Wednesday, 25 January 2012

My first time

My friend and I are sat with all our equipment prepped in a sterile dish, gloves on, surveilling the patients in front of us apprehensively.  Introductions done, procedure explained, consent obtained and the area swabbed with an alcohol wipe - one wipe top to bottom, and we could put it off no longer.  I reached for the cannula, removed the cap, wiggled it to check it wasn't stuck, put the bung to one side and willed a vein to jump out and dance at me.  Vein selected, palpated and pinned I advanced the needle through the skin which was tougher than I thought it would be.  Nothing.  I wiggled a little, still nothing.  I looked at my friend who peered and said "you have to pump the thingie to make the pressure for the flashback".  I dutifully reached around the back of the severed rubber arm and pumped the balloon but still no flashback.  My friend reached over and gave a few more pumps for luck while I advanced the needle a little further.  Just then, "aaaarrrrghhhhh!" I shout, as bright red fake blood squirts out of the end of the cannula all over me.  "Oooohhh, tourniquet off, needle out a touch, advance the cannula, pinch the vein, needle out, thumb over the end, needle in the bin, bung on!" yells my friend, helpfully.  I try and comply and wish for a few more fingers and pairs of hands to do all of that at once, as blood continues to spurt everywhere - a little too much pressure added maybe?  I got in a bit of a mess with the sticky thing, as it doesn't stick well to rubber but I got the gist and before long I was looking proudly at my first ever cannula, happily splattered in fake blood.  I looked at my friend who was trying to flush his with saline.  He was having a little difficulty and the saline wouldn't go in, so he put more force behind the syringe.  The saline squirted out around the port, spraying us both.  Despite our mishaps, job well done and we've been told it's much easier on real people.  I did get some odd looks at work later though, with my hands stained in cherry red blood.  Totally worth it though.  And now, if I'm asked if I'd like to try putting a cannula in I can honestly say it's not my first time.  I just won't tell them about the bit where I screamed in the middle.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Exam post mortem and my new friend

The exam went ok, I think.  I'm not really sure.  I haven't found any yet that I got wrong through overhearing other people discussing questions.  I fall in the group of people that doesn't like doing post mortems on exams.  I am very competent all on my own at beating myself up and second guessing my answers, I don't need any help thank you very much.  I can't change what I did so it's best for my sanity and sleep cycle if I just forget about it.  I answered less questions than last time, which could mean I have done better as I will have gotten fewer minus points for getting questions wrong, or worse as I didn't answer as many so didn't have a chance to get points.  Aargh, see? Neurotic about Track, neurotic about exams, maybe it's a medical student thing?  Or me, just me :)  My last minute cramming sort of worked.  There was a question about B symptoms in leukaemia.  I read a little about B symptoms, but only that they existed, I didn't read what they were.  If I'd just have read the rest of the paragraph!

I have moved back home for two weeks whilst my parents are away on holiday to cat sit.  This weekend was the loneliest time in my life.  The two people I talk to every day, Mum and Mr have left the country, and I had to move back to my parents house.  Normally I like to be on my own but it's different because in my house I can always hear the noises from other people.  Here it's just me and a cat that hates people.  She had very little human contact and she's only two, so she doesn't really know how to be a domestic cat.  Every time I stand she runs away.  I enter a room and she leaves it.  She sleeps all day then yells at me to go to bed so she can play all night with me gone.

Today, we had a breakthrough.  My computer is set up on the dining table and today she has come to sit next to me on the corner of the table, staring at the computer screen.  I've been watching the streams of our lectures, and the take the form of a split screen with a view of the lecturer and a view of the powerpoint.  Freya keeps watching the lecturer and every now and then bopping them in an "Ah, shut uppa ya face" sort of way.  It's hilarious.  Now she's weedled her way into the space between my bum and the back of the seat.  She's curled up in a little ball, very happy and purring.  There's a big bully cat who keeps coming in and eating all her food and she just yowls at it, terrified.  Every time she yowls I come running with a water pistol, whether it's 3am or 9 am (and believe me we've done all times in between).  She runs away, I see off the cat and she creeps back to make sure it's gone.  I think that may have won me some brownie points.  That and I haven't actively tried to eat her yet.  I've gotten back into my normal routine and done my big cook for the weeks' evening meals and lunches (pork and mushroom stew and a vegetable pasta, if you wondered) and so with that and Freya's offering of friendship, today hasn't been quite so glum.  Also, it turns out the boiler in my student house has broken and they haven't any hot water or heating, so it turns out this was all timed quite well after all.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Fear

So, as is usual with me, it's the night before the AMK and I have the fear.  I have the fear so bad, I'm pretty numb with it to be honest.  I am about 99% certain I won't be able to beat last time's score, so I'm just psyching myself up to telling my family and friends I've gone down.  It doesn't even really feel like there'll be an exam tomorrow.  I've got PBL in the morning with a new facilitator who's pretty strict and pro-science/anti-fluffy stuff so hopefully he'll impart some pearls of wisdom as there's literally 15 minutes between finishing the session with him and the coach leaving to take us to the exam venue.  Before an AMK you'd usually find me pretty spaced out doing last minute cramming in my room, on the walk to the coach, going up the stairs to the exam hall, to the very last minute.  People tell me it's not good and if I don't know it by now I never will, but I know for a fact that I got at least one mark last time because of last second cramming - an odd sentence I read in a dermatology section about livestock handlers and skin diseases, and a question about orf came up.  It works for me.

Mr is now ridiculously far away for a stupidly long time.  It's not even really worth counting sleeps it's so far away - 108 sleeps.  I can't even comprehend how many fingers and toes and noses I'd need to count all of them :(  New Years was lovely though.  It filled up really early, so we were there in the rain from 7pm and my evening included a fun hour long queue for the loo.  The fireworks were worth it though - absolutely amazing.

I'm off to go cook tea - squash gnudi om, nom, such a student diet.  See you on the other side, and happy new year.