Monday, June 30, 2008


So all my stuff is now at Lily's. Mostly in boxes.

Nowhere feels like home anymore. So many things need to be done in this house for it to be sorted. Most importantly at least one new bookcase, and a new bed (so bed boxes can go underneath for shoes). Until this happens this pile will have to stay in the corner of my room:(Yes, both those Ikea bags are full of shoes. Yes, this is my reduced shoe collection - only shoes I really really need. The rest of them went home a few weeks ago... And no, I don't usually keep them like this. Normally they are arranged in pairs inside my bed box, ordered according to use. I know, I'm cool.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Moving house...

I hate moving house. This time even more than the last move, as I've been in this house for two years, and I've become very settled. Still there are LOTS of things I hate about this house (the damp, the slugs, the tiny size of my room, sharing with 4 others), so moving out won't be all bad.

My new house is very close to my current house - still in Studentville. I've got mixed feelings about that... Although it's nice to remain in an area I'm familiar with, where there are lots of friends close by, I still feel as though I am not really moving on. I think this feeling will pass with starting work, and I am definitely sure it will pass once I get my first pay check, but until then? Nothing's moved on for me.

I think this feeling is compounded by my best friend moving into a grown up flat with her boyfriend. The icing on the cake (or salt in the wound...) is my parents mentioning their horror about my continued single status.

Possibly I am about to become a complete reincarnation on Bridget Jones.

Meh, whatever. At least I don't have to live alone. I tend to got a little (more) barking when left alone for long periods, and I do not relish the idea of ever living alone. Although I am starting to see it as a viable option for the future. Well, perhaps less 'viable', and more 'necessary'. Sigh. My new housemate is Lily, dear friend and the most talkative person I know, bar myself. Which may be a slightly bad call, as I don't think either of us will ever stop once we get live together!

As far as packing goes, it's not really happened. I had some professionals come and move it for me today (they were soooooo damn slick - in and out in 30 minutes and they arrived early! Although this was not such a bonus at the time as I wasn't dressed. Cue a 2 minute mad dash to get dressed and attempt presentable. Not sure I achieved it). Unfortunately, once the piano was out the full extent of the dirt in the 'music room' - the glorified lean-to next to my room - was revealed. It was baaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. I was forced to make an emergency dash to Sainsbury's for cleaning supplies (including an actual scrubbing brush - who knew they made them anymore?) and then spent two hours scrubbing and wiping and mopping. My favourite way to spend an afternoon.... I then started shoving things in boxes, but kept being sidetracked. By really important things like painting a box to keep my paint in, sorting my stickers out, eating Maltesers, dusting the living room and other useful stuff like that.

Tomorrow the parentals are coming up for the final push, and hopefully I'll be fully installed at Lily's by the end of the day. I don't have to be out of here until Monday, so there's still time...

Oh, I hate packing.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Black Country Living Museum


I hold my hands up now and confess that I am a big museum geek (this is the girl who spent an entire day at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Yes, from the opening time of 10am to the closing time on 5pm I was inside the museum. It was awesome). I absolutely love museums. Today I indulged that love with a trip to Dudley.

The Black Country Museum is an open air living museum, which basically boils down to a great big field filled with old houses, taken brick by brick from their original sites, populated by costumed volunteers who can tell the story of the house and the people who lived there. The area known as the Black Country includes Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall, and is so named because of the high concentration of industry there in the 19th century. The vast numbers of coal mines and iron foundrys turned the area black with smog (or so the legend goes...). The accent's pretty damn special too. And very different from the Brummies! Never confuse the two, or you'll be in trouble...

It was a great day out - especially the fish and chips for lunch! The secret recipe? Fry them in beef dripping... Sounds repulsive, tastes absolutely divine!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Final Year Dinner 'Weekend' Away

On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday last week, the final year medics took over a lovely hotel in the Cotswolds. It was a celebration of finishing the last five years alive. A chance to party with friends who are soon to leave, a chance to let our hair down, and a chance to dress up to the max!

We had Pimms, a BBQ, a gala dinner, several yummy breakfasts, a day in a field duck-herding, driving buggys and shooting arrows, and wall to wall sunshine. It was fantastic!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The daftness of youth

When my sister was three years old, she cut her hair. On three separate occasions. Each time, she denied having done it, despite large chunks missing from her fringe, and lots of short hair in her bed. Needless to say, she was in a lot of trouble (increasing levels with each subsequent episode of hair mutilation). We thought she had finally learnt her lesson after the third go.

But no. 10 years down the line, and she cuts her own hair again. Not just a bit of a trim (which can be down accurately to one's own hair, especially a fringe tidy), oh no, my sister has to go the whole hog and attempt to cut in a new fringe. That's right, my thirteen year old sister thought she could restyle her own hair in the bathroom with a pair of nail scissors.

Unsurprisingly, it looked terrible, the mothership went spare, and my sister had an emergency hair appointment the very next day to have it rectified.

She did have to endure a day at school looking like a plonker though - maybe this will finally drive home the lesson 'Do not cut your own hair if you have not done a three year hair-dressing diploma'.

Sadly, I don't have high hopes for her ever learning this fact.

Friday, June 13, 2008

It's Official

Today has been rather a big day, for two reasons.

Firstly, final results were out today. I had no resits or borderline results, so I knew I was going to pass, but opening the email was still a bit scary. Unsurprisingly I didn't win a prize. I've always been a decidedly average student, and made a point of accepting this when I first arrived at uni, but still... a little bit of me wishes I was good enough for such honours!

Secondly, today was my final day of shadowing and my final day on placement as an undergraduate. It turned out to be a really good day. This morning's trauma meeting included an hour of teaching, and then my F1 'allowed' me to do all the work on the ward round, including talking through red flag symptoms with a back pain patient. Which I felt ok about, as I am a good communicator and he is not. I then headed to theatre and got all my shadowing forms signed off (my trust's form was a A4 sheet of tick boxes including ridiculous boxes such as 'talking to patients'. Yes, my consultant really did have to tick off that I had spoken to a patient during two weeks of shadowing). I then met up with Mirabelle (she's working at my hospital in August! Yay!) and we went to grand round. Where I had a amazing free lunch of fish and chips with salad, followed by tea and cake. I could definitely get used to that! The grand round talk was extremely interesting - all about the current provisions fro undergrad teaching and improvements happening in the future, plus an interactive quiz about learning styles.

Mirabelle and I rounded off our undergrad career by bunking off the afternoon (a classic med student tactic) and going shopping. Wooo! And tonight the girls and I celebrated finished with a low key evening in the pub. It did get a wee bit rowdy at times, as we copiously toasted five years of slog, finishing our degrees, and friendship.

I can't get my head round it though. I've finished. Actually finished my degree. There's nothing left to do but graduate. It's over. Really over.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Almost ready. At least, I think. Well, maybe.

I finish my job shadowing tomorrow. It's been an ok week - my lazy F1 palmed me off to the other T&O F1 for most of the week, and he is very sweet and hardworking, and gives me jobs to do. And having something to do makes me feel useful, and therefore content. Even a big pile of TTOs to drawl through makes me happy. Easily pleased, moi? Hell yes!

The trauma meetings every morning are great - especially when the trauma board is quiet, and the consultant leading the meeting starts a teaching discussion. They start with me - as the student I get the easy job of 'Describe this film'. I can usually acquit myself well. Then the focus moves to one of the F1s 'How would you manage this patient in A&E? What would you look for on examination?', then to the SHOs with 'How would you definitively manage this patient?' and finally onto the registrars when I really lose the plot as they begin quoting papers and reviews and the like at each other to discuss the pros and cons of various techniques. I may not know what going on at this point, but the x-rays are still cool!

Today one of our patients started to go off. In a bad way. My F1, who thinks I am really rather useless but is loath to actually do any work, sent me to do an ABG (arterial blood gas) on the patient. I was nervous about this - I've never done it unsupervised and I'm a bit rubbish at it, but I got it first go (big plus as reduced discomfort for the patient - I felt mean doing it even the once, as she really wasn't well, and it really is very unpleasant) and returned within moments to present him with my little tube of arterial blood. He didn't look impressed, and dispatched me to A&E with extremely vague instuctions to use the ABG machine. I was wetting myself because, as students, we've had so many lectures telling us horror stories about the damn things, mainly how easy they are to break and how expensive they are. I did not want to get it wrong. I eventually persuaded a nurse to help, but she wasn't happy, and even less happy as I squirted blood all over the floor in my attempt to expel any remaining trace of air. I know, I'm cool. She also stood over me as I cleaned it up, which pissed me off. I am not the kind of person to leave a mess behind me, not at work, its too important, and I would hardly have left a puddle of blood on the floor in resus. But, I guess she doesn't know me, and safety dictates she should tar me with the 'all doctors are lazy bastards' brush.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I got the results back, the patient got more oxygen, she got a wee bit better. Job done.

I think the most important thing I've learnt this week is that I am ready for the job. I want to be making a patient list, writing down jobs, prioritising, getting on and doing things, and feeling the satisfaction of a job well done. I want to be able to sign my own TTOs and drug charts, and not have to trail around after someone with the power. I'm ready to answer my bleep and run to save someone's life. Well, maybe write up some fluids anyway!

Don't get me wrong, I still terrified about actually being a doctor, but I'm also really excited about it too. I'm really looking forward to starting work, to having patients what are mine, and to being of some real use on the wards, instead of a spare part.

Wooo! Roll on August!

Monday, June 09, 2008


I'm in hospital. It's far far too early to be here. I left the house before 7am (the magical cut off point - before 7am = bad, after 7am = I'll cope). And the blasted ward round I was so determined not to be late for? It's not bloody on today. I could have had another 30 minutes in BED. Damn damn damn.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Pianos, organs and a pink pencil.

I went to a wedding yesterday. I didn't know the couple, as I was only there in my capacity as church choir alto section (yes, I am a natural soprano, and yes, I'm the only one who can sightread the hymns each week...). It was a small low-key wedding, but it was a lovely service.

However, it was also the first I'd heard about a problem with the piano at church. Last Sunday, it had been discovered that a whole section of notes around middle C were somehow sticking together and not playing properly. The piano tuner had been called, but had been unable to come in a fix it yet. All of which left me in rather a quandry as to what I was playing on Sunday morning...

We have a church organ. It's not a big organ, but it has two keyboards and a full set of pedals, and I've never played it before. I played the organ for one church service at home, before I came to uni, it was fun but I had to put in quite a lot of practice beforehand. This was going to have to be done on a quick run-through after the wedding on Saturday afternoon and another practice with the choir on Sunday morning.

It sort of worked. Ish. Let's just say the hymns were fine, but I really should work on my introductions, as somehow I manged to play every single introduction badly, and then be fine on the hymns. I didn't use any pedals, but I did have lots of fun pulling out lots of different stops for a multitude of sound effects! There is a weird treacly feeling when playing the organ, and a sensation of not being in time with the choir, due to a time delay from the action of my fingers and the sound coming out of the organ. I think you'd get used to it (maybe!) but it was really disconcerting.

After the service, one of my friends came up and congratulated me on a job pretty well done. He's a guitar teacher who works part-time in a music shop, and he volunteered to take a quick peek at the piano, and see if he could at least work out what the problem was. He took off the front of the piano, and lo and behold, there was the problem.

A bright pink pencil was wedged under the hammers.

He removed it and the piano was instantly returned to its usual melodic self. I was highly annoyed I'd not seen him before the service started! I have a worry that I'll now be asked to play the organ more often...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Um, yeah... whatever.

I don't really have a lot to say. I have been doing absolutely bugger all for the last week, and its been goooooood. I had a nice weekend at home, I've had a number of high quality lie-ins, I've done a bit of pre-house move organising, and I've been drawing. It's nice for me but doesn't make for stimulating blog entrys. Sorry about that.

On a lighter note, how good is cherry Carmex?! I think it might have changed my lip balm habit FOREVER. I've suffered with a serious addiction to lip balm for several years now and tend to have little pots of the stuff secreted everywhere. From the obvious places - handbags, car, bedside table - to the much less obvious such as my pencil case. I also like to have lots of different types on the go at once. My previous favourite was a delicious Boots one with sage and almond oils, but at the same time I was also working a honey one and a propolis one. It's not like I have particularly dry lips, I just like to be fully moisturised at all times, and what better way than to always have a pot of lip balm handy. I ought to confess here that I also always carry a small tube of E45 for impromptu moisturising of hands, knees, elbows, and any other miscellaneous dry patches, as well as keeping an enormous 500g tub in the bathroom... I just like to be soft and smooth, ok? You got a problem with that?!

Ahem, so anyway, back to the point.

Sadly, after the impetigo incident I threw out all of my lip balms due to the irrational fear any/all where infected, and so far I've only bought one repleacement, the cherry Carmex. It's delicious - sweetly scented, softening and really tingly good, but I am going to limit myself to the one pot. Really. The obsession must stop.

I might just get another of those sage and almond ones tho. You know, just in case.