Wednesday, April 30, 2008

2 hours until the start of my therapeutics OSCE. I've been sat at my desk revising the management of everything I can think of. All the drugs and numbers are rattling about in my brain, I just have to hope the right ones come spilling out in the exam.

I feel so sick. I've been dreading this exam since I found out about it in 3rd year. That's a long time to build up a goodly amount to anxiety.

Oh, oh, oh.

Well, I had better go at look at some lunch. I think I am beyond looking at my notes and books.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Oh my. It was bad.

One of the MCQ questions was a table of ABG results (A through to J) from which we had to pick the correct one for each clinical scenario. A tiny sentence. It was HIDEOUS.

Roll on Friday.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Here we go...

First exam tomorrow afternoon.


I've been sat at my desk all weekend (or so it feels), making a concerted effort to push knowledge into my grey matter. So far, I feel it hasn't worked. I've been reading and highlighting and reciting out loud for quite literally hours but I'm not sure how much has stuck.

And tomorrow we find out. Oh dear.

Friday, April 25, 2008

It's been a long two weeks.

So today I finish my GP placement. It's been a good placment - lots of hard work but very interesting. I feel I've come on leaps and bounds in confidence, and my management plans are starting to actually make sense! However, I've been working long hours - 8.30am til 5-5.30pm and what with revising every evening and trying to have a life, I've rather lost the blogging plot and haven't been keeping you updated with my escapades in GP land. Sadly, I can't even promise that this is going to change soon - the exams are next week...

I can't believe this placement finishes today. Mainly because (fingers crossed, touching wood) it is the last placement I'll do as a student. Oh, God, I hope it is. I am very very stressed about this next set of exams - I've got an MCQ (Monday) and 3 OSCES - therapeutics (Wednesday), medicine (Thursday) and GP (Friday).

These exmas are huge. If I pass, that's it, I'm a doctor. If I fail, well, I have the humiliation of telling everyone (2/3rds of my friends have already passed this one) and the massive stress of resits. Which would be a rather inappropriate first time for me.

I can't think about either outcome, not until I have the results in my hands, because its too big. Far far too big.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It's Kal's birthday today. His birthday gift is this link.

And this bit of shameless plugging: Kal is ambulance technician (now training to be a paramedic), who blogs about his experiences, telling the beautiful, touching, complex, grim and sometimes downright nasty stories of the people he meets. He writes with grit, compassion and a deliciously sideways sense of humour. I recently discovered him and have been avidly reading his 'best of' posts. It's blogs like his that make me thank my lucky stars to have been born in an age with the internet...

But anyway, what are you still doing here?! Go will you, go!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Trialling Tarts

Sylvia and I have a dream.

The perfect treacle tart.

The dream began a few weeks ago, when we discussed the sublime treacle tart of our fevered imaginings. Golden, sticky, oozing filling in a light pastry case. We meticulously planned the evening of the baking and eating of the tart of dreams. We found a recipe, we bought ingredients, we measured and stirred and baked.

But it was all a lie, and we were heartbroken. The tart was not as good as we wanted. As we needed.

I've been mulling over the imperfections in our tart over the last few weeks, and after a read of what our Heston and some others have to say, I made some changes to the original - increasing the amount of filling, bringing the syrup content up to twice the bread content, adding an egg and some cream, plus a touch of nutmeg as well as ginger. I stuck to our original choice of a shortbread pastry base, because it was the only good thing about the original tart.

And this time? Oh, it was perfect. Utterly sticky syrupy deliciousness in a shortbread pastry case.

Sadly, it was eaten too fast for a picture, a la missbliss, but I promise that next time, there will be. Somehow, I don't think it'll be too long until the next time.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Collected thoughts

Whilst playing in church this morning (that gig is going much better thanks, fewer and fewer terrible mistakes) the choir mistress tried to make me go faster, in a hymn that 1) didn't need to and 2) was causing my fingers to tie into knots. I don't like being dictated to over speed, but will normally comply. Something in me snapped today, and I just didn't want to. It was post communion, we were nearly done, why bother tying myself in a knot? After trying to drag me faster with her voice, then clicking her fingers, then encouraging the choir to all go faster I snapped. If she wanted a race, she was damn well going to get one. And off I went, anger lending my fingers the dextrity to fly across the keys. By the end of the hymn, the choir were struggling to keep up, breathless and creased with laughter. Goodness knows where the congregation were...

Don't mess with me, because if you want to race, I'll give as good as I bloody get.


I had a very very delicious dinner tonight - spiced lentils with some cracking chilli and coriander laced pork sausages. Italian inspired. Ish.


Tom was at the fancy dress party I went to last week. It seemed as though everything was back to normal - we interacted without any awkwardness, even having a proper half hour gossip in the kitchen over tea, just like the good old days of being truly just friends. But then I bumped into him today in Sainsburys and it was intensely awkward. It wasn't helped by Mirabelle's prescence either - she hates him and he knows it (as any good girlfriend should, Mirabelle instantaneously offered to go and rip out his liver when he did me wrong). Anyway, it all adds up to an afternoon mulling over the friendship I've lost as revision distraction. Not fun.

Oh and the radio kept playing the Kooks:

'...and I always thought I would end up with you, eventually'

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Dress

I've found it! And my mum's bought it! The dress for the Final Year Dinner! Woop Woop!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The way ahead is unclear

There's 2 weeks left until medicine finals.

2 weeks left until the last set of exams.

2 weeks until the end of 5 years of work.

I'm terrified. Firstly, because 'ohmigod it's like medicine finals, they're soooo hard!', and secondly, because this the last hurdle to the real world. I've spent five years working towards this moment, and I'm worried this is going to be the one I fail. I'm going to cock up, and everyone will know I'm a fraud.

Passing these exams would be massive. It would be the start of my life. Once you get over medicine finals, you're a doctor. Yeah, a real life actual honest-to-god doctor. This means you are supposed to know stuff. Clever, useful medical stuff. I don't. Ooops. I've got through the last five years by half arsing my way through every topic and every set of exams. And now I'm supposed to recall this information?! It's all going to go horribly wrong.

I desperately want it to be over, and I desperately don't. Argh. Everyone keeps talking about after exams, and making plans, and I can't. I am very superstitious about this sort of thing, and have been touching wood even more than usual in the last few weeks. I'm scared that taking it (it meaning passing medicine and the whole getting a degree thing) will jinx it, and the future I want is going to go skipping off into the merry sunset with some other lucky bastard.

My brain can't cope with the enormity of the whole thing. Put it this way, 4 weeks today I could be finding out I've made it, I'm going to be a doctor. Or I could be crying into my emails because I've fallen at the final hurdle...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Mild Case of Cannabalism

While sat on the sofa with Sylvia watching Neighbours at lunchtime (I love Neighbours and I love Channel 5 for putting in on 3 times a day and an omnibus at the weekends), I waved my leg in the air and began a tirade about their width and how I hated them.

Sylvia, kind soul that she is, tried to reassure me 'It's all muscle, you know it is. Oooooh, you'd be really tasty. I am 100% vegetarian, but I'd go for a bit of cannabalism.'

I will be locking my bedroom door every night from now on.

Monday, April 07, 2008

In A Former Life...

...I was definitely a drag queen. I went to a fancy dress party on Saturday as a peacock (the theme was 'P'). I had a lot of fun with my makeup:

Evolving Language

I love the way new verbs are created from nouns.

Such as the medschool classic I heard this morning in a clinical skills session (yes, they were finally teaching us to take blood - after 3 years of doing it...). We have a system in place for clinical staff to flag up a potential problem students by filling in a concern form. The form is used for students who have a personal problem, or who seem to be struggling, or are unprofessional (rude to staff or patients, late, low standards of personal hygiene - I kid you not). The form is a bright lemon yellow, hence the ubiquitous phrase:

'That bastard surgeon yellow-formed me for being late to the start of his list!'

Ah, the sweet sweet joy of the evolution of language.

Friday, April 04, 2008

It's Official: I'm old

I rang my family last night (to warn of an impending package and negotiate some money from the bank of Mum and Dad), and spoke to my little sister first:

'Mum's finishing her dinner... She says ring her back in 5 minutes.'

'Can't I just talk to you for 5 minutes?'

'Why? I've got nothing to say to you.'

Humph. Yeah well, I managed to keep her in some sort of conversation for 3 1/2 minutes, before my Mum took over.

'So, did she tell you her bit of news?'

'Umm no, she was rubbish, and didn't want to talk to me.'

'Well... [dramatic pause] ...she became a woman this week.'

Cue momentarily silence from me as I work this one out.

'Oh God! Poor kid. That sucks. Now she knows how rubbish it is to be a woman. And its for the reat of her life. Nearly.'

So there you have it. My baby sister is reproductively mature and I'm officially old. Am I mean to be jealous that she didn't start her periods til 13 1/2 years, and I was only 12?

Thursday, April 03, 2008


I love performing. One might say I'm a born performer. If I know what I'm doing, I can rock it. Usually a song, but even presentations if the subject is one where I'm sure of what I know.

I do not rock playing the piano. I'm competent but hate playing in public. When I took my grade 5, aged 15, I vowed I would never take another piano exam. And I haven't. I sometimes regret that choice - I played to the level of grade 8 with my teacher, but never took any formal exams to prove it. Maybe one day I'll go back and rectify that. Maybe...

Playing the piano keeps me sane when things are tough. If I'm playing, and especially if I'm playing and singing, I can block out everything. Troubles, worries, the passage of time... I am eternally grateful that my Mum persuaded my 10 year old self it was a good idea to take lessons, and gently nudged me to practice fairly regularly. Although even from the beginning, when I could only string together a few notes and chords, I truly loved sitting and playing. I just wasn't very good at directed playing, ie directed towards learning my scales (I failed the scale section of my grade 4 exam...).

Last summer, my dear friend Felicity took a long summer holiday, and wasn't around to play at church, as is her usual job. So she (rather rashly, I feel) asked me to play for her. I am perfectly capable of doing this, I'm just not comfortable doing it. But, a wage packet came with the playing, and as I would be in church anyway, I gave it a go. I sort of managed, and have become the usual suspect if Felicity needs a week off, which does imply some sort of faith in me. I've become less hung up on playing in public, and better at keeping going even when all fingers have become entangled and no correct notes are issuing from the piano. God love the Anglicans, they'll keep droning on the words to their favourite hymns whatever cock ups I make.

And there's been a quite a few rather spectacular mishaps. Like the time Felicity unexpectedly came into a church service when I was playing, and I freaked out and addded a whole bunch of unneccesary sharps to the introduction of the next hymn. A quiet reflective communion hymn. It was hideous.

And the Sunday (I may have been a leeetle hung over) I played a crashingly bad introduction to the first hymn and some old bat in the front row shook her head and whispered to her neighbour(loudly enough for me to hear!) 'Oh dear...'.

Oh, and the time I played an extra verse of the hymn, and was halfway through the second line before I realised no-one was singing, and then trailed to a slow and halting stop...

Oh yes, there's the time I played a gentle piece of music for the vicar and his altar attendant people thingummys to process out to, then tried to turn the page halfway through and dropped the sodding book on the keyboard. That one was applauded, and to this day I don't know if it was because the congregation thought if they clapped I'd stop, or they thought it was a brilliant end to a very modern interpretation, or if they just didn't notice...

I am getting better though... I played last week and only made a couple of marginal mistakes. And I'm playing for the next couple of weeks while Felicity is on her elective. Of course, I've now jinxed those by saying I'm getting better.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Do you know what I've been singing all afternoon?

Algy met the bear,
The bear met Algy,
The bear was bulgy,
The bulge was Algy...

(and that's a song for innocent little school kids. Why do all seemingly 'nice' kids stories and songs have some sort of creepy moral to them?)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


I'm lonely at the moment. I don't mean for friends - I am extremely blessed in the friendship department, with some truly spectacularly good friends - I mean for a 'someone'. Someone to belong to, and have him belong to me.

My best friend is moving in with her boyfriend in a few short months. They've been discussing children, and I don't mean in a 'let's call them Mufasa and Sauron the Dark Lord*' kinda way. I mean in a 'when and how many' kind of way. It's very real, and very far out of my reach.

I'm definitely not ready for that yet, but I would like to be at least able to relate to that. To be able to think, yeah, I'll be there in a few years. Right now, it all seems light years from me.

And I'm worried that loneliness will turn me into a bitter old woman before I ever get the chance.

* yes, these really are the names of my brother's future children. Let's hope no woman is ever daft enough to procreate with him for the sake of said future children.