Friday, January 25, 2008


I bloody did it. I passed Surgery and Agenda. Not exactly brilliantly, but it was a pass...

Now I only have Medicine and GP to get through. Holy crap. I 'm really really going to have to work over the next few months.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

First one done, but that was the easiest bit. Turn up, write name, tick boxes. Of course, reading the paper and choosing the most appropriate answer is helpful on the path to passing...

Tomorrow is the first of two OSCE - AGENDA. That's A&E, GUM, ENT, Neuro and Derm.

At the moment I swing between calm acceptance and blind terror. These are just another set of exams to get through, just another hoop on the road to graduating. And on the other hand, they're my FINALS. Words to strike terror into the hearts of medics across the land.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I'm fighting waves of nausea and have a very tense, painful neck.

Exams start tomorrow.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The long and and short of it

It's been a funny old week.

All the 3rd and 4th years have been starting brand new hospital placements, their little faces all shiny with excitment. Or possibly just perspiration. In contrast, all the 5th years have been in an odd sort of limbo - we had to return to complete one week of our last block of 2007, before a week of exams. Our faces were definitely shiny with perspiration. The perspiration of finals terror.

Personally, I found myself doing a week of Dermatology. I wasn't looking forward to it, as peering at other people's spotty, pimply, scaley bits has never been my idea of fun, but it hasn't been as bad as I feared. It has still been an extremely looooong week though. I have taken one history this week - under supervision (what?!) - and described many erythematous, crusted lesions, but I didn't get to do anything else. And that adds up to a lot of hours spent listening to a consultant dermatologist explain the treatment of eczema...

On the other hand, this week has flown by. Next week are the dreaded surgery finals, and I've been trying to choke down as much revision as I can. I don't think its enough. I didn't work very hard during my surgery placement - at least not in the academic sense. I think being on the ward round every day at 8am for the ward round and then spending countless hours bleeding patients and taking forms to radiology does count as working hard, but although it may teach you a great deal about actually being an F1, it counts for bugger all when faced with an MCQ/EMQ paper and an OSCE. I really could have done with this week lasting considerably longer and including a lot more hours of work than it has.

I forsee a weekend of utter misery ahead.

PS On a brighter note I have swum 2560 m this week. But could only fit in one run so far - the next one is tomorrow afternoon. Unless it's snowing.

PPS Go watch this. Bill Bailey is a genius.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I'm in!

Worcester and Hereford, are you ready for Dr Anna?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Tomorrow is the Big Day.

(Alright, so it's probably not the Biggest Day this year. After all, this is a year filled with Big Days. Most so Big I am too scared to even think about them... )

Tomorrow is the day our Foundation school allocations are released. This is a the first part of a complex process designed to find all medschool graduates a job in August. It will effectively allocate us all to an area of the country. Some of these are pretty big - the whole of Scotland for instance. The West Midlands Deanery is fairly small, and is split into even smaller Foundation Schools. My top choice only has 3 hospitals, all of them friendly DGHs, with a nice line in countryside surroundings.

I decided I wanted to stay in the West Midlands for F1 and F2 sometime between 3rd and 4th year. I know the area, I know the hospitals, most of my friends are staying here too. West Midlands FSs were my top 3 choices, and I really hope I've got one of them... I considered moving elsewhere, but apart from returning home to Sussex, I have no other draws to another area. And moving back home isn't really an option anyway - my close friends are in Brum, and the FS home fall into is huge and encompasses part of London. Hmmm, so the competition won't be too high then! Sadly, I keep have a recurring panic that my choices will have registered wrong (it's all done electronically and I just don't trust it) and I'm going to end up miles away. Like in Scotland.

I really want to know where I'll be, so I can start making decisions. Important ones, including where to live. I won't be staying in this house, and I won't be staying with these housemates. Mirabelle is moving in with her boyfriend, Sylvia has another year of medicine to go and Di is moving into the centre of Birmingham as she's going to - hopes to - remain in the city, at one of the big hospitals. At the moment, my plans for next year are tentative little things, sitting on hold, waiting. Lily and I hope to houseshare next year, and keep planning things and getting excited, and then have to remind ourselves that we'll only be housesharing if this goes in our favour... I hate the uncertainty. It's just like A-levels, UCAS and going to uni all over again. Sigh.

On a more positive note, Sylvia and I went for our first run of the new training programme. We've started at Week 5 of a 9 week internet programme, due to last year's work, and it felt just about the right level. Hard, but not I'm-dying-hard. Starting in the latter half of the programme will stretch it out - we're going to spend two weeks on each level. Hopefully this will make the transition to each level up easier...!

Monday, January 07, 2008


Ahem. I forgot one resolution:

5. I solemnly resolve not to form inappropriate attachments to men who are not interested in me.

I fear this will be the hardest to keep...

Sunday, January 06, 2008

New Year, New Term, New...Me?

I've finally decided to make some resolutions for the New Year (yeah, I know, but better late than never):

1. Complete the training plan Sylvia and I devised tonight to get us to running 5k over the next 8 weeks, and then run 3 miles 3 times a week.

2. Cut out dairy until February, and then reintroduce slowly. I'm full of snot and feeling rough, and it'll make me feel sooooo much better. Especially after all the decadences of Christmas...

3. Make better food choices and reduce snacking (Mirabelle the Food Nazi will be on this one after exams. She shouts 'Do you need that?! Do you REALLY need that?!' everytime I go near a biscuit whenever I ask her to help me trim down. Works like a charm for fitting into ball gowns) to get my BMI below 25. Where is really ought to be. Sigh.

4. Go to bed at a reasonable time!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Urgh. Enthusiasm for life has drained out of me in inverse proportion to the size of the lymph nodes in my neck. So much so, I'm staying home for another night, taking Night Nurse and snuggling in my bed. Mmmmm bed.

I did manage to raise a chuckle to this corker though. I feel a bit sorry for James Blunt, but then I consider the utterly awfulness of his new song and I stop.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Last Times

2008 was always the Big One, that moment up ahead where I would finally get there. Where ‘there’ was, I didn’t actually know, but I knew it involved becoming a Real Doctor. It probably also involved weighing a stone less, being considerably blonder and a whole lot wittier. I think it maybe meant being grown up, what ever that is.

Well, it’s bloody gone and snuck up and arrived hasn’t it. Without warning, 2008 has burst into my life, and I’m not there. Not remotely there. I don’t feel anywhere near grown up (and I’m still carrying that extra stone. And the mousy hair. And I’m not very witty either. Bugger).

Suddenely, the slow inexorable march of the Last Times has begun. The last time singing with the medics choir at Christmas; the last time walking from home to see the lights in Bournville; the last time I’ll attend the Medschool carol concert.

Soon those last times will be tainted with excitement, pleasure even. The last time of introducing myself to a patient as a medical student; the last time I write my university exam number on the top of a paper; the last time I fill out a form as ‘Miss’…

There's a last time for everything, I guess.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Wow! Can you believe its 2008 already? Where did 2007 go?

I’m feeling quite positive tonight. Which may be due to having just watched my brand new Hairspray DVD (man, I wanna shake and shimmy like those kids!) but I hope it is a new kind of optimism…

Mind you, I do have to get through the next lot of finals in 2 weeks time. Eeek! The surgery OSCE is going to be stiff. Definitely the toughest yet. A few days ago, I was terrified about failing, but now I can see that would not necessarily be a disaster. If I fail this block, I can resit no worries in the summer. I’ve passed everything so far, the Medschool would not freak out. I think the worst bit would be telling all my mates!

I missed blogging over Christmas. Unfortunately it is one of my uni routines that gets thrown out of whack by being at home. I have had a lovely time tho – eating, drinking, sleeping, present opening. My wonderful wonderful parents gave me the best gift – they’re going to pay for my final year weekend away with the rest of the graduating lot in June AND a new dress too! They are so good to me.

Seeing all my family has been lovely too. My poor Nan is knackered and thin after her op and the radiotherapy (which only paused for Christmas Day and Boxing Day) but bearing up well. My cousins, my brother and I are getting on even better than before, which is lovely. My paternal cousins (is that the right description? Who knows, but it works right?) are all a little older than me, and all never really wanted to know. I mean, nice enough, but not close. But the four of us on my Mum’s side of the family really are. And that’s great.

My uncle treated us (me and my brother and sister) and the cousins to a Christmas outing to see the Tutankhamun exhibition at the O2 arena last week. It was amazing. The gold glittered, the colours punched out bright and clear, the craftsmanship was superb, and all over 3000 years old… Truly incredible. The only disappointing aspect was the gaping hole left by Tut’s death mask – you know, the famous gold and blue face and headdress placed on his mummy. Apparently it was too fragile to leave Cairo, but it is a shame for it to be missing.

I’ve also been doing a bit of walking with the parentals and various siblings. The best have been to my two favourite beaches – Cuckmere Haven in the Seven Sisters Country Park, and West Wittering. The Witterings is my favourite beach in the world. It may not be the most beautiful, or special, but I spent so much of my childhood paddling there, learning to swim in the sea – which involved swallowing most of the sea! – that it will always hold a corner of my heart. My dad used to take me out to the sand banks, exposed by low tides, and we’d collect the shells and I’d make him carry them all back so I could show my mum. My mum would always be sitting on the beach, reading a book, keeping an eye on my little brother, who’d be digging a very large hole. No castles for our John, only big holes…

Rose and Dad had new digital cameras for Christmas, and of course John and I both have one, and we all took them to the beaches. Poor Mum was quite left out! Here’s my favourite from the Witterings (which is very different for the sunny, busy, summer at low tide pics on the site!):