Saturday, 20 November 2010


I am adding to the list of animals which have been sacrificed for my education.  Starting with flies, maggots and sheep for the IB, moving through frogs, mice and hamsters for my first degree I can now add pigs to the list.  Thursday afternoon/evening saw me taking a scalpel to a pigs trotter so I could learn how to stitch it up again.  I'm not sure I've ever felt so guilty but had so much fun in my life.  If I'm being totally fair, the sheep and pigs were just bits left over from a butcher, the frogs were saved from being frogs' legs and the mice are specially bred to be lab mice.

We have various societies here which, instead of organising socials, organise extra lectures and workshops, and this was one of them.  There was only one other first year that got a place, and only ten of us at all, and otherwise us first years don't get to learn suturing until the end of the first year when it will probably be a 30 minute session before being whisked off to learn something else.  This was two glorious hours.  My theory was that I am pants at sewing, utterly pants.  As in, I sewed patches on my jeans because I had holes where a lady probably shouldn't have holes and try and get away with calling it fashion, so I bought material, made a patch and sewed it on.  Half way through a trip out to town all the patches fell off.  Embarrassed bean.  I figured therefore, I would be a good idea to get as much practice in as possible, and I am still on a mission to collect skills that show yes, I am actually training to be a proper Dr, not just doing another science degree.  I can now do plain interrupted sutures and mattress interrupted sutures and the facilitator said my stitches were excellent :D

Mum had great fun telling my aunt I got 8% in an exam and watching her squirm before explaining how our exams work.  My aunt has always been very supportive, but has also always been the first to point out to mum that medicine is very hard, and only the cleverest get on, and wouldn't I rather do something else instead.

I also went to a careers event in the week - Women in Surgery which had some amazing speakers.  There was a Dr from the GB health team that went to the Beijing and Athens Olympics, an amazing Romanian Plastic surgeon who was terrifyingly brilliant - by the time she finished med school she had 55 poster, 30 papers and had spoken at loads of conferences.  She figured if she tripled the entrance requirements no one could tell her she wasn't good enough.  Apparently, although at medical school the gender balance is equal, only 8% of the Consultants in Britain are female.  I can't remember if that's all Consultants or Surgical Consultants, but it's not good either way.  All the speakers were great, with fantastic sense of humours and I got free food, it was a free event with free transport and a certificate :)

Finally, congratulations and commiserations to all the people who got their GAMSAT results yesterday.  It seems all the people I was rooting for didn't pass so I really am gutted for you.  It is a ridiculously hard exam, no matter what anyone says.

1 comment:

Grumpy Biomed said...

Your aunt sounds a bit like my sister...very supportive, but always saying that medicine is "only for the best"...I think she's probably just trying to protect you, but it can be annoying...