Friday, 30 December 2011

End of Year

Tomorrow I am training up to London to spend New Year's watching the fire works with mr.  If you're watching on the telly I'll be the one in the bobble hat at the front :) I am currently languishing in essay hell.  One fluffy essay on work life balance is written and submitted but the one off the back of my SSU I'm having much more difficulty with.  See, before we went into a tutorial session with the facilitator, one of my two placement partners asked what essay titles we'd picked.  When we went in to talk to the facilitator, the facilitator asked each of us in turn and the person that was asked before me, the person that had asked what we were doing outside, gave my idea as their own!  Bearing in mind that outside they had told us they were doing something completely different and they are also absolutely disgustingly, sickeningly, sweet and lovely, so you'd never believe they were capable of doing such an under-handed thing.  I was not amused.  It left me struggling to come up with an idea on the spot so as not to look under prepared in front of the consultant.  Now it turns out that there isn't anything to write about in that field and I am a little stuck.  The thing that my essay has turned into is way to big to write a 2000 word essay on and cover properly, but if I go wildly off topic and pick something else, the facilitator will wonder why as it was so different to what I was originally going to do.  I can't complain about the other student because that just looks like I'm moaning and I certainly can't do the same as them.

This year has gone pretty well, looking back through some of my blog posts.  Exams have all gone well, I had a lovely holiday with mr, I've been on some amazing placements, proved to myself that I actually can do this medicine lark, met some inspiring people, and started to try and come out of myself a little more and be a bit braver.  Next year I will be trying to do some sort of fitness each day, make a real effort to stop ignoring emails and messages form friends and actually find time to meet up with them like I said I would and try to moan at you lovely readers a little less.

I hope the new year will bring you everything you want, be it luck, a medicine place, health, friendship, love or wealth.  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Well, the cancer clinic was as dire as I thought it would be.  It was the closest I have come to crying in clinic, which I know is totally inappropriate, but I had to look away and steal myself to stop a tear rolling down my cheek.  A patient came in with their sons and was told that the headache and cough they'd had for the last couple of weeks wasn't a head cold like their GP had told them but a met from lung cancer they also didn't know they had.  They have weeks left.  They joked if they'd have known they would go like this, they wouldn't have stopped drinking all those years ago.  The GP had told them once the headaches had gone they'd do something about helping them quite smoking.  It took a good while for the patient to decide if they even wanted a diagnosis.  That seems alien to me.  Is it better to not know?  To not have a name to call the evil you have to try to fight?  Not knowing would be worse for me.  Funny how different people are. 

I've moved home for the two weeks of christmas holidays.  I am working full tim at the surgery, and spending the rest of my time on my knees trying to find the balls that my cat has lost.  I'm trying to show her I'm the magic ball finding lady, not the terrifying lady she thinks I am at the moment.  She's forgotten the hours we spent under the sofa together and runs away from me now.  Which is doublly sad because I am normally one of those crazy cat ladies/cat whisperer that has cats follow them home and roll over for tummy tickles the first time they see me.  Not my own cat though. 

New Year's is all booked for me and mr to see the fireworks on the embankment in London again.  It will be our third year.  Not sure what we're doing in the daytime yet but train tickets, hotel, restaurant vouchers from tescos points all booked and sorted.  I can't wait.  It's a little sad, but in some ways I'm looking forward to that more than Christmas.  I was trying to find a Christmas card for him, but all the couples card's kept saying about how special it was to spend Christmas with your loved one and how magic they make the day.  One day.  I hope you've all bought the Military Wives Choir song, it should def be Christmas Number 1. 

Hope you're all having a nice break for Christmas and those interviews and offers are rolling in.  Good luck and Happy Christmas!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Colourless, green, yellow or black?

Can you guess what I'm doing at the moment?  I am about to start my final week on a respiratory outpatients SSU.  I had been thinking that maybe respiratory could be the speciality for me and whilst I have enjoyed these two weeks, but now I've done a little - nope.  Another speciality choice crossed off the list.  It has been the most depressing couple of weeks.  It is probably not the most depressing - oncology, palliative, I can see those as being sad; I would go into them prepared.  This was an ambush of sad.

First patient of the day comes into the room, consultant looks at the scans.  We are sat behind the consultant staring in awe at the proceedings, not quite believing we are in an actual hospital seeing actual patients and trying really hard to look like we've done this loads of times before and sort of know what we're doing.  The consultant has quite a thick accent so I find I have to concentrate a lot on what he's saying to understand it.  What gives the game away though is the look of utter shock on the patient's and their relatives face.  The look someone gets when their whole world falls apart.  That the shortness of breath their loved one has been feeling and the slight cough is actually ideopathic pulmonary fibrosis and there's nothing that can be done.  That they have about 2-3 years left of increasing shortness of breath and decreasing quality of life as the fibrosis rips through their lungs, spreading like cancer.  Repeat this for two clinics a day for two weeks with one and a half days of to work at the GP's and that's my last two weeks.

The consultant was explaining to a patient that they could be put on this experimental anti-fibrotic drug.  It isn't licensed yet and the drug company will give it to the hospital for free to so that if it does end up being licensed the hospital will be more willing to pay for it because they have patients on it already.  The drug may not work, but you might think it's better than doing nothing.  The patient looked at me and asked what I thought they should do.  I had no words.  As they left, the patient thanked me for my time, patted me on the shoulder and told me to enjoy my life.  I know that death is a big part of being a Doctor.  I'm not naive enough to think that everyone can be saved.  I just wasn't expecting to meet it so soon.

A patient was seen with a whole list of problems, but they are happy, up beat, they have a strong family network, they still do things, but they'll be dead in 6 months.  It's incomprehensible   It just makes me want that parallel life with me curled up with mr on a big comfy sofa in front of a roaring wood fire with a couple of dogs and cats lying about the place.  I want my life now, I don't want to keep waiting for it.  It doesn't help I'm currently trying to write an essay on work life balance (as in my lack of one and the changes I plan to make to get one), and that January is creeping ever closer.  In January mr starts the longest period of time we've ever been apart.  He goes from being far away, but not too far that I can't go visiting some weekends, to ridiculously far away.  He's not going anywhere scary, but he is going far away for roughly 98 sleeps.  We don't have the exact dates yet.  Thank goodness for whoever invented Skype.

It might be a little hard to believe from the way I'm moping, but between writing this post and the last I did cheer up considerably.  I had one of those special moments girls get when they go clothes shopping and realise they've dropped a dress size.  Fantastic feeling.  I also finished all my Christmas shopping, I just have to put a few more coats of varnish on things I have been making for family presents, finish writing the cards and I am done.  Tomorrow is home visits and the cancer clinic.  Psyching myself up for it with hot chocolate and biscuits.