Saturday, 23 January 2010

Progress and Procrastination

Well, I've achieved sod all this week, both in terms of learning stuff and in terms of writing stuff. I was meant to be meeting my study buddy this weekend, and going over the stuff we learnt at last weekend's revision course, but he's on call at the hospital and hasn't managed to escape yet to come and study, so I'm trying to get through some of the stuff on my To Do list. On the plus side, the next fortnight is set aside for research, so Tuesday-Thursday I don't have class or placement, and I can curl up here in my conservatory-study and get some work done. I'm hoping to finish my first draft of my research this week coming, so the next week I can try to learn some stuff that'll be helpful when I hit the wards in two and a half weeks' time.

I've done my OPBL on the clotting cascade and anticoagulants, some work on diuretics, and the anatomy of the heart, so my updated to do list looks like this:

This week:
PBL - pneumonia
Prepare a presentation/scenarios on the differential diagnosis of cough with sputum
Cardiac drugs
Anatomy of the hand
Finalise and submit job applications - deadline Monday. Make a decision and apply, you idiot!

Next weekend:
Work with Study Buddy, go over the content of this course - don't know when this is going to happen

Within the next few weeks:
Read research papers for my background
Write background section
Write up analysis of group against control
Complete data collection on teaching material
Send first part of draft to research tutor
First draft of reflective essay
Pick a patient for case presentation - this isn't going to get done for at least a fortnight, because I'm now on Research.

To top it off, Flatmate is getting really irritated with Study Buddy. Which is inconvenient, given that they're dating. Personally, I think they'd both get on much better if they both got a few good nights' sleep - they're both grouchy, because they're both burning the candle at both ends! Hey ho.

Ought to get back to writing about pneumonia, really. Much less fun than blogging, but potentially more helpful when I hit placement on MAU...

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Two months, no post...

Oops! Long time, no post. Tsk tsk. Should pick up a bit now, post-Christmas and my mind's in a better place, so time to crack on with work. Might start posting my to-do lists here, that'd mean I came back and updated more often, and it'd make sure I keep on track with work!

Christmas was good, not particularly relaxing but I got plenty of work done. I found out a couple of days before Christmas that I won a national essay prize, so that was the best Christmas present I could have had, although I also had some lovely gifts from family. I've started a new rotation, which is going well although it's incredibly intense, and it involves a bit of work in operating theatres - a nightmare for lipreading. We'll see how it goes, the academic bit is really interesting and it's drawing things together, so full steam ahead.

Am on a course this weekend, revision directed at Finals, which is really interesting. Today's been very intense, but I'm now chilling out at a friend's house, cuddling the cat and getting warm by the fire, so I'm happy!

Probably ought to make a list of things that need doing. Will split it into short-term and long-term goals...

This week:
PBL - clotting cascade and anticoagulant medications
Diuretic therapy
Cardiac drugs
Anatomy of the heart
Anatomy of the hand
Finalise and submit job applications

Next weekend:
Work with Study Buddy, go over the content of this course

Within the next few weeks:
Read research papers for my background
Write background section
Write up analysis of group against control
Complete data collection on teaching material
Send first part of draft to research tutor
First draft of reflective essay
Pick a patient for case presentation

Wow, that's a scary list. Probably ought to get on with some of it instead of sitting here blogging...

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Losing weight, gaining workload

The diet's going well - I've managed to lose 2st5lb so far, which leaves 6st12 to go before I hit my target weight of 9st. I saw my GP today, and he's prescribed me some Orlistat, so that should speed things up a bit - ideally I'd like to lose another stone before Christmas, although I think that might be setting the bar a bit too high? Answers on a postcard please. I'm also worried about the GI upset it can cause if I eat too much fat while I'm taking it, because I think diarrhoea combined with the sedation from the antipsychotics could be a really bad idea... we'll see!

Mental health wise, everything's on a pretty even keel - not getting worse, not getting better, just ticking along. Am managing to get a bit more work done, I'm not quite as sedated as I was before, so that's positive. I think at the moment the main thing impeding my getting on with my work is the library - as an undergrad, I'm not allowed to order inter-library loans of research papers without a signature from a member of faculty, and I'm on placements at the moment, so there aren't many members of faculty hanging around to sign my forms! Bah, humbug. Think I'll just ask my friend who's intercalating to sign them for me, he's on a Masters so he gets to order anything he likes. Hmph.

My research is getting more intense and scary - I've started analysing my first research focus group. I'm still waiting for my research tutor to get back to me about the group she said she'd organise in a different school - I don't want to hassle her, but equally, I want to keep moving - I want to get the whole prpject written up and finished with by the end of the Christmas holidays so I can focus on getting ready for Finals. Thinking about it, I should probably give her dictaphone back - oops!!

Must crack on with work, the to-do list is three pages long and unfortunately won't complete itself. Hey ho - more update soon.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Those damn badgers...

The last week or two have been all about my mental health - I've seen a psychiatrist, three GPs, a social worker, my new CPN... as yet, none of the pills or potions have made any difference, but the fact that someone's listening and trying to make things better is helping me get through bit my bit. Anyway, it's all been a bit intense and a lot of talking about stuff, so I've taken today off to give myself a bit of space - after my appointment this morning I went into town, got my eyebrows threaded (Ow!! But very pretty) bought some new makeup and had my hair cut. Looks much better, but now the roots are showing, so I'm going to have to dye it again. Am feeling much more pretty and human now anyway, and I'm off out to have a catch up with friends tonight. I probably shouldn't be eating pizza the night before weigh-in, but hey - I don't drink and a girl's got to have some vices!

Weirdly, my psychiatrist has also told me to go and get my hearing aids looked at. When I first started hearing voices, I assumed I was picking up induction coils and bluetooth from other people's electrical gadgets - it was only when I started hearing things with my aids out that I realised it had to be in my head. I guess then I owe my sanity to deafness - if I could hear normally, I'd probably have assumed the voices were real...

My work's lagging behind a bit, and I should probably be writing about epilepsy in patients with learning disabilities rather than blogging! Hey ho.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Long time, no post

Long time, no post. Sorry about that, life's been a bit hectic, and my hearing has taken a bit of a back seat. My mental health's taken a dive lately, and I'm now on some new tablets - just waiting for those to kick in, really, at the moment they're making me really drowsy but not really having any other effect.

I've also been doing my job applications for my foundation training. I did quite a lot of umming and aahing, but finally decided that I needed to move on and make a fresh start, so I've applied to move to Severn deanery. There are some good jobs going in Cheltenham and in Gloucester, and the area's good for psych training - it's also nice and close to my brother and my auntie. Filling in the form was a nightmare, though - five questions, all of which were slightly ridiculous, and each to be answered in under 200 words. Bah, humbug. Ah well, it's done now and out of my hands.

I'm really enjoying my psychiatry training, and I think this might be what I want to do with my life. I said that after doing Palliative Care as well, though, and still quite fancy being a GP... I'm sure life will take me down whichever route is right for me. I should probably stop stressing about it all! I'm also working on my research at the moment, which is proving highly frustrating. I ran my first focus group on Friday, so I'm now transcribing that - the recording's pretty poor quality and I'm having difficulty working out what they're all saying, although it helps that I was there the first time round. I'm sure it'll all come together - it's just time consuming. It was really interesting to run, though - people knew a lot more than I expected them to! I'll leave it a little while before I do my analysis, though - I'm planning on getting most of this nailed over Christmas, when I've got my psychiatry stuff out of the way. I've even nicknamed my dissertation - he's Brian - because I'm spending so much time on it that "I'm hanging out with Brian" sounds a lot more cool than "I'm in the library doing research," when people ask me what I'm doing at the weekends!

I probably ought to go back and crack on with transcribing my focus group. Will post more soon, honest!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

New House, No Net

Apologies for the long time with no update. I've just moved house - again - and haven't had any internet. This has been quite a problem for the others I've just moved in with, but it's been a nightmare for me - I can't phone people, I do all my nagging housing agents, appointment-making and catching up with friends by email or MSN. It's made me realise just how dependent I am on the World Wide Web, to the extent that I dashed out on Thursday after class to get another mobile broadband dongle. I've now retrieved my old one from home, so one of the girls I'm living with has borrowed the newer one - it's helping, but I can't wait to get full-speed WIFI back up and running. This thing is unbearably slow, just uploading seven pictures I took of the house took me two hours.

The house I've moved into is structurally lovely, and it feels like home, but the previous tenants hadn't cleaned it, and it's filthy. A little better now that we've been in for almost a week, but still pretty disgusting - the agents haven't even come to take away the mouldy junk that the previous tenants left in the cupboards, and they've been promising to do it for days. I've given up expecting, and started to clean the place myself.

I've also come down with a cold in the last couple of days. My right ear is really sore, too sore for a hearing aid, which is going to make groupwork tricky tomorrow. I'm not looking forward to it much, but I've just printed off all the prereading, and I'm hoping I can stay more-or-less afloat. I've got my first psychiatric placement on Tuesday, though, and I think that could be a little more problematic. I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

Will update again soon, honest.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Audit finished, and cinema reward

I finally finished the first draft of my audit today - getting the abstract done in time for the National Medical Students' Conference was a bit of a rush job, but I got it done and sent in - I'm hoping they'll be looking for content, rather than how the abstract itself was written, as mine was a bit (like, wrote it in 15 minutes, and I keep noticing glaring omissions!) I also sent the full draft to the people in the Palliative Care Office who helped me get the audit up and running, so they can have a look through it and see what changes need making.

As a reward, Mum and Dad took me off to the cinema to see Dorian Gray, which came out on Wednesday. I've been a fan of the book, and of Oscar Wilde in general, for years and even named my pet rat Dorian, so the film had the potential to be a great disappointment... there's nothing worse than a film making a hash of a well-loved book. Thankfully, for the book and for my evening, it was a wonderful film, although it did move away from the original text in places. I was concerned that it might be as bad as the dance interpretation of the novel I saw at the theatre in Norwich, which took everything that was just gently hinted at in the novel, and made it explicit and graphic.

I'm also really impressed with the cinema. I didn't phone ahead (obviously) and there was no information about the hearing loop, and we arrived about ten minutes before the film was due to start, so I didn't have the chance to ask anyone about telecoil - I just assumed that I'd have to muddle through based on my encyclopaedic knowledge of the text. To my amazement, not only was the loop on, but it was working really clearly too! I think I might write to them to congratulate them - I spend far too much time complaining about (and to) places that aren't fully deaf-friendly that I think they deserve a pat on the back when they do it well. Unfortunately, my organisational skills weren't as good as theirs, and about halfway through my hearing aid in my good ear went flat. I'd taken spare batteries - I take them everywhere - but I didn't fancy fiddling about trying to change them in the dark - I killed my last aid by dropping it on the floor, and I didn't fancy repeating the experience, so I was a bit lost for the latter part of the film. Still, it didn't ruin my enjoyment, so I've chalked it down to experience and decided that in future, I'm probably best to change batteries before going to cinemas or theatres!