There's a reason I'm not a poet

Posts tagged ‘new beginnings’

A child is born

Yesterday evening after work I flew down the motorway to Dublin where I had the distinct pleasure of meeting my new nephew! He was born on Thursday and it’s a little bit    pretty   massively exciting.

I know we’ve had nine months to prepare for this moment, but I was pretty amazed at what my sister has achieved. It sounds like things happened pretty quickly at the end, and she did really well throughout it. In true form, at one point she apparently turned to the midwife and said “I’m sorry, I’m normally really in control”.

She’s always been my sister, and then she became a couple, and now the three of them are a family.

The end result is this tiny little human, who just seems amazing. It’s impressive how quickly you can feel a strong connection to a baby- the instincts kick in and you find yourself fascinated just by looking at them. Holding him in my arms, my mind was boggled imagining his entire life stretching out ahead of him. I’ll hopefully get to be a part of this new person’s life, get to know his personality and see some of his life experiences. He’s going to have hopes, goals, favourite foods and pet peeves, and right now he’s a wee sleepy newborn who gives the middle finger when you try to take photos.

I’ve had a decent amount of success into fooling my young cousins into thinking that I’m actually cool, and I look forward to attempting the same feat of trickery with this kid.



Coming soon to a hospital near you

Happy New Year folks! And next weekend, gōngxǐfācái!

Since coming back home I’ve been trying to earn some money to pay off the lovely debts that China has left me with, and so I’ve been doing a bunch of locum shifts in a few different locations. Around Christmas, I was back in haematology (where I was about a year ago), and I’m doing a few shifts in my FY1 hospital as well as a semi-regular job in one of the hospices. I’ve been describing a “locum doctor” as the medical equivalent of a substitute teacher, only thankfully without the abuse that a bunch of them seem to get from their students. ..For the most part.

I’ve actually enjoyed being back in some of my old wards, and I’ve been touched that people recognise me and are happy to see me. I’ve also been touched by one nurse in particular who felt that a hug wasn’t a good enough hello and decided that stroking my face repeatedly was more appropriate.

But it has been nice. Moving around a lot in your jobs can make you seem like you’re just another number, but it’s a good feeling when people not only remember your face but your name, and are pleased to see you. And it’s rewarding to know that my efforts going into being “a good team member” didn’t all go to waste.

I’m currently applying for more long term posts though. The ultimate goal is to become a consultant (ideally in some form of oncology) but the next step on that path is to get out of locum work and back onto a training programme, new posts for which are filled every August. So next Wednesday I’ve got an interview for Core Medical Training, where I’ll be asked by a couple of consultants what exactly I was doing in China and how ingesting a large number of carbs makes me a better doctor. Still working on my answer to that one.

Until then I’m looking for a more regular locum job so that I don’t have to worry about where I’m working next month, and so I can plan things slash work through my millions of lists of gigs and photography classes and NI Science Festival events that I want to sign up for. So we’ll see what turns up.

A slightly more bloody fricking exciting and awesome development in my life is the expectant arrival of a new niece and/or nephew! My sister tells me it’s not twins if Friends has taught me anything it’s that you never know. I’m really looking forward to greeting the new arrival, and my sister will be the first in this generation to have a child, so we’re probably all going to descend on little Norbert/Brenda/Quentin/Alexis with our various sailor suits, sheep skulls, sk8rboi shoes and other things we thought were good ideas when we were kids.

God help them.


Kid on the new block

Haven’t blogged here in a while as I haven’t had much access to the internet. Why? BECAUSE I’M IN A NICE NEW APARTMENT, THAT’S WHY. (And it doesn’t have internet yet shhh)

I’m living with the two school friends I’d been living with last year, and I was getting a bit worried we wouldn’t find anywhere if I’m honest, as our lease expired at the end of August and we still hadn’t found anywhere to live. I moved back home and thankfully we managed to find somewhere new- an apartment in South Belfast, allowing me to live out my dream of being a twenty-something living in an apartment. I just need a chick and duck and my transformation into a character from Friends will be complete.

I hadn’t actually seen the place before I moved in, so was trusting in my friend’s taste that it was a nice place, and decided to just go for it cause we were having trouble with people pipping us to the post. And it turns out she has great taste- the new digs are awesome. Much bigger than I was expecting, and with brilliant perks like a balcony, kitchen island and two showers in my en suite bathroom. Hell to the yeah. The rent’s obviously a fair bit more expensive than the previous house, but in comparison with places in England it’s still pretty great value.

It’s a bit further out than my last place which is one of the downsides. Previously I’d been able to walk to my hospital in about fifteen minutes, and when I move to my next hospital it would have been less than ten minutes. Sadly that’s not really possible so I’ve gotten myself a bike (and called it Nox), and am now cycling into work and back. Pedalling back uphill at midnight is less than fun, but that’s life.

I’m halfway through my time in A&E and am obviously still a bit crap at my job, but I’m getting slowly less incompetent which is nice. I think it’s likely not for me as a career in the end. While it’s fun and exciting, I’m not sure that the type of medicine practised is really for me: there’s more of a focus on making a general decision on where a patient needs to go, rather than the diagnostic work-up in medicine, with the feedback of getting a proper answer and most importantly being able to see the outcome of your hard graft. In the ED you do see results, but usually only on quick cases, not the ones you have to think hard about and work on. So I’ll probably be going down the route of core medicine training in the end. Reassuring to know.

That’s all for now folks, I’m off to get things ready for having a few people over to the new place tonight. It’s the GBBO final and we’re having our own Bake Off! Expect my next post to be a food blog.


What is your emergency?

So I’ve moved on from my FY1 year and have been working in A&E for the past month now, and I think my experience so far can roughly be imagined by the fact that I’ve had three whole days off in that month. That includes weekends by the way.

In a word? Relentless.

Part of me is a little sad that I was off last weekend, because the whole “I’ve had one day off so far” was such a badge of pride at week three. But the majority of me is quite happy with the fact that I actually got some me-time.

The thing is though, that while I’m working essentially every day, the shifts aren’t that long: say like a 8-4:30, or 11-7, or 4-12. So you often get either the whole morning off or else the evening, and so I’ve actually been able to make a fair amount of plans over the past while, which has been nice. In my previous jobs I had days that were much longer, and so committing to things was harder in a different way.

I have been enjoying A&E, and I think over the four months I will have certainly learnt a lot. The place I’m working in just opened up a new A&E department, and man is it shiny. So it’s a nice place to work in. On a good day, you’re enthused by the variety of things you’re presented with, by the enthusiasm and hard graft of the people you’re working alongside, and by the hilarious people that come through the door (intentionally or otherwise).

On a bad day, you’re overrun by swarms of people coming through the door, you’re filled with blind fear and your mind is thinking “oh pants I have no idea what’s going on with this person and I’m too young for this crap and I can’t decide if they’re going to drop dead if I let them walk out the door or if they’re just a bit drunk/weird/insane” (delete as appropriate).

But I’m getting there. Getting a bit more confident with dealing with diagnostic uncertainty, with judging levels of safety, and assessing what the person actually wants you to do for them today. And there’s time for improvement. So obviously by the end of the four months I’ll be an absolute boss at everything. Obviously.

In other news I’ve moved out of my house and am currently back at home while we look for a new place to rent. Turns out it’s pretty difficult in Belfast to find somewhere suitable, but we’re making some progress with a place now and it should hopefully work out. I’ll also be starting up Chinese lessons again later this month- custard bun 4lyf


Doctor doctor

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

Trust me

You guys.



I keep remembering this and either getting a stupid grin on my face or having a wee wiggle dance to celebrate.

To actually celebrate we had our graduation ball last night which was fantastic. Spent the evening going round to everyone saying “Hello Dr Smith”, “Hello Dr Whithershins” which was THE MOST FUN THING EVER. There was also a fireworks display which felt amazing to watch because it was essentially put on just for us.

The dean spoke for a bit, and admitted that although the university always goes on about what makes a good doctor, she couldn’t not leave us without three principles to follow, so I’m writing them down here so I don’t forget:

  • Competence- first and foremost, be good at your job and know how to help people
  • Attention to detail- follow things up, don’t take things for granted and always keep your eyes open
  • Kindness- often overlooked, but it’s a job that revolves entirely around interacting with others, and I’ve seen myself how this can pay dividends

Anyway I’d best head off as my family are arriving in a few hours and I have a lot of packing that should be finished before then.

One last time: I’M A DOCTOR NOW


Bucket list

After having gotten into the NI foundation school, we were presented with a list of jobs to rank, choosing which ones we’d prefer to do when we start work. I’ve submitted mine about a week or so ago, and we find out on Tuesday whether or not computer says no. It’ll be nice to finally know exactly what I’ll be doing in a few months time!

All in all I’m really looking forward to the whole Norn Iron business- a chance to see my family and home friends more often than I’ve been able to for the past six years, and to be in a place where people don’t struggle with my accent or make fun of me based on the strength of my feelings towards potatoes. However this week it’s dawned on me (I’m a sharp tool in the shed) that going somewhere else means I’ll really be leaving.

I won’t be walking around the same streets, going back to the same house, or seeing the same people that I’ve been used to for the past six years. I won’t be enjoying the comparatively-less-rain-filled climate, or the free attention/bonus points that you get purely for having my slightly incomprehensible accent. Most of all, I’ll be one heck of a lot further away from my friends.

So, I’m starting to think about how to actually say goodbye. Obviously I won’t be saying goodbye to the people (more of an auf wiedersehen), as I do actually intend to keep being friends with them after I feck off to another island, but there’s a few things I want to do here in this city before I go.

In true Michael style, pretty much every single one of them is food-related. Which means I’ve been able to meet up with a few friends recently to work through that bucket list! After trying what I think might have been the Turkish equivalent of a corn dog, last night a bunch of us went to a place that only does desserts. And it was fricking great. Waffles, crepes and sundaes galore. Yum.

Gonna have to find a few more excuses to tick off some of the other ones; my birthday’s in just over a month, I reckon that’ll do nicely! We’re coming closer to Easter though, and after that I’ll probably be in Robotic Work Mode, saying no to anything that remotely resembles fun. So once again, the clock’s ticking