There's a reason I'm not a poet

Pull my finger

I’m starting my first set of night shifts on Monday. Dun dun dunnnn. In my hospital, we cover both medicine and surgery, with a total of around 10 wards. Speaking to others, it sounds like it’s pretty much down to luck as to whether or not it’s good or bad. Regardless, I will be busy, however there’s a difference between being busy and being unhappy- but we’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, last week was a bit more of a stress-free experience: I made the familiar easyjet trip over to uni for graduation round 3. Out of 4, in case you were wondering (and no, I don’t really know why I have so many). Thankfully I managed to meet up with a fair number of uni friends over the weekend (I also squeezed in a London trip to tick a few other faces off) and naturally I ate pretty fantastically while over there (figs with parma ham and honey, whiskey ice cream, burnt cream, a Greek mezze, haggis brunch and the world’s biggest piece of apple crumble).

The actual ceremony itself was exactly the kind of ridiculous pomp that you want: people walking around in robes, carrying sceptres and shouting things in Latin. At one point I think they were running through a list of the new research fellows, and the head honcho guy had to delcare- in Latin obviously- that the appointment pleased him, so essentially a list of names was interspersed with a rageful “PLACET”, making the whole thing sound like he had a very strange form of Tourette’s.

The highlight obviously was walking up yourself. Rather than going up in a queue like in any normal university, we were presented- again in Latin- to the man on a throne while holding onto a sixty-something year old man’s finger. That’s right, four doctors each clutching on tightly to a different digit and waiting their turn to kneel down and swear allegiance to the crown or sell our soul to Mephistopheles or whatever it was we actually agreed to.

But it’s all good craic like, an excuse to meet up with your friends and a reminder that while you’re slugging away doing paperwork there’s some professor somewhere sipping brandy and trying to come up with Latin puns to amuse the guests at their dinner party that evening.


So I did something fun last week. Our local does regular po-culture-themed pub quizzes, in the past running ones on Game of Thrones and Star Wars. Last week, my time came.

A Friends-themed pub quiz.


We assembled our team, we booked our table, we did our practice on QuizUp, and in the case of one of my friends, we (she) made four pages of notes. Front and back.

We were ready.

There ended up being about forty teams in all- it was pretty flipping popular. Some of the questions were incredibly niche: asking you for the name of the crazy girl who thinks that Joey really is Dr Drake Ramore, for the names of the women on Ross’ laminated list of women-he’s-allowed-to-sleep-with, the name of Emma’s manny, or the typo on the resumés that Rachel sends out. While we didn’t get full marks on these things, we did a bloody good job and it was down to our severe amount of PREPARATION.

Go team.

There were also spot prizes in the middle of the rounds where you had to write your answer and run up to the front. We were seated upstairs and at the back, so never quite made it to the front in time, however I still got really into it while running. Apparently at one point I elbowed some guy out of the way as we collided while sprinting to the caller. I have no recollection of this; I was in the zone.

It ended up being quite long as it turns out it takes ages to mark the answers for so many people. But at the end of the whole thing we were very pleased to find out that we came third! Which I was extremely proud of because flip me some of those questions were nigh impossible.

We were Judy, and we Looked Alive.



So Friday was an interesting day. Driving to work, the cars in front of me suddenly stopped. I figured there must have been an accident, so I got out of my car with a fair sense of trepidation over the possibility of being expected to do something about it. It turned out that a car had veered off the road and fallen into a ditch, with two passengers trapped inside. And so I kinda crapped myself.

Thankfully they were both conscious and seemingly not seriously injured, and I’ll tell you now that when I last saw them heading off in the ambulances towards the hospital (about 5 minutes from the site), they were looking well. So luckily it ended well! But walking up I was pretty anxious.

As other drivers and myself approached the car, someone asked if anyone was a trained first-aider. I replied with the somewhat terrifying sentence of “I’m a doctor”, and gently moved some other guy out of the way to get an idea of how the two men inside were doing. I later realised that this random person is in fact a consultant in my hospital. Awkward. Thankfully a consultant anaesthetist also appeared on the scene shortly after I did and the pressure certainly decreased.

The whole thing was quite a feat on the behalf of the emergency services. I was impressed with the communication between the different team members and how they managed to overcome the various obstacles that a sidewards car in the rain down a ditch with trees and a slowly rising water level presents.

For me, it posed a problem in the sense that my clothes were soon absolutely covered in mud. My brown shoes were black and I was in absolutely no fit state to walk into a building with sick people unable to fight off infections. So I took off my shoes, stole 5p off a stranger to buy a plastic bag to put em in and dandered on round to theatres to find a pair of scrubs. Which was a perfect time to walk past my educational supervisor as I realised that my socks were even more mismatched than ever before.

I obviously ended up being late for work and spent the rest of the day frantically trying to catch up, but I figured it was a decent excuse! And as my first “is there a doctor on board” experience it certainly didn’t disappoint in the realms of anxiety and fear. Fingers crossed that’ll also be something that comes with time


You want a piece of me?

Not really posting a huge amount these days- now that I’m in the world of work I don’t know what really to write! I feel like my hands are tied by the old oaths of confidentiality and the line in the sand that I’ve drawn is pretty strict with regards to what I talk about outside the hospital. Some people I know are happy to discuss things that have happened so long as they don’t give any identifiable information away, but I generally prefer to not talk about stuff at all. Especially not on the internet obviously.

But I am enjoying work. I’m coming to the end of my time on my current ward; as of Tuesday I’ll be moving up to an endocrine/haematology ward where I’ll be for the next two months. I think it should be good up there, but I have enjoyed getting to know the people I’ve been working with these past two months, and very much feel like part of the team. So leaving will be a shame.

Less fun parts of the job are the weekend shifts. I was on last weekend and am on again this Saturday. On a busy weekday, you can be running about a fair bit on my ward seeing to the jobs. On the weekend there are just as many admissions so it doesn’t get any less busy, but there are four other wards that you’re expected to be on. Which makes things interesting. Saturdays are pretty grim and me being me I kind of end up beating myself up a bit due to having to let people down. You physically can’t be in several places at once, but several people will simultaneously have extremely valid reasons to ask you to come and see them, and quickly. I’m trying to develop tactics and stratagems (not like me at all eh?) to maximise efficiency, but inevitably you have to say to people that you’re just gonna have to not help them out in any sort of prompt fashion. And that’s a very annoying feeling.

In other news next week is the BAKE OFF FINAL. Dun dun dunnnn. This is the first series I’ve actually followed and it’s a pretty great show. Obviously, me being me, I love all things food-related and so GBBO is just my main thing. A few of my friends were thinking of having a Bake Off bake off next week to celebrate the final, although a bunch of us are actually busy on the night of the final so we’re gonna do it on the Thursday instead and will have to try to avoid hearing who won. Maybe I’ll bring a gun to work.

Might help with the problem of too many people wanting to speak to me



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.


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!


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



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.