There's a reason I'm not a poet

Changeover

So it would seem I’ve been working for 6 months. I finished my last day on general medicine today, and start on general surgery tomorrow! I say start- I’m in for one day then I’m off for night shifts this weekend. But you get the idea.

Looking back over the past six months, I have mixed feelings about how my year has gone. I have enjoyed myself, but a hefty proportion of that has been due to the people I’ve been working with rather than the work itself. I got some really nice feedback from some members of the staff on different wards I’ve been on, and in that sense it’ll be sad not to work with those people again. Out-of-hours provides opportunities for learning, and for doing actual doctoring, but one of the big disadvantages of medicine is that a large proportion of my daytime work has been paperwork and relatively menial tasks, where the only brainpower required is the ability to be organised and efficient. And you’re pretty detached from patient encounters, which is a darn shame. So I feel like compared to my colleagues in England I’ve had much less educational value out of my time in a hospital so far.

Surgery, I’m told, is different. When I started medicine, the idea of not being on the ward rounds was extremely foreign to me, and thankfully on surgery it’s a lot more like the traditional model I was expecting to be doing. So, I’ll be on the ward rounds and actually saying things to patients other than “do you mind if I take a blood sample?”

I’m exaggerating a little of course- I have learned things over the past six months, and through being on-call have had exposure to plenty of common and important health problems that I’ll need to be comfortable with dealing with in the future. But I am looking forward to being more hands-on while on surgery, and actually getting to know the patients on my ward. In short, I’m looking forward to doing the job of a doctor!

Hopefully it won’t all go tits up.

M

Allons-y!

Got back from skiing yesterday. I am le tired and my legs are le sore, but obviously the week was absolutely full of le craic. Just had a look at my old blog and the entry there about the first time I went skiing, and the repeat performance didn’t disappoint! Four uni friends and I went to France (to Val Thorens) for about a week, staying in an apartment and armed with lots of layers and one aim: to not break any bones during the inevitable 208570871 falls.

Success! Although one of my friends did set his glove on fire and later got cellulitis. But still- no fractures!

We were staying in an apartment which was pretty 70s in style, and very much did the job. The location was fantastic as the building was right on the slopes, meaning you could ski right from the back door and be on a lift in about three minutes. Val Thorens itself was a top notch place to go too, as the snow quality was generally great and there were a huge number of different runs which meant that you could nearly always go down a different route than you had previously (until the end, when really heavy snowfall meant big risk of avalanches and therefore a bunch of pistes were closed).

Like the last time I went skiing, we went for lessons again. And this turned out to be a great idea. We had a stereotypical French mountain guy who had done every kind of skiing possible: speed racing, disabled skier world record attempts, uphill climbs, slalom and ski acrobatics. Every day he’d just casually drop in something like “oh and I’m a pilot too”, and his mother had been on the French Olympic team. So as well as being awesome it meant he knew his stuff! It was incredibly useful having one teacher for the three of us (as opposed to 13 the last time), as it meant you were able to get constant personalised feedback on what exactly you were doing wrong and how to improve.

Which meant that I got an awful lot better over the course of the holiday! By the end I was happy with every blue piste, held my own on the reds and event went down a black slope! Hardcoooorrrrrrree.

Two of my friends have their birthdays coming up, so the three of us clubbed together and decided to take them out for a meal. One of them researched a place beforehand which was up in the mountains on a ski slope, serving traditional Alpine French food (essentially carbs and cheese) and a dessert buffet put on by their own pastry chef and you were allowed to take several things. Obviously this all kept me extremely happy. Following the meal we obviously had to get down from the restaurant that was up in the mountains. So we popped on our skis, were handed a torch each and made our way down in the dark! It was such an awesome feeling (albeit obviously a little terrifying) to be skiing down en masse in the dark trying not to set yourself (or someone else) on fire or fall over and become a giant flameball. And we mostly managed it! The only person who had difficulty didn’t drink any alcohol- I’ll let you reach your own conclusions there.

It was obviously very nice to be back hanging out with my uni friends for a more prolonged period of time. I did have an awful lot of fun over in England, and it is a shame that living in NI means it’s that much more difficult to see people, and that much less like it used to be. So I enjoyed the opportunity to go back in time and pretend that chapter of my life hasn’t quite ended- the incessant fart jokes helped.

M

IMG_0717

My new joke

There needs to stop being so much chocolate/biscuits in my house

Slash I need to stop trying to get rid of them

Plans

Work’s going alright at the minute: I’m continuing in my efforts to slowly transform into a man of German-style efficiency, and it’s nice when it pays off- some people have complimented me when I get things done quickly. Hooray! I’m not incompetent!

My bank balance has been taking some pretty major hits recently, but for fantastic reasons as I have been making plans. The first takes place later this month: I’m going skiiiiiiiiing! A few friends from uni and myself will be heading to the French Alps and doing what people with incomes do. I will of course be doing what dyspraxic people do, and will be spending a huge proportion of my time on my bum/back/face/weenis covered in snow- I wasn’t exactly good when I went skiing the first time. Two of the others are beginners like me, and the other two went as children, so it should be a good balance. Thankfully my sister tipped me off to the possibility that my travel insurance mightn’t actually cover me for sliding down mountains at high speed, and that’s been sorted.

The next destination is Lahndahn in late February- as part of training, doctors have to undertake an Advanced Life Support course, and I figured if I was gonna do it why bother doing it in my normal hospital when I could go elsewhere and see people in the mainland. So I’m gonna be in a posh London hospital where the complaints are less about being stabbed and more about being kicked by your pony. I’m over for the weekend, so if you’re reading this then send me a message so we can arrange to see each other! If you’re not reading this then obviously you don’t deserve my company.

The third current plan is probably the warmest of the three- my housemate and another friend of mine are planning on running a marathon in March, and being the virtuous person that I am I decided to get a bunch of people to come along and support them as they run it. In Barcelona. Hell yeeaaahhhhhh. I don’t know much about the city other than people who’ve gone there have really enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to exploring it for a few days. Unfortunately I don’t speak much Spanish apart from “I am lost”, “Hello”, and “I’m pregnant”. Hopefully I’ll only need the middle one.

Maybe I’ll go for tapas. That’ll count as me doing my research.

Oh and before I forget I’ve also signed up for some Chinese lessons! I did a course a few years ago and really loved it, so I’m looking forward to getting into it again. Unfortunately the only course I could feasibly get to from work is the “Level 2″ one so I may be struggling a little for a while! I’m also meant to be working 13 hour shifts over some of the days when the lessons are so my rota may require a bit of tweaking. If I end up not being able to attend much/keep up I can always take the course again: my aim is to be at least vaguely passable by the end of my FY2 year, as my pipeline dream is to take some time out and explore China for a bit. Bad for the career, good for the soul.

Anyway I’m off to bed. AU REVOIR/ADIOS/ZAIJIAN

M

I haven’t posted on here for quite some time now, been slightly out of whack with my routine over the past few weeks and this is one of the things I’ve let slip a bit. I had some night shifts in November and ever since then I haven’t really gotten back to normal mode.

Nights were interesting: while there were stressful bits, and others were you just generally felt a bit wick because there just wasn’t a way to get everything done, it actually felt quite good to be doing the work of an actual doctor; as opposed to my daytime job of a secretary with phlebotomy skills. I think I was a bit lucky though in that while I had one or two bad nights I didn’t have any horrendous ones, so maybe I’m getting a slightly sunshine biassed version of out of hours work.

Outside of the hospital I’ve been having lots of fun with my friends, eating, drinking and being on the merry side of life. The Christmas market opened up which obviously means one thing: EXTREME NUMBERS OF WAFFLES. Sadly now that I have a job I couldn’t get to the market every day of the week but I certainly gave a decent try. I’ve also been on a few work nights out which were great craic: it’s a good bunch of people that I work with and me getting drunk and making a fool of myself seems to not have scared them off too much.

One of them in particular has done me a big favour and agreed to cover half of my Christmas Day shift. This was actually one of the reasons I decided to come home and work- I figured that if I ended up working Christmas Day, it would be a lot less depression to miss the day and come home to my parents’ house at night than to return to an empty flat in England. But still I figured it’d be nice to get at least some time at home and she kindly covered the morning part of my shift, which unfortunately for her proved to be much more stressful than the evening part! While it was sad to miss parts of the day I should at least be glad I got to enjoy some of them, and importantly got to eat stupid amounts of food.

In the time it’s taken me to write this blog I’ve eaten half of a cheesecake. I may have a problem.

So the plan now is to get back into my good routine, to become a functioning person and do things like exercise, blog, and say no to delicious cheesecakes. I’m gonna be one of those Good People Of The World.

Ah frick- I think I’m making a New Year’s resolution here. Balls, now that is lame.

M

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