously I would have needed to write a really stonking post to make it a come back with a bang.

Yeah right.

So I decided to just go for it. No dipping of toes, just a full on jump in the pool of blogging, starting with what's happening with me.

Well, I have started the year after fourth year. More commonly known as fifth year, and even by some cocksure medical students year. Gulp. I am so not ready for final year. I am so not ready to be done with medschool, and out there doing it.

Despite my deep misgivings, so far its been, well, quite enjoyable. I've started on obstetrics and gynaecology, and its very interesting. I wasn't exactly looking forward to it, as I have no desire to peer up vaginas, but it isn't actually that bad. Better than psychiatry for sure! Its made me simultaneously broody and determined never to conceive. Pregnancy and more specifically birth are shit scary. Pain, trauma, blood, agony, illness, death... but also a baby. And I'd really like one of those. Although newborns s me a little - I like em with a few months and a few pounds on em. All fat and powdery smelling. Lovely. Gynae is not so lovely. The poor women I've seen... our reproductive system is just waiting, lurking, ready to spring diaster upon us at anytime. And my goodness it is so undignified. But my consultant is an absolute sweetie, and so good at reassuring and supporting these women. I think he's fab! Not very interesting or humourous, but a true gentleman.

The new F1 (foundation programme year 1) doctors started on Wednesday. Meaning I am not within a year not only of graduating but of starting my job (touch wood!). I looked at the Foundation Schools today, ready for applying in October. I think it'll be Hereford and Worcestershire first choice. They have an F2 job with 1 4 month rotation in palliative care, which is pretty unusual. Also a fairly rural area, and hospitals that I know. Its going to be very strange, not being at medschool. Lots of people are going to be moving away... Mirabelle and I have decided to stick together, thought even that may be complicated by her boyfriend moving here. Oh, its all so up in the air. I wish it was all laid out, and ready. I don't feel grown up enough for life decisions yet.