31 December 2010

The end of the year

Well 2010 was a full and enjoyable year, but not without its ups and downs.
Possibly the worst part of the year came in February and March. I had an unexpected dance with some high risk blood from a patient at work. Not the best thing I've ever done and I had to go on a post-exposure regime for a month. Sick as a dog doesn't even come close to how shit I felt.

Thankfully it was only 30 days of tablet induced doom and then it was just worrying for 3-6 months to see if I'd contracted anything.

Aside from that I spent a fantastic academic year and passed everything without any resits - the first time that's happened at medical school. It set me up to go on elective well.

And speaking of elective, I had a fabulous time staying with the wonderful Laura while in London working at the BMJ. I had the opportunity to go out observing with Tom Reynolds/Brian Kellett on an ambulance night shift just before he left to return to nursing. I also had a rather cringeworthy experience sleeping on Laura's sofa while she and Mr Kellett got back together. There's a lot to be said for actually having walls...

After London I mooched up to Liverpool for another month to work in A&E for the second part of my elective. One word - fantastic. Great city, great placement, great experience. It made my decision for me about my career and now I'm truly hellbent on emergency medicine for the rest of my life.

Coming back from elective I had a slightly rough time and became ill. I'm not going to go into it too much but I got admitted to my own hospital twice for a while. It's been ongoing since but I'm not going to whinge.

Since then fifth year has taken up most of my time and has been really challenging.
Aside from that, I haven't done a great deal!

So with that, I wish you a happy and prosperous new year and here's hoping that this coming year I pass my finals and qualify as a doctor.

It seems such a long time ago that I started this blog when I was still doing my BSc...

Sometimes it's for the best

Well this year's Christmas was indeed different. More than I had realised it would be if I'm honest. A bit bittersweet: lovely day with the man and his dog at the expense of a family celebration.
But I enjoyed the day a hell of a lot and did loads of cooking.
Thanks for all the advice regarding cooking guys. The Christmas cake and dinner were pretty good for a first attempt

17 December 2010

Let Christmas Begin!

Exams are done, semester is finished and now it's time to relax and knit (lots).
I'm breaking from tradition this year and having Christmas with my boyfriend and away from my parents. It's not necessarily what was planned, but sometimes these things have to be done.
This means that we get to keep the dog with us and have a nice chilled out celebration without arguments (of which there are normally many).
This does, however mean that I have to learn to make a Christmas dinner and a Christmas cake...
...any tips anyone??

08 December 2010

Woohoo!

The cards were in my favour at midnight last night. I am one of the 7073 students who was granted a training place, and in my first choice deanery too.

My thoughts are with the 184 students who have not initially been granted a job. There are at least two of my friends who fall into that category.

07 December 2010

To work or not to work, that is the question?

In 15 minutes time it will be the 8th December 2010. This is the day that the deaneries go live for final year medical students.

I may well know very soon if I have an immediate post for next year. And it could well be anywhere...

Scared much??

30 November 2010

A grand balls up

On December 8th the results of UKFPO will be out and 7073 final year medical students will find out where in the country their first job will be .

Sadly 184 will not. The programme is truly over subscribed for the first time ever.

There is not yet a firm contingency plan, just a hope to place people as drop outs or failures occur.

I'm worried...

10 November 2010

Sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in.

Disclaimer: I do not condone the use of violence to prove a point. Just saying.

Today students stood up for what they believe in. For what is fundamentally right. It takes balls to do that and I wish I could have joined them (for the peaceful protest part - I'm not up for throwing things and hitting people).

Tuition fees was a stupid idea to start with. Whatever happened to University education for all? 

Sometimes you just have to stand up and be counted. Had I not been on placement I would have been there, protesting peacefully.


05 November 2010

You'd think it was nearly Christmas!

First mince pie of the year. I love Starbucks.

04 November 2010

Intense times

Wow. Fifth year is a really stressful year so far. Academically its not challenging, but in terms of actual contact time through university and placements we're all run ragged. I know its good preparation for working, but as an F1 there's the financial incentive too.

It's time for some serious nose to the grindstone.
Wish me luck.

27 October 2010

The wrong side of twenty

So yesterday was my birthday. Twenty-seven at last and definitely on the wrong side of twenty now.

As well as some wonderful presents I was lucky enough to spend the day on placement in an interesting area. My house mate made me a delectable chocolate cake and I blew out far too many candles.

As usual the fifth year is chaotic and I've just submitted my FPAS application and have everything crossed that I rank in region that I actually want to be in (i.e. anywhere in the top 6).

For now it's still a case of getting well (I've still not got over the problem that landed me in hospital in August) and getting on with trying to work my backside off!

08 October 2010

Foundation Programme

I, like every other final year medical student, have this week enrolled for the UK NHS Foundation Programme. It's a daunting thought that I'm now in the horse race for a job with every other medical student in the UK.

So good luck to all those who will be reading the questions for the first time on Monday morning (should the website actually work)

30 September 2010

The missing sample

Two weeks ago today I had my final blood test following my blood splash debacle. Although I'd already been shown negative for HIV, I needed a second clear Hepatitis C result to allow me to return to full invasive procedures.

Two weeks ago. Remember that.

I went to the phlebotomy department with my form and watched her take my sample and send it off.

Yet two weeks later they haven't got my result. Apparently 'it takes a while'. A while yes, two or three days I can allow. But two weeks?

My gut says it's been lost and needs retaking. Desperately frustrating when all I want is final clearance.

Two weeks. Is a long time after 6 months...

25 September 2010

My baby is back


My baby is back
Originally uploaded by merysjones
I am very pleased to announce the return of my BlackBerry.
Not a big issue to you, I'm sure. But nonetheless a major delight to me.
More blogging on the go and more flickr photos taken on the move. All is good.

20 September 2010

An unusual effect

New year, new PBL group, new PBL tutor. And with it, new rules and new changes.

A tutor who insists that none of us shall fail our final year. That we must start thinking like doctors, and to ensure that this sinks it, she will refer to us as Drs from now on.

Having a member of staff refer to you as Dr Jones for over an hour is an odd experience. But it did have the desired effect, I started thinking like an F1....

16 September 2010

The land of the 5th year medical student

...is a scary one! I've been run ragged this first week with all the induction stuff for final year and all the sign-off sheets we have to get done before qualification. It's going to be a very frantic year to say the least.
I have some blog posts in the works, but in the mean time, good luck to all the new medical students who are starting university sometime in the next few weeks/days. I will be going along to our freshers week for a good, old fashioned 'weigh up the first years'!

You never know, I might even see some of you there...

10 September 2010

Life and academia

Turns out that even though I'm out of hospital and motoring around happily, I'm not quite well. The chest pain is back with a vengeance but at least we know the cause. It's a tad sucky because term starts again next week, and I don't imagine 5th year is going to be gentle and nurturing...

So yeah, 5th year. Scary territory. Straight in with a bang next week and straight onto placement a few days later.

I'm hoping that I can keep up the blogging (without whining about my health, because it's just so tiresome for you all to read!) so we'll see what happens.

Wish me luck

03 September 2010

Creativity

Simplicity braceletSo, a while ago I used to sell some jewellery through Etsy.com. I decided that I still have lots of jewellery and beads left over from stuff before and wondered if it was worth having another crack at it.
This time I'm trying with the UK based equivalent Folksy.com. They have the advantage of having UK currency and better shipping options but less capability to add widget sidebars to the blog.
So a few pieces will be going on over the next few days, and a link will be going on the sidebar at some point. Happy looking!

http://www.folksy.com/shops/Merysjones

26 August 2010

Freedom at last

So after a whole week in hospital, one new drug and I'm out with a supply of it. Sadly I have to go back in 6 weeks time to have a camera inserted down my throat (which I am really not looking forward to) but if the short term problem is solved then I can cope.

I've had my eyes opened by the whole hospital system. It's very different being a patient when you work in a hospital, and you realise just how much patients are kept out of the loop. I've come to realise that, as predicted, some consultants are wonderful, and some are wonderful tutors and have a less humane bedside manner. Equally, the junior doctors are the ones who actually seem to know what's going on. This is just based on my own personal observations. Remember, whatever you write in the notes can be read by patients;  I requested to see my notes for my admission while I was in. I did laugh when I read:

"O/E Knitting"

Hence the knitting for distraction from pain! It's very easy to be two-faced to a patient and write something different in the notes, but it's not massively difficult to request to see them as the patient.

The nursing staff were superb, and I was very lucky to have been placed on the private ward because I was staff. A favour that saved me many more sleepless hours than I would have had on a bay.

All in all, it's been a very low week physically. I've slept very little and been poked and prodded by every variety of doctor and nurse. I think any shred of dignity was gone when one of the staff nurses I work with a lot did a 12 lead ECG on me and I ended up laying bare chested in front of her.

I hope the tablets work, I have a month to find out, and if not, then who knows. Fingers crossed...

24 August 2010

Knitting for distraction part 2


Knitting for distraction 2
Originally uploaded by merysjones
Of course now I'm really bored. I'm still in hospital, but now I've finished my socks.

The very definition of boredom.

22 August 2010

Knitting for distraction


Knitting for distraction
Originally uploaded by merysjones
Well, as you can gather from my previous post, I'd not been well. By the time I had blogged that one I had spent the night on the Medical Assessment Unit and been discharged with painkillers and no diagnosis.

I did genuinely *try* to do a night shift on Thursday night, but it ended with increasing amounts of pain and me having to go home. I spent the rest of the night awake on the sofa taking painkillers and struggling to get comfortable. Friday morning I went to see a GP who readmitted me. That's kind of where the story lies at the moment.

I've been in since Friday and spent most of that time knitting for distraction - hence the picture. Sadly, in about an hour I will have finished a pair of socks and have very little to distract myself. Guess that just leaves expensive trashy telly then!

19 August 2010

Back to work

There's a bruise there for a reason
I've been away for just over a week, doing something that I do every year. Yet this year was different; no resits, no coursework to resubmit. No stress! Or rather there wouldn't have been if I hadn't gotten ill. Still not quite sure what's going on, but if you've been following my Twitter feed you may have a fair idea of what's been going on. Equally, if I've asked you for your medical advice (and probably ignored it) then thanks for your help.
Tonight I'm back to work for my first shift back and I thought I'd leave you with this photograph.  I've discovered that arterial blood gases hurt. Hurt a lot. And in future I will not dig around in my patients' wrists when I'm struggling (thanks for that random doctor in the North West!)

And yes, as you will notice from the above photograph, I do have amazing veins...

18 August 2010

Designer changes

I'm bored. And because I've got nothing better to do, I'm going to update the blog layout. This means goodbye pink flowers, and hello, well, possibly more pink flowers.

I shall see where the mood takes me.

Watch this space - literally.

help with spam

Ok kids,

You guys are all in the know. How do I stop random spam messages, in Chinese from landing on my comments. I don't want to make comments moderated and even so, they still have Blogger accounts anyway!

Any ideas?

03 August 2010

Scary times

I just had cause to put something in my diary for one year's time. Outlook informed me that this was the first Wednesday in August - in 2011.

With any luck (and a lot of hard work) I should have more important things to worry about at that time, since it might well be my first day at work as a doctor.

Now that is a scary thought.

01 August 2010

And so it's back to the real world

It's all over! Eight amazing weeks of elective is done and I'm back to working nights at my hospital as a HCA.
I'm sure last night I irritated the hell out of the staff nurses I was working with, as I was struggling to switch back into HCA role and was concerned about a patient.

It's made me realise more than ever that I made the right career move. While I'm sure I would have been happy training to be a paramedic in the short term, I think I would have still eventually made a transition to medicine at some point.

So basically, I need to work my arse off for the next 10 months until the end, and hopefully everything will come to fruition!

26 July 2010

The final throes

And so the last week of my elective is upon me. It's incredibly hard to believe that I've done a whole 7 weeks so far and only have 4 days left to go.

I might not have travelled the world, but I've had one of the most immense times of my life.

I loved staying in London, and am eternally grateful to the BMJ for putting up with me for 4 weeks, but I feel more attuned to Liverpool. So much so that I would quite happily consider packing up and moving up here after my foundation years. Maybe it's just the Northerner in me, or maybe I would be happy working in London doing emergency medicine - who knows yet?

I've learnt so much! From the BMJ viewpoint, and although I haven't really shown it here since, I feel that my writing style has matured a great deal. I've become much more interested in health education and health media and am more interesting in keeping abreast of public affairs with regards to medicine.

And practical skills wise - I CAN SUTURE! HURRAH! I've gotten much better at cannulation, even though the equipment is different to what I've been taught on, and I've actually done some catheters as well.

The staff in the hospital have been truly superb and I'm very thankful to them all.

19 July 2010

Plodding through the puke

The Liverpool phase of my elective is so far going swimmingly. A&E seems to appeal to my incredibly short attention span and love of things always being different. I've only gotten bored when there've been no patients - and that's quite a rare occurrence.

I worked nights last week and this week I have twilights. The variability is suiting me as I can happily sleep through the daytime, and the mood of the department and its clientele changes with the setting sun.

And while I've been to Liverpool before, I have only visited, never lived. The city has changed a lot since then, but it's very vibrant and multicultural. It also seems to appeal to my love of having everything easily accessible. It even has an underground, although I haven't used it so far.

All is good, in case you haven't guessed.

14 July 2010

Being in Yorkshire

imageOn Saturday morning I went home on the train.Turns out that hopping across the pennines isn't too challenging.A couple of days with my parents should keep family harmony, plus I might have got to an age where I appreciate them now.
The garden and orchard are in full bloom, and every tree seems to be trying to take over. I do miss having a good source of fresh fruit and vegetables, even if I do have to pick them myself. Supermarket or market stall just isn't quite the same...
This is a moth that my father has collected in the orchard. The photo came out amazingly well given that it was taken on my BlackBerry. He's very keen on his wildlife stuff (which hasn't particularly rubbed off on me) and after he's looked at them he puts them in a hedgerow.
I do miss things like that. City life can't beat that one.

11 July 2010

Changing schedules

This week the rota for A&E changes. I'm moving onto evenings and nights.
Since I don't go back in for a few days I've popped home to see my parents. Apparently Liverpool to Yorkshire isn't that far.
Photos to follow.

07 July 2010

Goodbye London, Hello Liverpool

Covent GardenSo it was with a heavy heart that I packed up my belongings (minus one red belt, left with Laura accidentally) and left London. I headed home for a day and then made the epic trip to Liverpool.
BlimeyI've been here for three days now and was well and truly thrown into the deep end of A&E. I've had equal measures of clinical skills success and failure. Cannulae are not going well but I've managed to put in my first male catheter.
So far it's an amazing city and the department is very friendly and excellent for educational opportunities. It's fair to say that I love both the place and the workload.
The nurses are amazing, the consultants are great and I've not met a bad person yet! It's going to be an enjoyable month (fingers crossed!)

03 July 2010

Packing: part two

Elective prepSo with any luck I won't forget anything, but at the moment I'm trying to 'streamline' my cases to head off for the second part of my elective. I'm actually clinical this time so I'm taking books with me so I don't get caught out on any gaping areas of knowledge.
I think these should cover it...
You may also notice that some of the layout of the blog is changing. I'm trying to streamline that too. If you're reading by RSS then hop over and take a look, for old time's sake.
There is a handy 'contact me' page now on  the top right bar, and a '100 things' which is stuck at 15 until I can update it.
Adverts are down for the moment until someone gets back to me with a new offer, else they're staying off. 
There may be some big changes ahead, who knows.
Until then, wish me luck.


30 June 2010

A musical few days

Truly wickedSince the last time I blogged my very good news, I've been to see a couple of shows. Well, as they say, when in Rome. On Saturday I managed to get in to see Avenue Q, and then for a complete contrast I saw Wicked last night. I've wanted to see both for quite a while, but Wicked probably more so, and especially since staying with Laura (she's a little bit addicted!)

On Monday night I met Raphael Malikian and went to a live acoustic event at Leicester Square. Different to my usual style of music, but acoustic is always cool, and so is meeting new people.

Avenue QSpeaking of meeting new people, I've had the chance to meet a lot of people who I've previously only tweeted or blog-commented with until now. This elective period has seen me meet Jamrock, Almostbritish, MrAlmostBritish, Littlehalfpint and the aforementioned Raphaelmalikian. I also managed to do an observation shift with Tom Reynolds out in East London.

So far the elective has been an amazing experience, and I can't believe I'm halfway through already. Hopefully, when I'm in Liverpool this time next week I'll be loving it just as much.

In other news, I'm trying to persuade Laura to start blogging again and I think she's reconsidering it. I would be, in proper Yorkshire terms, dead chuffed if you could pop on by her blog and leave her a comment on here and tell her to get her arse into gear. If you get my drift.

Blimey, I haven't posted so many links in a damned long time...

25 June 2010

There is some good news after all

Not sure this needs a whole lot more comment....

Medical education

This could be the post that highlights my kryptonite. I've blogged over at doc2doc and I'd like you to go over and visit it. You can comment in either location, although I'd prefer you to comment over there (to show the BMJ guys that I am doing some work!)
It's free and easy to register and YOU DON'T NEED TO BE A DOCTOR!!!

My post is here and I will have some more shiny, sparkly, good news for you all later!

Also, if I can remember where I hid it I will resurrect the flickr link to my page on the site.

22 June 2010

There's a first time for everything

I should have said earlier. This year I passed everything first time. No resits, no second attempts, no 'repeated first sits'.
In September I will be a fifth year. And nothing scares me more.

18 June 2010

Exploration


Whitechapel
Originally uploaded by merysjones
So it's the weekend. The football is on tonight (allegedly) and I'm not going back home this weekend. This means I can explore. At least for a part of Saturday anyway.

On Sunday my other half is heading down to visit and I was thinking of taking him to West End Live. Does anyone else have any suggestions of free, fun things to do in London that aren't necessarily weather dependent?

Other than that, it might be time to explore Whitechapel a bit further...

16 June 2010

Book reviews


Book
Originally uploaded by merysjones
I've been sent this from the lovely people at Monday Books and asked to give a review. Now so far, I'm only a handful of pages in so I can't really do a full review. What I can tell you is that a) I love reviewing books, and do text books from time to time, b) if you want a book review doing just drop me an email.

So far I'm loving this; it would be funnier if it weren't so true! Being a GP is something I could never do; too many targets and QOF battles. Hospital medicine for me all the way - but I don't half respect GPs!

Full review will follow when I've finished reading it in the bath!

15 June 2010

Clattering in heels

So far I'm loving London, although my initial adoration of the tube is rapidly fading. This week I failed to realise that the tubes were undergoing engineering works on the weekend evening so I had my first experience of a London double decker red bus. Not quite as fun as I had hoped. Then there were problems on the pink tube that I get every morning and I had to take a green and a yellow (see, I kinda know what I mean).

I have realised that I'm too polite for the underground stations as I keep being knocked over all the time.

If anyone fancies a pint or a coffee (or a pint of coffee) then drop me an email at bloodystudents@hotmail.co.uk and we can work something out, I'm sure.

This week and next week has some excitement in store, but I will blog about it in due time.

I just need to start wearing flat shoes. I can already feel my achilles tendons shortening after only 10 days!

So far though, elective = win!

13 June 2010

Somewhere in London


Somewhere in London
Originally uploaded by merysjones
Well so far the elective's going great! I absolutely adore Whitechapel, which people seem to find strange. I guess, as I said before, I love the noise and vibrancy of the place at any time of the day.

I'm clearly too polite for the Underground at rush hour as I keep getting knocked out of the way, but weeks 2, 3 and 4 are for elbow training. I might just be able to hold my own after a month!

I've gone Flickr pro on my account (just click this picture) and I will be posting a lot of my elective pictures up there. Some of them need some work first...

But for now, I have a shift back at my old hospital and I have the world's worst hayfever.

07 June 2010

Day 1

It’s been a really long but really interesting day today. I feel like my senses have been well and truly overloaded by not just the elective, but by my surroundings too.
Whitechapel is the most amazing place I have ever stayed. The colours, the smells and the sights just astound me.
The tube this morning was even enlightening; I armpit-surfed all the way to King’s Cross before getting into the fresh air.
The BMJ was a lovely walk down Euston Road and into an enormous building which is just a labyrinth in disguise. I’m positive that tomorrow morning I will have to be found somewhere wandering randomly looking for where I’m meant to be.
I even let myself be attacked by an elderly Indian lady tonight on the way home; I forgot to get my eyebrows waxed before heading down here and happened to pass a salon that was open and did waxing and threading. When in Rome… some cotton later and some watery eyes and I’d been groomed rather well. I was a tad concerned that she would leave me with a permanently angry expression, but I’m quite impressed for £3!

06 June 2010

The eagle has landed

I'm here! In the wonderfully bright Whitechapel, where the high street is busy at 7PM on a Sunday.
First day tomorrow, wish me luck!

Bundle

So as you can see I have a case packed for elective. Which is good, since I'm leaving in less than about 3 hours. In fact, I have 2 cases packed. 
This one could prove to be a problem because I don't think it will close... possibly due to the two Disney character toys stuffed into the top of it...

Maybe boyfriends have a purpose; when he comes back from work he can place his backside delicately on my case until I can gently close it beat the crap out of it.

The adventures of the fuzzy haired medical student

AKA My hair straighteners are packed and my hair has gone back to nature.

For anyone who follows me on Twitter I was debating last night how many pairs of shoes I could justifiably take with me for a month in London (because I will be detouring home again for a suitcase swap before the second month of elective). So far the shoe count stands at:

Gladiator sandals

Pink plimsolls

Red patent block heels

Black flared heel Hush Puppies

Black Birkenstocks

Tan leather courts

Pale pink ballet pumps

Grey and rainbow Babysham trainers

…and potentially a pair of killer heels in case anyone feels like inviting me out anywhere. Well, you never know….


 

There are a couple of certainties in all of this; I have a horrific shoe obsession and am in fact a shoe whore, Laura might not be happy at my shoe collection (as I am staying with her in London), and I'm going to have VERY sore feet after a month of mainly heels…..

05 June 2010

So, erm... elective packing....

Is not going so well. In fact I've gotten about this far. Yes, I've managed to pack my piercing jewellery into the world's smallest Really Useful Box. In fact it's the 0.07L one for anyone who can work out the sizing of that. And naturally, it's exceptionally bright pink.

Then I started sorting out all of my jewellery into a slightly more spacious Really Useful Box (0.7L) until I  realised that I don't have enough room to take everything with me. Either that, or I will forget to wear it for the elective.

Then there was the make-up. Again, pink bag (sensing a theme yet?). So yeah, at the moment I have no clothes, but I will be the best adorned and made up medical student in London.

So I need to stop procrastinating and at least pack the hair straighteners and hair dryer...

And I best get back on with it.

03 June 2010

Elective countdown

In 3 days I move to London for a month for elective and I'm terrified.

I'm scared of getting lost, I'm scared of messing up and I'm scared that my makeup will melt on the tube!
But most of all I'm not ready. My washing isn't done and I'm sure I don't have everything I need.. But still, London here I come.

31 May 2010

Round up

Well this month has been all fun and games so far. Three exams and soon it's elective time.

On Saturday night I was invited out with the nurses of MAU for a staff nurse's leaving party. I felt really honoured to have been invited and included since I'm a bank auxiliary nurse and don't work permanently on the ward. It was a really fun night out and I've come to the conclusion that nurses parties are mental.

It was my last night out as this time next week I will be on elective. Argh!

27 May 2010

Minor problem

I have an OSCE tomorrow. I have no idea where my stethoscope is.... Damn.

Looks like the reserve is coming off the bench for tomorrow. Wish me luck!

25 May 2010

Exams and Electives

One more exam and then I'm going on elective. A whole month in London... with the BMJ, followed by a month in Liverpool.

Just the one more exam and then I'm a free woman. I'm currently making my final shopping list, and it goes something like this:
1. Makeup bags. I won't look dog rough for 8 weeks
2. Mobile internet dongle - currently on the way
3. Several pairs of linen trousers
4. Spare cables for various charging thingies
5. Upgrade phone next week

So, if you're in either of those cities and you fancy a coffee at some point, drop me a line or a tweet

18 May 2010

Revision fail.

Painting my nails bright postbox red counts as revision... right??

08 May 2010

Inappropriate terms of endearment

A few months ago I accidentally damaged my boyfriend's car. Not a driving accident, more of a passenger accident. I broke something on the passenger side of the car while travelling in it, and being the dutiful girlfriend, I promised that I would replace it. After all, I broke it.

Yesterday I finally got around to it.

Now allow me to explain something... I'm no dumbass when it comes to cars. I can't tell you the finer points of the internal combustion engine, but I can easily recognise one car from another, and know which car to avoid. My other half has commented that 'for a girl' I know a lot about cars. This is mainly because I watch a lot of Dave.

Anyhow, I do know when to play the 'girl card'. Like when I need some bits for the car and don't know how to fit them. Yesterday I never even got that far. I walked into the parts office of the dealership, hadn't even had chance to say hello when the manager used the most inappropriate term of endearment I have ever had the misfortune to be on the receiving end of.

He called me Blossom.... (does the picture make sense to anyone now?)

Now I obviously did something right because I came out with a 15% discount on parts, but my other half has now decided that he is sending me in from now on...

I'm now sure how long I can grit my teeth for, even in the light of a 15% discount.

06 May 2010

Election 2010

The polls are closed. I voted, as did my boyfriend and housemate. There's nothing more that can be done, other that to wait. The first results are expected out at 22:45, so in approximately 25 minutes we will know who has the first seat.

I hope it doesn't happen, but the predictions from the close of polls state that a hung parliament is the most likely.
But there's nothing to do but wait.

And I can't wait up and watch the results come in, for I have hospital tomorrow day time...

05 May 2010

Revising hard


Revising hard
Originally uploaded by merysjones
Well, there was really only one colour I could use to highlight a topic on cyanosis wasn't there!

And for those who say that highlighting books is wrong, well deal with it. I won't be selling them on, and it's a damn good way to learn...

03 May 2010

The revision journals

Now I've already mentioned that I'm studying a lot at the moment... But what about everybody else?

Medics and non-medics alike.... Tell me what subject you're currently revising.

I'll start you off. Today I shall mostly be looking at dementia and cardiology. But how about you?

02 May 2010

Feel the burn!

Just a quick note to say...
a) I'm still alive. Very much so. Last seen in London on a MPS/PME revision course which nearly killed me through caffeine induced tachycardia and exhaustion.
b) I'm revising for exams, as you may have guessed. My head is wedged into a book, namely this one. And I suspect it will be there for a while.
c) I'm waiting for a HIV and Hep C test following the whole blood splash debacle. Life is still on hold with that one

17 April 2010

Brain Fry

This is possibly the most unusual place I have ever blogged from. I'm in a youth hostel near Kings Cross called Clink 78... and I'm currently sat in an old courtroom on a computer, for which I am paying £1 for 30 minutes of internet. Personally, I think it's all a ruse that their TV isn't working when I want to watch Dr Who, and I have to pay for the privilege of BBC iPlayer.

Anyway, the reason I'm in London is because I've been on the PME revision course at the School of Pharmacy, University of London.

I swear, my brain is dribbling out of my ears at the moment, but it was worth absolutely every penny paid. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's day of surgical revision, and hopefully this year I can avoid the shame of resits....

14 April 2010

Because my bar manager is laughing at me...

I'm currently sat in my bar on my laptop (pretending to be) studying. I'm also sat listening to music that can't help but make me smile, and bob my head, and dance a little....

Plus, I swear she keeps laughing at me to the other customers, it's just that I can't hear her.

At least she didn't see me cleaning the bar last night dancing around to Spotify and Otis Redding (hard to handle).

For anyone interested, this is my playlist at the moment...

Then at least you can see why I can't keep still behind the keyboard.

04 April 2010

Career Moves

Well, for anyone who failed to realise, the date my last blog post went up was April Fool's Day, and it went up way before 12 noon UK time.

You may be pleased to hear that I have no intentions of quitting medicine. I will not be cashing in my 4 years for a BSc in Medical Sciences, and I intend to graduate as a doctor next year.

In fact, I have never been more certain of my career path than I am now.

Medicine is not a choice, it's a lifestyle and a lifespan. You're either in it for the duration or you aren't. I worked too hard and fought for too long to not get where I want to be now, and if I have to pass others who fall by the wayside, then so be it. I wish them the best.

But medicine is where I want to be. And I will be a kick-ass doctor.

01 April 2010

Time to say goodbye

I guess things have changed. What started out as my life's work has turned into the decline of my enjoyment and life in general.
My recent blood exposure and all the stress associated with it has forced me to reevaluate my medical career.
At the end of this year I will be cashing in my 4 years for a BMedSci and moving into writing on a more permanent basis.
As for the blog, who knows. I'll keep it up to date until I finish my elective, but after that maybe it's time to say goodbye to Merys and hello to the real person behind her....

25 March 2010

The Great Stethoscope Debate

There is an unwritten, but vastly vocalised rule in medical school. It goes something like this....

DO NOT WEAR YOUR STETHOSCOPE AROUND YOUR NECK WHEN YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO USE IT!

...and by this, I mean unless you can do more than listen to a heartbeat, you shouldn't be proudly displaying it like a badge, or oversized piece of jewellery. Because, let's face it, that's what it is.

Medical students in the lower years often have a day or two at the hospital every year, and every year you see them waltzing around the canteen with stethoscopes around their necks. Even the fifth years don't do this. This is why God invented pockets or small handbags.

Wearing it on a ward round, when walking around the hospital generally is fine, when you know how to use it, but the canteen is just wrong. It would be like wearing it while on public transport. It's not big, it's not cool and it's not clever.

Rant over


23 March 2010

Bullet bitten

The shift went ok. Obviously Frank wasn't there but some of the staff were who I worked with last time. It was nice to actually catch up with them.
Everything went by without a hitch and now I'm back on placement for one more arduous week before Easter holidays.
Now if only I could get over my obsession with wearing gloves to do everything at work then I'd be happy. I guess it's to be expected for a while.
More Occupational Health coming soon....

21 March 2010

Getting back on the horse


Since my blood exposure I've only done one shift at work. I did a sedate morning in elderly care and spent the entire time running to the toilet to retch.

Today I'm getting back on the horse. The nurse office called me up yesterday; there's a long day shift available on Medical Assessment for Sunday, would you be willing to work it. I said yes before I really even thought about it.

So in 10 minutes I will be getting on my bike and seeing if I can get my feet through the door of the ward and back to where it happened.



As far as I'm aware, Frank still hasn't consented.

11 March 2010

So….


Occupational health appointment today.

I don't know whether I've been lucky to be under the head of Occ Health at the hospital or not.

On the one hand he's written a cracking letter to the medical school explaining everything rather eloquently - and far more so than I was able to do when I went in and jibbered at them the day after exposure. He has rightly told me to refrain from exposure prone procedures* for the next 3 months until I've been given the all clear.

On the other hand, I suspect he thinks I know too much. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

For example, I know that the fact that I'm covered in tiny pinpoint bruises and any small cut bleeds rather madly means that my haematological values may have gone a bit astray. He knows that I know this. He knows that I know that I will have to stop PEP.

Unfortunately this is where I stop being a rational medic and a rather emotional member of Joe Public. It means that I'm convinced that if I stop PEP that I will immediately seroconvert. I've decided now that it's all down to fate.

Now I just have to wait for a phone call telling me what my bloods are doing and when my next occupational health appointment is going to be. If all is normal-ish, then it's back in 2 weeks, and if all is bonkers, it's back in a week and stop PEP immediately.

Anyway, I did get some more news on the 'source patient'. A brief word about that term – source patient. I hate it. It's such a vague hospital way of getting round the issue of confidentiality and trying to desensitise it. They know I know who the patient is, and they know I know. As if I would forget. I think I'm more offended by the fact that they aren't referring to Frank as 'Frank' and more as a 'Source'.

Anyhow, the medical school knows, but the students don't know. I think they might think I'm pregnant due to the amount of times I chuck myself out of the room at high speed and in the direction of the toilet. I've also had to avoid any patients with coughs, colds and minor infections because I'm probably immunosuppressed at the moment. I can understand why everyone thinks I'm up the duff, but it amuses me that no-one has actually asked me yet. I guess I'll be more offended if anyone thinks I'm starting to 'show'.



*For the non-medics out there, an Exposure Prone Procedure is one whereby you risk exposing the patient to any blood borne viruses you have. This means that you can't put your hands into any blind cavities or do anything where you can't see your fingertips. As a clinical medical student this means I can't do the following:

  • Vaginal examinations or smears
  • PR examinations

  • Scrub into surgery for anything other than the most minor surface procedures. I've been advised not to scrub at all.


I am still allowed to take bloods and put in cannulas and catheters though. I did some bloods this week and shook like a leaf, convinced that I would somehow manage to stick myself and then inoculate the patient (very hard to do), but oddly enough I did it perfectly and got first blood.









07 March 2010

PEP – the worst name in the world



Post Exposure Prophylaxis is the best thing I could be taking at the moment. But calling it 'PEP' is a slight misnomer. I have never felt less 'peppy' in my entire life.

My dreams are weird, I have what my other half has coined 'death breath', I feel like something metallic has rusted in my mouth and taken some bread in there to go mouldy at the same time.

And these are the more annoying and less worrying things…

  • My stomach can't decide whether it's hungry, full, upset or what.
  • I can't stop bruising – everywhere
  • My face and scalp has erupted into spots and pustules
  • I'm permanently exhausted
  • And I seem to have gotten a nasty ganky cough to go with all of this.
But sometimes you just have to Keep Calm and Carry On

06 March 2010

When work places life on hold...

Over at doc2doc is a summary of what's going on at the moment.

03 March 2010

Some point soon

Some point soon I will blog properly. It might not be here, but it may be over at Doc2Doc.

I'd just started to dig myself out of a mental hole when a physical one occurred. Even so, I'm being philosophical and working on a 'shit happens' mantra at present.

Meanwhile, you'll just have to hang on until I stop barfing....

23 February 2010

Dog Days Are Over

Florence + the Machine seems to be my saviour at the moment. I absolutely love the song Dog days are over, as it seems to just send me dancing like a loon at the moment.

Hopefully my mood is turning, but I have an appointment with my personal tutor tomorrow so we will see how that goes.

I must make a mental note to write an action plan, or at least write it here.

Will you all tweet me in the morning and say 'action plan' at me?!

20 February 2010

Say ‘Pants’ to it all

I'm normally pretty horrific at co-ordinating my underwear (bear with me here, this is going somewhere….) but today I have justifiable reason. Nearly four years ago I posted this. It's not so much the blog content, but the photograph. Now the ill-fated pants never did get worn, I guess I threw them out. But with weight loss and gain and exercise changes over the last few years my body shape has changed, and I now own another pair of WonderWoman pants. And they will see me through the nightshift I am about to embark on… in fact, if I get another 6 pairs then they can see me through every single week for the rest of medical school…..


 

Except this time you aren't getting a photograph cos my butt is in them at the moment. There's a thought to keep you all going through the night.

17 February 2010

Red Mist

I would have been blogging a little more over the past 2 weeks, except the anger that I was radiating would have probably killed your computer. Let's face it, I can't be held responsible for any rage against the machine(s)*

Things not going too well, +++ angry at present, depression kicked in with a massive bang on top of that….

But, there is a plan this time.

Medication change, some form of person centred approach and a mood diary.


 

Hopefully normal life will be resumed shortly. If not, expect long-ish periods of silence…


 

*sorry couldn't resist

09 February 2010

Oops I did it again…

February 6th marks this blog's anniversary and lo, I have missed celebrating it again. I have kept this blog for 5 years now, and it seems like an eternity.

It marks my progression from BSc student, to MSc student, to medical student… and who knows, maybe beyond.

I have some plans for the blog in the next 12 months, as this place and pseudonym has opened some amazing doors. But for that I guess you will just have to wait and see….

05 February 2010

The end of the week and the start of a new me?

I haven't been out in fancy dress for ages. I haven't had the money, the inclination or the reason. Tomorrow that changes.

Tomorrow I will be a wig-wearing stiletto-tottering fancy dress nightmare in pink. But I would like to explain that it's all in a good cause. Tomorrow night is a night on the tiles for Breast Cancer (hence the pink).

There will be no photographs, at least not on here anyway. So for the time being I need to start the preparations (and fairy wings/halo making) early. Hopefully on Sunday I will be sober and awake enough to blog, but if not, see you on Monday at some point….

31 January 2010

Crimes against exercise

I know it's late, but I think my sleep cycle has gotten a little confused.

I'm glad my housemates have all gone out for the night, both for my benefit and their own. Much therapy would be needed if they could see what an arse I've just been making of myself.

This is above and beyond an exercise DVD, this is Just Dance for the Wii. Possibly the most addictive and sweat inducing game in the world, once you get over the humiliation of thinking 'it's a good job nobody can see me at the moment, as I look like a buffoon'.

Anyway, showered and cleaned I'm not sat huddled under a blanket, in my fresh-from-the-dryer pyjamas watching the cheesiest DVD in the world.. Alvin and the Chipmunks. At least I'm happy.

30 January 2010

Boots, Homeopathy and Ten23

You may or may not be aware that at 10:23 this morning a mass 'overdose' of homeopathic tablets was planned outside several large branches of Boots stores in large cities in the UK (full story here). Organised by the Merseyside Sceptics Society and the 10:23 campaign, the aim was to send a clear message to Boots – stop promoting homeopathy in the UK, next to paracetamol and drugs that have proven benefits.

I have had arguments about homeopathy this week, and my stance is something like this….

  1. The placebo effect is a marvellous thing. I have no issue with people using any medication or treatment if it works for them. Personally, I've used Chinese herbal therapies to try and alleviate joint pain in the past. It didn't work for me, but that's just me.
  2. If alcohol was sold in the same way as homeopathic drugs, then no-one would ever get drunk. I could make you a drink that had previously had Vodka in it, but was now diluted so far that it only had the 'memory' of the molecule in it. Although it might solve the UK binge drinking problem, I can't see any consumers becoming massive supporters, or even believers of the benefits of it.
  3. We have been advocating pharmacy support for years now as a method of reducing GP and A&E attendances. So while the patient is there, they might buy homeopathic remedies instead of 'tried and tested' medicines that could solve their problem. They lose faith because the problem gets worse.

The fallout to today's mass 'overdose' could be interesting. I shall watch and wait….

29 January 2010

Things I don’t want to do this year…

Go on elective.

Well, that's a lie. And due to the nature of my elective there is a possibility that the people I'm doing my elective with may well be reading this.

To clarify, I DO want to do my elective, and I am very grateful for you for accepting me.

Plans have changed. I was meant to be going to Jamaica but I cancelled it. For my own reasons, both financial and personal I didn't feel it would be feasible. I budgeted my elective as costing somewhere in the region of £4000, and that covers my rent for my accommodation while I will be away. I just can't do it.

People have suggested to me (on here) that the UK is a perfectly good destination for electives, so I started thinking a bit more. A lot of students in my year are staying in the UK, so there is no real pressure for me to head to far flung shores, plus I was getting seriously concerned about the prospect of spending 8 weeks abroad and having a 'black dog episode', without much support.

Needless to say I will be staying here. My elective is being split into two four-week placements, and you never know, I may well be coming to a place near you….

24 January 2010

Band on the run

I love cycling home after nightshifts. I don't know why, you'd think I would be exhausted.

This morning two songs on my iPod made me smile like a loon whilst pedaling like a nutter:
Band on the run by Wings
Footloose by (I have no idea)

Consequently I was home in 10 minutes.

I'm now sat in my pajamas watching last night's Casualty and drinking margarita.

Happy days.

Good night all....

16 January 2010

Dear body,

This pain you have today is normal. Get used to it.

It will happen more. You came willingly to both step aerobics and the gym yesterday so now we both must face the consequences.

It's the start of a new year!

....and it hurts

09 January 2010

It's snow joke


Attractive attire
Originally uploaded by merysjones
This is me on my way to the hospital this week. Steel toe capped work boots, polka dot tights and a pencil skirt. Not quite as incredibly sex-goddess as I intended.

I'm getting seriously fed up of the snow now. It's buggered up all ability to cycle ANYWHERE.

The last time I tried cycling in the snow was coming back from my New Year's Eve shift and I nearly needed new underwear by the time I got home.

The lack of road salt means that cyclepaths haven't even been considered, and as foolish as I am I'm not even attempting it. Sod the carbon footprint and carparking costs, I'm just going to have to keep driving to placement until the snow clears...

05 January 2010

Unhack test

I'm hoping this is working via the medium of BlackBerry stuff...

Hacked off

Ironically since I disabled the ability to post automatically by email I have no longer been hacked. Even more ironically there wasn't a post waiting for moderation this morning when I logged in.

For the last two days someone has managed to get an email into blogger and on here. Now I'm still not 100% certain how, although I suspect (as people here have suggested) it's through remote email blogging. The thing that confuses me is that I'm pretty damn sure the only place that email address is stored is on my BlackBerry.

It's not an obvious email address in the slightest, and I have no idea how anyone has worked it out or hacked it, but it is an inconvenience to say the least. It means I can no longer blog at work or while out and about.

Any suggestions anyone has as to how to bypass this would be greatly appreciated.

03 January 2010

Confidential Respond,

Good day!
I appear to have been hacked. Normal service will resume shortly once all passwords have been changed. Apologies to anyone who thought I was having a Phishing nervous breakdown.
Merys

Musical Influences

I was doing some random YouTube trolling (always happens when I'm trying to get some serious work done) and I came across this amazing song. I think they're an unsigned act, but jeez they rock! And it sticks to the resolution of being true to myself..

So enjoy with my regards - Compact Pussycat

01 January 2010

New Year's Eve 2

In an hour I will be on my bike heading home. There's been a dusting of snow and a new patient but otherwise a slow night. Happy new decade

***********************************************

Edited: For anyone who saw the original post that was here, this is why you should never blog at silly o'clock in the morning while not really awake.

New Year's Eve 1

All ok so far. Random bursts from the patients of 'please release me'. Otherwise so far all I've done is play scrabble.