Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Job

As part of GMC requirements for medical students graduating, we all have to complete at least one week of shadowing on our job for August. I started my shadowing yesterday. And of course you're gagging to hear the gory details right?

I started on the ward round, which is very disorganised. There are two F1s covering 6 orthopaedic consultants, with a bunch of regs and SHOs of whom I haven't worked out which is which or what any of their names are. Sigh. The F1s seem randomly allocated to cover various consultants patients, depending on who's around and who gets first dibs on the smallest patient lists. It's rubbish. The F1 doing my job is an overseas graduate with several years of experience behind him. He thinks the job is 'easy' and has a rather laissez faire attitiude to it all. No-one writes a job list, which I find very very upsetting. How can you know if you've done all the jobs if you don't know what they were in the first place? Argh!

I haven't met my consultant yet, as he's on holiday, but I'm already thinking he is going to be rather a drag. My official hours will be 8am - 5pm, but he will expect me to meet him on the ward at 7.30am every Monday and Tuesday to see patients before the 8am trauma meeting. Oh joy of joys. I won't be going home any earlier. But there are huge gaping holes in the day with nothing to do, where the F1s hang in the mess and play pool, or shop online. It's going to drive me bonkers - I like to be busy and doing all the time.

I'm really enjoying all the x-rays though!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sunglasses, sunshine and Vaughan Williams

Three things of note today:

1. I bought my second pair of sunglasses. As in my second pair of sunglasses ever in the history of the world. My first were a pair of yellow-framed heart-shaped beauties, worn and loved when I was four years old. It was the summer before I turned five and attended school, where the school nurse discovered I am as blind as the proverbial bat. This consigned me to a lifetime of glasses (that sounds as though I hate them and I don't, I love my glasses) so rendering sunglasses out of my reach - prescription sunglasses are prohibitively expensive, especially in terms of this country's low levels of bright bright sunshine and my ever-adjusting sight. However, the situation has completely changed with the advent of me joining a direct debit scheme for my occasional use contact lenses, so now I have to use 10 pairs a month. Therefore, I won't only be wearing them on nights out, I shall be wearing them most weekends, so I can also wear... SUNGLASSES! Wooooo!

2. The sunshine has gone (thus prohibiting the wearing of item no. 1) but I'm bringing it back with this appropriately named yellow jacket from M&S. Which actually looks much better on me that it does the model - no really, honestly truly it does!

3. I bought lovely CD of a bunch of Vaughan Williams pieces because I have fallen big time for this particular fantasia (unfortunately that isn't a great quality recording, but it's the best youtube could offer me in 2 minutes of searching). Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I’m in the middle of a love-hate relationship with my skin.

My natural skin tone is fair, with yellow undertones. Despite being a natural blonde, I don’t have the pink and white skin tone of the truly fair. So although in the winter I look more sallow than English rose, I tan beautifully, and quickly. However I am extremely adverse to sunbathing. There are many reasons, including:
1. Sweating – sunbathing is just too too HOT.
2. Wrinkles – sun damage ages your skin. I’ve seen the effect on my Grandmother (skin like a old leather sofa) and it’s not going to be repeated by moi.
3. Boredom – too bright to read a book, too hot to sleep…
4. Skin cancer – well, doesn’t do to risk it does it?
But I still want to be brown. Why? Because brown is beautiful darling! I look good with a bit of colour (although not too much. I don’t want to channel ‘WAG’). So faking it is the way forward, and, after many trials, I think I’ve finally found a product that works for me. I don’t like ‘fake tans’ because I am incompetent and always miss a bit, but I love these new gradual tanners. Last year I trialled the Dove version, but it did make me a bit too orange and a bit streaky. This new Nivea one is great – good even colour, and firming too. I love it! And I look absolutely delicious, and not day-glo orange, or streaky or too dark. Just as if I’ve spent the last week sunbathing in the park (and doing it naked to have achieved the completeness of colour that I have…!).

However, Fate has stepped in and burst my little balloon of sun-kissed happiness, by giving me a nasty case of perioral impetigo.

I have no idea how I got it, but I feel like crap. It’s extremely uncomfortable – tight, itchy, sore – and I feel very conscious of its nasty crusty appearance. I feel like a revolting leper. It’s completely battered my self confidence. I sat in the GP’s waiting room this morning feeling like an absolute freak, and hated going to the pharmacy and actually conversing with people. I am not confident about my appearance at the best of times (ha, understatement of the year!) and the voice in the back of my head is telling me that I’ve brought this upon myself by being so pleased and proud of my gorgeously brown body. I spent the rest of the day hiding in my room, refusing to entertain the thought of going to placement. It’s grim, and I hope the antibiotics start working their magic very very soon.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Curious Limbo

So, I've passed my final exams, I've done everything required by medical school - I'm a doctor right?

Theoretically yes, but technically no (I understand it...which isn't very far). I won't really be an actual real life doctor til after graduation, which is 14th July. Which means right now, I'm still a bloody medical student. And this means the Medical School can still send me to placement - and if the Medschool can make our lives harder, they will. So yet again, I am on placement. Oh joy!

This week I am doing a radiology placement (yay imaging!). But although the images are awesome, the actual placement is super dull. Hanging around, watching radiographers inject dye, waiting for patients to be portered down from the ward. It's remarkable how much it feels like 3rd year again. You know, hanging around waiting for something, anything, to happen.

So it didn't seem that incredible when a sonographer introduced me to a patient as 'Anna, the third year medical student'.

I didn't like to jump in and say 'well, actually...' because what would I say? 'I may be a medical student but I'll be a doctor after graduation'? All med students can say that! It just so in between right now, being not just a medical student but not quite a proper doctor. That said, I'm not sure I ever will feel like a proper doctor!

The oddness of it all is compounded by the placement being at the hospital where I will be working next year, the same hospital where I had my very first placement all those years ago. There's 6 final years hanging about at the hospital at the moment, and most of us will be working there next year, so sitting having lunch together seems a premonition of things to come - in a good way and a bad way!

Two months until graduation, and only three until I start my job. I'll never be ready.

Friday, May 09, 2008


The title rather gives it away doesn't it?

Yes, it's true, I passed. This girl is going to be a doctor.

Monday, May 05, 2008

All over - at least for this moment

I finished my exams on Friday. Maybe forever, but I can't think like that yet.

Especially conisdering how the exams went.

Therapeutics was Wednesday's joy. I had to pretend my 30-something year old male lecturer was a 65 year old woman and counsel him about taking steroids for polymyalgia rheumatica. While discussing dietary measures to reduce osteoporosis risk, he told me he was 'a meat and two veg kind of girl'... Whatever I didn't do right, at least I didn't miss the crackingly obvious inferior MI on the ECG, as one girl did. Oops.

Thursday was the Medicine OSCE. My management station was a list of bloods with hypercalcaemia, which I bombed. In rather spectacular fashion - the poor consultant was quite literally dragging any info he could from me. I was gutted because the cycles running alongside mine had a hyperkalaemic ECG or pleural effusion CXR to recognise and talk about management. Both of which I could have aced, so I was gutted. My patient stations were pneumonectomy, heart murmur (please God, let it be MR) and a man so yellow he quite literally glowed. He was pretty damn sick, and I had to talk through a lot of my exam because he wasn't well enough for me to get him sat up, or rolled over, or even do any deep breathing... Poor guy.

And the final torture was a 90 minute GP OSCE - 3 12-minute simulated consultations and 3 vivas. I flunked the hyperthyroid viva (SEs of carbimazole anyone?) but the others were ok... I think. Although we may have all failed the smear consultation - everyone fininshed really early, and no-one took a sexual history, despite her mentioned previous promiscuity, in the context of increasing her risk of cervical cancer. Everyone reassured her but no-one asked about her current sex life... Ah well, if we all failed they'll just have to lower the pass mark for that one!

I've had a good weekend not worrying about the results, which makes a change! Saturday afternoon Jenna, Di and I watched the music channels, drinking banana milkshakes and eating strawberries, while plaiting each others hair. It felt a bit like we were 12 again! In the evening I drove home to Sussex, and I haven't done a lot since. It's been very very nice.

I can't think about Friday and the results, because either way it's just too big. I'm simply enjoying the moment, this moment of not having anything to do. It feels very strange - I have this nagging sensation in the back of my head that I ought to be doing something... No matter, I expect I shall get used to it.