Block 1 Week 1 (#1)

Monday

Monday brought the first day of our “official” medical teaching. We were prepared for a day of intensive lectures and rightly so. I quickly learned that my concentration span has decreased significantly since ending my neuroscience degree so it was hard to keep up. However, the thought of my shepherd’s pie in my bag for lunch did keep me going and it turned out to be one of the best lunches I had ever had. (I was pretty hungry).

In the afternoon we had a guest lecturer who was a senior dietician from UHCW. She explained the different ways we measure body composition and the effects of malnutrition on the body with some graphic images displaying what could happen when we become severely under malnourished. Our group session for the day looked at analysing our own bodies. This proved to be somewhat frustrating as I realised I had lost no weight over the summer….. bummer. However, we tried out an ulnar measurement which involved measuring the ulnar bone and consulting a chart. This was surprisingly accurate coming in within a centimetre of my actual height!

In the evening me and my flatmate headed over to netball (after trecking across campus to find the correct court). I really enjoyed playing sport again and it was nice to see half the year group there ( even if maybe it was brought on by the results of the day’s body measurements). It was easy to spot the competitive ones amongst us and it will be interesting to see if this ends up applying to our medical education.
Tuesday

Today I have really felt the effects of freshers flu, and judging by the coughing in the lecture hall, so have the rest of my cohort. Our first lecture was on metabolism covering glycolysis, Krebs cycle etc. There were a few panicked eyes (including my own) but a second year put our minds to rest with what details we had to learn. We then had a couple of lectures on ethics, teaching and nutrition from another guest lecturer. Our first SDL session was semi-successful. We needed to review the final lecture of the day on the anatomy of the abdomen. Matt and I found a comfy spot on some bean bags in the common room and tried not to fall asleep. There has been a lot to learn in the past couple of days and I’m struggling to keep up to date with the lectures (normally being behind one each day) and I am pretty sure I am overcomplicating things. However, I am hoping this all sorts itself out over the next week. The best way I can describe it is like riding a bike for the first time, you know what needs doing but you are wobbly and slow. Let’s just hope I can avoid falling off.

Something productive did actually come out of the session as I decided that instead of going over the slides, it’s going to be better to watch a video on the topic beforehand. It’s hard to know what to focus on and what not to just from the lecture slides. The lecture was enjoyable and I decided that I like studying anatomy (at the moment) because of the logical reasoning behind the names and the fact you can break the body down into “building blocks” as such. My brain was in top gear mode and I still found it hard to keep up but that’s nothing that a quick revision session can’t fix. I also decided that the anatomy lecturer is great because so far he is the only one I can hear well and don’t have to be stuck at the front of the lecture hall to hear what’s going on as I have some hearing problems…

I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s afternoon off meaning I can catch up with anki and have some breathing room to iron out any topics I am struggling with. I am also wondering how WMS are managing to keep the first and second years apart, I do not see any of them around the building and this is becoming a mystery that I want to solve (for some reason).

My flatmate also received his stethoscope yesterday so we had a very dramatic unboxing ceremony.

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UPDATE: Apparently the second years were with us for lunch the other day, I just am apparently blind as well as deaf.
Wednesday

Thankfully we have a half day today and science-based lectures. I enjoy the SocPop ones and the Value, Laws and Ethics but I find it’s easier for my exhausted brain to wander off during these. Again, anatomy was like being in an F1 car (shout out to my F1 mad flatmate) without the brakes on. I am becoming jealous of the guys who hold a degree in anatomy but I am pretty sure come block three my neuroscience degree will hold up…… I hope.

I’m using the afternoon to try and catch up a bit. I’m finding it hard to motivate myself as my brain is screaming to run away from all this but weirdly, I am finding myself wanting to study? Laura and I decided to try the bio grid to do some work and I do like it but again, I’m struggling to zone into my work.

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Diet Coke, the caffeine source for champions…. or students sick of the taste of coffee.

I had a disability appointment at 3pm on the opposite side of campus so I decided to hire one of Warwick’s “Boris bikes” and leg it over to university house. I have to say going down the Gibbet Hill path on a bike is exhilarating and I would 100% recommend it, even if it’s just because you are bored.

The disability team were lovely and I was able to put in place the adjustments that I had in my last degree and they made me realise that maybe the mentor that I am entitled too is a good idea to get so I will get onto that tomorrow. I then also had to pop over to UniTemps as I am going to write blogs for WMS and get paid “whoopee” before FINALLY heading back home. I had so much to do, I was a day and a bit behind on lectures so I have basically been working since 5 and it’s now 11:30pm. I am pretty sure I am doing something wrong here but I suppose we will figure it out as time goes on. My flatmate is also quite ill at this current time so I am hoping I do not catch what he has got as my mild cold has slowed me down enough as it is.

I’ve now managed to catch up with all of Tuesday’s lectures with just the three we had today left which is a smaller task ignoring the fact I have a further three to do tomorrow. I also want to go to the Neuro Soc film night but I don’t know if I am going to be able to as I need to get my anatomy done by Friday ready for the specimens. I am just so glad I get weekends for anki.
Thursday

Half an hour lie in today! Our year is split in two for CBL and it’s just my luck I was in the 9:30am slot. So I left the flat, whilst all my flatmates were still sleeping. Fun.

Our CBL case was brilliant and again my group nailed it. I planned to bring in cakes but with the fresher’s flu, I figured that perhaps my germs were best kept to myself.

We also had the tea and empathy society at lunch run by my medic uncle . It was nice to chat to the second years about what was the best way to get through second year. Apparently, I should get used to never being caught up…..

There was a neuroscience society event in the evening so I decided to wait around in the MTC ( Medical Teaching Building) to go to it, especially as I was missing studying the brain. We watched a film called “My beautiful broken brain” about a woman who had experienced a stroke. It looked at her recovery and how the TCDS treatment she had been receiving had caused epileptic fits leading to regression. After we had a short Q and A with Associate Professor Damon Hoad about neuro-rehabilitation. Although interesting, my passion for neurosurgery and radiology remains strong.

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Free popcorn !

I eventually got home at 8:40pm and spent the next 3 hours with my flatmates working our way through our anatomy workbooks for the hospital the next day…

Friday

My alarm went off at 4:45. Not fun. However, the breakfast wraps we made last week were a success.

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6:20am antics at the bus stop

Hospital teaching started at 8 so we were on a bus by 6:20 of which I had a nap. After the lecture on embryology, we had some clinical skills sessions. I was once again reunited with Dr Gill (who we had last week) and the two hours just flew by. Dr Gill had mentioned he had Aspergers so I was keen to talk to him about how to handle OSCEs. He was lovely and told me how to handle the whole eye contact thing and I felt brave enough to “come out” to my coursemates about it. So, now I have set myself tasks to become better at maintaining eye contact so I can improve by next week.

The afternoon consisted with of anatomy lectures with the plastinated specimens. These were incredible things and I could have sat and stared at them all day. Basically, these are real humans who have donated their bodies to science. The samples are dissected and the fats and proteins replaced by plastics. The detail is beautiful and I wanted to spend more time identifying features. We also had surface anatomy which did not go as well. After the stress of the morning’s clinical skills by “aspie meter” was nearing 0. We had to palpate human models which meant touching them to feel the muscles below and I wanted to scream and run away. I was ok when it came to drawing on them but this problem with physical touch is something I seriously need to address. I want to be a good doctor and I need to touch my patients to do this.

I got on the bus at the end of the day exhausted but still reflecting on the day’s lessons. I had also seen the CNS in the specimens and what more does a neuro need to be content?

This weekend will be going over the lectures that I neglected to catch up on due to anatomy and re-charging for next week. I am really enjoying the challenge that medicine creates and even though I feel I am not learning much, I know that compared to this time last week, I am miles ahead of where I was. I guess that is just how I need to look at it.

Abbie

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