There's a reason I'm not a poet

Engage

Life’s going quite well in Norn Iron at the minute: job not too stressful, plans happening with my friends and I’ve even been getting a few random stat days off! Which is great, everybody loves a holiday.

Friday night was a great night in Belfast: the annual culture night! Like a hundred venues are open with over 200 events throughout the night, ranging from plays to collaborative drawings, gigs to a roller derby, and food and drink everywhere! My particular favourite was changing across a live reggae performance in a car park. Proud to say I danced like the whitest man alive, and bloody loved it.

Last night was a flat-warming party for one of my school friends and similarly was great craic! Cleverly sat down beside the food and stuffed my face until the people in charge of the music changed seats. At which point the Disney songs and early 2000s cheese came on.

Today was a slightly more mature achievement: I JOINED A GYM. Braving my ultimate nemesis: physical activity. Fingers crossed I manage to stick to my good intentions now that they’re taking money from my pocket. But chances are I’ll end up using it as an excuse to eat even more of all the pies.

M

On how life is

So it’s been a long while since I’ve posted on here. Sorry, to my many thousands of adoring fans. Maaaaaay be a bit of a mammoth post.

I don’t think I’ve actually blogged since starting work, so I guess that’s one major thing to talk about! It’s been a long time coming obviously, and despite all the years of thinking ahead to how it was going to, there are ways in which it’s not what I expected it to be. I was fully aware of the fact that as an FY1 you’re not often the person who gets to make all the decisions, and that essentially for a lot of the time you’re a secretary with a medical degree. And that view has kinda panned out to be true: a fair amount of my time is spent doing paperwork. Which is fine, but one thing I didn’t expect that in the hospital I’m in it isn’t really the norm for the medical FY1s to go on the ward rounds and see the patients. Which kinda meant that for the first while my only patient interaction was when taking blood; I wasn’t seeing any kind of clinical decision making, never mind doing any for myself. And this annoyed me if I’m honest as it massively limits your scope for actually learning anything.

Thankfully, they changed the system of how things work in the hospital shortly after I started, and I spoke to a few of the other doctors on my ward about me getting a bit more involved in the ward rounds. As a result of this I’ve managed to get on the ward rounds virtually every day and so am learning a lot more than beforehand which is good!

The ward I’m based on is filled with some really friendly people, which makes a massive difference to the old happiness levels. People in NI anyway are a bit warmer to strangers than in England, but I think on top of that the atmosphere in the hospital/ward is quite an encouraging and welcoming one, so I’ve been quite content.

The bit that’s not being going so well so far is the flipping practical skills. I knew as a medical student that when I started work the thing I would struggle with is putting needles in. It’s something I’ve never been overly happy with how good I am, and despite practice I seemed to improve but never quite be where I wanted to be. Sadly I’m still not there yet. It’s a little bit frustrating because it means that if there’s a list of things to get through, I’m slowed down massively by something that other people could do in five minutes or so, and so it hampers my ability to get other stuff done.

Oh well.

On a different note I’m really enjoying generally being back in Northern Ireland, and I think it was the right thing to do. I’ve been able to see my family much more often than I have previously, and the amount of effort to do it is a million times less! Having a group of friends that are ready-made has also been a god-send, because making plans is so much easier. You can come back from work and go to the cinema/pub/dinner/Matilda night or else have something fun lined up for the weekend with minimal effort, and the medicine chat stays where it belongs: in the hospital! For example, yesterday we went on a Game of Thrones location bus tour, travelling to some of the places where scenes from the TV show have been filmed (I wouldn’t know as I’ve only really read the books)- apart from being accosted by a French TV crew it was great fun.

Oh and before I forget- the last Reason To Be Happy: MY INCOME. While it’s not astronomical it certainly feels like it as it’s more than enough to do me! I still have an awful lot of debts to pay back but it’s just great to not have to worry quite so much about every pound that you spend and being able to eat what you want rather than what’s cheapest. So yeah, smiles all round!

M

Trying to learn to play this

 

I don’t even play piano. This isn’t gonna go well.

Also hoping to get a blog up shortly about work, life etc. But I’m being a bit rubbish at that, sorry. Watch this interwebspace

M

omg I forgot to say

I’M WORKING CHRISTMAS DAAAAYYYY.

Like a 12 hour shift; don’t finish until 9pm.

Whyyyyyyyy

So I’ve finished the first two weeks of the rest of my life! No more student days for this one. (The lazy person inside of me is crying)

Before starting, because I didn’t train in Norn Iron, the hospital I’ll be working in asked me to show up a bit earlier to shadow the outgoing junior doctors and get used to the hospital system in a different part of the UK. It’s mostly been induction-type things and seminars, but it’s actually proven quite useful to get oriented to the different ways things work. Hopefully now, I shouldn’t have too much trouble in the middle of the night finding the button that says “Please don’t let this patient die”

The hospital is a really friendly place, and all the outgoing juniors seem to think I’ll definitely enjoy my year which is obviously a good sign. I’m in two minds as to how I feel about starting.

Optimistic me:

“Awk I’m sure it’ll be fine. Other people have survived and gotten through it, so I’m sure I will. People expect you to be rubbish so it won’t be too bad”

Pessimistic me:

“People can die. It can be my fault for not being good enough. Staff will expect me to be rubbish but DISEASE FLIPPING WELL WON’T CARE”

At the minute I’m leaning more towards the former thank God. But expect rapid cycling between the two. The current guys finish on Tuesday lunchtime (the cheeky buggers are going go karting and leaving us to fend for ourselves), so the official “first day” is either Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday, whichever you wanna call. I’m currently sitting with my rota for the whole year trying to work out when I want to take my annual leave and how best to avoid being a prat to other people by dropping them in it at busy times. The time to miraculously become an organisational wizard is now. I will of course settle for becoming a wizard.

Man I’d love to be a wizard

Na zdravi!

Been meaning to write a post for a while about my travels abroad, but I’ve been that busy since I got back that I haven’t really had time to. LET’S DO THIS.

So I spent twelve days or so in Eastern Europe, visiting Prague, Krakow and Budapest. There were four of us for the first two cities, and three for Budapest- I went with some friends from home, two of whom I know from school.

First things first: the foooooooooooood. (This is after all my blog) That part of the world isn’t exactly known for its haute cuisine, so the food wasn’t exactly the meticulously-presented fancy dining you might get elsewhere in Europe, but what it does provide is some fantastic heart-warming comfort food that’s fricking delicious. It was generally meat, some form of dumplings (I think I counted five variations on the term), possibly cabbage, and some delicious sauce either similar to a thicker gravy, a goulash or else something loaded with paprika. It was really fricking warm outside, but the food was so tasty that I didn’t go anywhere near summer foods the majority of times we went out for dinner. This was of course generally accompanied with beer so the calories and smiles were in abundance.

Each of the cities were really beautiful, and had some fantastic architecture and greenery around the place. There were some seriously old and grand buildings, and they basically all made Belfast look rubbish in comparison. Prague and Krakow had old towns sections, which were obviously quite touristy but that’s not something that bothers me when a place is as scenic as they were. Budapest on the other hand has its beautiful buildings a bit more spread out, with fantastic architecture in both cities of Buda and Pest- I ended up regularly taking photos of what turned out to be banks and hotels.

Each city had also been affected quite heavily with World War 2, the Holocaust and communism, so each had some seriously interesting points of history- albeit some seriously heavy ones. We went out to the Auschwitz & Birkenau death camps which was one of the most harrowing experiences I’ve ever had. It’s not something I find easy to write or talk about, but I strongly advise everyone to go to one of the concentration camps and see just how horrific they were.

On slightly cheerier notes, we were quite lucky with the timing of when we were in Krakow, as there was a street theatre festival going on! Some of it was pretty artistic and therefore went over my head, but others were a bit more comprehensible (usually the ones with magicians, clowns or slapstick- I’m pretty basic). Probably the most memorable was a group of pink aliens running around the old town square causing mayhem: they were chasing people down the street, standing off against police cars, walking into coffee shops, and rubbing their pink face paint all over anyone who stood in front of them. At one point one of them, in a costume that can only really be described as… well, a scrotum, got everyone to hold hands in a circle and chant while he gave birth to a balloon. That was a first.

Last summer I got a bit excited about the whole selfie business, and so in keeping with that tradition I decided to chance my arm and grab a selfie while they were all standing in a group. Scrotum Alien decided he wasn’t going to stand for this and decided to absolutely cover me in pink face paint. Which to be honest I found flipping hilarious. But it meant that once the aliens stole a car and drove off, there was no plausible excuse around as to why exactly I looked like a discoloured smurf. So on my walk back to the hostel to scrub off what turned out to be waterproof face paint, I got more than a few funny looks. Feel free to ask me for a photo!

Overall, I think my favourite city was probably Budapest. The three cities were all beautiful, but I think Budapest just kind of pipped them all to the post. It also seemed to have the most amount of life about the place, and was somewhere I could actually envisage myself living! Although the likelihood of me actually uprooting myself and heading over to Eastern Europe are slim to none.
One of the great attractions of the place was the baths they have there, due to the natural sources of water and some plumbing that apparently the Turks brought across. We went to the Gellert Baths which had some pretty impressive architecture. Sitting in them made me understand why the Romans/Greeks/delete as appropriate used them so much- it was one of the most relaxing experiences of my life. Coming out of there my friend and I felt so fricking zen. I didn’t try, but I probably could have levitated at that point.

Coming back to NI was a bit of a bump, but I was very happy to be here, ready to start work and the next chapter in life! Blog post about that to follow shortly.

M

I just found wifi

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