Friday, 24 December 2010

Dear Father Christmas

Dear Father Christmas,

I've tried to be good this year. I've made some new friends, attempted to make peace with some I fell out with, and made an effort to keep in touch with old friends along the way. I've looked after my grandad when he's been ill, I carried out the promises I made to him and visited my grandma and passed my exams. I've tried to be nice to my sisters, even they've made me want to tear my hair out, and I've helped my mother when she's asked for it. I've worked hard and got the marks I've deserved, and I'm finally accepting my health problems.

So, in return, please may I have:
  • Some extra spoons - they'll be needed in the New Year
  • Some help with this awful Student Finance screw up
  • A couple of friends at University - being alone is so hard sometimes
  • Some extra space in my brain for all the stuff I need to know
  • New ways of learning things that works for me and sticks - I'm struggling
  • And some acceptance from friends, colleagues, the medical school and my family of my illness and of me as a person.

Thank you for reading this, whether you can fulfil it or not.



Sunday, 5 December 2010

To Do List

  1. Learn to do 2 new clinical skills according to university procedures (2 days before we're assessed on them in an OSCE)
  2. Write up 14 patient case studies with background to the disease and reflection on the case
  3. Read, understand and evaluate 12-20 research papers
  4. Write a research protocol with references for above papers
  5. Read, understand and perform a meta-analysis of 3 more (different) research papers
  6. Write a presentation on said meta-anlysis
  7. Pass my OSCE on Wednesday
  8. Write a 2-4 page piece of work on medical treatments and therapy for Multiple Sclerosis including the mechanism of action of any drugs I mention and write about supportive therapy, and current research into treatments for multiple sclerosis
  9. Have a social life
  10. Make some friends
  11. Go to 7 hours of dance lessons and rehearsals a week (minimum)
  12. Not dislocate too many joints
  13. Keep on top of my medication
  14. Email my personal advisor again
  15. Email the Disability Coordinator at the Dean of Student's office
  16. Meet with my personal advisor
  17. Meet with the Disability Coordinator again
  18. Photocopy all my hospital appointment letters for the medical school
  19. Check the post at least twice a week (it's delivered to the post room/medical school)
  20. Go to my hospital appointments
  21. Go to my GP appointment
  22. Go to lectures
  23. Learn some medicine
  24. Not burn out and fall to pieces
  25. Maybe have a Christmas holiday
  26. Earn some money
  27. Keep on top of all my medications so I don't have to have any time off
  28. Keep in contact with home to find out how my grandad is
  29. Ring the hospital and try and speak to my grandad

Monday, 15 November 2010

Still Here

I'm still alive, I have lost a chunk of my sight, and am being sent for all manner of investigations into my eyes, joints, skin and heart, including seeing a geneticist, so everything's a bit crazy. I'm also on a clinical placement at the moment so learning lots in a very short space of time with long days, all whilst trying to maintain a social life and enter dance competitions that I'm probably not well enough to do. Tough times but I'm still here and still keeping going. Normal blogging will resume soon! I'm still on twitter and still check my emails regularly - let me know if you have any ideas for things you want me to blog about, or if you just want to get to know me better

Back soon!



Thursday, 23 September 2010

What do you see?

After my last post, I had comments on twitter saying that I was insulting people whose eyesight really was failing as I can obviously manage to do clinical skills with no problem, and that if I couldn't I'd be a danger to my patients. I was a little hurt by these comments, because until you've experienced what it's like to have sight like mine, it's difficult to appreciate the challenges I face with it.

I manage to do clinical skills fine because I adapt as I learn the new skills and find a way to do them that works for me. As a child I learned to hold a pencil different to other children because I couldn't coordinate the pencil well enough to write the "normal" way. My handwriting was still dreadful but it worked for me. If you learn a new skill, you don't necessarily do it exactly the way it was taught - you make adaptations that work for you, and that applies to everyone, whether you have difficulties with sight, hearing, understanding, mobility, etc or not. Most of what I described in my last post are things I don't actually think about from day to day any more, because they're completely normal for me. It's just when I move house and change environments, particularly to somewhere I don't know, that I have to think and adapt what I do. I've recently moved to live on campus and I've already learned that I need to adapt to the new surroundings. Already today I've burned myself on the grill twice because it's high up on the wall and the grill tray comes out at an angle that's difficult for me to see. I've walked into walls because the corridors are narrower than I'm used to at home. It's frustrating, but in another week or so there won't be those problems any more because I'll have adapted and they'll become normal adaptations which require little or no thought.

A perfect example of problems in new situations was whilst out with a friend today. We were in one of those gadget type shops with lots of electronic toys that run around and fly etc. One of the shop assistants was flying a miniature helicopter. It was black with a blue light on it but because of the speed it was moving and the colour and size it was, I just didn't see it and nearly walked into it head on. A toy like that can do a surprising amount of damage to a person's face, it will at least sting for an hour or so if the blades catch you - trust me on that one! I didn't see it mainly because it was on my left hand side. If I'd have been somewhere I'd known to take extra care, I'd have been looking left more often by swapping control of my eyes and forcing my brain to use my left eye - just like I do when I'm driving. Small adaptations that just make me and other people safer.

Essentially what I'm saying is, I don't claim to be anything i'm not. I just make do with what I have. I'm grateful for the sight I do have and want to protect and preserve that for as long as possible. I'm not trying to make out things are worse than they are, I'm not trying to get pity or sympathy. I don't want that. I just want a little understanding, because outwardly, i just look like a clumsy twit. I look "normal". I conform to society. If you look at a photograph of me, you can't tell there's anything wrong. You might pick up that I have a squint (I hate that word by the way. I squint when I look at the sun. So does everyone! It doesn't mean my eye looks like it does - that's amblyopia if you want to call it something medical, or a lazy eye if you don't). I don't make a big thing of it. I don't like drawing attention to it - people comment on it enough as it is without me pointing it out! But if people ask why I do something differently then I explain. Just because outwardly everything seems fine, doesn't mean that I'm not struggling.

So, my question to you, what do you see when you look at me? Do you see a girl who is quite frankly struggling, or do you see the outwardly bubbly "normal" person, or do you see a moany whingey whiney person? Yeah I complain about it from time to time, but wouldn't you? I'm only human after all.

Thursday, 2 September 2010


Anyone who knows me, will know that my eyesight is, quite frankly, horrific. I've worn glasses since I was 3 and had a patch that failed to correct a squint for two years when I was 4. I have poor spatial awareness and depth perception. I can see about 10centimetres (4 inches) from my face without my glasses. At the moment there are very limited options for contact lenses for me so I can't wear them currently because my prescription is so high. I cried the first time I wore contact lenses because I'd never seen myself in a mirror without glasses before.

Simple things are difficult for me because of my eyesight, so I'm going to attempt to describe an average day at university in order to explain just how difficult things are, because it's things people take for granted that I struggle with from day to day.

So, I wake up. First thing I have to do is find my glasses. Mostly this involves a lot of groping around. There's no point turning on the light yet because it won't help me see the glasses. Once I've found them (it usually takes about 10 minutes) the lights go on and I get up for a shower.

Showering is, well, fun. I have to make sure that my shampoo bottle is a different colour from my conditioner bottle and different again from my shower gel. I also have to have brightly coloured razors so that I can find them all. If my shampoo and conditioner look similar then I have no idea which is which until I pour them out. Glasses steam up in the shower so I can't see anything even if I do keep them on.

Once I'm showered I then get the fun of putting make up on. I have to have a mirror really close so I can see to do my eye makeup and then wait for it to dry before my glasses go back on. Putting in earrings I've learned to do by feel now so that's no issue. By this point I've usually fallen over or spilled something at least once. I'm permanently bruised from stupid accidents. Getting dressed means I don't wear anything with fiddly straps or buttons because I can't see to do them properly and my coordination isn't good enough to do them up based on feel alone.

Breakfast is again interesting. If I have cereal, it's a given that I will spill the milk. If I have toast, I'll struggle to get it out the toaster, cos where the toast is and where my brain thinks it is and thinks my hand is in relation to it are two very different things. Coffee is needed at this time in the morning and I'll miss the cup putting sugar in and spill it en route back to my room.

I pack my bag with my laptop, a textbook, notepad, highlighters, a ruler and pens and head off to lectures. When I get to the lecture theatre, I hold on to the railings/chairs as I walk downstairs cos I fall over a lot as I fail to judge how steep/deep stairs are. Once I'm settled in my seat (near the front so I can see the lecturer clearly), I fire up the laptop and download the powerpoint for the lecture. If I don't, I can't read it on the projector. At this point I usually have to enlarge the text and change the colours to make it easier to read. I follow through the lecture, making notes by hand, then immediately type them up afterwards - my handwriting is so bad because of my sight that if I don't type it up then I have no idea what it says a few hours later.

Lunch is the same as breakfast and I knock stuff over, fall over and spill things. Occasionally I miss my own mouth with food or drink which makes a right mess.

If I have a placement then things are even harder because a lot of the clinical skills we use I have to shut my eyes and use feel or shut one eye or the other to adjust for my sight and make sure I know exactly where my hands are.

Dinner is just as difficult as lunch and breakfast. I usually try and run before dinner, but if it's even just drizzling I generally don't because rain on my glasses means I really can't see.

If I'm doing group work then I type everything up with a coloured background so I can see the text better, then convert it back before I send it to the group. I have to edit all of the group's work so I can read it properly on screen usually as people aren't considerate when I tell them that I can't read certain things, and I can't afford to print off 30 odd pages of work a week.

These are just a few of the things I struggle with. If I told you all of them then we'd be here forever. The point in me telling you this is because I've been offered Phakic Intraocular Lens Implantation Sugery. Paid for privately by my dad. I want to leap at the chance but the risk of me losing my sight is high. Laser surgery isn't an option so this is my chance at as close to 20:20 vision as I'm ever going to get. But I'm petrified. I lose my sight, my career is over. Question is, do I take the risk?

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Getting Left Behind and Vanishing...

It's been a little over a month since I last blogged, and it's not been the best of months which is why I've not been blogging, although I'm still around on twitter. My grandad's been really ill and has been in and out of hospital and generally a big worry for me. My sisters got A level and GCSE results. No idea how my sister's A levels went and I don't dare ask but my baby sister did fantastically in her GCSEs so I'm really proud of her. I've come back to university for a couple of weeks because I've had some clinical placement hours to make up from when I was ill and things were strained at home because my mum's been so stressed.

It's generally been quite lonely because my friends I had at home have all moved on and the few friends I have at university have been home for the summer. I kind of feel like everyone is moving on and leaving me behind. I'm still the same shy, insecure person I was when I was at school. I'm still permanently doubting myself and my abilities, and it feels like life is passing me by and that I'm missing out on things that should be normal for someone my age, like going out with friends and just actually enjoying university life.

I also feel like i'm being left behind in terms of the blogging world too. I used to have a really fab blog but now, it seems like it's pointless. I have little motivation to write because I get little back from this blog now. The number of comments have dwindled and I just don't think it's worth the effort any more. It seems more successful and popular blogs have more popular people behind them and they're streaks ahead of me. Let's face it, who wants to read this when you can read blogs by people like Mark Glencorse and Stuart Gray? I guess I'm just going to have to decide whether I want to even blog any more, because quite frankly, it just doesn't seem worth it, and too many people keep trying to shoot me down and stop me blogging.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Home Alone

So, exams are over, my housemates have already moved out (and left me loads of crap) and I've had a stomach bug. So the packing frenzy begins tonight for when my mum turns up in the morning. PANIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

1 more to go...

Title says it all really. One more exam until I am FREEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Countdown to the End of Term!

One Exam done. 2 more to go.

The OSCE for my last unit of study went actually okay. I now have one more OSCE to get through and the written exam and possibly one resit of an Analytical Review of a Research paper but who knows?! Time to get my arse in gear and do some revsion!!

Friday, 2 July 2010

USA Medical Student Day

Over in the states it is currently still July 1st which apparently (according to MedicDani) is Medical Student day there. So, this post was her idea and nudging me towards getting some fantastic advice from all of you hopefully! What I'd love would be for you to tweet @ me or to leave in the comments box or to email me is your piece of advice for brand new medical students, or students starting placements or junior doctors about to start their first jobs, or advice for medical professionals in general. Just one piece of advice is all I ask!

Here's Dani's piece of advice:

Befriend the nurses and the aides. We will be your best friends or your worst enemies and we have more power with the surgeons than you think. We decide whether to like you or not based on your first day, so the only staff to fear on day one is the Nurses and aides.

Looking forward to reading all of your pieces of advice!!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

1 sheep, 2 sheep, 3 sheep....

It seems I've become an insomniac. I haven't slept properly since last Tuesday. I'm currently surviving on 1-3 hours a night. 3 is good. Very good. It's making me feel horrific, I'm having horrible dreams, it's not doing me any favours healthwise (I have apparently some strange viral infection that is playing games with my heart rate and making me feel generally rather bizarre.). I want to go running, in the hope that it'll burn me out, but I can't risk it with my lungs being as rubbish as they are. All I want is sleep and I just can't get it. Any ideas for things to help? Sleeping tablets aren't working (prescribed ones. I have two types and neither seem to be doing anything.) neither are hot baths, lavender oil, milky drinks. Suggestions needed!! I need some sleep! I have an exam on Monday and my stress levels are even higher cos I'm not sleeping.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Love you Grandad Jack

My grandad died very suddenly at lunchtime on Tuesday. Safe to say I am a total mess.

Love you Grandad Jack.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

New Everything

I'm having a new start right now and am working hard, doing things ahead of schedule and even handing in essays a bit early. I've also changed the look of the blog - let me know what you think! Hopefully it reflects the fact that all of this is still a journey for me. The third thing that's changed is my contact details. The email address is now - a lot easier for people I think, and hopefully a few more of you would email me. If there's anything you'd like me to blog about, or if you have yourself written a blog post, or if you just want to ask me questions or get in touch, send me an email!!

Monday, 31 May 2010


Argh - too much work to do, not enough time!! Damn my procrastination skills!!!!!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Nothing to Lose

To further my knowledge, and just because I find the topics interesting, I'm planning on entering two essay competitions for medical students. I've chosen competitions with topics I have a particular reason to like and find appealing to both read and write about, and because I have nothing to lose by entering. I get to write essays which are good revision. I'll improve my essay writing technique, hopefully, and I'll do some more background reading relevant to my studies. It's highly unlikely I'll win a prize but there's no harm in trying!!!

It'll mean lots more time in the library, but with 2 OSCEs, 1 oral presentation, 2 written assignments and 2 written exams coming up, that's where I need to be!!

I also want to run some more guest blog posts. I found them really interesting the last time I asked. This time, however, I'm going to pick a theme - "Caring or curing?". It' can be a controversial topic amongst medical professionals. I'd like to know your opinions, and where and how you think medicine, pre-hospital medicine, nursing, etc fits in. Approach it from any angle you like though! I'd also like opinions from people who aren't related to medicine at all. Nobody is excluded! 

Submissions by Midnight on Monday please - although if you really want to submit one but can't make that deadline just let me know by Sunday (email or twitter), otherwise it may have to wait for another day.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Back in Business

Sorry guys - the blog went private so I could make a few tweaks and changes to the site and comments.

Change number 1:

You need to be signed in to make a comment - no more of this anonymous slagging me off business. If you're going to insult me, at least be man (or woman) enough to admit who you are instead of this cowardly hiding behind a keyboard.

Change number 2:

All comments are being moderated. Didn't want to do it but, as people continue to use the comments of my blog to try and put me down and give me a bad reputation, it has to happen. Sorry but I no longer have a choice about this.

Change number 3:

The top of my blog now states its exact purpose. It may sound selfish, but really, this is my diary, and whilst I'm happy for people to comment and ask me stuff, I will answer eventually, but it is for me ultimately, and on here, I'm putting myself first for a change.

Change number 4:

My contact details are now down the side of the blog, with a link to my twitter page.

Change number 5:

The big image of me is gone - just didn't like having it there. Instead is a wonderful picture of an air ambulance that I believe is in Austria. Clicking on it takes you to the source.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Send Your Thoughts Please

Having a tough time at the moment. Failed an assignment and am not at all enjoying placement. Just would be nice if people could just send me a comment to let me know they're there. Aside from finally having Simon back, I'm feeling really quite alone.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Some Advice

This is a question I was asked a few weeks ago, via my formspring page. I thought it might help those students starting 6th Form, or about to start thinking about the dreaded UCAS (University and College Application System).

As a second year student, what advice would you give to anyone considering the same career path that you have chosen?

Think VERY carefully about whether this is REALLY what you want to do - you will be devoting your entire life to this degree for 5 years. You will lose your social life, and it will be hard to make and keep friends. Discuss it with your adults, your tutors, your friends, your family, ask questions to people like me who have already been through this (I'm happy to answer emails from anyone about this - It is hard, physically, emotionally and mentally.

It's a rewarding career but if it's not right for you, it will wear you down. Also - pick the right type of degree for you. PBL doesn't suit everyone, nor does a traditional course, nor a course with clinical placements from the word go.

Get lots of experience - being a doctor isn't glamorous like on Casualty or ER, it's hard graft and very demanding, and can often be very unglamorous - particularly when you're examining stool samples or putting maggots into leg ulcers! It's incredibly demanding, tiring and stressful. It can be upsetting, it can make you angry, get you frustrated. You'll experience more emotions in your first few weeks of clinical placements than you ever thought possible. It's a lot of hard work, and won't be much like you expected it to be. Do some work as a healthcare assistant or something in a hospital, do lots of shadowing.

If you're serious about it, go on lots of open days, ask current students about the courses and what they think about them, work hard at your A levels and GCSEs, and pick the right subjects for the courses you have in mind - DO your research. If you don't think you're going to get the grades, look at Access to Medicine courses, or Medical Schools that offer lower grades depending on what school you're at, or Medical Degrees with a Foundation Year.

Do lots of practice interviews, find out what they're like at the universities you've applied to - they vary a lot. For example, UEA is an OSCE style interview, whereas St George's University in London is a traditional interview with 3 consultants and a medical student firing questions at you.

But ultimately, do what YOU want, and what you think is going to make YOU happiest.

Good Luck

Monday, 10 May 2010

What are we supposed to do?

As medical students, sometimes we encounter situations we are not at all expecting, and that we struggle to deal with because it's not something we've yet covered in our training. We then don't get the opportunity to later discuss how best we should have dealt with the situation, so when it comes to the next time around (which inevitably, there WILL be a next time) we have very little idea what we should do, what we're supposed to do. Thing is, I just can't work out how to change this. It needs to change. We can't be left feeling like this every time we encounter situations like this.

Ideas on a postcard please.

Alternatively you can email me or DM me.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Future HEMS Doctor?

When I joined Twitter, I started out as MedStudentFaye. That's me, that's who I am and what I am. Plain and simple. I soon realised thought, that I wasn't happy just being me. I wanted to aim higher. I wasn't happy just being mediocre or average. So, I became FutureHEMSDoc, in order to give myself something to aim for. However, this year, I've been doubting myself. A LOT. I haven't been at all happy at UEA, that's no secret. The course isn't really right for me and I haven't made many real friends at all on my course, or even at UEA in general. I feel isolated and alone a lot of the time, despite having a wonderful boyfriend (NorfolkDocToBe) but he's usually up in Manchester, but at the moment he's the other side of the world. I love him to pieces but him being so far away is currently very unhelpful! I don't at all begrudge him the opportunity he has in Australia, and am really pleased he's enjoying himself and travelling and learning a bit more about himself and what he wants to do as he advances in his medical career. He's made for medicine. I'm not so sure that I am.

I've had several lengthy discussions with many of my good friends on twitter about all of this - mostly Mark Glencorse and his lovely wife Sandra, as well as iMedicFF (who has put up with me crying far too much!) who have been fantastic in helping me decide what is best for me, and what I should do. (Thank you guys! Really appreciate all the lengthy conversations - I know I'm a pain in the butt, but you've helped me out a hell of a lot). But in the end, no matter how much I discuss this with people, it is MY decision. I changed my twitter name so there was no pressure on myself to be FutureHEMSDoc, but at the end of the day, I wouldn't be me if I didn't push myself. For now, I'm going to work as hard as I can at this medical degree, because I'm not one for giving up. If I pass the year, I'll carry on and work until I get to where I want to be. I'm not particularly bright, and I'm not popular or happy on this degree, but once I'm qualified, I can do so much with it, and I just can't waste that opportunity. I've got this far, and I couldn't forgive myself if I threw that away. If I fail the year, at least I gave it a go and did my best, but I'll then go and be a paramedic. I'd be happy in that job, I know I would. I love every single aspect of it, even the paperwork and the picking up drunks on a Saturday night, but I think I'd always feel like I lost the opportunity to do more. I'm not at all putting down paramedics and what they do - the VAST majority of those that I've met have been fantastic people, highly skilled and far better than I would ever be at that job, but as a doctor, I could do many more different things, and maybe even change the way a few things work for the better.

As I said in my first post, I'm stubborn, opinionated and I care a hell of a lot. Because of that I'm going to do my best whatever I do. I'm going to keep going out observing with paramedics as much as possible (if you're a paramedic or tech who wants an observer, give me a shout!! I'd love to go out with as many different people as possible). I'm going to keep working as an HCA in my hospital, and I'm going to speak to ambulance services about student paramedic jobs, and look into paramedic science degrees, because I'm still a little unsure.

I'm crying as I write this, not because I think I'm making the wrong decision, but because I think, for now, I'm making the right one for me, even if the world seems to be passing me by because of it, and because I've put a lot of people through my crying and worrying and stressing over all of this.

To everyone who has helped me with this decision, including those who I haven't mentioned by name: Thank You. You don't know how much help and support you've been. Honestly, you don't.

To everyone who has put me down and told me I can't do this, and told me to quit and that I'm useless and  a waste of space, and that I'll be a rubbish doctor: I'm going to prove you wrong. You may put me down, and say awful things to me, but it's just making me stronger. I'm going to FIGHT until I have nothing left.And I'm going to do what's right for ME.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

PBL - A Problem Best Left

She stands in the shower, the warm water dripping down her face. At least now, nobody can see that she's crying. She gets out of the shower, shivers as her feet hit the cold tiles. She wraps herself in her towel and sits on the edge of the bath. As she looks down at her scarred legs she feels that deep lonely ache in the pit of her stomach. She hastily pulls on her clothes and leaves the bathroom. She scrabbles around for her books and pens and throws them in a bag. She turns on her hairdryer to drown out the noise of the students talking noisily and happily in the street. She picks up her bag, pulls on her boots and walks out of the door. Today is just going to be the same. She gets to her seminar group 5 minutes early. She gets out her notes and takes her seat, saying nothing but a polite hello. There's no point saying anything else any more. She feels unappreciated and disliked by the group. As the discussion begins, she is frequently talked over and ignored, and even put down by other members of the group. This isn't what this should be like. This should be enjoyable, and sociable, but instead, she gives in and sits in silence. She sits, and just hopes that soon it will end. She leaves, only to go to her lecture, and sit and cry silent tears, hoping that nobody can see.

This is my attempt at trying to express what PBL days are like for me this year. It's a constant struggled with my group and I dread the days. My tutor has been fantastic, and a great help and support, but I just don't feel valued, and I don't feel like my presence is even noticed. I guess, this is just the way it's going to be.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

I Have Returned!!!

Normal service has once again resumed. I'm still not well but am managing to make it in to a good few lectures, and am just about keeping on top of my work - I even have 2 patient case studies written up already!! Unheard of for me! We've now started respiratory medicine, which I'm not particularly enjoying. Sputum is really quite disgusting, but the acute management side of this unit I'm really enjoying. I like knowing how to manage things like pneumothorax and stuff that I would come across pre-hospital. Chest infections with lots of thick green gunk, not so much.

Anyway, thank you to all my guest bloggers - you gave me a lot of really interesting stuff to read and a good break from the blog. If your post hasn't appeared, it's because I'm saving it for a future date.

Also, the boy (Simon) is now back on Twitter as @NorfolkDocToBe which is great, cos I can now talk to him more, even if it's mostly to take the mick out of him!

I'm going to aim to write at least one post a week from now on, but knowing me I'll probably start blogging instead of working so posts will probably be much more frequent than that!

If you have a request for something you want me to write about, or a question that you want to ask me (nice ones please! - if I get any more offensive or rude comments or emails, I will start moderating comments and blocking people. Sad to say it, but it has been happening.) feel free to email me with your requests and questions, or if you just want to chat to me, feel free to email.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Guest Post - I Can Still Hear the Crying

Still have a lot on my plate at the moment, so this is here courtesy of Will (@bungeechump on Twitter). Having not long seen my first in hospital death, this was something that was something that I could really relate to. It's a well written piece and something that I wanted to share.

As graduation races towards me, the knowledge that I will be a "real doctor" in a few short months has made me pause for reflection on my time in medical school. Death is something that medical students are expected to deal with easily. Often this isn't the case. They say you never forget your first cardiac arrest as a medical student, but in practice I found this not to be true – I will never forget my second.

The first cardiac arrest I participated in was fairly uneventful and as morbid as it sounds, unremarkable. An eighty-two year old gentleman who has suffered an out of hospital unwitnessed VF cardiac arrest. He was not a well man to start with, his swollen legs indicative of heart failure and the mere fact that he was over eighty put him at a disadvantage. I stood in the resuscitation bay with one of the SHOs and the registrar. The ambulance was about five minutes out. I noticed the two doctors were wearing gloves and had donned aprons so I followed suit. I knew that statistically the chances of surviving to discharge following an unwitnessed out of hospital cardiac arrest were less than five percent, so I wasn’t expecting miracles. I wasn’t sure what to expect.

A slam on the double doors and in rolls the patient, the paramedics pushing and a nurse pumping on his chest as they wheeled him into the bay. He was already intubated and had good IV access, so that was one less concern. I took over the chest compressions. The sensation of ribs cracking beneath your hands and vibrating up into your shoulders is horrible. It sounds like somebody breaking a large wooden branch in the next room. After each crack, the chest becomes easier to compress until eventually it is soft like an old chain link fence.

The defibrillator was attached. A familiar broad complex, irregular waveform tachycardia emerged – ventricular fibrillation. Stand clear, oxygen away, shocking! The man’s entire body tenses up, his arms come up in the air – but then instantly flop back down as the electricity subsides. Continue chest compressions. This cycle continued for about ten minutes with adrenaline injections interspersed. The man’s Grandson arrived and said an emotional goodbye and we stopped resuscitation. I calmly left the room and went back to trying to insert a cannula into a little old ladies forearm.

I was remarkably unbothered by what had just happened. I was suddenly dubious of what they say about your first arrest and how it always sticks in your mind. That was until my second arrest, several days later.

The man had walked into the department. He was a hospital porter and felt unwell and so had wandered down to A&E. He was in his mid-fourties. He looked awful and was complaining of a several day history of headache, breathlessness and general malaise. It was quickly decided that this guy was far too sick to just be sat in majors, and he was transferred to resus.

His level of consciousness was falling and he became unresponsive. His respiratory rate shot up and he was gasping for air. This patient was very unwell, and the anaesthetist was paged so we could get a definitive airway. All of a sudden, he doesn’t have a pulse. Chest compressions begin, and the anaesthetist is here – but the intubation is proving difficult. His oxygen saturations are falling and all the machines are beeping. Finally the tube is in, and compressions can resume.

His chest was very hairy - far too hairy to get a good contact for the defibrillator pads. One of the nurses scurried off to find a razor while somebody else had the bright idea to try and wax his chest with one of the sticky defib pads. This didn’t work. The razor turned up and the pads were on with good contact. The heart trace showed sinus rhythm. Oh shit. Pulseless electrical activity – a bad thing to have if there is no obvious reversible cause, because it is an unshockable rhythm and you just have to keep pushing adrenaline and hoping for the best.

Time flashes by and we still don’t know what has caused the arrest. The most likely culprit was a massive heart attack, or a pulmonary embolus. However we can’t give clot busting drugs because of his history of a headache – if he has a subarachnoid haemorrhage the thrombolytics will turn his brain to mush, but his pupils can’t be assessed because he has had so much adrenaline and atropine so it’s impossible to rule anything out and therefore impossible to really treat anything. Vigorous CPR was attempted to try and bust up a clot mechanically if one was present (cue more ribs cracking, and my arms aching the next day).

This all happened at the weekend, so none of his relatives were in work and they all turned up rapidly until there was a gang of about eight of them in the resuscitation bay within twenty minutes. His wife and sister are holding his hand, sobbing into each other’s embrace, calling out to him and asking him to wake up. His son turns up and stands next to his head, intubated with eyes wide open and staring, flopping around lifelessly as we jump up and down on his chest, telling him to pull through so they can go to the match next week together. His elderly Father stands at the foot of the bed. He fights back the tears, occasionally slapping his son of the legs and telling him to ‘pull through’ and stop messing around.

A pause in the CPR and suddenly a familiar rhythm emerges on the screen. Pulseless ventricular tachycardia. One of the nurses pulls the family off him, and a shock is given. His wife nearly falls to the floor watching her husband convulse off the bed as 120J of electricity pass through his lifeless body. They huddle back round him. I am taking turns doing the chest compressions with one of the nurses, in short cycles so we don’t get tired and therefore not push hard enough. The A&E consultant is talking quietly to the anaesthetist at the head of the bed. CPR has been on-going for 45 minutes and there was been no real improvement. A pause in chest compressions to check the monitor reveals a very irregular agonal rhythm.

The consultant turns to the family and introduces himself. He tells them what we are all doing to try and save their beloved. He tells them we have done all we can but he’s not showing any sign of improvement. He tells them he doesn’t expect the patient to recover. His wife pleads with him, please, just keep going for a little bit longer, he’ll pull through - I know he will.

We all know he won’t pull through. We all know that he has been receiving CPR for so long that all the centres of his brain that make him the person his relatives know and love, are dead. Even if he did get back to sinus rhythm, he would be a vegetable and would end up in intensive care (also known as the cabbage patch) for several years, just waiting for the pneumonia that will kill him.

The consultant looks round at all of us involved in the resuscitation attempt. Then he turns back to the family. I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do, we have to stop. The monitors are turned off, the oxygen is disconnected and chest compressions cease. We all take a step back, the sound of multiple pairs of gloves snapping off spells defeat.

His family rush towards him and hold him, all of them sobbing. All we can do is stand and watch. I slip out the side of the room and walk back towards the main area of the department. I walk past an angry young woman shouting at one of the nurses about how she’s been waiting for four hours, and I feel angry. If only she had a clue as to why she’d been waiting for so long, I’d bet she’d go and sit down and shut right up.

I can still hear the crying in the background. I sit down in one of the cubicles and gather my thoughts. Now this was an arrest that I will never forget.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Oh Balls...

OSCE went very very badly. I will almost certainly have a resit in the summer. Balls.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Stress City

OSCE tomorrow afternoon. Logbooks not finished. Stressing. The FEAR has well and truly set in. I'm incredibly tired and ill and lonely. The boyfriend is so far away and I just want to crawl in a hole and hide. Would be grateful if you'd send comments willing me on to get this work done. Need all the help and support I can get at the moment.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Guest Post - How To Deal With Meeting A Person With Depression

This guest post was written by madsadgirl originally. It's another fantastic piece of writing, about those like me living with depression. You can read her blog here:

How To Deal With Meeting A Person With Depression

It is a sad fact of life but the majority of people in this country feel very uncomfortable about the subject of mental illness. What makes it worse is that a significant proportion of the population are likely to suffer from the most common form of mental illness, depression, at some point in their lives, yet that particular illness still carries a serious stigma with it.

The problem for the sufferer of depression is that it can be a very debilitating illness, but to the majority of non-sufferers that you meet you show no signs of having anything wrong with you. There are no tell-tale spots or rash, you have no stitches, bandages or plaster cast, and you don't require sticks, crutches, or a walking frame to get around. You can be, however, very seriously ill indeed and yet there are no outward signs that would be obvious to those that you meet. So short of carrying a bell or clapper like the lepers of long ago, or wearing a notice around your neck proclaiming "I have depression; treat me carefully" most people would not realise that there is anything wrong with your health.

I don't know how depression manifests itself in other people, I can only describe what I feel, but my depression is not only something that affects the way that I feel about things, it also has some very definite symptoms that I feel physically. When it is at its worst, depression makes me feel as though my head and body are not connected to each other. My body feels numb, like the numbness that you feel in your lip after having an injection at the dentist's, and my head has a woolly feeling with a tendency to feel very light-headed as though I have drunk alcohol on an empty stomach. All of this is combined with an overwhelming desire to cry, though I have no idea what I am crying about, it is just something that I have to do.

So these are the physical symptoms that I feel, which in themselves may not seem like much, but are nonetheless capable of lowering my mental state to a level even lower than it is already. I find it impossible to concentrate; reading becomes something that is unbelievably difficult. I have always loved reading, and half an hour with a good book before I lay down to sleep was the perfect end to the day. Now I find that I have to read the same page repeatedly to stand any chance of understanding what I have read. I have always been shy, but depression makes it incredibly difficult to interact with people that I do not know. Social functions become trials that can cause anxiety to build up days in advance, and small talk something to be avoided because you are likely to become tongue-tied while attempting to have the simplest conversation.

When somebody asks you "How are you?" you answer automatically "Fine" although you aren't really. You answer like this because you know that they really don't want to know that it took a monumental effort to get out of bed, that getting yourself to this stage in the day has been a war against irrational feelings, and that if they ask you anything else you are likely to burst into tears. You hate it when they say "Smile, things could be worse" when you know that there is nothing that could make you feel worse than you do at that particular moment and and smiling is the last thing on your mind because you are finding it almost impossible to just exist. If you were to answer the "How are you?" question truthfully, the questioner would become embarrassed and not know how to further the conversation because they would find it difficult to deal with someone with a mental illness.

Mental illness is something that happens to people. They don't ask for it, and they most certainly would prefer not to have it. Unfortunately, while the medical profession has made incredible advances in the treatment of many of the diseases and injuries that affect us physically, diseases of the brain are not so easy to treat. While we are very similar physically, we are all unique mentally; that is what makes it so difficult to 'cure' mental illnesses.

The next time that you meet someone who suffers from depression, please remember that they are a human being just like you, they don't want to feel the way that they do, and that you can't catch what they have got through contact with them. But most of all, remember that they don't like being stigmatized because they have a mental illness. Remember that; because at some time in the future the person with depression could be you. 

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Guest Post - Max and Me

Guest post submitted by Nooreen Akhtar. For sufferers of Depression like myself, this is a fantastic piece of writing explaining exactly what it is like for us on a day to day basis. Well worth reading. The black text is the entirety of the post, exactly as it was sent to me. Thank you for this wonderful submission.

Written by a friend.

Max and Me

The radio goes off at 7 am, and when I open my eyes I can tell Max is already awake. As I start to pull myself up the exhaustion hits me, and I wonder how much sleep I managed to get. Max must have kept me up for hours going on and on about money problems, the heavy workload we have at university and life after graduation. I turn off the radio and reach for my glasses when he starts trying to convince me to spend the day in bed, keep the curtains closed, ignore my timetable and stay under my duvet where its warm and safe. It sounds like such a good idea I nearly give in, but I pull on my glasses, climb out of bed and start planning my day. I wonder round the flat gathering my lecture notes and incomplete assignments with Max making annoying comments in the background, which I try to ignore. Once everything seem ready, I head to the bathroom and jump into the shower. The shower feels great, all the smells from fancy shower gels and shampoos calm me down and wash away the exhaustion. It’s nice to be away from Max’s constant complaining, but I can’t spend all day in the bathroom when there’s work to be done. As I walk out feeling refreshed and start planning my outfit for the day, but as I go through my cupboard Max comments about how all my clothes make me look fat and that I should really make more of an effort to lose weight. I try to argue back but there’s no winning this fight and it easier to just let it go even though I wonder if he might be right. Once I’m ready and out the door walking to lectures you would never figure out that Max was with me. It’s a secret that no one can know about, I’m scared they won’t understand or will judge me, and when I’m outside or around other people it’s easier to pretend that Max is not part of my life. The next few hours are spent hanging out with my friends, going to lectures and trying to complete coursework. From time to time Max will secretly start whispering in my ear about how my friends don’t really like and they’d probably be better off without me. It drives me up the wall when he starts while I try to finish my work in the library. He spends the entire time putting me down or convincing me to just go home back to bed. Some days I just plain ignore him, but today I give in and head into town instead. I walk in and out of shops, seeing loads of items I’d love to buy. Max tries to convince me to buy them, telling me that they will cheer me up and make me feel better today, and a lot of the time I give in, because he’s right it does make me feel a lot better. When I get home, I put everything away and start wasting time finding random things to read online. One of my friend’s then sends me a text reminding me that I was supposed to going out for a party. I’ve known about this party for ages and had originally planned to go but Max suggests that it might just be easier to stay at home and watch DVDs, and again I give in and text my friend back with a made up excuse. The evening goes by, a mixture of DVDs, videogames and avoiding coursework that really needs to be done. Before I head to the kitchen to turn the light before bed, Max starts having a massive go at me, and the comments sometimes reduce me to tears. The subject matter varies from friends, family, work, but he tends to always criticise me as a person. Today it was how I’m never going to succeed at my future goals, how I’m kidding myself that I am smart enough to be at university and that the best thing to do would be drop out and leave, and today I believe him. He follows me as I head to the bedroom and as I curl up under the duvet, he lies next to me going on and on. Seems like it’s going to be another long night.

Max is not real, but Max is not imaginary either. Max is a dark shadow that has followed me for a while now. Max is a real disease that affects several million people all across the globe. Max is depression. What I have described is one of my bad days, and I have them a lot. But I am trying to get help so that Max becomes a decent memory rather than that annoying and demeaning voice in my head. If you have the same problem or know someone who does, encourage them to get help, because the good days you start to have make every bad day well worth it.

Don't forget that I'm looking for another guest post for the weekend, so submissions by midnight Thursday please!

Monday, 5 April 2010

An Invitation

As I'm really busy at the moment with possibly life changing decisions to make, revision to do, still feeling ill, and putting up with my family, I'd like to invite somebody else to write a post for me. Would like it to be about an experience as a patient, a medical student during your training or a paramedicine student during your training, or someone in a medical career coming across something particularly interesting.

Submissions to by midnight (UK time) tonight preferably for the first post, and midnight Thursday for the second post of the week.

Look forward to reading them!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Thank You

I wanted to say thank you for all your thoughts, comments and prayers, and kind messages that you have sent me. They are all playing a part in my decision making, and I'd be grateful if you'd keep them coming and spread the word for me. I really appreciate your kind words, and they're all helping me on my way to reaching a decision. I think I'm nearly there, but I just need those last few bits of help and reassurance to keep me on the right track for me.

Thank you, all you kind people, and thank you social media.


Monday, 29 March 2010

Hardest Decision

So, I'm a week on, and nothing much has changed. I'm home for Easter and hating it. Family life is difficult and I don't fit back in anymore. To top it off, the boyfriend is in Australia so I can't even talk to him all that much because of the time difference (Time zones suck!!). I'm quite lonely here and all I want to do is sleep.

I'm having a real rethink about my life at the moment. I'm not really happy in medical school and I really don't know if it's the right thing for me. I always wanted to be a paramedic, but my school refused to send off the UCAS form with Paramedic Science on it, or write me a reference for a student paramedic position. My parents refused to support me in that career, and I knew that nursing and midwifery weren't for me, so I decided to just go for it and apply for medicine. I didn't think I'd get offers, let alone get the grades, but I did, even if it was by the skin of my teeth. 

Since then I've been struggling with everything at medical school, aside from the practical things. The science is way beyond what I can cope with without doing stupid amounts of work. I no longer have a social life and the stress is having an impact on my health. I love the practical stuff, and fast paced patient turnaround, but other than that, there is very little keeping me here. I haven't made many friends, I don't go out or even dance anymore (I used to be a dancer on the university Dancesport team) and I just don't see a reason why to carry on. I keep scraping through exams other than the practical ones and I'm just not enjoying much of it at all.

I'm thinking about leaving it all and going to be a paramedic. It's what I wanted to do in the first place and I think it's really where my heart's at but I just don't know. My parents would hate me for it, I don't think my boyfriend would really be all too happy about it and I just don't know. I can't decide. I've agonised over it, shed plenty of tears and lost a lot of sleep over it. It's a very difficult decision but one I will have to make soon enough.

Monday, 22 March 2010

It's A Strange World

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I've recently spent 9 days in hospital. It was an interesting experience to say the least. It was very up and down and incredibly emotional. I cried a lot, I got angry a lot, and I learned who my friends are really and truly. Being ill enough to be in hospital teaches you a lot.

It's a very strange experience being a patient in your own hospital. On the first two wards I was on, I knew the majority of the staff, and even managed to have a catch up with a few of them, but suffice to say, it was very odd not being in control of anything. Even through the pain, I wanted to answer ringing call bells.  I wanted to help the other patients who  looked more ill than me. I wanted to help everyone, and be the one to answer the call bells instead of being the one pressing my buzzer. I got a real taste of how horrible and scary and disorientating and confusing and just how strange it is being a patient. This is something I'm going to remember in future. I don't think I could ever fully appreciate what it was like in the hospital as a patient before now.

Throughout the whole time, my best friend and my boyfriend (The Manchester Medic) were both very supportive. They even made my birthday fun, despite me being in hospital and in pain, and feeling generally terrible. I felt like a fraud to begin with, because everyone else just looked so much more ill than I thought I did. It was only on the second night did I realise how ill I actually was. I'd fought this illness for a month before admitting defeat and letting myself be admitted to hospital. Medical Students are well known for the phenomenon that is "Medstudentitis". We all think we have every disease we study. Something that comes from having too much knowledge I guess. Except, I'd refused to admit that I really was ill. I kept saying I was fine until the point where I just had to give in.

I learned a lot from being a patient, and this is something I'm going to share over the next few days and weeks.

And for those of you wondering about my health - I'm still in pain, I'm still exhausted and I'm still ill. Nobody knows what's wrong but it's definitely not an infection or anything urological. If you want to play guess the diagnosis, email me and I'll give you a run down of my history and symptoms. Would be interesting to know what differentials people come up with!! Let me know by leaving your differential diagnoses in the comments of this post.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Little Blip and Nightmares

Apologies for my little blip last week. I still feel like crap, but normal blogging has now returned. (But related to that, I would love if you would let me know that you're reading, either via Twitter or a comment or email. Anything really! Would love feedback on the blog, and requests for things you want me to post about).

As those of you who have been reading the blog back will know, I have a really keen interest in Emergency Medicine. I love anything adrenaline fuelled and fast paced, and I even love treating the minor injuries and drunks etc in A&E (although I much prefer "real" medicine, I love it all!). This means that a lot of the cardiovascular medicine I'm studying at the moment is of great interest to me. I enjoyed my defibrillator training, teaching on arrhythmias and ECGs, teaching on MIs, teaching on AAAs. All of it I find really interesting, and geared towards the medicine I like and want as a future career. So, why am I having recurrent nightmares about being involved in my first cardiac arrest?

I've seen cardiac arrests before, but not been actively involved other than fetching and carrying. I've seen my first in hospital death, and yes it affected me, and I was upset by it, but it's the nature of this job that people will die sometimes. We all have to die eventually. What I don't understand is why I keep waking up from this nightmare panicking, and why throughout the dream I am absolutely petrified.

The nightmare starts with me following a consultant on a ward round. We go to a patient behind a curtain, and find them unconscious. Then begins the resuscitation protocol. I know exactly what happens, I've seen it before, I've been trained to deal with it. Yet, in the nightmare, when the consultant asks me to start compressions and to then start the defibrillation protocols, I freeze and panic, and see the patient slipping away before me. I get pushed out of the way, see a failing resuscitation attempt before me, hear in the distance the consultant ask if everyone agrees to stop and call the time of death. This is the point where I wake up. I wake up panicking and breathing far too quickly, and absolutely petrified.

I couldn't do anything, I couldn't move, I couldn't get myself to do what I've been trained to. I doubt in real life it'll be like this, because often, when I'm stressed then that intrinsic knowledge kicks in and I move and do what needs doing. I don't understand why I'm having these nightmares, because it shouldn't happen like that, and the likelihood is that, as a medical student,  probably won't be involved in an active resuscitation attempt for some time. But yet, that niggle is always at the back of my mind every time I'm in the hospital. I don't know why, and I hope this nightmare will go because I'm exhausted from waking up every night at least once. I guess I'll just have to beat this panic out of my subconscious.

As a weird aside, according to my housemate, I've been sleep talking. Mostly having conversations with my boyfriend apparently. Maybe this is all my stress? It's creepy, that's for sure!! Just hope I don't start sleepwalking!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Disappearing Act

Apologies for disappearances of posts and of myself from the blogosphere for the last two weeks. I've had a few problems with a few things. Mostly it's been friends, ex-friends, moving house, sick housemates, sick pussacat, placement and my own ill health causing problems. Just about everything really.

In the mean time, I've been sleeping, hunting for houses/flats for next year, in and out of A&E, Doctors surgeries and hospitals (Probable kidney stones. Joy.). I've been working stupidly hard on my project on cardiac physiology. I'm writing a report, and planning and creating a presentation (for the record, I really really really hate MS PowerPoint. I hate looking at them, I hate making them, I hate them full stop.) and it's taking up a lot of my time right now.

On top of all that I've been coping with horrible renal colic, resulting in me being given lots of painkillers and a referral to the urology clinic. I've also been dealing with my mental health. I have an appointment for CBT booked, I've had my antidepressant dose upped and some of my regular medications changed. Just now it seems my brain runs at 100 miles an hour and my body can't cope. I am hyper for a couple of days and then I crash out and get more depressed and sleep loads and cry and have a bit of a crisis over whether I want to be at Medical School still or not. Quite frankly, right now, I don't know what I want.

I'm really struggling academically this term and I don't know why. I absolutely love cardiology, and I find it fascinating and highly interesting but I'm finding it really hard to get my head around the science. I guess I'm just not up to this right now with everything that I've got going on. I need to know how best to make me learn this and I can't work out how. 

And to top it all off, on top of me feeling stupidly thick all the time at medical school, my housemate has just come in and made me feel about a centimetre tall. I want to help, really I do but I can't do anything. Right now, I feel completely useless no matter where I am or who I'm with.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


As I'm doing a cardiovascular placement in the hospital at the moment, part of this encompasses stroke medicine. In August my grandmother had a massive stroke, and as a result will be in a nursing home for the rest of her life. Because of this, I'm really nervous about this week's placement with the stroke team.

I worked on the stroke unit at the end of August once I'd come back to university. I thought I'd be fine and able to distance myself and to cope with it all. I was wrong, and I spent most of the day hiding my tears from the other members of staff. I was able to do my job, but I struggled to keep composed when I had a spare moment. I have a fair amount of free time this week. 2 hours a day is scheduled into our timetables. I'm worrying that I'll break down and be a mess. I'm hoping that I won't. In any case, this is the reason I'm still awake right now.

I guess I'll just have to take each day as it comes and keep on going.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

A Little Dilemma

At my medical school, we learn clinical skills from year one. This year, I have so far been taught to take blood from patients and to cannulate them. However, I was taught to do these on a plastic arm. Those of you who are familiar with these "practice arms" will know that they just don't feel like a real vein on a real arm on a real person. 

My dilemma is this: However much you practice on a fake arm, it doesn't feel anything like the real thing. Cannulating your first patient, or performing your first venepuncture is absolutely terrifying and if you've never done it on a real person before, the chances are you might not manage it. If a patient asks you whether you've done it before, what do you say? "Yes, but not on a real person"? We're not allowed to practise on each other, and so we get no practice on real arms before we do it on real patients. I want to pose two questions to you.

  1. If a patient asks you "Have you done this before?" and you've only done it on a plastic arm, what would you say?
  2. Do you think medical students should be allowed to practise on each other, and what is your reasoning behind your answer?

I'd love to know what you think!! Leave me your comments and I'll try to answer them all.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Why Emergency Medicine?

Emergency medicine is really popular as a career choice. Mostly because a lot of medical students appear to have the misguided idea that A&E is all trauma and cardiac arrests and life saving.A proper adrenaline fuelled career. It might surprise you to know that medicine wasn't actually my first choice of career. I wanted to be a paramedic. I hate being in one place, I like the challenge of not knowing what I'm going to see next, and I've dealt with my fair share of drunk people whilst first aiding at concerts. That seemed my ideal career, however, I was encouraged to aim higher academically so I applied for medicine. By some miracle, I got two offers and accepted my place at UEA. By some other miracle, I then got the grades to actually start studying medicine.

So far we've studied rheumatology and orthopaedics, and haematology and dermatology. I loved orthopaedics but it involved far too much time in theatres for my liking. I found rheumatology and haematology very interesting but not practical enough. As for dermatology, I will say no more than Yuk. At the moment I'm about to start a cardiology placement, including vascular surgery and stroke medicine. I find cardiology highly interesting, but the long term management and surgery doesn't interest me as much as the immediate issues cardiac conditions can present. I like to live in the here and now and think on my feet.

So, in answer to the question, Why Emergency Medicine? Because I honestly can't see myself doing anything else. I love the thrill of not knowing what's coming next. I like management of simple conditions as well as complex cases. I like the here and now and  I like to see what I do making a visible difference to the patient if it's possible. I work well in a team, I'll happily pitch in with the mess and vomit and lifting and carrying, and I make a good round of cups of tea at the end of a busy shift. I guess I just can't see myself doing anything else and I really don't see that changing. I'm determined to get to where I want and to be good at it. 

Even if that means living in the library and having no social life for the next three and half years...

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Ill. Again.

For those of you who know me, I have the world's worst immune system. Not a quality you want in a possible future doctor, and in an auxiliary nurse I know. I've been ill on and off for the last week, until tonight when I felt absolutely horrific and was in huge amounts of pain. I'm not brilliant at looking after myself when I'm stressed and this time I'm no different, but this time, I've had a lot more to think about, and there are people I've needed and wanted to look out for, so in order to do that, I ignored my illness.

Turns out, I'm bloody unlucky anyway. I have a chest infection and a kidney infection. Double whammy. What joy!! Anywho..... bedtime. I feel like crap.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

An Introduction

Hi. I'm Faye. I'm a second year student based in Norfolk, and am an Auxiliary Nurse/Healthcare Assistant in one of the hospitals I train in. My ambition is to become a consultant in Emergency Medicine, followed by becoming a Doctor on a HEMS aircraft. I'm stubborn and opinionated but I care a hell of a lot. I work hard (or at least, I like to think I do) and I am determined to achieve my ambition.

This blog is my third, having previously had 2 under pseudonyms. This time, I intend to be completely honest about everything I write. I will still change identities to protect the confidentiality of any patients I may mention, but other than that I intend to keep everything as near to the truth as possible.

This blog will be my place to rant and moan, discuss things, write down what I'm thinking and feeling, what I've done, what I'm doing and what I intend to do and am going to do. It's primarily for me, but feel free to read. I like sharing with people. I've seen first hand the power of the internet and what it can do for people, and believe it is a very powerful tool.

Feel free to join in with anything I discuss, and feel free to send me any requests for posts. I won't offer medical advice, I'm not trained to do that yet, but I am happy to offer advice on getting into Medical School. After all, I didn't go through it that long ago.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Welcome, and I hope you enjoy what's to come.

Faye x