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The Too-Rapid Passage of Time

As I sat on the train from the Borders, my phone pinged with a new email.

It seems that some fool in an office somewhere thinks that I’m an applicant for the Foundation Programme 2012 and as such I ought to be provided with lots of scary procedures and scoring systems and dates.

This cannot possibly be so.

It was only just a very short while ago that I was a wee fresher, right?


You Want What?

Within 24 hours of ending my GP rotation, I’ll be off on my senior elective. I am beginning to feel woefully unprepared. But I had a conversation yesterday with a gentleman who has some knowledge of medical electives and the organising thereof and with a gentleman who was heading off on his holidays within the hour and had not yet packed, and the upshot of that conversation was that if I rememember to take cash, clean underwear, vaccine certifications, malaria prophylaxis, HIV PEP, my stethoscope and my passport, I will probably be all right. Even if I manage to forget everything else, which is highly unlikely, there are very few other things that I cannot live without and that cannot be purchased in one form or another. I know all of this, but I think I’m thrown by the idea of not really being at home in the few days before I leave.

So, I was calmed down by that and it prompted me to think today that I really ought to do something about malaria prophylaxis. I hadn’t been organised enough to get it sorted out before I went off to the Borders and I haven’t been living in the same city as my GP, certainly not during office hours, for the last few weeks. One of the things I have learned from my GP rotation is that it is possible, in appropriate circumstances, to get a prescription issued without an appointment. That was Plan A.

(Plan B, if this failed, was to ask my supervisor if I could register as a temporary resident of my temporary town and then get a prescription from him, but that seemed like a wee bit of an ethically grey area.)

The following is an entirely true account of the conversation that I had with my GP receptionist:

Me: I’m going away in a few weeks and I need malaria prophylaxis. Can I sort that out over the phone or will I have to come in?
Receptionist: Have you been recommended that by the chemist?
Me: Er, I’ll be in Tanzania and they have mosquitoes.
Receptionist: Yes, but have you been recommended it by the chemist?
Me: I think by the Travel Clinic.
Receptionist: OK, let me check.
Phone: *plays terrible muzak*
Receptionist: Yes, that’s fine. I just have to write this down. So, the name of the tablet was malaria pro --
Me: Ah. No. No.
Receptionist: You said it was called malaria prophylaxis?
Me: Wait. No, prophylaxis is just a word!

In the end, I did get a script for doxycycline and so will not be faced with befuddled looks from my local pharmacist when I go in to fill it. It’s one more thing off the to-do list.
I'm posting from my phone, so rather than try to C+P a wall of text I will simply say that there was an (IMHO) ridiculous letter in the sBMJ this morning and I have ranted about it on the blog.

Jun. 4th, 2011

I realise that I haven't been posting much about Doctor Who during this series, but I have been watching it. I wasn't sold on the first two episodes and am still not what you'd call excited about how they're going to resolve that plot -- there comes a point when it stops being timey-wimey and starts being but you're just giving me a sodding migraine. I adored Neil Gaiman's episode beyond all sense or reason.


Spoilers for 6x07: A Good Man Goes To War.Collapse )


May. 31st, 2011

I've been watching the good episode of Silent Witness from last year. You know, with the shooting and Harry being a BAMF with floppy hair and a Swiss Army knife and, uh, Ben Daniels's husband being lovely but getting himself killed fairly early on. Written by the people who wrote the clusterfuck in Budapest, but everyone makes mistakes.

Don't mock. I am living actually inside a hospital, with no cooking facilities and no proper Internet and no work to do until tomorrow. I am the only person living here. I ran 3.2 miles earlier and I think that covered almost the whole town, including getting back. That series of Witless is one of the few things I have on my laptop.

In any case, I heard a line that I'd not heard the first time and wanted to share it because I giggled:

Harry (re: clot evacuation with Swiss Army knife): The procedure was more RSPCA than RCS.
On the train back to London. I have a connection to make from Waterloo through to Bournemouth, and then flying home late tomorrow evening. The most important thing on this journey is to not lose the damn poster.
The most sensible and measured response I've seen all morning to the bin Laden thing is this, from Eric Fidler on Twitter:

Remember on Sept 12, 2001, when you saw people in some places abroad celebrating death? Exactly. Don't be like that.

seeking advice from the hive mind

If you were doing a poster presentation for a medical student conference at which most presenters are going to be undergraduates, would you use your undergraduate degree when writing your name on the poster?

Mission Impossible: Hope for Holy Saturday

He had been in paradise
Surrounded by a whole flotilla of angels
Each reflecting like mirrors
The warmth of the father;
We’ll talk of this later. Well done,
My son. Stand back, to the angels
Their hot wings pressing like a feather
Mattress. Rest tonight and tomorrow
In the room next to mine
Tomorrow when you’re feeling recovered
I have a proposition to put to you –
It involves going back. A spasm crossed
The wounds, a few drops of blood fell
On the floor. No, not that, my son
But to show there’s no misunderstanding between us
Remember the last dark words and the sky.
The angels gagged me then by my orders in case
I intervened. Just to see a few friends
Walk round a bit like happier times
Be in their rooms without locks. Console them
Show yourself to the ones who seemed sorry.
The angels will take care of the stone.

Elizabeth Smither

God so loved the world

As we slipped out of the gathered crowd at the Garden and made our way into the sacristy, another server paused and reverenced the altar and then caught herself and I could see that we had had the same thought at the same time.

He’s not there anymore.

For anyone who has ever thought that belief was a crutch, that faith was taking the easy way out, that religion wanted to pretend like it had all the answers, all the things we’ve seen over the last twenty-four hours say that nothing could be further from the truth.

Because this is a day when believing in God means believing that he died. It means believing that the darkness has fallen, that the light of the world has gone out, and that the man who was our most beloved hope and who came to be the saviour of us all is simply not there anymore.

My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?


We have a Gospel to proclaim

My surgical rotation ends today and it will come as a relief to be able to hang up my stethoscope for the weekend. The first five days of Holy Week are a strange and not particularly comfortable experience; normal life has not yet been allowed to stop, but it would be all too easy to slip entirely into the thoughts in my own head and only surface properly, chrysalis like, at some point after lunch on Easter Monday.

I am not an evangelical; indeed, I tend to regard what we think of as Christian evangelical denominations with a faint sort of horror. In spite of that, I do sometimes wish that I were more of an evangelist. Sometimes, my own experience of my religion is so overwhelming that it’s all I can do to not tell the story of it to anyone who will listen.

On Maundy Thursday last year, one of my tasks was to lay out the altar for communion. I do that with some sort of regularity, but to do it at that service struck a very particular chord. The thing I remember about that night was how much of the power of it came from the stark contrasts. In the beginning, we seemed all to be in a remarkably good mood. It was the end of a long Lent, and the sun was shining and we were making ready to celebrate Passover with our friends. It was a celebration. But as I got up and began setting the table, I realised somewhere deep in my soul what I was doing and what I was representing, and, inevitably and awfully, what was going to happen next.

There is nothing comfortable about the second half of a Maundy Thursday service. The temple was destroyed. The altars were stripped bare. And as we made our way to the Garden, I tasted the adrenaline in the back of my throat and felt my heart thumping in my head as a hundred voices cried out around us into the wilderness. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

At midnight, the sun was long gone and the tears were salt on my face and I felt as though I had lived whole lifetimes since the Passover just a few hours earlier.

Tonight, we will do it all again.

Tomorrow, it will all be finished.

In a Season 4 episode of the West Wing, just after the election, a former Congresswoman said something about what Holy Week means to us. It was a political analogy made at the end of a political career, but I keep coming back to it. She said this:

“In my religion, the whole symbol of the religion ended in crucifixion and humiliation. But that wasn’t the measure of the experience. That was just the way it ended.”

Apr. 19th, 2011

RIP Elisabeth Sladen.

You gave us the very best of times.

Apr. 18th, 2011

Tomorrow, I start my tenth and final week of fourth year surgery. I am not what you might call a natural surgeon. I was heard to ask (wail) last year if I really needed the ChB part of my degree, and certainly the last two months have done nothing to seduce me away from the joys of medical ward rounds and multidisciplinary management and unanaesthetised patients.

It has had its moments. The thing with the drill from last week. A surgeon who told me that my steady hands would be wasted in haematology. A different surgeon who told a patient that I would be better than him, one day (what, you’re surprised that I possess an ego?). Even the one very late Friday night, when I palpated the popliteal pulse from inside the knee and then watched as a clamp was released and a blue foot turned pink.

It has had its unmoments too, of course. I’ve encountered the sort of old-fashioned blatant paternalism that I’d almost begun to think didn’t exist anymore. And for the first five weeks, that public transport commute to the very edge of Scotland in the dark and cold of early February, which wasn’t the surgeons’ faults but was something that I could happily have lived without.

On the whole, I have enjoyed it more than I expected to.

I have realised that I will probably not hate my surgical foundation jobs as much as I’d thought I would.

I am desperately desperately looking forward to being among physicians once more.


Argumentative Sod

I seem to have been designated within my current group as the one with a mouth. The one who will fill the awkward silence that happens when a doctor has asked an unanswerable non-question and everyone else suddenly thinks that the cracks in the ceiling tiles are absolutely riveting. The one who will argue.

It is not endearing me to any surgeons.


The Shed

As the morning fracture clinic came to an end, my planned escape out of the department and towards a bacon sandwich was intercepted by one of the consultants.

“What do you have planned for this afternoon?” he asked.

I’d planned to spend some time in a quiet corner of the library with a pile of urology books, writing up a case report that I had been sitting on for a week and a half. It seemed imprudent to say that, though. I said that I’d had nothing particular planned and asked what I might be able to go to.

“The registrar is doing the trauma list and he’s looking for an assistant. Do you know how to suture?”

A slightly graphic description of ortho surgery under the cut.Collapse )
Out Of The Closet.

This is what I was talking about the other day when I was trying to write about Internet anonymity.

This has nothing to do with the recent spate of DDOSs, by the way. The thing that actually got me to this point -- which has been coming for a while, I think -- was when my choir director told me on Tuesday that my entry about our bus trip to Perth was very well written and very funny, "especially the F word".

My LJ isn't going anywhere. I'm working on figuring out how to set Wordpress up this time so that that automatically crossposts to here, which was what was always meant to happen with the blog anyway and never did. And you guys are still getting the, "OMG DOCTOR!" and the "OH NIKKI HOW SO STUPID!" and the incoherent posts at two o'clock in the morning all to yourselves.

If you hang around for a few minutes, you'll see me out myself on Facebook and Twitter too.

apparently not over yet

For those who are keeping score, the House of Death is still haunting me.

Today, a Sheriff's Court order for a council tax bill that I didn't know about (because they curiously didn't have my correct address for any of the actual bills but have managed to find it when they wanted to threaten me with arrest and dispossession of my property) and don't owe anyway (because the council have had documentation since 2007 which says that I am a student and therefore legally disobliged to pay council tax) and is on a house I haven't lived in for two and a half years (because it FELL DOWN!).

I have shouted at people.

Oh, I have shouted.

Just FYI

I was the Red Cross duty officer at the last event at Durham's last remaining all-female college, at the summer ball in the term before St Mary's first undergraduate men were admitted, and not one single person was murdered. I checked someone out for a bang on the head at about two o'clock and I spent the rest of my shift, which went on until five o'clock in the morning, in the senior common room alternating between a Sebastian Faulks novel and cell biology revision. I never saw a single detective or scene-of-crime officer or forensic pathologist.

But speaking of forensic pathologists, this is a good time to mention that my love for Laura Hobson knows no bounds. (Yes, I was being snarky with that.)


aaah coffee

In my world, there are four types of outpatient clinic:

1) The type where they take a proper break. There will be much coffee and a tray of nice things from the wee cafe, and the consultants will try to persuade you to take just one more cake. I have come across only one such clinic (and liked it so much that I went back five times).

2) The type where coffee is inhaled during the clinic. This category is very broad. It includes any clinics where the first question anyone asks when you arrive is how you take your coffee, any clinics where someone brings in a coffee for you halfway through the list, and any clinics where you are simply pointed at the kettle and told to help yourself. In the nicer ones, there are sometimes biscuits. This accounts for almost all of the outpatient clinics I have ever been to.

3) The type where there is no coffee. These are quite often fracture clinics.

4) The type where they take a proper break but are apparently not that keen on medical students. The consultant drinks his coffee and eats his ginger snap while the four medical students are not allowed such things and must sit, coffeeless and biscuitless, and watch him. This type of clinic is also known as the sixth circle of hell.
First, a Tory was responding to Thought For The Day with a not terribly eloquent argument for why we should just go ahead and let libraries be closed. I considered smothering myself with my pillow.

Then, in an entirely valid attempt to explain why she feels that Jennifer Garner is not the person you would cast as Miss Marple, and that the whole idea is utterly incomprehensible, Laura Thomson said, "It's like if Hollywood decided to cast Hugh Jackman as Morse." YE GODS, MY EYES, WHY WHY WHY WOULD YOU SAY SUCH A THING?!
Yesterday, the City of Glasgow Chorus were 'on tour'. This is what our choral director insists on calling it, although the phrase seems a little ambitious given that we only went as far as Perth -- and not the one in Western Australia. Yet, even with only going as far as the one in Scotland, it came so very close to going so very very wrong.

I will begin by saying that I was running late and jumped into a cab. The driver asked questions about where I was going and what I was doing and if I was a music student and why I had moved to Glasgow, and, once he had established all of these things, spent the rest of the journey telling me all the things that I need to do to fix the NHS and the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service. I am aware that it sounds from that like he was driving me to Perth. In fact we were only going as far as the Strathclyde University building that my bus left from and is all of three miles from my front door, but we were stopped at every single red light between them.

I was late for the bus, only by a minute and a half, but as it turned out that didn't matter much in any case.

It had been organised that there would be a coach for those who weren't driving and that this would leave from our rehearsal building. Our rehearsal building is what used to be the Maryhill police station in vintage Taggart, which, as you may know from ITV, is on a hill that makes the hills in San Francisco look like mere babes. The coach had got up the hill all right. And then we added fifty-three choristers and their assorted baggage to its weight.

The guy hit drive.

We rolled backwards down the hill.

And again.

And we rolled backwards some more.

He wondered if the entire gearbox had died and thought that he'd find out by hitting reverse. We rolled backwards down the hill some more, albeit in a slightly more controlled fashion.

And then he did something that I've never seen anyone do with a vehicle before, although I've seen it done and have done it myself with things like computers and televisions, and thought that he'd try turning it off and turning it back on again. Twice. Punctuated with further attempts to drive up the hill that led to us rolling backwards down it and suggestions, all of which were ignored by the driver, from the choir that we might walk to the top of the hill and get back on once it was on the flat.

It is now half past two and we are supposed to be rehearsing in Perth at three o'clock. The choral director and half the choir are driving to Perth, but cannot start without us as we have the pianists.

I ask if we might just stay where we are and perform the Rossini Petite Messe Solenelle for our driver and the gaggle of people on the street who have gathered around to try to figure out what the fuck we're doing.

We wait while the driver calls his depot and panics and asks for a new bus. They suggest that he should try again. We lurch backwards a bit more. They suggest that he tries reversing down the hill properly and then we'll be on the flat and we can try. We are not entirely sure why this is a better idea than our original one of us walking to the top of the hill, but two choristers dutifully get off the bus in order to guide it backwards. Well, they try. The door mechanism stalls and won't open.

It is at this point that someone asks if we're recording this for YouTube.

It is also at this point that I start telling Twitter that we're all going to die.

Finally, the door opens and they get off the bus. We start moving backwards -- towards a four-way intersection in the middle of Glasgow city centre, mind you. There is a yell from the back as they realise that he is too far to the left and is about to crush a parked car. That particular crisis is averted and we continue moving. We reach the intersection and reverse around the corner into oncoming traffic and stop in the yellow box.

And this is usually where the police come, I said.

We cannot move because the traffic lights are red. Nobody else can move because we are in the way. If the traffic lights turn green and it turns out that this was more than the hill and we still cannot move, we will have basically stopped Glasgow in the middle of a Saturday afternoon.

The bus moves.

A loud cheer goes up from the back.


never thought I'd be using this tag again

I think one of the baby doctors on BBC 3 was one of my kids (i.e., one of the people I had to let into their room / evacuate from the building / relight boilers for / unblock the toilets of / yell at / etc at 4am) when I was a senior resident at Durham.


Have been retweeted by Gareth Malone.

Life is now complete. :)

distributing joy to the masses

For my Transatlantic Friends and my Missed It On Friday Friends (of which I am one), I am hoping that these are not region-locked:

Doctor Who Comic Relief Special Thing Part 1 and Part 2, further supporting my firm belief that Jack Harkness and Amy Pond would get on like a house on fire. (Er, there's a line in Utopia.)

The Lovely Gareth Teaches Celebrity Chefs How To Sing Part 1 and Part 2 and vaguely drunken Take That-ing.

I cannot criticise the vaguely drunken singing, as I went to a twenty-first birthday party last night and ended up standing around a crate of Becks with twenty-odd quite pissed choristers and two conductors singing murdering a number of Tudor anthems. Gibbon in particular was rolling in his grave last night. We are Episcopalians and this is how we party.

a variety of things

- I am all signed off and done with my first surgery rotation and finished at The Hospital In The Middle of Nowhere, and I have a three day weekend before starting my second surgery rotation at The Hospital That Is Fifteen Minutes From My House.

- I have received my census form. It is the first time that I have been counted in the census as a real person, as the 2001 census was about six weeks before my sixteenth birthday. I haven't seen an English census form but I have a number of issues with the Scottish version. Including: "same-sex civil partnership" is redundant, I am not wild about the way they think that there needs to be an actual physical dividing line separating same-gendered relationships from opposite-gendered relationships, and jobs are either self-explanatory and therefore the box to describe what the job involves is stupid (my last job title and thus the one that I have to list was NHS Administrator for Smoking Cessation Services, which leaves little to the imagination) or are complicated and therefore the box to describe what the job involves is way way way too small (it is both utterly terrible and perfectly reasonable that I want to know whether "healing the sick" is an appropriate answer for the job description for my doctor friends, as a real answer will not come close to fitting in the character limit).

- Twilight and its ilk have spawned a new genre. I was vaguely horrified when I discovered today that Waterstones now have an entire section devoted to "paranormal romance".

- I am not erudite at 7.45am. If you ask the question "how does being gay fit in with being Episcopalian?" at that time of the morning when I have had five hours sleep and no caffeine, I will ramble a lot.

- Just Go With It is a ridiculous contrived plot with an awesome kid and some funny lines, and was never going to be Masterpiece Theater. But it would have lost nothing of the story and even less money if they had just simply not included the offensive gay stereotypes and the offensive Hispanic stereotypes. And if they hadn't felt the need to remix Chasing Cars with Every Breath You Take, which, you know, my ears are still bleeding.

Mar. 12th, 2011

Dear Morons of America,

I see that a lot of you have been posting the following status on your social networking forum of choice today: "Dear Japan: It's not nice to be snuck up on by something you can't do anything about, is it? Sincerely, Pearl Harbor."


On behalf of Japan, the sane Americans who you are making look bad, and GENERAL HUMANITY, I will shove my keyboard SO FAR UP YOUR ASS.

Vomiting in your general direction,

People are now trying to be less vague about my mythical accent. I mean, I tell them that it is a Geordie accent and in an effort to disprove this they try to pin it down to specific parts of The Country That I Am Not From.

For example, my consultant asked where the accent was from and eyed me skeptically when I told him that it was from Newcastle and I said, "No, it's not Irish. It's not just you. I get that a lot." He looked totally mystified and said, as though this would prove him right and me wrong, "It's Ulster."

Guys, a geography lesson.

If I have already said that I am not Irish (and indeed, have specified that I am Geordie), the chances of me admitting that I am from Ulster are very very slim indeed.

World Book Night

A book meme, from loneraven.

The book I am reading: The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne. I started it on the train yesterday morning and then fell asleep on the train home, so I am not very far into it yet.

The book I am writing: I am not writing a book. I wrote, once, when I was in primary school, a school story. I was a child who grew up on a steady diet of Enid Blyton and Elinor M. Brent-Dyer and wanted desperately to go to boarding school and play lacrosse and have midnight feasts, and when I was about ten I wrote what amounted to my own Malory Towers book. But it was probably the length of your average Nanowrimo and I had original characters, which is more than you can say for anything that I write these days.

The book I love most: The story I love most is Birdsong. This was the source of much lively debate between myself and my pastoral tutor at Durham, who preferred Charlotte Gray. The book I love most is the copy of The Bone Collector that I bought for my grandad and signed for him by Jeffrey Deaver.

The last book I received as a gift: My sister bought me David Starkey's biography of Henry VIII.

The last book I gave as a gift: I bought my mum a copy of the new Patricia Cornwell, which is not my thing -- the bad writing, rather than anything against the genre -- but is what she asked for for Christmas.

The nearest book on my desk: The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine. Also Davison's Principles and Practice of Medicine and a copy of the British National Formulary. It is a working Saturday.

a better day

I was offered a lift into work this morning. A friend from choir had a meeting near my hospital, which meant coffee and heating and good conversation and Radio 4 and a tiny sleep in. That made a lovely change from the freezing cold early train and the hike up a big hill at the end of it.

And then I answered a question on the ward round, had one of the F1s make me tea and teach me how to prescribe vancomycin and gentamicin and warfarin, passed my first NG tube, and was complimented on my examination technique by a consultant surgeon.

That's the thing about bad days.

They end.



So, today has been a disaster.

I realised when I arrived at the station that I had left the house without my travelcard, stupid stupid. So, £8.90 and a queue at the ticket office. As I finished paying for my ticket, they announced that the train arriving at my platform was the 7.28am service to [static]. That is the correct time for my train, so I ran up the escalator and hopped on the train without checking the board. A couple of minutes later, I noticed that the information screen said that the next stop would be Charing Cross -- which meant that I was on the wrong train and would have to get off at Queen Street instead of Central and then run like hell across town to make my Branchton connection at 7.50am. I am still kind of impressed that I managed that one.

Became aware when I got to the hospital that it felt very much as though cut for icky girl stuffCollapse )

Had some ICU teaching. That was good. That was my bright spot.

Met with my supervisor and presented my first portfolio case. The case presentation was fine. The part where he read my commentary on it was not. I got ripped to shreds and rightly so, for I had mixed up "perforation" and "penetration" in my head and decided that they meant the same thing in the context of peptic ulcers. They don't. I had written all of the correct stuff, but I had also gone on for quite some time about acute upper GI bleeding and you don't so much get that in a perforated ulcer. He was lovely about it -- in front of me, anyway -- but ugh. Again, stupid stupid.

And then there was nowhere else that I was expected to be after half past two and usually I would go to the ward or to A&E and find myself some jobs to do or some patients to see, but I have come home instead. For ibuprofen and a shower and tea and tomorrow will be a better day.


really really no

So, there was a bus driver. This was on a bus from Gourock to Glasgow, which is a long enough journey at the best of times. But we were very close to Glasgow and it was all going without incident and I could smell my dinner. Then, the bus driver turned around and said, I'm just going to take a wee short cut.

Why must men do this?!

He turned onto the Kingston Bridge and took us onto the wrong side of the river and into a 30mph contraflow in rush hour.

Feb. 19th, 2011

In the post today, a cross letter from my landlord to say that we are overdue for the gas inspection that we are legally required to have every year and that their gas contractors have repeatedly tried to contact us to arrange this but to no avail and that they will be coming around on Monday to do it whether we are in or not, SO THERE.

Well, that's okay. They are at their liberty to use their keys to come and check that our boiler is not going to explode (and never mind that they must have checked that pretty thoroughly when they replaced half the parts less than a month ago). I am not about to object. But I recalled a fairly recent visit by a gas contractor and I did not recall ever ignoring or refusing such a visit, so I had a hunt through my desk.

Sure enough, I am holding in my hand a gas safety certificate that was issued by their gas contractor on November 23rd 2010.

an explanation for my absence

I've found the hospital where they are hiding the nice orthopaedic surgeons. I say "hiding" because until this week, I thought that "nice orthopaedic surgeon" was a contradiction.

The nice orthopaedic surgeons do not sit down.

If a physician does a clinic, they sit in a room and the patients come in from the waiting room and it's all very straightforward and perhaps you leave the room in between times to collect notes. (If this clinic is the one that I was in last Thursday, which was the first sunny day we had had in the west of Scotland since sometime in August, the room is in a basement and when you entered it it was still dark and every single patient who comes in will tell you what a glorious day it is outside.)

If an orthopod does a clinic, they have eight rooms and eight patients in them at one time and dash from one patient to another patient to another patient and back to the second patient to a fourth patient to the radiology department and never ever ever sit down. I was in fracture clinic for eight hours today. I sat down for thirty minutes in the middle, to inhale some coffee and a sandwich. But the orthopod who I was spending the afternoon with had been in A&E until four o'clock this morning and then was back in theatre for nine and then did a four hour clinic, so I am not too badly off considering. Also, I have learned a hell of a lot about bones today and seen some orthopaedic injuries that I didn't think people survived -- a C2 fracture, which usually kills people so effectively that it was in fact how they killed people back when there was hanging.

Although (this one's for sixpence1969) I did have to stop myself from looking disbelieving and snorting with laughter when he told me that elbow fractures are usually quite stable.

Feb. 12th, 2011

I've been a student for seven years and never had to do an actual academic poster presentation. I think most people with a BSc do that sort of thing when they present their dissertation projects, but we never did. And thank God, it's bad enough writing about the ten times your proteins committed suicide and the day when you learned that you had accidentally grown cholera, a bit, without having to say all that out loud in front of people.

I'm trying to figure out if my SSC project, which was a good case series and made a decent oral/powerpoint presentation but was not strictly speaking a research project, could be turned into one. It is not required to be a research project, but those are more straightforward to do poster-type things with. And, if it could be done and if it were judged as good enough, how one might reasonably get to Bournemouth in order to present it.


Still Crazy

It's two weeks since my GP said that I should rest for another two weeks, and I've had no pain for the last ten days. So, I'm going for a run tomorrow. Two miles. In two loops, so that I can stop after one mile if I have to. On a day that is forecast to be dry and sunny, so that I can stop and walk back if I have to. I am perhaps being overcautious about this, but I'd rather be paranoid for a week than on the bench for another month.

I got notification today that I had been unsuccessful in my ballot application for the Great North Run. I can't take a charity slot; I already have a charity and MSF don't keep charity slots in races. But I had been expecting that and so this frees me up to decide which one I'm doing instead. I'm thinking about Bristol. Maybe Windsor or Royal Parks. Glasgow was fun last year and I think it was a good idea to do the first one on home turf (and within hobbling distance of my shower and my own bed), but I'd like to get out and do a race that's new to me. The registrations for Bristol and Royal Parks don't even open until March, so I've got some time to decide and to see how my knee is actually holding up.

If you'd needed persuading that I'm certifiably nuts, my long-term goal is to do my first marathon during F1 year. In late 2012 or early 2013, probably. Probably not London.


oh god this is really real

I received the following from the UK Foundation Programme Office this morning. For the American and Australian components of my flist, the Foundation Programme is like the first two years of residency and the UK Foundation Programme Office are the people to whom I will apply for a job. As a doctor, oh God.


Dear Applicant,

The key dates for the FP 2012 recruitment round have been agreed and will be published on the UKFPO website in early April.

Recruitment to Foundation Programme 2012

18 Jul – 19 Aug 2011: UKFPO’s Eligibility Office is open for eligibility checking

3 - 21 Oct 2011: Applicants register and enrol on FPAS

10 – 21 Oct 2011: Application period

31 Oct – 18 Nov 2011: Foundation schools score applications

8 Dec 2011: Applicants are informed of their foundation school allocation

25 Jan 2012: Deadline for applicants to submit their programme preferences

15 Feb 2012: Applicants are informed of their programme match

Glasgow finals are likely to start on February 22nd. So, that date when we find out our actual jobs will really throw a little interest into what would otherwise have been an awesomely relaxing low-stress time in our lives.
In my last three hospitals, I have been based a half-hour bus ride from my house, a half-hour walk from my house, and a hundred and odd miles away from my house and indeed practically in England, but, crucially, living on-site for that month. It has been lovely and I have grown accustomed to my 7.45am alarm clock. In my next hospital, which starts next Tuesday, I am based... well, going West, the next bit of civilisation after that particular hospital is Newfoundland. The one in Canada.

If I ever have to be at work before 8.45am -- and this is a surgical block, I am sure that that will happen -- I have to be out of my house in time to be on a 6.10am train.

I am telling you all this so that when you don't see a lot of me for the next five weeks, you are not too terribly alarmed.


When people agree to share a flat with people, they think that they'll end up doing favours like picking up chocolate on the way home or lending a tenner for cab fare every once in a while and... utilising transport ninja skills to get one another to far flung hospitals on time, or maybe that really is just me and a reason why I shouldn't have told people what my last job was.

Anyway, they don't think that they'll have to spend an afternoon on the phone with a wedding planner.

So, Flatmate has gone home for the weekend. And when she borrowed my phone last night, neither of us were quite thinking straight, so her taxi callback came through to my mobile at 5am on a Saturday, and I was very proud of myself for not throwing stuff at the wall to get her attention, but that's a different thing. She was going home for a family thing but had planned to go and see the wedding planner at a potential wedding venue while she's down there. No, it is still not figured out but at least she is making actual progress now. Of course, she forgot about that until she was on the phone to me an hour before the appointment and the venue is two counties over and she doesn't have their number or a functioning computer. I will call, I said. I said that I was her. I didn't want to go through the rigmarole of explaing who I am and why I am calling. I figured it would be easy enough, hi, I am Sefkhet's Flatmate, I need to cancel that appointment we had for this evening and I will call to reschedule once I've spoken to my fiance, sorry for the inconvenience and have a good weekend. God, no. If a wedding planner thinks that they're talking to the bride, they want to talk.

Never did I think that I would say to a wedding planner...

Wait. Never did I think that I would have to talk to a wedding planner.

But if we leave that part aside, never did I think that I would spend twenty minutes frantically trying to get out of a conversation about mandaps and chair covers and agni puja and auspicious dates and five hundred guests. Or for that matter have any kind of conversation in which I had to refer to "my fiance" as "he".


memes and things

I had a "free" morning, a comfortable bed, and a case series to write, so Flatmate promised last night that she would wake me up before she left the house at 9.30am. She knocked on my door at 9am and said that if I got up then, she would make me breakfast. So much love for her right now. And then my consultant sent me home from clinic early, because, "It's quiet and it's Friday, so you should get lost and have fun!" So, I swam through the puddles and contemplated the relative merits of different types of cake in Sainsburys and am now waiting for my hair to stop dripping down the back of my neck.

I have a thread on the anonymous love meme, if you should feel moved to go and leave me love.

And I have questions from persiflage_1:

- Comment with "Paper. Scissors. Rock. Spock. Merlin."
- I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can get to know you better.
- Update your journal with the answers to the questions.
- Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions.

my answers under the cutCollapse )


SIlent Witness: The Prodigal, Part 2

The last time I'll go on about Silent Witness until... well, probably sometime after the next series has aired, if I'm honest, if they do it in January again then that's terrifyingly close to finals and I ought not to watch television that mostly makes me cross.

Spoilers. Squee. Stuff.Collapse )
It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up, something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn't need you to hold it down.
It doesn't need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing, and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house and now live over a quarry of noise and dust cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own.,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records.

Since there is no place large enough to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you into everything you touch. You are not responsible.

You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it, and in that way, be known.

- Naomi Shihab Nye

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