There's a reason I'm not a poet

Posts tagged ‘kerching’

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!




So I’ve had a bit of a blunder.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been doing reasonably well with my finances over the past few months. I haven’t had lots of money, but I’ve been managing to get by on what I have got left. Being cheap, I’ve left my overdraft relatively unharmed until my final year of uni and I’d budgeted in my head for fun things (like Italy, or inter-railing this summer) in order to use up my overdraft just in time for starting work.

Coming back after the holidays, I opened a few dreaded envelopes and said a teary goodbye to a few hundred quid as I paid the bills I’d been putting off. But I didn’t mind too much, as I knew I’d have my student loan coming in shortly.

Or so I thought.

As it turns out, I’d forgotten about a minor fact. As well as reducing the total amount of student loan I got this year (again), they decided to give me it in two instalments rather than three. Meaning I’ve actually already had all the money I’m going to get from the lovely student finance people. My initial reaction was something like this

I’ve done some calculations though and HOPEFULLY I’ll be alright. Probably. With luck.


As one of my friends pointed out though it’s now coming up very close to exams (three weeks- aaaaaaahhhhhhhh) so apart from my birthday in a few days I shouldn’t be having any fun for the foreseeable future anyway. Huzzah.


I ain’t sayin I’m a gold digger

As the saying goes, money makes the world go round. As a student then, my world tends to find spinning really difficult. In my last few years of medical school, the student loan people decided what would be really fun would be to decrease my income by a third. Thankfully my parents have been amazing and have helped me through any difficult times I’ve had, as they’ve done so the whole way through my degree.

What also helps is the fact that I’m phenomenally cheap. I’m a big fan of Sainsbury’s basics pasta, and firmly believe that pasta and sauce from a jar forms a great basis of a well-balanced diet. Who needs meat or vegetables anyway. This has meant I’ve managed to reach final year without actually touching my student overdraft- a feat I’m pretty proud of, considering some people max it out in about a month of starting university.

But inevitably, fun things happen and you want to go to them, or friends want to celebrate being born, or a new Chinese restaurant opens up and is serving dumplings and it’s the best place in the whole world and the food tastes like heaven (if heaven were made out of soy sauce that is). So over the past few years I’ve come up with a good solution to help find more money: selling my body to science. A university is a great place for research to be taking place, and so all you have to do is know the places to look for researchers searching for “Healthy non-smoking males aged 18-25”

The studies I’ve done have ranged from the tedious (questionnaires on impulsivity), the cushy (having my brainwaves measured while I fall asleep in a soundproof room) to the downright bizarre (having my reaction time measured when I see photos of people holding up poo-stained underwear). Yes, that last one was real. There have also been a few great ones where people are running training courses for doctors and are looking for volunteers to act as patients or models of ‘healthy anatomy’.

Over the years then I’ve just about every investigation under the sun, whether it’s 24 hour ECGs, a DEXA scan, ultrasound scans of my abdomen/heart/lungs/arms/legs/neck, an EEG, blood tests for just about everything and 24 hour urine collection (that last one was fun). It’s a hypochondriac’s dream really. The only one I have left to tick off is an MRI of my brain- being left-handed, I’m often excluded from these studies as my brain might be “the wrong way round”. But I’m comforted by the knowledge that everything else in my body looks completely healthy, and also by the cheques and bank transfers that semi-regularly make their way to my bank account.

The whole thing has thankfully meant that as I approach the end of my student days, I don’t need to worry about having debt of £1000, and can instead enjoy myself until I reach The Real World and start getting a salary.

… At which point I’ll instead get to worry about my debts of  £30,000- now that’ll be fun. I wonder what I’ll have to do to pay that off.