Block 2 Week 8 (#9)

A significantly better week than last week. I had gone home the weekend and tried not to think about Medicine at all. It’s depressing to wake up and your first thought be medicine but I suppose that’s the life of a med student!I managed to have a good relax and have a cuddle with all the pets as well as seeing my old friends. We had a good catch up over a cafe breakfast, though sometimes I do feel detached from them, I know they have my back and I have theirs.
Monday

I managed to wake up “not tired” for the first time in forever. I guess the break had done me some good. Managed to make it through the morning lectures. My brain stops after 25 minutes (and its funny because it literally is that time every lecture) and for them to keep going 40 minutes after that does not d me any good. However, I managed to make notes for the first time in a while and although most of it has gone over my head, I am not worried.

We had the usual CBL and Anatomy sessions in the afternoon. Turns out everyone is as confused with the larynx and thorax as I am. However, our seminar made the lightbulb turn on for most of us with the use of a simple 3D paper model. It explained a lot that a single picture alone could not.

The evening brought something I had been looking forward to for a while. We went and practised suturing for the first time! The session was run by the Surgical Society and I practised inserting Simple Interrupted Stitches into a section of pig skin (the closest to human skin we can get). I also tried out a verticle mattress which was hard put produced a better cosmetic look than the simple interrupted. I need to work on my spacing of the stitch as I kept getting an overlap of the skin, it’s harder than it looks!

I also need to get used to holding the needle holders in the correct manner and not like you would hold scissors as I kept reverting back to this hold.

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The bottom left stitch is the mattress whilst the rest is the simple interrupted.

Tuesday

Tuesday brought about the visit of my first patient! Ok, there were no clinical skills involved but we travelled to the patient’s house and interviewed them about their condition. They were lovely and offered us some biscuits and coffee whilst we quizzed them on their condition. I was nervous but that quickly disappeared and the hour flew by. We then went to interview a charity that supports people with the condition we had seen and finally a nurse who cares for these types of patients in the hospital. ( I am sorry this is vague but I don’t want to risk breaching confidentiality).

I really enjoyed this long but interesting day. I was nice to finally get out of the lecture hall and I am excited to go back and present our case next week. I really enjoy these days as it reminds us why we chose medicine in the first place as although the science behind it all is interesting, it’s easy to lose sight of the end goal.

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End of the day!

In the evening I had my student seminar where we went over what were apparently the “two worst lectures” in the entire year and now they are easier to understand. To say the student seminars are worth their weight in gold would be underselling them.

Finally, a couple of us headed into Coventry to see the new Fantastic Beasts film. IT WAS AMAZING. Abhi and I, just as equally crazy about Potter could not sit still during the trailers and I struggled to pick my jaw up off the floor at the end… who could have seen that plot twist coming ?!?!
Wednesday

Today was our day off and I’ve allowed myself a little lie in as I am just permanently shattered nowadays. I got to the MTC at 10:30 and prepared for a productive day… Except that didn’t happen.

I got one lecture done and just sat and started at the computer screen for the rest. Really need to re-think how I’m studying.

In the evening we had a Paediatric Neurology evening which was brilliant. The talks were really interesting and although I don’t see myself going into epilepsy – or was nice to hear from professionals in the neuro field. I wanted to ask a few questions but by the time it had finished I had been in the med school for 9 hours and I was ready to head home. Maybe next time.
Thursday

I got talking to our lovely cleaners in Tocil today so I was slightly later to the MTC than I would have liked to have been but I have tried out a new form of lecture review and it’s going well meaning that I might end up actually catching up on the 17 lectures I am behind on.

We also had a new case in CBL and I ended up being chair which meant that I had control of the session. I hadn’t really wanted to do it because I know I have the tendency to become a bit of a dictator but I think it went surprisingly well and we received some amazing feedback from our facilitator! I also got to do a bit of teaching on coronary arteries which meant having to learn them for myself in the split second before teaching them – with the aid of a dodgy diagram. However, I actually enjoyed this! I love teaching and it has got me thinking about medical education but that’s a thought I need to abandon for now.

I had clinical skills in the evening examining the thyroid exam. Again, I had will running us through the motions and again I found that I understood what was going on so much better than when I originally went into the session. We had a practise exam after and I managed to nearly tick all the boxes…. bonus!
Friday

A normal day at the hospital today. My Friday crew decided to break off into a different room for clinical skills so we decided to listen to Christmas music (less of we decided and I forced it upon them) during cardiac examinations. It was nice just to sit in a quiet room to do the examination that rather than shouting over the top of the general babble in the room. We got some cheesy pictures (more of my face because apparently my facial expressions when I could hear the heart were hilarious ….)

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Saturday

Time off !! I had my cousins wedding today and it was incredible to hang out with my cousins all day. We had a hilarious day especially at the wedding breakfast where we earnt our namesake as the Blackpool table. My cousin had given everyone a Krispy Kreme doughnut as a wedding favour which was demolished in 5 minutes at our table despite having just 20 minutes before been hunting down mini – beefburger canapes.

It was an incredible evening and I was glad to see all my family again.

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Sunday

Met with my best friend Rosie this morning and headed to the Almanack to spend my neuro soc prize! They had booked us in at 11:30 which apparently was too late for breakfast but they were happy to fit us in for lunch and the food was AMAZING. I’ve never been so happy to eat something my entire life. We had a good catch up but I was very aware of getting back to the Med School to do some much-needed work so unfortunately had to cut it short.

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We are decorating the flat tonight so I won’t be at the uni too long. I got to have a preview of my medic uncles powerpoint and it actually made me love psychology again and I was recommended a book, of which I will probably never get round to reading but we can hope ! 😀

I feel like I have my spark back again (only took a week) and I am getting back on the horse. I am proud of myself for dragging myself through this week, not long till the most important birthday of the enitre year calling for lights to go up and cake to be eaten ….. my birthday 😉

Acing the Interview

The interview.. Well, Congratulations on getting this far! When I applied to Warwick they had 1600 applicants and interviewed 400 odd people. If you have an interview you have done well so pat yourself on the back.

I am going to try and explain how I prepared for the interview and what my top tips are though please be aware that this changes by medical school, so CHECK on your school’s website what they look at. 9/10 they won’t tell you but it is always worth a check.

There are some GEM specifics at the bottom 🙂
Know your ethics

I can’t stress this enough. Knowing the 4 ethical pillars will stand you out at med interviews because it shows you are .. well a decent human being. You can bring the 4 pillars into your answers as often they are testing you on them but will not ask you outright. I used my ethical pillars at least three times in each of my interviews as I wove them into my answers. Saving you the google – Here they are ;

    • Autonomyrespect for the patient’s right to self-determination
    • Beneficence – the duty to ‘do good’
    • Non-Maleficence – the duty to ‘not do bad’
    • Justice – to treat all people equally and equitably.

Drill these into your head and think of scenarios where you can discuss how these are implicated, which brings me to my next point.
Read the news!

There is a lot going on in the world of medicine at the moment. A couple of topics are :

  • Junior Doctors Contract (though this is older news now but have an idea of what was going on)
  • Charlie Guard
  • Alfie Evans
  • Legalising Cannabis for medical use
  • Bawa-Gaba Case
  • Sugar Tax
  • Obesity Crisis
  • Mental Health

There are others so go and find out what is going on in your area of medical interest. It’s important to have a grasp of what is current. I was never asked specifically “talk about a current health-related news story” but I brought examples of the stories I had heard into my answers. It shows you have a genuine interest in the medical field. I added NHS and Health sections to my news app and read them every morning. Helpfully, the NHS was going through the winter flu crisis as I was doing my interviews so I was getting news updates every day!

I would also read a medical memoir or two. I recommend Rachel Clarke’s ” Your Life in My Hands” as it talks about what it was like to be a doctor during the strike. Adam Kay’s infamous “This is going to hurt” is ok, but I would stick to Clarkes for interviews. Following doctors on twitter is also a good idea as you get a view of the current news topics from the people on the front line and not the health secretary who sits behind a computer in Whitehall…
Books and Courses

I never went on a course. It is not worth it, honestly, you can practise at home just as well. I haven’t spoken to anyone on my course who went to an interview prep course. If it will help you with nerves then go for it but they are not the be all and end all when it comes to getting an offer for medical school.

With regards to books, I recommend the classic green one :

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I used this one and it is amazing for giving you background information such as past medical scandals and cases to be learnt from. The night before my interview, I just got my mum to randomly open a page and ask me a question. My mum is a dance teacher so has about as much medical knowledge as your average joe walking down the street but it was about thinking on the spot and coming up with a well-structured answer.
On the day
Waiting to go in

The biggest surprise for me on this day was how chatty everyone is before. I fully expected to be sat in a silent room but everyone was chatting about their degrees and previous work experience. It was nice to relax a bit whilst we were joking about dissertations and the UKCAT so get involved and talk!It beats sitting there in a pool of nervousness 😀
Answering Questions

First thing first, DO NOT PANIC. I strangely felt no nerves before any of my interviews. I treated each interview station as a casual conversation (and indeed at kings, I ended up chatting to my interviewers about where they worked at King’s). If you are relaxed, you will find you come across more approachable and that’s a key attribute to a doctor, isn’t it?

That does not mean that feeling nervous is a bad thing. Indeed in my first station I was moving my hands around whilst talking and as I looked down I realised they were shaking like I was in a fridge. I carried on as normal but promptly decided to stop waving my hands around. The interviewers know you are nervous, they were once in your position too. Treat them like you were talking to one of your lecturers/ teachers that you know already. Greet them as you come through the door and say thank you as you go. Warwick asks that you do not shake the interviewer’s hand but if there is no mention of a rule, extend your hand to shake theirs. It shows that you are again approachable and makes you seem confident, even if you are paddling rapidly upstream underneath.

When the question is asked, give yourself three seconds before you answer. Diving into an answer without thinking about it will not see you well. Think quickly about what they are asking you, does it affect any ethics, does it relate to a health story, can you demonstrate an example that you have shown yourself? You don’t have to formulate the entire answer straight away but giving yourself that three seconds to breath and think will enable you to present a well-structured answer instead of ending up in spirals.
Oh S**t, that was wrong

The end of your medical career right? Wrong.

I mucked up so many times in my KCL interview. The first station I completely did the opposite thing they asked me to do and I also completely screwed up another answer in a second station. However, rather than ploughing on, I apologised and corrected myself. This is so important. You are going to muck up as a doctor, that’s a given.

I walked out of my KCL interview shrugging my shoulders. I have to admit, I did not give 100% because I had my Warwick offer but low and behold, I was offered a place on the GEM course. A course of only 28 spaces to 1800 applicants….

If you muck up, admit it and correct yourself. It shows you do not have a big ego and are honest, and these are good attributes for a doctor to have.
3,2,1 ACTION !

Some interviews have actors than come in and act like a patient. You are not expected to show off medical knowledge at this stage. It is about showing empathy and how you interact with humans. I found this station the most terrifying as it was my first station ( at my unspecified interview) so it was completely unexpected!

Tips I can say are:

  • Move your chair to how a GP has their office orientated. 90 degrees to the patient. If the chair is behind a table, move it.
  • Listen to the patient and show empathy – demonstrate you understand how their situation is making them feel
  • Keep calm. Remember, the med school do not want to see you fail. Treat the patient as if you were handling anyone else that was angry, upset, etc.

General

  • Try and keep hand movements to a minimum, it’s fine to move them as you would do normally but don’t force it
  • Eye contact. Make it. If you find this hard, I recommend looking at a point slightly to the left of the ear. This makes it feel like you are looking at them but you won’t have the pressure of the eye contact.
  • Slow your voice. Everyone talks fast when they are nervous so talk at half the pace you normally would, this should even your pace out.

What to wear

You would be surprised at the levels of scruffiness I saw people in at my interviews. Get a new suit if your suit is too small/ faded/ too big.

You should be wearing a suit ( minimum blazer and trousers for guys and blazer and dress for girls). Present yourself as you would do a job interview, after all, isn’t that what medical school interviews are?

Tie long hair back off the face. It does not have to be up, but you want your face clear and in a style that you don’t have to fiddle with it constantly. I had my hair in a half up half down fashion so it looked smart but I felt comfortable.

Keep makeup to a minimum. A light foundation, mascara and a neutral eyeshadow should be your maximum. Go as you would do if you were a doctor on the wards. Make sure skirts/dresses are an appropriate length as well. Practise standing up and sitting down in them, any chance of flashing and don’t wear it.

Lads, have a shave (if you do shave) the night before to make sure that you look smart. If you are going for Movember, give the tach a bit of a trim but you don’t have to get rid of it. It may even be a good topic to talk about in your interview!

I would recommend pairing a dark suit with a light shirt. I wore a black suit with a light blue shirt underneath. Of course, it does not matter too much but it draws attention to your face and makes it look less like you are attending a funeral.
The night before

I would pack everything you need the night before. Any certificates make sure you have photocopies of. I always brought ID with me to my interviews even if they didn’t ask, just to be on the safe side. It’s always a good idea to have tissues, mints and water for when you are waiting. You will always have that pesky sneeze before, or if you are like me, have a full blown cold and talk through your nose for every station….

Have a good sleep. It’s harder to do than say but these things are really nothing to stress about. It’s a casual conversation and the more relaxed you are, the better you will do. You don’t want to be yawning in your sessions so make sure that Netflix binge happens after your interview…
GEM

Getting an interview at GEM level is amazing so well done! The odds of you getting in are lower than the undergrads so this is an amazing achievement ! I have tried to include some specific tips for you guys :

1) Are you the president of the united states? Great, but only mention it if it’s neccesary. You may be really proud of your job/bachelors/masters/PhD but you do not get any extra marks for randomly dropping the comment unless you are using it to demonstrate a point.

Question : “Can you demonstrate a time when you were working in the care home that you had to exersize a leadership role”

“Oh, I am the president of the united states , but coming back to the question you asked about my work experience in the care home…”

This is not a good start and despite you dropping that Job title , it earns you no extra marks because the interviewer was not asking about your job now , they were asking about your work experience. All it did was waste your precious time.

Question: “Can you tell me a time where you have demonstrated that you are an effective leader in a team setting”

“Teamwork? Ok, an example would be when I was the President of the USA and I lead a team to manage the budget of the state. It was challenging as I had to make sure the group co-operated which was hard due to conflicting interests but I managed it well by maintaining a sense of respect for each other and intervening when there was any amount of hostility. I also encouraged younger members of the team to input their reasoning as I know it is important to build the confidence of the junior members so that they can develop their own career paths so that the USA can continue to run smoothly” (That was the biggest load of made up waffle I have ever written).

This is a better example as although you have name dropped your job, you have answered the examiners question. You would have scored the exact same marks even if you had given the example but didn’t even mention you were the president. This is so important as going on and on about yourself and your acheivements not only looses you the marks, but can make you come across as braggy and self-absorbed. Not something a future doctor should be. So STICK to what the question needs of you.

2) Make sure you have examples of the core NHS values. You can be the president of the USA but if when they ask you “How have you showed compassion” and you can’t think of anything, you will loose marks. Sit and think before you interview of some examples for every possible question you can think of. This makes you better prepared and also makes you come across more confident in the interview

3) Don’t try and be Donald Trump. Continuing with the USA president theme, remember you are not invincible. You will struggle and you probably have done in the past. Most GEM students have not got sparkling A levels and have seen some downfall in their past ( I mean look at my tack record) and yet , it’s said that GEM’s make better doctors. Recognise that you have stumbled, embrace it and think about what you have taken from it. What lessons did you learn? What support did you seek?

Bragging that you are perfect and have never failed a thing nor will ever fail a thing may make you think Med schools will like you , but it puts you out of contact with what medicine is really like. Read ANY medical memoire, every doctor will demonstrate how they failed , heck Henry Marsh devotes a whole chapter to it and basicaly opens the book with what he did wrong !

The stumble does not have to be academic, it can be about a promotion, not making the sports team. Try and steer clear of personal issues but have that example. I can’t stress this point enough. It’s ok to not be perfect.

3) Don’t brag. Simple.

4) Be a nice human being and respect everyone you see on the day. The receptionist, any students hanging around, lecturers, interviewers. Most medical schools do not place “spies” in their waiting rooms but any rude behaviour may still be noted, especially if it’s to a person associated with the medical school, including any current students helping out on the day. You can be the president, but these people are interviewing you for the medical school you want to go to. Prove to them why they should let you in. When you qualify and disrespect anyone in the hospital that is not as well qualified as you, you will not be liked and you will find it harder to maybe swap the odd shift or two. That also goes for people younger than you. As a GEM student you will be learning with people of all ages and indeed when you qualify , there will be senior people that are younger than you. Treat everyone as you would wish to be treated. No one is inferior to you.

5)Don’t feel like you are not good enough. You will speak to people who have PhD’s , were CEO’s or have won every prize under the planet. This does not matter, when you get in , everyone is equal in the med schools eyes, even the president would not get special treatment. Remain confident. Go in and prove why they should pick you over the person bragging in the waiting room. You are good enough to be here , no matter how you feel.
Finally

Good Luck. You will be fine. I remember my interviews like they were yesterday and how nervous I was the night before. They go so quick and I looked forward to my 20 chicken nuggets afterwards to get me through the day. Whatever happens though, you got this far and that’s an incredible achievement. Well done!

A good website I would recommend is the Medic Portal. I glued myself to this for interview prep so I would 100% recommend 🙂

https://www.themedicportal.com/

Block 2 Week 7 (#8)

This blog post is going to be slightly different. I can’t remember too much of went on this week due to what was going on in my head on Monday.

!TRIGGER WARNING!

We had a brilliant guest lecturer in the form of Kevin Fong (he appears on BBC occasionally) who talked about why Doctors should not be compared to pilots and the challenges faced by practising medicine in the extremes. As good as it was, I can’t remember that much of it due to the slump I was having.

I woke up Monday and it felt like someone had flicked a switch in my brain. I was grumpy, short-tempered and had no patience for human interactions. I sat in lectures alone and my mental health was rapidly declining back to the lowest point I had ever been before. This was scary as I don’t want to go back to the person I was and more importantly, I really did not have the time to be having a mental breakdown. I got through most of the day but did not take that much in because my head was racing through a million points in the space of 30 seconds. I had gone from being the happiest person on the planet to rock bottom in the space of 24 hours. I was having constant thoughts of self-harm and beyond and I wanted nothing more than to just run away from the mountain of work that now lay in front of me. Luckily, I managed to not go through with anything (despite my best efforts to smash a pencil sharpener in the toilets) but it was terrifying as I know how low and dark that place is and I never wanted to be back there again.

I ended up leaving the med school at 8:30pm after giving up on getting any work done and ended up in a grassy section of Warwick campus sat on the floor looking up at the stars. I had no idea how I got there. I managed to calm myself back down and once I was back with reality I noticed I had been out in the dark, cold and damp for a good 90 minutes. I was shivering and exhausted but I had got to the other side of whatever had gone on and I knew I needed to get help so I called the Samaritans who were amazing. I also arranged to meet with the welfare lecturer of our year on Wednesday. I was worried because there was still a whole day between Wednesday and Monday, but luckily Tuesday was a lot easier to handle. I did still have the thoughts but they were once every hour rather than twice every minute. I also had my student seminar in the evening where I found out I knew a bit more than I thought I knew so I guess that was a bit of a self-esteem boost.

I saw the tutor on Wednesday morning and she was lovely. A fellow neuro, her office was lined with Neuro books so it felt like my idea of a dream. Although we didn’t talk too much about what went down on Monday night, it felt good to know that someone in the Med school knew what was going on and I’ve been directed down to the main campus wellbeing team.

I am still exhausted but nothing like I was on Monday night. A second year is going to see Henry Marsh give a talk tonight and I am gutted I can’t go due to having late hospital teaching. However, he has offered to take my book and get it signed and I am over the moon and incredibly grateful. I may or may not cry when I get it back because, after all the events that have gone down this week, I need a bit of positivity, and this is something I have wanted to get signed for ages.

Mental health is a big problem with medical students and I thought I was going to be the exception before Monday. However, I know now that this isn’t going to be the case. I am working on relaxing methods by allowing myself to do more anatomy (yes I know that is more work but the only time I felt like “happy go lucky me” was during the anatomy session on Monday. It is logical and I love figuring out how everything slots together)

I am off home this weekend and taking a little break from Medicine ( I need to complete my anatomy book for Monday) so hopefully, that should help. I still love where I am and what I am doing, I just need to breath once in a while. We also had a clinical skills session this week which was great as I managed to see my medic uncle and nail down my Abdomen Exams – I am going to sign up for these every week now !

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Block 2 Week 6 (#7)

Monday

New block new me… or so I thought. We had a new anatomy lecturer who started on the Pharynx. I had been looking forward to starting this block as I was getting a bit bored of the abdomen. I also sat my formative on Sunday and did not do amazingly well. However, I passed in the end and I was more than happy to shut that theoretical door. This week I had also been let loose on the Warwick Medical School Instagram account which was fine for the first day but I found that I struggled to make my posts about anything but revue for the rest of the week!

We had our first full run through of act one in the evening and the show is looking amazing! Though Warwick seemed to have whacked the temperature up in there so we were all sweating messes by the end!
Tuesday

We had a half day off today meaning that I could try and wrap my head around the concepts of the lectures that were confusing me. This did take the whole of the 5-hour slot for two lectures but I am not too fussed as I now understand the content and I would rather that than rushing through the content and struggling to understand what is the foundation of the block.

We had another successful if sweaty, rehearsal in the evening and I now can not wait for revue to happen. I want to joke about it with my flatmates but we are under punishment rules if anything gets leaked out. So I guess I will just have to wait until Saturday
Wednesday

Unfortunately, the first Wednesday in every block is not a day off. Instead, we had a morning of lectures and then I headed into Coventry in the afternoon (in the torrential rain) to grab some costumes for Revue.

I also did a scout for some raffle prizes and I was given a HUGE bag of books from Waterstones of which my geeky little heart was over the moon about. Not quite on the same level as a bottle of “social juice” but maybe someone wants to read something out there that is not a textbook.

We had an evening off from rehearsals so I used this to catch up on lectures. I managed to get 4 done and I am changing the way I do anatomy. I ‘ve decided to make my lecture notes in the anatomy work book we are given so I have all my anatomy notes in one place and it may serve me well for Friday and Monday afternoons. I missed celebrating Diwali with my flat as I decided I needed the time to catch up due to revue this week. The food looked amazing but I don’t mind too much, I got the work done and cooked a killer stir fry in the evening!
Thursday

We had our first rehearsal of the Revue in the venue today. It looked incredible and I am really excited to perform. We have wireless microphones which are brilliant and it felt amazing to be performing again. It was a long evening though and I didn’t get back into the flat till 1am. Safe to say that the 8am will be hard tomorrow.
Friday

My brain did not want to wake up today. My eyes were so heavy in the first lecture and I didn’t wake up till 3pm, just in time for anatomy. Not sure what was going on there but I have a feeling it has something to do with my slowly developing chronic caffeine addiction…

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Today we also had our final rehearsal before we perform to the med school. It did mean a dash home from the hospital as rehearsal started at 5 and we end hospital at 5…..

However, it was a great night and it was nice to actually perform in front of an audience.
Saturday

Today is the day! Revue day!

We started at 3:30 and managed to run through our set changes and take some photos before getting ready for the performance. Its tradition for the cast to have “sociable drinks” during the performance so it was incredibly funny to watch everyone as the show progressed !

The show went amazingly well and a brave 3rd year decided to have a chest wax for charity, just hearing the howls of pain from the side of stage bought tears to my eyes but it’s all for a good cause, right? We also had a table that wanted a larger role in the performance than just the role of “table”, so it would collapse randomly during the times I was on stage. However, it provided a good laugh and made the scenes that much funnier.

The final song was amazing, and we ended the show with a bang… literally, as someone had bought a confetti cannon! We were supported by talented band members (also med students) and some hard-working tech guys (also med students again), the Revue would not have been anywhere near as good without them. I can not wait for next year when we get to do it all over again, and I hope to write something for next year as well. My flatmates also bought me some flowers so I guess I forgive the people who didn’t come…. just about.

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Block one Week 5 (#6)

Monday

Today was our final Monday of Block 1. It does not seem like a whole 6 weeks has passed since I started Warwick and although looking back, it feels like it has gone quickly, it does feel like I have been here forever.

We had the legendary Jamie Roebuck for Kidney drugs first thing (another 10 am start) and although none of it made sense at first- I can now see some sense behind it all thanks to some not so snazzy drawing skills on my end. I think I just need to learn that it’s OK if I don’t know facts at the same rate as my course mates- as long as I can keep up in CBL cases and know it by summer, I will be OK.

We had our last CBL session for this block which meant the last time we will see our facilitator who we had become rather fond of, so it was a bittersweet moment !

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We had another one of the anatomy sessions in the afternoon, this time focusing on the bladder. I need to go over embryology (everyone’s favourite subject) but Michael and I managed to complete all the grid bar one square … Result!

I was contacted by someone from my old uni who is blind but wants to be a doctor. Although I never wanted to say this to anyone, I feared they would struggle. They would cope with the academic demands of the course but so much of what we do is visually demanding. Though adjustments can be made through the use of models, it may be tricky beyond the degree. I felt awful because I never want to say to anyone not to pursue their medic dream as it was done so many times to me and I still made it. However, I directed them to the BMA and they are looking to go to America to study. I hope they do get there, there are blind doctors in the USA who are successful so maybe they will find luck there.

In the evening we had Revue rehearsals and Tash and I decided to avoid work for an hour and instead belt out musical classics in an empty room using the excuse “its vocal warm up”. Tash had the brilliant idea that “Does anyone have a map” from “Dear Evan Hansen” described med school perfectly, and I could not agree more.

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Tuesday

Half day today! We had a guest lecturer from UHCW who talked about managing Renal Patients which was helpful as it put into context why we were learning the physiology that we were all struggling with. It is sad to think that the drugs we give patients are the reason that most of them have kidney problems and that most blood tests are not reviewed at the weekends and that these kidney patients are linked to the weekend death rate ( NCEPOD : Adding Insult to Injury June 2009)

After lectures finished I cycled the 4 mile round trip to the post room to pick up the purse that I had stupidly let my mother go home with that weekend. I have never been more grateful for my bike. Got back to the med school and managed to get some work done before heading to rehearsals.

I had planned to go up to Preston this afternoon as Chris Packham was giving a talk at UCLan. I really want to see him as I identified with a lot of his documentary “Asperger’s and Me”. Thankfully, I have a legend of a friend who still works there. She live messaged me the talk whilst I was trying to understand some renal physiology. Chris knows a guy who was not diagnosed until he was 50 years old. I can’t imagine going for that long without a diagnosis. However, this shows that it is so easy to hide the autistic traits health professionals look for. Only 14% of Aspergic adults are employed meaning employers are not recognising their potential. Companies in “Silicone Valley” are recognising the contribution that adults on the spectrum can give to global tech companies and often these employees go on to become the most successful people in the entire company. Adjustments are needed often though, anything from a quiet area of the office to a lone office with a door. The UK needs to look to America for their example, the implementations could be life changing for many capable autistic adults in the UK and for our economy.

I also ended up going to a Halloween gathering that evening and went as every medical students worse nightmare:

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Wednesday

I had an early meeting with my personal tutor today so I cycled up to the med school vowing to work the entire day. I wanted to chat to her about coping with some of the traits that seem to have popped their head up during this stressful time of the year (as if there isn’t a stressful part of year one). I’m finding that I have less tolerance of those around me just because I am exhausted with dealing with … well people however, I just need to get used to this new way of learning and of life, and then I will be fine.

I spend the rest of Wednesday looking purely at kidney drugs. I am struggling to get my head around Renal Phys/Pharm but I am making small progress which I guess is better than none.

I also met with my Randstad supporter today. As a disabled student I get support in the form of a specialist mentor meaning I can basically have a time out of medicine for a while just get a reality check of sorts. She is lovely and I do get on with her, though it did make me miss my two mentors back up in Preston that little more.

Thursday

Although I can see the logic behind these end of block review sessions, and they were amazing at highlighting my weaknesses, I did feel significantly worse coming out of this day. The sessions were incredible, I just wished I knew more at this point. However, I have a weekend and a new drive in me – maybe I can rescue myself yet.

We had an INCREDIBLE rehearsal for Revue that evening with our band. We nailed the two big songs… and that is all I can say… for now.

Friday

8am start at the hospital though a shout out to my flatmate Nadir for knocking on my door and acting as the alarm clock my phone had failed to do. I managed to get ready and make a coffee in 5 minutes flat – thank you to Thursday me for packing everything the night before.

We did clinical exams of the thyroid today and Matt, Aisling and I basically had fun playing with each other’s patella reflexes for half an hour. We did however, get some work done and it all seems pretty straight forward apart from having to learn the signs and symptoms – I can tell this is going to be the hardest part of clinical skills.

Anatomy sessions were another test of how little I know. I seem to be struggling with blood supply so this is something I am going to have to focus on this weekend. However, I did get most answers right on the other stations, so maybe all is not lost!

We also had a great discussion with our Prof about inguinal canals (I know, we really have run out of things to talk about) and the models did a good job at trying to demonstrate that the canal is merely a concept and not a physical tube running down the groin.

Managed to get a lift home today (thank you Jack!) so I managed to get changed out of hospital clothes before rehearsals tonight instead of running from main campus to gibbet hill from the bus stop. I’ve decided to hide up here for the rest of the evening to finish some notes and prep for this weekend, I need to make use of all the time I have.

Although I have been pretty dismal this week I have to say that it was just unfortunate that everything we were tested on, I haven’t actually covered yet so I suppose it’s reasonable that I don’t know what I am actually doing. The lectures we have are incredible resources and we are encouraged to contact lecturers to go over material we don’t understand as yet. I’m looking forward to going over all my knowledge this weekend so it becomes cemented for the beginning of Block Two ….. Blood, Heart and Lungs!!

Oh, I am also taking over the Medical Schools Instagram account this week so make sure you follow @Warwickmedicalschool on Instagram to follow me !!

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