30 May 2006

Bank Holiday Monday

Moody Merys
Originally uploaded by merysjones.
It's 1.37AM on my last night/morning before returning to university. Despite taking all my usual sleeping potions and combining them with alcohol and tonight's dross television, I'm still awake in the bedroom I lived in as a teenager.

I can't really type this on the home computer as I write this, as it would probably wake the parents up - but then again, I'm watching The Last Samurai on video (retro - I know) and the sound of gun shots hasn't woken them yet.

I'm currently looking around my old room at all the things I used to hold so dear - yet which now mean nothing to me.

I've unearthed my old high school and college Leaver's book and read all the comments from people whose opinion I used to choose my clothes and hairstyles by. I realise now just how insignificant it all was. People who I rarely raise a 'hello' to on MSN, yet who used to be my best friends. Am I fickle? No, with regards to high school friends I don't think I am. We had different priorities in life. My leaver's book is full of comments from people wishing me luck as a future doctor, while I remember writing comments in other people's books wishing them luck with their impending motherhood.

I've also just found an old photo album filled with pictures from my college and our end of 6th form ball. Apart from my obvious alcohol consumption I can remember little from the night. Is this because I see it as insignificant? Sadly, this is probably true. I started university with one of my best friends from college. Dissapointingly, within the space of our first year in halls, we were barely on speaking terms. We never really fell out - just drifted apart on our different courses. I don't know where she is now, and I don't run into her at university anymore. Is it a bad thing that I don't really care either?

I'm finding myself questioning whether I really am the callous, dismissive cow I think I am. Do I really deserve a best friend like Leela, who despite a physical distance of over 250 miles still gave me an earbashing for not keeping in touch?

Or am I just too independent for my own good; unable to accept help when it's offered, and destined to be lonely for the rest of my life?

I think only I really know the answer to that, and it worries me.

But then again, maybe it's the insomnia talking and the fact that it's now 1.52AM and I'm still awake. Wide awake.

28 May 2006

Slow puncture

Having had a full night's sleep I feel a little more human now (although still not caught up!) so after breakfast I went out and checked my car over and went for a little drive out. Now when checking my tyres I noticed one was a little *ahem* squishy - but it wasn't very obvious sunk in the gravel of the drive. So I popped around to the filling station nearby (driving very carefully) and checked my tyre pressure. When I got out of the car at the filling station and had a look at the tyre on tarmac, it was so flat I couldn't believe my eyes. In fact, when I get back to uni I have a photograph taken on my phone that I will add. (Edited)

The reccommended tyre pressure for my rear car tyres is 26 psi. When I connected the air hose it gave a reading of between 6 and 8 psi. Good job I'd driven slowly I suppose. 20p later and the job's a good'un. After a quick drive around the local town and a little bit of shopping I came back to watch the professionals show us how it's done. What did shock me while I was out was the price of fuel. I haven't fueled my car since before christmas, and it cost me £30 to fuel my normally modest little car. On the plus side, I won't have to do it when I come back in summer and am waiting for my first summer pay check. Just hope no one decides to steal it before then!

Since coming back I've noticed that my hayfever has gone beserk. I hate oilseed rape. It's an evil evil substance and makes me sneeze and wheeze like a mad woman (hence the 'snotty' on yesterday's post title). Sadly, they grow a lot of it around my home, and it makes me feel really rough. Never mind, back to uni soon.

After still not getting a cup of tea, a full Yorkshire Sunday lunch, complete with home made Yorkshire Puddings made up for it. Not to mention the home made blackcurrant (from the orchard) crumble and custard for afters. All is good.

27 May 2006

Spotty, Snotty and Sleepy

I have no idea where the train journey went. I'm lucky I managed to wake up to change trains, or who knows where I would have ended up!

I've been treated to lunch, had a ride around the countryside (for the parents' benefit, I was asleep), and fell asleep again when I got home.
So really, I haven't done a lot since I got back. I still haven't had my cup of tea yet, but that's next on my agenda.

I'm a bitch, apparently.....

....said the customer across the bar to me last night. Needless to say I didn't serve them, just stood there and smiled sweetly.
I say last night, but I haven't actually been to bed yet, so I guess everything merges into one.
Sleep is for the train journey home to Yorkshire, which is what I shall be doing at 8AM.
I'm sure everything will look better after a nice cup of Yorkshire tea and a sleep in my bed at home - with no fire alarms, no noisy students and no smashing of glass.

24 May 2006

Just plodding along

Well, I would love to be able to say that my dissertation is coming on well, but it isn't. I've done under 2,200 words of a 10,000 essay on human disease, and the deadline is at the beginning of July.

I'm on call tonight, and I would get loads of work done if I didn't have to keep telling students off every half an hour. On the plus side, I shall be returning to Yorkshire for the bank holiday weekend to escape the pungent passive cannabis I keep inhaling here, and the give my sore throat a break from raising my voice.

On the plus side, it's nearly pay day, and I have a hospital nursing shift to look forward to tomorrow. I don't know what department I'm in tomorrow (the joy of being a relief auxiliary) but I'm hoping for something other than care of the elderly, possibly something paediatric. We might be able to see if I can find my maternal instinct somewhere along the way then.

23 May 2006

Setting the scene

I have my toast and whiskey marmalade,
I have my lava lamp,
I have my snuggly pink blanket on the sofa,
I have the TV remote and LOST, and more importantly,
I have my Jack and Diet Coke.

22 May 2006

Complementary therapy

Following from my GP appointment, I consulated with my financial advisors (the bank of Mum and Dad) and we decided that they would help me to fund acupuncture again. It wasn't the same chinese practitioner that I went to last year. This time the doctor was male and spoke little English. I have to say I was a little unnerved to get my kit off in a room on my own with a health practitioner (I guess I'm just too used to male doctors having a female chaperone), but all went well. Until he stuck the needles in my butt. I wasn't expecting it and I may have twitched quite a bit. (Oops!)
At least this time I had again managed to get coordinating black underwear, rather than last year's atrocity. It was fine until I remembered my spot the dog socks that were hanging off the edge of the examination couch. Oops again.

I went back to the GP last week because the pain is getting worse and the new prescription isn't helping. His decision was to double the dosulepin and send me for a full set of spinal x-rays (cervical, thoracic and lumbar), much to the protests of the radiographer that the dose was too much for me. All is fine, as I'm not pregnant. Don't think I'm glowing though.

20 May 2006

The Da Vinci Code (and all that jazz)

I get my allowance on a Wednesday and it has to last me the entire week.
I now have £2.81 left. I can see this being a very long and lonely couple of days.

Why am I so short of money??
Well, my social life has emerged. I partied this week and went to the cinema today to see the Da Vinci Code. The verdict: Visually stunning, and almost exactly true to the book. Would reccommend.

Random thought: Is it wrong to want to procreate with an albino monk called Silas??

18 May 2006


Further to confuse people, I'm going to explain the definition of 'puppies' where I come from.
When I was a teenager and going out to a party or 'disco', my father would invariably veto the outfit. You see, I'm a daddy's girl, and my father is a respected member of the community. It wouldn't do for me to go out dressed, well, scantily.
My father's classic expression if he felt I was showing too much cleavage (and he still uses it):
'If you're drowning them puppies love, I'll have t'one on t'left with t'pink nose'

At which point I would go and get changed.

How many times do I have to say it?

I cannot 'free pour' spirits because the measure would not be accurate.
I have to use a pourer because that's what we're licensed for. We serve in 25ml measures or multiples thereof. If you have a problem with this, then go elsewhere.

Hollywood has a lot to answer for.

In other bar related news, I made my first Black Russian tonight (after having a quick 'team meeting' to decide what was actually in it) : outcome, happy customer, bemused Merys.

17 May 2006

Supposed intelligent conversation

Having just wandered across campus in the rain, I over heard some of our finest students having an educated conversation. It went something like this:
"What would you rather be, a puppy or a kitten?"

Dear god in heaven. These are supposed to be the top 10% of the population.
Although they did provide me with a way to blog about Puppies (for Rob)

15 May 2006


Let me make something abundantly clear;
I will not stand for abusive comments being left on my blog. I am all for free speech, but not at an offensive, rude and aggressive level.
The comments have been deleted, and further action has been taken.

New Links

I thought I'd take some time to update the sidebar (red: procrastinating from the dissertation), and the point out the new ones that have caught my eye:

I Like Curry - the work blog of John Robertson working as a trainee ambulance technician after being a students. Beautiful writing style to say he's a scientist by nature!

Deidamia - Lauren's blog as a final year medical student. Letting me know what I (hopefully) have to look forward to.

NHS Blog Doc - The unstoppable Dr Crippen. Need I say more!

The Hippocratic Oaf - Medical student at Oxford, showing me how much I will probably hate it when I get there.

Walking the Streets - The wonderful Bill Stickers who is still keeping motorists in line. I smile every time I read his blog.

Restaurant Girl - Because I've been there. I used to love being a waitress, despite the hard work and the rude customers.

14 May 2006

A little extra protein

I have a sore throat and am feeling miserable (no surprise there then).
I'd been sulking around all day until I found an open packet of supermarket's own Honey and Lemon Throat Lozenges.
Now when I ate the first one it was a bit soggy - but I thought nowt of it. It helped a bit.
So I spent all night not really paying any attention to them, but eating them nevertheless.
If you look very carefully at the picture on the left you will see a clump of lozenges and some small brown spots. These spots are dead pharoah ants which commonly inhabit halls of residence.
They also commonly inhabit throat lozenges, and now my GI tract.
I really need to pay attention to what I put in my mouth (rude jokes aside), but I reckon the Atkins Diet would allow it - after all, it's just a little extra protein!

13 May 2006

Animal Testing part 2


This is a link to a site which I was left in the comments section of my previous animal testing post.

It has some interesting views. Some which are valid, and some which I strongly disagree with. To quote:

"The useless, ingrained animal abuse of these wasteful experiments done by perverted, potentially mentally ill scientists worldwide is more absurd than anything I can think of. Yes, that includes digging up a grandmother’s dead body."

I don't really feel the need to add my two'penneth into this one. My views are clear and stand from the previous post. Thank you to Anonymous for pointing this out to me, but you are unlikely to alter my opinions. As part of the vivisection part of my education, I had to write an essay for both sides of the argument. I scored good marks for it. It was clear and balanced and showed opinions for and against vivisection.

Unfortunately, without drugs as they are today, we would not be living as long as we currently are. People would be dying earlier of diseases that can be cured or managed. Diseases like asthma and diabetes.

As someone who takes prescription medications, I know how painful life is without them. I live a happier life courtesy of useful drugs, and while I appreciate that animals have died so that I can be (almost) pain free, I will not be ashamed because of it.

12 May 2006

Ask the audience

Ok. I'm on call tonight. I'm bored and praying that the bat phone doesn't ring. I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to get on with my dissertation, but after 2 glasses of wine and the majority of a 500ml tub of Chocolate Brownie flavoured Ben and Jerry's, I'm feeling a bit sluggish.
So I felt it was time to ask you guys (the few) what you think I should blog about.
Free choice, seriously.
Go nuts

11 May 2006

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Apparently the answer to all my problems lies with anti-depressants. Namely, fluoxetine (you may know is better by the brand name prozac).

Now, I'm not a doctor - but I do know I'm not depressed. Occasionally stressed and frequently pissed off, but I wouldn't say I have depression.
Needless to say I refused the prescription. I like my life and I don't want to take mood altering medications. Especially when I only went to the GP for back pains.
My problem lies with communication. I get upset because I feel ignored. This has been going on for 4 years and I've had a barrage of investigations; x-rays, blood tests, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, rheumatology appointments. All have come back negative, so no-one seems especially bothered - except me. I'm bothered. I'm grumpy when I'm in pain, and I get upset. So sue me. After a bit of a poke and a prod (which hurt) it was decided that I could be referred to either acupunture or remedial massage (but not both). Interestingly, my GP told me over 12 months ago that she would refer me to acupuncture and osteopathy. When I queried this yesterday, I'd never been referred. Great - just great.

So, given my current track record, either I won't have been referred at all, or the appointment will come through when I move to my next university.

10 May 2006


I'm tired. I know I am. I fell asleep on the sofa, wrapped in blankets while I was trying to watch episode 3 of Lost.
Decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to take some painkillers and hit the sack.
Except, my mind had other ideas.

I couldn't get comfortable, my shoulders, lower back and feet hurt, and my brain just wouldn't switch off.
Which would normally be fine - except for the last two days I've been up at 5.50AM having had little sleep. And this happened last night too. After parting company on Skype, I browsed the net till 12, then went to bed.
Where I lay staring at the inside of my eyelids until 3AM, feeling sick and trying to get comfortable.
Yay for 'under 3 hours sleep!'
Looks like it's going to be another one of those nights.
The body is very willing, but the mind, well, you know..

09 May 2006

Animal Testing (post written at 12.15pm in a notebook)

Ok, I am aware that this post has the potential to be contraversial, but I stand by my opinions and am prepared to defend them as I see fit.

Currently I'm doing a day's home care for a wonderful lady, who is now asleep in her chair. The 12.13 news headlines have just been on, and I'm angered to hear that animal rights activists have written to all small shareholders of GlaxoSmithKline telling them to sell their shares, or risk their personal details being published on the internet.

Let me say this now: I have tested on, and dissected animals in my academic career. For my biomedical sciences BSc it involved laboratory bred rats and tissue from guinea pigs. My laboratory has a home office licence, and the animals were reared and sacrificed humanely, following approved methods.

The laboratory work I carried out was never optional - it was part of my degree and for research. Therefore, I am in no way ashamed of having tested on animals.

Individually, whether we agree with animal testing or not, certain (but not all) mammals share similar biological mechanisms and functions with humans (cats for example cannot be used for testing toxicity as they break down drugs differently), and the only way to prevent chemical injury to humans is to test on a biologically similar system.

How are drugs ever going to improve if we don't test on animals?? Just because humans are used in the testing process, doesn't mean animals (or tissue from them) haven't been used first, or even that animal testing should stop.

Many drugs do not make it through early stage animal testing due to dangerous or undesirable side effects - yet without animal testing, it would need to be trialled on humans!

Admittedly, as we have seen in recent news, not all animal testing can indicate problems in humans. Interestingly, Thalidomide also successfully passed animal testing, although having never been tested on pregnant animals.

Imagine all the products we would be without if not for animal testing?

-- Contact lens wearer?? You'd probably still be cleaning your rapidly disintegrating lenses in tap water.

-- Asthmatic?? Forget that nebuliser or inhaler.

-- Headache?? We'd still be chewing toxic willow bark

-- Diabetic?? You'd be in big trouble.

As a woman who wears cosmetics and perfumes (i'm not including personal hygiene products here), I do not agree with vivisection for the beauty industry, because, despite the opinions of some of my peers, beauty products are not essential for day-to-day life.

Do I really need to elaborate?

I am aware that Huntingdon Life Sciences (linked to GSK) is currently being targetted over claims of alleged 'animal cruelty', but the issue of animal testing still annoys me from time to time. I mean, digging up dead grandmothers is really low.........

Obviously animal rights activists don't need pharmaceuticals.

08 May 2006

Early starts

I have two of them this week. Today and tomorrow I have to be up at 5.50AM in order to be on the other side of the world* for a patient** who I am caring for.
This particular patient is very sick, and even my limited knowledge can recognise this. Is it selfish to hope that nothing bad happens while I'm there?
Anyway, I need to put some socks on and leg it out of the door.

* It might as well be. In reality its about 20 miles on public transport.
** Bugger. Service user! Must recite mantra more.

07 May 2006

Battling the proverbial demons

Since a couple of people have asked, yes I did eventually go and see Silent Hill.
Much to the amusement of my companion, I hid behind my hands for quite a bit of the film. I was watching, honest, just from behind my fingertips (it seems less scary that way!).

Horror films are weird for me. I'm fine with slasher movies where a person kills other people, but introduce ghosts, aliens and demons, and we have me taking a keen interest in the floor!

Silent Hill had the potential to give me bad nightmares, kind of like 28 Days Later did. Happily, the film was good, I was forced to actually watch it, and I didn't have nightmares. Reccommended to all, unless you don't like gore. It's a bit nasty at the end.........

Feeling Old

*warning: self centred whinging session below*

I can't help that I'm 22 and feeling old. I know I'm not, and shouldn't, but I do. (If that makes sense.)

The past few weeks have been painful. Since the end of March I've been nursing pretty much constant back pain. In contrast, the rest of my joints, which used to hurt more, have been sorted by taking diclofenac, but not my back or my neck it appears.

I've been feeling pretty shit to tell the truth, as online friends will vouch for. I've cried more than I ever have before, my sleep's been disturbed, and I'm feeling distinctly rough. It hurts when I breathe and moves up and down my back like a yo-yo. Add to this the permanent smell of Deep Heat that follows me around, and I feel anything but 22.

The problem is, I can't pin point anything that causes it to hurt. It isn't aggravated by manual handling or exercise (in fact it usually feels better for an hour after the gym), and carrying things don't bother it. Sitting, standing and lying down all hurt, and the most company I've had in the bedroom department comes from a scooby doo hot water bottle. If it weren't for the fact that I need to vacuum, I would have seriously slept on the floor last night.

I mean, I have tablets for it. Wonderful tablets that, while they don't stop it during the day, they do knock me out sufficiently to ensure a good night's sleep. There's one slight problem though... It's not just a good night's sleep; it's usually until 2pm the next day as well. 14 hours sleep a night is a little bit excessive, but it's what my body craves if I take the 25 mg amitriptyline each night. I wasn't getting any work done while I was taking it, so I stopped. This was also the tablet responsible for me sleeping through all my morning lectures at university - to the amusement of my peers and the annoyance of lecturing staff.

Unfortunately, the general concensus of the GP is that I should be taking at least double (50mg) per night. I dread to think what I'd be like if that happened. Rip Van Winkle springs to mind.

I feel a little depressed when I think about my doctor's appointment looming this week. I know what will happen before I go. I'll cry. Snot and tears will flow freely and again, I'll be fobbed off. No doctor has ever examined my back or my neck. They presume it's the same thing that's wrong with my knees, hips and ankles. A fair enough conclusion, I thought. Except that the treatment that works for one doesn't even touch the other.

Is it wrong to want a diagnosis?
My logic is telling me: 'if you know what's wrong with you, you can start finding things out for yourself'

But I seem to have baffled people. I have the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (including the family history), but without the blood results to confirm it.

I can't help but wonder how I'm going to cope at medical school* if this carries on...

This post was brought to you with the help of a shit night's sleep, back pain, and the assistance of Wikipedia.

*and yes, that did look vaguely like a decision didn't it?? Let's just say it's in the lap of the gods.

04 May 2006

May the fourth be with you

I don't know about everywhere else in the UK, but the weather here has been barmy all day. Thankfully I had a valid excuse to leave my flat and get out into uni and into town - walking all the way.
The only thing I really like about sunny, warm weather is the excuse to a) wear sunglasses and b) look good in them. So I did. I shouldn't have bothered taking a coat out with me, because I ended up carrying it all the way there and back.
I'd even had enough forethought to take my camera with me, and managed to get some beautiful shots of the trees in blossomm and some lovely old buildings in the sunlight.
Unfortunately, it has been rather windy here today. But not in an unpleasant way. Without the wind it would have been truly unbearably warm, but the wind just complicated things slightly. I'd washed my hair before leaving the house, but hadn't dried it properly. The wind took hold of it and made it into an untangleable mass of waves and tousles that I'm not brave enough to comb. Still, it has volume for a change!
I've had yet another dozey moment today. I decided to pop somewhere via the local trains, and managed to get on the wrong train for the wrong destination, and only realise this when the first stop wasn't mine. It was in completely the wrong direction. Ooops! I did feel a bit of a tit getting on the first train in the opposite direction, but I think the sunglasses helped pull it off....

(The title?... if you don't get it, I'm not explaining)

A momentous occasion

The time now is 01:02:03 on 04/05/06
A momentous day (but since blogger doesn't show seconds you'll just have to trust me)

03 May 2006

A healthy start to the day

Whoever said that breakfast was the best start to the day?
Personally three arguments while laying in bed is much more fun. Because I simply love being woken up by the telephone to start with, never mind having to wake up fast enough to defend myself.
Apparently I'm not devoting myself enough to my dissertation. From people who don't live here, and who have no idea what I'm doing.

02 May 2006

It's a love / hate relationship

- Customers in the bar who say 'thank you' when I glass collect from their table.
- The satisfied feeling of having been to the gym and getting a shower afterwards.
- Cheap public transport. How else could I get from university to the other side of town for 60p return?!
- My colleagues in the bar. We support each other and can have a laugh while working hard. How I'm going to miss them when I leave.
- Being a volunteer with the elderly. It's a really nice feeling to do something worthwhile and not get paid.

- Customers in the bar who pick fights with the staff. You won't win, I promise.
- The tall, toned, tanned beautiful women who strut naked around the changing rooms. Put some clothes on for goodness sake.
- Smelly people next to me on the bus. I can only hold my breath for so long...........
- Some of the customers in the bar. Don't tell me how to do my job, I've been a barmaid, in this bar for longer than you've been legally able to buy alcohol.
- Being skint. It sucks not having a student loan.

01 May 2006

How to get into medical school

I think it's fair to say this is going to be a rant. Don't say I didn't warn you.

It's fair to say I didn't find this article myself, but the opinions are mine alone (although they reflect the opinions of others in my situation).

Please read the article linked in the title. It regards a mother's efforts to get her twin daughters into medical school.

I'm angry. I'm very angry. Admittedly, I may have been prodded a little in the direction of medical school, but my parents supported my personal wishes. I did work experience because I wanted to, and my enthusiasm after shadowing for 2 days shone to my parents. I attended the MedLink and MedSim conferences because I begged to go. Again, I couldn't be silenced afterwards.

This mother trivialises the admissions process of applying to medical school by making it all about money. Apologies if this sounds offensive, but I wonder just how much her little darlings have to offer to medical school when they eventually get there. The words 'pre-programmed' springs to mind. It sounds, from the article, that the ladies in question have been groomed to answer the questions as the admissions tutor requires, without thought to their own opinions, and it annoys me.

My recent university interviews have been painful to say the least. I got into debates so large that a JCB wouldn't have been able to help me dig my way out, yet I got a place. My opinions may have been wrong, but they were just that, opinions. My personal thoughts that I could support if challenged.

Yet I have always gained offers on all three attempts to gain entry to medical school. Even when my predicted grades were down and I shouldn't have even been interviewed, I was, and I got a place.

Maybe I've never applied to the really elitist medical schools, and my integrity and determination has shone through. I guess I'll never know.

All I can say is that I hope I never end up at medical school with these girls, least of all meet their mother. I don't think I could contain my anger.