Sunday, 29 July 2007

The end is nigh

So, after thinking about it for a few days, I have decided that this blog is not really going in the direction I would like it to, so I won't be posting here any more. If anyone is interested in reading my new blog, feel free, but it won't be a 'medical' blog, but more of a 'thoughts about life' blog.

Oh dear, I sound like a hippie. Sorry.

Anyway, it's been fun being a medical blog, and I'll still read medical blogs, but I don't think I'm really contributing much and the confidentiality issues are far too complex, so I'm jumping ship!

so farewell, it's been fun. you are welcome to join me in the new world!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Funerals, flooding, rotas and toothache...a random mixture!

Back home now, Oxford was pretty flooded and I've heard it got worse after I left which is bad - Aaron and I went to look at his next house (his lease is up in August) which was on the other side of one of the flooded streets, so we had to take our shoes and socks off and roll up our jeans and wade through it all! Aaron's house is ok, not flooded, but some of his old flatmates had to move out of their new house because of the flooding - it's pretty bad down there.

Aaron has a hard time staying away from scary situations! When we were in Israel last summer, we got bombed by a couple of katyusha rockets on our first day, and, rather than going to a shelter (there weren't any) or a basement or something, we all went to the roof to have a good look! Not content with this, Aaron was all for running down the hill to where the rocket hit to have a look - he was the same with the flooding, couldn't stay away in the safe bit but had to go wading in! Nutter...

Anyway, no trains were running but I managed to get a lift up to Birmingham with my dad who was travelling from Heathrow for the funeral. All a bit complicated, but got there in the end.

The funeral was my dad's uncle's, but he was only 62 and it was pretty sudden so quite sad. It went as well as could be expected though, and I got to spend some time with my dad's aunt and cousins (who are more my age - there's a big gap between siblings so the generations are a bit mixed up) which was really good. It's a shame about the circumstances though.

And now, I'm back home with horrible toothache so I'm going to the dentist tomorrow - is it acceptable to be scared of dentists when you're a doctor?! I just hate the noises and I hate having stuff in my mouth and I REALLY hate then putting needles in my gums, there's no squidge there! Will stop being a wimp though, I need to go and get my dodgy tooth sorted...

Oh, I said I'd mention my rota...briefly, it's a bit weird - I start with 2 days annual leave which is annoying when I already feel like I'm on death row, I just want to get started! Then I seem to be working 4 weekends of the next 8, and I have several days of 'zero hours' which I assume are days off, but I think they are just to keep the rota a bit more compliant than it would be otherwise. Still, it seems a bit all-or-nothing - I work a lot of long shifts in a row, then a weekend, then I have a few days off. I don't know what the other people on my ward's rotas are like, I guess they are pretty similar. Very strange!

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Travel and Torment

So about that road trip...I decided to go to Oxford by rail instead! Only this has caused its fair share of problems - firstly I went to the station and they told me that there were no trains running south of Birmingham. So after some huffing, I went home. And sat on the doorstep for 40 mins because I'd left my keys at home so my mum could drive my car while I was away (but heaven help her if she scratches it!!).

Then I phoned my friend in Oxford (his name is Aaron) and asked him what he thought I should do, and he phoned a lot of people, and eventually I went back to the station and got on a train which was going all the way to Oxford. All good.

Until we got to York and they announced that the train would be terminating at BIRMINGHAM. Grrrrrrrrr at Virgin!

So I had to call my long-suffering friend who very kindly agreed to drive up to Brum and pick me up. What a star.

When we got to Brum, I asked a guy at the information desk where cars could pull up as I was trying to get to Oxford, and he said, 'oh, this bloke here's going to Oxford too', so I was introduced to a lovely young guy who assured me he wasn't a serial killer rapist or anything and turned out to be a History student at Leicester on his way back from a TA training weekend in Aberdeen. Anyway, he provided amusement and conversation until Aaron arrived and drove us both back to Oxford. So you see it worked out ok in the end.

And now, it's Monday - yesterday, I went with Aaron round the colleges, sneakily avoiding all the tourists by waving Aaron's student card at the many security people, and wow, were they amazing! I felt kind of stupid wandering about in all the academic glory of these gorgeous old buildings, and kept having to tell myself 'you're a doctor, you are not stupid' - the Oxford mantra, I think!

Anyway we had a nice day wandering about, it didn't really rain and there were lots of tourists to avoid and awesome buildings to see.

And today, the Thames and the Ouze are both flooding and I may well get stuck here! The trains from Oxford to Birmingham all go through Banbury, which is totally under water, and there are no replacement buses, so it looks like the only chance to get back is to get a lift to Brum again and go from there. Aaron's working at the moment (he's a med student, grad fast track so back early!) so I might have to think again.

In other news, my rota is apparently FINALLY winging its way to me through cyberspace and should be in my inbox in half an hour or so when the lady I called about it finished whatever she was doing. More on that after I've scrutinised it...

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Vehicular bliss!

Aaaah, I am in love with my new car! It's soooooo nice, it is smooth and handles beautifully and it's so pretty, I am a happy girl!

Now, for those of you who are very observant, you may notice that this post has changed since you read it before...

Basically I was planning a big road trip down to Oxford to see a friend, then to Birmingham to see another friend and go to a funeral, but I'm having doubts...

I blame my mother really! She suggested that it might not be the wisest idea to drive for several hundred miles alone in a new car when the (quite considerable I've worked out) petrol money will be coming out of my overdraft. So I've thought about it and maybe she's right - I've never driven this far (I've only had my license 6 months after all) and perhaps it would be better to do it with someone else for the first time rather than on my own.

Anyway I haven't decided for definite yet, promise I will commit my indecisive self to something soon!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Vehicular nightmares

Man, having a car is a stressful business. We phoned and confirmed the car this morning which is awesome, and we have to go do the paperwork tomorrow and can pick it up on tuesday which is great.

Unfortunately now I have to enter the tedious world of insurance! I got a quote from a leading four-sided company which was much better than the other ones - bearing in mind this is my first car, I have had my license for 6 months and I've been on my parents' policy so don't have a no-claims bonus yet. So I went onto the website having got a quote from a baffle-free-we-get-all-the-quotes-for-you site, and lo and behold, it wouldn't take my password, so I had to call them up. When I get through, I am told that the quote I have been given is only valid if I pay IN ONE GO, as if I have £712.98 lying around! Was very cross, the price if I pay monthly is £170 more than this but I don't have that kind of money.

Grrrrrrrrr. Back to the electronic drawing board I think.

The other thing about this car is, it's pristine. I'm used to driving a slightly battered Nissan Almera which has rusty bits and scratched bits and a dent where my brother backed it into a lamppost after going to see a particularly exciting Pirates of the Carribean showing. So if I scratch yon Nissan, tis not a big deal. Or at least it is easily hidden. Or blamed upon somebody else. But if I scratch the new shiny car which is mine and mine alone, I have nobody to blame but myself! Also I have never driven a Ford, what if the clutch is weird and I drive it into a wall the first time I try to get it out of the shop?! Can I just get it home and then just leave it in the driveway and not drive it and polish it lots?!?!?

I think having nothing to do is playing havoc with my rational thinking faculties - I keep playing over and over all the terrible things which could happen to this pretty car in my hands and wondering if it's a bit too much responsibility and perhaps I should just leave it in the drive!

My word, if I can't handle having a car, how on earth am I going to cope with being a doctor and having to make decisions about people?! Or owning a house? Or (heaven forfend for the next 10 years or at least until I'm a registrar) having a baby?!?!

Oh what a disaster I am, I think I'll go and play the piano to calm down a bit!

Sorry for the slightly hysterical rant, will be calmer next time I promise!

PS Thanks for the comments people, it's great to know that people actually read this sometimes!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Graduation day!

Yesterday was graduation day at my uni, and a good day was had by all. The weather was good, the gowns were appropriately Harry Potter-like, the ceremony was mercifully shorter than last time I graduated, and we didn't have to sing in Latin again which was a bonus! The garden party was champagne-filled, and in the evening I went out for dinner with my family and my friend Elaine, her parents, and her flatmate Anna.

Now I'm back home, and today was very exciting for several reasons:

Firstly, I went to look at a car with my dad, and I think we are gonna buy it which is awesome! I am very happy, it's a great car, and it's pretty which is good, and the reverse is in the right place (down right, opposite 5th, not push-down-and-in-first-ish) which is brilliant.

Secondly, I went to a financial advisor and learned all about ISAs, which was really interesting - I am loving the finances.

Thirdly, while I was out doing the above, my mum had a go at my pigsty room that I've been struggling with for weeks and made it beautiful in like 2 hours! It must be a mum thing.

So anyway it's been a good day.

Now I am watching Election, I'd forgotten how funny it is! More another time.

Friday, 29 June 2007

Alcohol, my permanent accessory

Alcohol, a party-time necessity,
Alcohol, alternative to feeling like yourself -
Oh alcohol, I still drink to your health...

...oh, hello, didn't see you there. Bonus points for guessing the song and the artist!

It's been a crazy week. I've been following the FY1s who are on the ward I'm going to start on, trying to learn the ropes and how things work. I've met lots of nice people (I had heard that BCI was not the friendliest of places but everyone's been lovely so far, including all the consultants), everyone's really friendly and the two girls I'm working with are really cool, I think we'll get on well. There are some oddities about how things work in this hospital compared with University Hospital, but I think that would happen anyhere. And yes, I have got lost a lot!

Parking at BCI is extortionately expensive and there aren't really any alternatives to park - there's a housing estate close by in which you might get a space if you're lucky, but otherwise it's a bit of a nightmare. Thankfully I only live 2 miles away, so I've been walking there and back this week. I've actually really enjoyed it, I like the fresh air, the exercise, the fact that there are lots of trees on the roads I walk along, and the fact that I can have some free thinking time before the day starts. I'm planning to walk to work in August when we start as long as it's still light, except perhaps on late days. Or when it's chucking it down.

My ward is GI, which I was expecting, but what I wasn't expecting was it being only upper GI, and the fact that the vast majority of my patients are alcohol enthusiasts and look like a cross between Tweedle Dum/Dee and Homer Simpson! Alcoholic hepatitis is the order of the day for most of them, with a few scary alcohol-associated things which give me The Fear and involve a lot of management about which I know nothing. Oh, and just in case life gets boring, half of them have varices and like to puke their circulating blood volume all over the place. This has happened a couple of times this week, with one fatality and a couple of ITU transfers. I am pretty scared of this too. The only non-alcoholics have oesophageal cancer, which is not particularly cheerful either. Good grief, this was not quite what I had in mind. Must read some books before I start and the fate of these people rests considerably on my decisions!

Anyway, I'm still missing my social life but I've been really knackered this week and I still have a lot of stuff to sort out at home - still unpacking, oh the misery - and I'm trying to be realistic about it. I can't expect to make friends as good as my friends from uni in a week, but I've met some nice people and I've managed to get in touch with a few people at the church I mentioned before who are going to introduce me to some more people. All good. I am Joey, Networker Extraordinaire.

Right now, I'm going to try and do something about the dreaded unpacking so that I can actually see enough of my bedroom floor to hoover it!