Monday, 31 May 2010

No Burn Out

It seems that nearly ever time I go to write this blog I'm moaning about my lack of motivation. I'm hoping that for this academic year at least I won't be doing it again.

It's getting towards the sprint at the end of the year now. The most dangerous time for either total lack of motivation or complete burn out. I'm hoping to stay in the middle and get neither of these.

I have 3 weeks left of placement, a week of revision, presentations and deadlines, written exams, a fortnight off and then practical exams. Apart from feeling a little overwhelmed at everything I have to do, I'm trying to make myself an anti-burn-out plan.

Maybe stupidly I have a lot of social stuff lined up in the next couple of weeks too, so I'm really going to be juggling work and play.

Wish me luck!

Lily xXx

Sunday, 30 May 2010

AMAZING weekend.

I think the capital letters say it all.

So far I have had an amazing weekend.

Friday I celebrated my birthday. It was all a bit upsetting at first when I got stuck in a traffic jam for 3 hours on the way home, but I managed to while away the time playing Trivial Pursuit with some nice randomers. Thank you randomers for cheering up the traffic jam :)

I then got home, had a delicious dinner cooked by my Dad and met my friends for drinks. Unfortunately drinks meant I control myself when it came to making the most out of my birthday present from my Dad. The worlds best camera.

It's a Canon Powershot G10. It's breathtakingly fab.

Saturday was a friend of mine's Hen Night. We went to see Legally Blonde the musical. You'd expect it to be completely awful, but it was brilliant. Light humoured, witty, funny and entertaining. Much better than I expected, although to be honest I'm not sure what I expected. After that we went to the ice bar. I made sure I got my money's worth and ate half of my ice glass after I'd finished my drink. We then wrapped up the evening by hopping in our limo home... luxury.
I think I'm going to need to sleep the rest of the day to recover!
Lily xXx

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Kylie's Birthday

In just over an hour it's Kylie Minogue's birthday....

... it's also mine!!


I've been out for dinner with the girls tonight, and after uni I'm having lunch with madsadgirl and then I'm off home for dinner with my Dad and drinks with my home friends. Hurrah!

I'm planning to take my spangly new laptop home with me for the weekend to do some work, so hopefully I can blog a little update on my celebrations.

Lily xXx

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Tweet Tweet!

So I've decided to give Twitter a go. I'm already a facebook addict, so what is one more internet addiction?

If you want to see the pointless minutae of my day, and hear the strange things travelling through my head then follow me. I'm "studentdocdiary".

Also if you're on Twitter let me know as it doesn't look that fun a thing to do if you're not following people.

Lily xXx

P.S. Yes I should be doing work rather than making Twitter accounts, but shhhhhhhhh!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

I Got Sunshine

I love the sunny weather. Things never seem to be able to get me down as much when the sun is shining. Along with feeling happier, somehow the sunshine makes me more motivated. It's probably because I know that if I get my work done I can do and sit outdoors and enjoy synthesizing a little vitamin D.

I met the deadline I had last week, so now I've got to try and keep up the momentum so that I can keep hitting deadlines. I've also got 7 sign ups in my log book. As well as all of this I've prepared the next 3 out of 4 presentations I have to give this academic year.

Hopefully now less is hanging over my head I can chill out a bit and lose the stress spots I've sprouted. I'm even taking the time to read a novel which I started in the sunshine over the weekend. I'm also piling in the fruit in and veg in preparation for exam stress... although my now gurgling tummy has told me that maybe I've eaten too much veg!!

Lily xXx

Friday, 21 May 2010

Sitting Pretty

I was on the train yesterday. I got on at an earlier station than normal so I got a seat and gladly got comfy in it. We pulled into the next station and a pretty large group of people piled on. I was happily reading my newspaper when out of the corner of my eye I noticed the man opposite me looking up worridly every 30 seconds or so behind me. Being the nosey person I am I turned around and saw a lady with a baby bump. It was a pretty tidy little baby bump and hidden by her coat mostly, but there was no doubting it with the way she cupped one hand under it and rubbed it with her other hand.

Without thinking I automatically sprung out of my seat, tapped the lady on the arm, apologised for not noticing that she was behind me and offered her my seat. She deserved it, I can't imagine carrying around a baby belly is very comfortable. It's tough enough carrying around my pizza belly.

There were two points to this that really annoyed me. Firstly that the man opposite me had clearly clocked her but didn't offer her his seat. This was probably because I was a couple of inches closer, but the simple fact is he saw her. In fact all the people sitting down were around me, and at the next stop I had to actually ask one of the men to give up their seat for an old lady who was struggling to keep upright. Where are their manners?

Second point. The pregnant woman was clearly in discomfort and was really relieved when she got to sit down. Why didn't she just ask someone? She was wearing quite a baggy coat and if she hadn't have been so slim otherwise I would have probably just thought she was tubby. TFL are giving out great "baby on board" badges for mums-to-be, but sometimes I think if people just asked it would be easier. Same for older people. I know they shouldn't have to, but if the general public don't have the manners to offer a seat, then why stand, struggle and complain about it later when just asking would do?

This isn't the first time I've been on a train and noticed that everyone either has their back to a pregnant lady, or is busy reading a book or the Metro. They aren't not offering seats often because they don't want to, but simply because they haven't noticed. I know if I am ever pregnant and I want a seat, I'll be a little bit cheeky and ask someone.

Lily xXx

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


I am very tempted to bury my head in the sand and hope everything goes away.

My SSC is sooooooooooooo difficult. Now I've found papers I don't really understand them enough to get the results out of them, let alone comment on how good or bad they are.
Emailed my superviser for more help but seriously doubting that I'll have anything good to hand in by first draft day on Friday.

Thank goodness I have all of tomorrow off to just sit and work at it all day. I think the fact I'm so tired after uni isn't helping. Also feeling incredibly ill today so I think I will write off this evening and go to bed now, hoping I'll be better tomorrow and able to blast through my work.

On the plus side next week should be relatively laid back ssc-wise, so I should be able to use the time to prepare 3 unrelated presentations I have to do this term. It also means I can go out and celebrate my birthday... woo! After that I'll have to get back into super-gear as loads more ssc deadlines come up and then scarily exams! Eep!

Lily xXx

Monday, 17 May 2010

Jumping Through Hoops

At the moment life seems to be about nothing but jumping through hoops. I dread to think of the hours of my life wasted filling out forms, evaluations, questionnaires and all other kinds of paperwork just to progress in uni.

Recently the whole year have gone through the process of ranking possible placements next year. My cynical side thinks there's no point to this. Whenever we've ranked anything in the past it seems like everyone gets the opposite of what they want. I can only conclude from this that the uni has a super computer that once you get a place allocates all your placements right through until final year. This means there are only 2 reasons we're ever allowed to rank things. Firstly to lure us into thinking that we have some choice so we moan less and secondly to get us to practice the process of ranking things in preparation for post-grad training.


Lily xXx

Friday, 14 May 2010

Presentation Tips

As with most terms, it always seems to come to a point where I seem to be doing nothing but presentations. I don't have a huge social phobia, but at the beginning of medical school I used to worry a lot more about presentations than I do now. I think this is because I've developed my own hints and tips that help me and I thought I'd share them...

1. Nobody cares. At first this statement seems a little harsh until you realise that it means even if you make a complete prat of yourself noone will remember it. If other people are doing presentations too they'll be too busy thinking of theirs. If you're the only one presenting everyone else in the room is just relieved it's not them and they're probably thinking about what to have for lunch.

2. Acting. I get nervous doing presentations. My alter-ego "clever-lily" doesn't. I always feel that if I pretend to be competent then I'll come across as knowing what I'm talking about. It seems to work.

3. Smile. If someone asks a question you don't know the answer to smile. No matter how evil the question is. It makes it seem like you're at ease with the material and even if you then have to say "to be perfectly honest I'm not sure..." the fact you don't go to pieces is good. Also don't fidget. It looks awful.

4. Timing. There's nothing more soul destroying than a presentation that goes on forever, so stick to the time if you don't want your audience shuffling and looking at their watches.

5. Slides. If you're making slides for the presentation keep them sparse. There's no point in writing everything you're going to say on the slide. Don't insult your audience. If it's all written down and you're just reading it out that's as good as calling them illiterate.

Does anyone else have any good presentation tips?!

Lily xXx

Thursday, 13 May 2010

What's for Tea?

Firstly thank you to everyone who has got in touch to help me with my literature review. I'm feeling a lot better about it today. Or at least as good as someone who's laptop keeps dying can feel about starting a huge piece of work. I think the new laptop I was planning to get over the summer will have to be purchased sooner.

On the subject of buying things I went to Sainsburies to get some thai red curry paste and they've changed it. It's gone from being nice, to some sticky, sweet, sickly, thoroughly disgusting gloop in a jar. I'm actually really upset as I'd have thai red curry at least twice a week normally. Either as an actual curry, in a coconut and noodle soup or to marinade chicken or prawns before I grilled them. Sainsburies have ruined my eating habits.

I'm now getting bored of variations on pasta and tomato sauce (although my homemade pasta sauce is the best in the world... even if I say so myself). I need my thai curry!!

Some of the bigger stores stock a different brand, but it's quite difficult for me to get to another store. Not distance-wise as I have a car, but practicality wise. I'm both rubbish at parking and directions, which doesn't help as the easiest way to get to the other store is through lots of back streets.

I think I'm going to have to get out my blender and make my own. Does this count as procrastination for my essay?!

Lily xXx

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Lots of Needles in a Huge Haystack

I'm searching for my literature review. It's really hard to search thoroughly and systematically, trying to make sure I don't miss any papers. The searches take ages too. It's not as if I can just search something on pubmed, I then have to go through the citations and reference lists of everything that looks relevant until eventually I stop finding new papers.

It's a long long job.

I'm using web of knowledge and pubmed, but trying to think of other search engines to use. Does anyone have any suggestions. I tried Google Scholar, but it came up with thousands, upon thousands of results, most of which were totally random.

Although I have helpful supervisors, it's still really daunting to have to do this for the first time. I need to make a plan in the next 10 days to show to my supervisors so they can tell if I'm going in the right direction. I originally thought I would just have to plan the introduction and show I've done some searching and reading of papers, but it looks like I have to plan the whole thing including the results! Eek!

Although I should probably be working I think I'm going to take a little nap... Mr Sunshine has been waking me up at 5am every day. Not cool. Especially since the sun always seems to vanish by the time I actually have to leave the flat.

Lily xXx

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Bizarre Curriculum

From talking to other medics it seems like the curriculum varies drastically from medical school to medical school over clinical years.

Being a loyal person, I'm usually the first to defend everything about my medical school except for the poor admin issues. I've spent hours spouting to other medic friends about how the curriculum at my uni is great in comparison to some of theirs as we have set times to discover all different specialities in 4th year after covering the basics of medicine and surgery in 3rd year.

Today I'm not feeling so hot about it. This is because of geriatrics. We have a relatively long placement in geriatrics, and although it's very important I just feel that the time could be better managed. A large part of my gastro/endo/gen med placement was geriatrics, as was neurology in 3rd year. It seems as if now we're going over the same ideas on capacity, support at home and assessing function that we did then.

I may be biased because I'm not loving geriatrics. I feel much more comfortable at the other end of the spectrum with paediatrics. Even taking my personal bias out of the picture surely it would be better to involve us with more clinical, history taking and diagnostic skills surrounding general medicine while highlighting the issues of elderly care rather than spending hours going over the same information about falls and delirium?

It would also be nice to have some more time doing specialities such as ENT, that we only had a couple of days for, and dermatology that seems to be lumped in with other things?

I feel like having a good old moan about everything today and the curriculum isn't all I'm irritated with, the weather is too. This morning the sunshine woke me up at 5.11am by streaming in my window. I was tired, but pleased the sun was shining. Then as soon as I left at 8 the sun vanished leaving me to freeze all day. Unimpressed. I'm trying really hard not to turn on the heating as my gas consumption is already higher than last year, but it's sooo tempting.

Lily xXx

Monday, 10 May 2010

Valuable Lessons Learnt Today

Here are a few valuable lessons I've learnt today...

1. Pencil skirt + large gap between platform and the train = near death experience.

2. Wearing a stethoscope while inside the hospital automatically makes people think I have more power than I actually do. This is a BAD thing. I got shouted at by some lady today about the lack of alcohol hand gel in the public areas of the hospital and then shouted at because I couldn't make a formal complaint on her behalf. I did feel like pointing out that the entrance and exit to every ward has a hand gel as well as every bed which is probably enough but I was scared she was going to kill me with her death stare.

3. Old people are really hard to take histories from.

4. I prefer listening to old people talk about "the olden days" than taking histories and if it was up to me I'd just spend all day having a chat.

5. The sickly sweet smell of ulcers has put me off of any sweet food for the foreseeable future.

6. I would like a house-elf to do my cleaning and cook me dinner so I could relax after a long day at uni. It would be good if this house-elf was proficient in the use of various databases to search for journal papers to make my life even easier.

Lily xXx

(I think point 6 is more the start of a wish-list than a life learning point, but it needs to be said.)

Sunday, 9 May 2010

A Couple of Hours of Bliss

I don't know whether to be happy or sad.

I had the most lovely Saturday afternoon, evening and Sunday morning with the ex. I'm a bit fed up of writing "the ex", "the ex boyf", "my ex fiance" etc... so from now on I'll call him Moose. This is partially because he's as hairy as a moose, but mostly because it would help if I could give him a name on here.

Anyway he turned up Saturday afternoon. I was originally a little peeved as he was supposed to be coming over in the morning but when he called to apologise that he hadn't turned up because he'd fallen back asleep, I couldn't be angry, just glad he'd finally had a couple of hours of sleep.

Without going into too much soppy detail he was so affectionate. For the last couple of months he's only held my hand when I've reached out for it, he's only snuggled when I've snuggled up to him and he's put up with me giving him kisses. Not this weekend. He seemed genuinely pleased to be spending time with me. It was so nice to get given kisses just because and to have him cuddling me in front of the TV.

We woke up in the morning and had another cuddle and then his phone rang. It was his sister telling him that their Dad was on the way to give them their birthday presents. He thought his Dad would be visiting next week so had to leave early. Part of me was upset because it meant we were spending less time together, but the other part of me was just so pleased we had a lovely time together that I didn't mind at all. Next weekend is his actual birthday weekend and he has plans to go to a car show with his best friend so I won't be seeing him for a fortnight. It seems like ages but I'm sure with all the work I've got it'll fly by. I just need to quiet the doom-merchant in my mind that's telling me that it can't last.

It also gives me something to really look forward to. That weekend is the weekend between mine and his birthday. Because of this we're going to do something special as a treat. Even though he's afraid of heights he wants to go on the London Eye. I'm going to book a special Pimms flight on the London Eye, so we can enjoy the best summer drink while looking over the city. Lovely. I'm sooo excited!

In the meanwhile I have so much work to do I should probably get on with it.

Lily xXx

Friday, 7 May 2010

Panic Stations!

There's nothing quite like having a deadline moved drastically forward to put a rocket up my bottom. This evening I have well and truly gotten started, although with the amount I have left to do it almost feels like I haven't. Thankfully my supervisors are really helpful,so I'm sure when I email them on Monday they'll be able to confirm that I'm on the right track. We were hoping to fit in another meeting before the deadline, but there really isn't time for that now.

My day hasn't all been work though. I had a bit of a lie in since I stayed up late for elections. I then went to lectures where the bombshell of my new deadline was dropped. After that I went for a lovely lunch with madsadgirl.

Now I'm spending the rest of my evening trying to get this literature review properly started. It's so tempting to just tidy my flat instead. That shows how much I want to procrastinate because I HATE cleaning. I am the messiest person ever. However I have worked solidly for a couple of hours. I have so many other things to do for uni that I really want to get this done as quickly as possible. Although I should get a publication and lots of skills from this special study unit, I'm kind of wondering why I picked something so difficult towards the end of the year when I have so many other deadlines. Eep!

The ex is coming over tomorrow hopefully for a bit of cheering up. I'm thinking of taking him to a farmer's market because who doesn't like lots of nice yummy fresh food and a day out in the sunshine... so cross your fingers that the sun will shine for us!

Lily xXx

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Election Day

I've voted! Have you?

I spent hours reading manifestos and trying to make up my mind who to vote for. I finally decided on Lib Dems for reasons that would probably make most of you fall asleep.

I feel like a big geek because I was so excited about voting. At the last national election I was 3 weeks too young to vote. It was so frustrating especially since I was doing an A-level in politics.

I'm now going to make myself some lunch and do a few hours work before I have a nap so I can stay up really late to watch the election results.

I have to decide whether or not to watch BBC1 or the alternative election night on channel 4. I think I'm also going to end up missing glee to watch election things.

Lily xXx

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Desperately Waiting

I've been wanting to write about this for a while. I haven't because firstly I find it so upsetting and secondly because the issue was nowhere closer to being resolved. Now it's getting somewhere I think I'll feel a huge sense of relief writing about it.

As you all know my fiance walked out over a month ago. It turns out things weren't that simple. He left because he'd been hiding the fact he was feeling really low and didn't want to drag me down.

Looking back I had noticed he was down and I hate myself for not mentioning something. He had no concentration for a while and had got much grumpier. On top of that he just wasn't really sleeping much and seemed more miserable. Whenever I'd ask him why he wasn't cheerful he'd blame work and make jokes about having a nervous breakdown. I stupidly believed him when he said he was OK, and thought that just by being the best girlfriend ever I could cheer him up.

That wasn't the case.

A week or so after he broke up with me I spent some time with him and realised he had a serious problem. He was weepy, his hands shook, he couldn't make eye contact, wasn't eating, wasn't doing anything he used to enjoy and was constantly saying how guilty he felt that he was such a failure in life. He really isn't.

I spent a whole night of not sleeping, not really knowing what to do. He dumped me so surely I should just back off? Fortunately I love him so much that I couldn't do that. I knew he wouldn't listen to anything I said so I wrote him a letter. I wrote all the things that were worrying me about him, and how it sounded a lot like depression. I told him he should get some help. I also told him that no matter what, I was going to be there for him.

He read the letter and phoned me up really relieved because someone recognised what was wrong. He was scared about going to the doctor. Scared of all the bad things he'd heard about antidepressants. Scared he'd look weak. Scared he wouldn't be believed.

With what look a lot of bravery he made a GP appointment. He had to wait 10 days. Unfortunately his own GP was away so he saw a locum. The locum agreed he needed to be seen again and got him to fill out a questionnaire. This is a questionnaire which uses questions based on the criteria for diagnosing depression to estimate the severity of someone's depression. He scored a score that put him in the bracket of severely depressed.

NICE guidelines state that both pharmacological treatment and a referral should be given at this point. Shame he didn't get it. He was messed around with appointments that were apparently booked but there was no record of and ended up going back to the locum again who just sent him home telling him to wait for a referral to come through at some point in the future.

All the while he was getting more and more ill. Last weekend he was so clearly distressed and so withdrawn that while driving back from visiting him I had to stop the car because I realised I was sobbing. It's so upsetting to see someone you love so much in such a state.

This was last weekend. I've been so worried about him I haven't been sleeping myself. After seeing him this weekend I couldn't eat for 2 days or sleep more than an hour at a time. I'd really got myself into a panic and didn't know what to do. I was really starting to think that he'd just be abandoned by the NHS and left until he got so bad he just decided to end things.

Tuesday morning I got a call at 4am. It was him. He'd got into an anxious state and felt like he was going to explode. He didn't think he could cope with anything any more. Part of me wanting to jump in the car and rescue him, but what could I do?

Between us we had a chat about things to help him get through the night and he decided to make another GP appointment in the morning even though they'd been fobbing him off.

Thankfully his GP from childhood was back off holiday and saw him. This GP, we shall call him Dr Lovely, instantly admitted that my ex was clearly not himself. GP lovely had a good chat with him, even though it made his clinic run over. He sorted out a quicker referral. He also prescribed some citalopram. Dr Lovely took the time to chat to him about the medication and made sure he felt that if he needs to see him again before his next appointment in a few weeks time that the door is always open. I honestly feel that Dr Lovely has saved his life.

Now it's just the wait while the citalopram kicks in and the earlier promised referral happens.

The waiting is really hard though. All I can do is be there for him, but there's no real advice I can give and I don't know if I'm doing the right thing. I really hope he pulls through this.

Lily xXx

Land of Civilisation

I'm back in London, where I can get access to an internet connection that doesn't automatically ban any kind of blog and facebook.

Later on today when I've had the chance to have a cup of tea and relax for a few hours I'm going to write a big ranty post about something I've been experiencing in my personal life, which is medicine related and how peeved it's made me.

Until then I have another question...

Why are teenage girls walking around town sucking on babies dummies?

I saw 2 today on my way to the supermarket to get some rather delicious prawns (on special offer) for my dinner.

They look completely ridiculous. What's even more shocking is one of these girls was walking down the street with some guy's arm around her. Wasn't he embarrassed to be seen with someone strange enough to use a dummy at about 17? Apparently it's a fashion at the moment or so I've heard.

Because I don't get it, does that mean I'm getting old?

Lily xXx