Archive for February, 2014
I left the hospital this morning at around 5 o’clock, making it two 9-5s in one 24 hour period- not a bad badge of pride. My aim was to completely crash and catch up on the lack of sleep that I’ve been working on since Friday. That didn’t exactly work out, what with a window cleaner banging around outside my room and then a fire alarm. Awesome. So I’ve been running on enthusiasm rather than consciousness today. More on that later.
I did however find last night incredibly useful, learning a few tips, getting involved and seeing interesting cases, increasing my general exposure to the workings of the hospital and what I’ll be expected to do as a doctor. I obviously can’t put any details of what happened on the internet without feeling a bit on-edge about confidentiality, but I’m very glad I did it. Contrary to the cynics a year ahead of me, it demonstrated that my job isn’t just being a secretary for the other members of your team, that you do get to put on your doctor hat and fix sick people from early on in your career. Which is good!
One thing that really struck home to me though was the effect of being tired on performance. Subjectively, I wouldn’t have said I was that tired: I’m generally one to just man up and get on with things and so just switch my brain on a bit more if I think I’m not paying much attention. But having been awake and in the hospital for so long, I could see the fatigue really taking its toll. I’d be discussing things with my SHO, and find myself just not quite following her, or failing to make the connections that I should be.
Worryingly, I could also tell how difficult it was to assess just how poorly you were functioning. I tried testing myself a few times by trying to think of answers to questions, and obviously I was able to recall some. But what you don’t know is if you’re forgetting the Big Important One, or whether you should really be able to remember seven answers instead of four. The whole thing made me aware of the danger of the really long shifts that the UK used to have in the pasts, and that other countries still consider the norm. I remember seeing an old study on this, and it’s not difficult to see how that could so easily lead to poor patient care.
So next time any of you ask me to do anything fun and I say no because I’m going to bed: I’m not actually being lazy, I’m in fact doing it for the patients. What can I say, I’m just a very noble person.
I lived the life of a socialite this weekend just past, heading to London on Saturday (after a boozey dinner on Friday) to meet up with a few friends for a house party and a return to the “glory days” of 2009. I stuck that in quotation marks because whether you’re using the amount of fun I had, the length of my hair, or the effects of alcohol on my liver as your reference point, you mightn’t classify that part of my life as “good”.
The theme (there’s always a theme) was Sparkle & Shine. Manly. Having taken part in a pantomime last year, I actually did have something that would suit- a bright red jacket covered in gold shiny things. But over the Christmas holidays I looked at it and thought “Will I bring this back to uni? Let’s be honest, I’m too old and boring to go to any fancy dress parties where this will be useful”. Fool.
So, I was left with the option of covering myself in some form of tin foil. I think my aim was along the lines of a tin foil Hercules, but what I ended up with was a metal bib and some wine stains on my t-shirt. Kind of a metaphor for my life really. But it was still a really fun night, at least judging from my drunk texts. It’s more difficult these days to organise things that everyone manages to get to (especially if people have London jobs), so I enjoy the opportunity to meet up.
On the Sunday I met up with two school friends which was nice- of the ones who went away from home for university I’m still the only one who actually wants to go back home, and as Poor Little Rich Boy pointed out, it is the right choice for me at this point. He said that when I talk about things I’ve got planned in the future, I get a lot more animated and enthusiastic when the thing I’m looking forward to involves going back to Northern Ireland.
So, I’ve got my fingers crossed for March 10th, which is the day when I find out whether or not they’ll actually allow me to come over and start telling people to take drugs and drink lots of water. Everyone in the country finds out on the same day, so I expect it’ll be another quite boozey night, whether it’s celebrations or commiserations!
I’m hoping to do a night shift tonight, so I’m gonna head off now and get myself sorted/psyched up for it. I’ve done one or two before on the surgical team (which were uneventful) but never as the medical team. Obviously the patients are sleeping so there’s not a need for as many staff to be about, and so three or so doctors that will be on-site to cover around 250 patients, and if something goes wrong it’s you that has to sort it out. That’s more than a little bit terrifying, so I figure I don’t want the first time I’m faced with that to be on my first day- so thought it’d be a good idea to get some experience in it when I don’t have the title of doctor in front of my name. Wish me luck!
Gong xi fa cai!
Time for a more sober post. Friday was Chinese New Year (or CNY as my cooler friends seem to call it), and we’re now in the year of the horse, which is the one I was born in. I’m not sure if this is meant to be good luck for me, but I’ve been trying to wear lots of red just in case.
On Thursday I tried to scarper up some enthusiasm for getting a “dirty Chinese takeaway” from the carry-out just round the corner from our hospital accommodation. My Chinese friends are all at home this weekend or else seeing family friends, and they’re all having huge feasts and making me incredibly jealous. So this was my attempt at getting into the spirit of things, in true white-boy fashion.
One of the girls who agreed to the plan had never actually had a Chinese takeaway before because, being Chinese herself, she had only ever eaten proper Chinese food (as opposed to the salt-and-MSG-filled stuff I’m used to from Norn Iron). She told me she tried to Google the place to find out what its food hygiene rating was., at which point I had to take her aside and tell her to seriously lower her standards.
I’m a bit of a sinophile (yes I did just look that up), and it’s one of my ambitions to go to China some day. My current plan is to take a year out after foundation training and see as much of the place as I can. I was considering going this summer, but I don’t think I’d really have enough time to do it properly in the end, so we’ll have to put a pin in it until 2016 methinks.
I think when I first mentioned my interest in all-things-Chinese my mum was a bit worried I’d find someone and end up settling down in Beijing, slowly getting fatter and earning the pet name of “dumpling”. To be honest I think that sounds ideal
I haven’t written on here in a while cause I’ve been having fun on placement and finishing off reading Worm. But I’ve decided to dedicate this post to the entity that is Drunk Michael.
So you know that old trope of having an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other? Well I always feel like if you get a few drinks on me the burden of the alcohol isn’t exactly shared equally between my two advocates. While the angel is passed out from how much of a lightweight he is, the devil is shaving off the angel’s eyebrows and stealing his phone to text everyone in the phonebook in exactly the most embarrassing way possible.
My drunk self really likes the idea of Sober Michael waking up in the morning and encountering that all-too-familiar sense of dread when he sees a few messages in his inbox along the lines of “What the hell is wrong with you” or “I had no idea you felt that way please stop contacting me”. Drunk Michael knows exactly who to text to make my life awkward, and exactly what to say to maximise embarrassment.
The worst part of it all is that my phone (Kevin) only stores a certain number of sent messages, say the last ten. So Drunk Michael takes advantage of the free texts, and makes sure to send a significantly larger number of texts than ten. This means that Sober Michael just has to wait for the fallout to find out exactly what Mr Hyde has done.
I was on the steamboat last night, so this morning wasn’t a fun experience when browsing my sent messages. Thankfully I’ve only had a few this evening, so I should be able to keep the monster in line.
I think basically the take-home message from all of this is that I should never be allowed near big red buttons.