How is it week 4 already? Only, feels like I have been back for about 4 seconds. Though I have the exhaustion levels for 4 months ! Anyway, Monday started with a nice early wake up call as we had the fire drill here in my accommodation block. Let me tell you, 200 odd freshers being woken up at 7:15am on a Monday morning is not what they imagined their first day of lectures would go. I also got to have a slightly delayed start to the day as I didn’t have to be at the Hospital until 11:30am for my TDoc (assessment) in blood taking so I would be able to carry out the procedure on the wards. I left my flat after a lazy morning at 10 to catch the bus to get to the hospital for 11. This plan did not go well. I got on the number 60 which is the bus I need to take, however, we have to get the anticlockwise one (why they just didn’t give the two different routes two different numbers I have no idea) and I ended up on the clockwise one. The driver didn’t alert me and happily printed off my UH ticket and it was not until we were the opposite side of Coventry that I realised what had gone one. I began to panic but because I had left an hour and a half early, I thought it would still be ok.
However, we pulled up at another stop and because I was knee-deep in a book, I didn’t realize we hadn’t moved in a while. It wasn’t until another driver had come upstairs to enquire why I was sitting on a parked bus did I realize what had gone on. The driver of my bus not only failed to give a heads up he was the wrong bus, but had failed to tell me he wasn’t actually going to go the full route to UH and had parked up and gone off. I was fuming, by this point it was 11:15am and I was 30 minutes from the hospital where my TDoc started at 11:30am. I was fuming. I finally arrived at UH at 11:45am but thankfully the clinical skills guys at UH were lovely and let me still do my TDoc. My hands were shaking the entire way through and my head was just not in the game. I ended up getting a borderline pass but the lecturer assessing me and myself suggested I should come back later to re-do it and show I know what I am doing.
I also managed to walk off with a Tourneqy which make amazing fiddle toys so I was just working off my frustration before bedside teaching. Bedside teaching more than made up for the disaster of a morning. We saw 4 patients all with hugely different histories and some interesting presentations. One chap will forever remain with me as he was so open about his past and did have a symptom called gynaecomastia. We have to speak our findings so we were saying that he had minor gynaecomastia to which he shouted ” I know the medical talk for man boobs!”. I completely died with laughter inside as he was just so good-natured and completely clued into our ways. I also got to examine a patient who had a replacement heart valve. It was completely incredible as I could feel the valve from outside the chest and it was fascinating to hear the metallic sounds inside her chest. She also had Lupus and I only knew this because we had it in our mock that the second years had created for us last year (we hadn’t learnt the presentation of lupus) and so picked up her presentation there !
After bedside, I headed back to the clinical skills lab and repeated my T-Doc which was significantly better and I had a bit of a spring in my step. I got in that evening and was immediately on the phone to a local driving school to arrange lessons so I could pass my practical and never have to get on a bus again. I believe I have used all my tolerance up on public transport.
I called it. A rare sick day. I had been coughing all through the night and woke up wit painful sinuses and just feeling generally ill. There was no way I could get through the day so I decided to do what’s best for me and just take the day off. I didn’t even do any work until about 6pm.
I still feel a bit rough but I feel so much better for taking time off to get over the worst of it. I hate taking sick days, but you know what? This was needed and I feel guilty but happy for doing it. Sick days may not seem like a big thing but medicine can feel like an all consuming study/ profession so most of us feel guilty for taking a break and just power through it. However, as my old lecturer used to day, you can’t pour tea from an empty teapot.
So , after I had finished typing for Tuesday, I found out I had been made the Warwick representative for NANSIG ! I was pretty shocked as I thought I had screwed up my application big time but I got it. It is a huge opportunity and is going to be amazing for my CV. I also just believed that I got it by default, but I later found out that others from Warwick had applied. Im expecting a rejection email any day now as I can’t fathom why they picked me and not the other guys who clearly have more expertise than I do but hey ho, I guess all I have to do it just give it my best shot !
Back to lectures today, the cough died down overnight so I was happy just to trod along. In the afternoon we had CBL which included cake of which I had made for missing the CBL session on Tuesday. I also found out my facilitator comes from the same town I grew up in and we were marvelling at the delights of one of my local hospitals which had a bad reputation and was one of the worst hospitals in the country. We were also marvelling at the delights of the said town. I like that we have added another person to a growing group of people in my year that we had established were all born in the same hospital 😀
Thursday brought about the arrival of our first communication skills sessions in year 2. We had small groups and SIM patients whom we had to take a history from. We were given no information about the patient coming in so it was hard to keep on top of things but it was really enjoyable. I was slightly dreading having to listen to the same history over and over again but the SIM patients were rotated around after each history which was brilliant. My SIM patient was a woman with headaches which threw me slightly as I had never really learnt any of my focused history in year 1 (whooops). However, I managed to stumble through and was given good feedback! Honestly, the communication feedback I am getting is surprising to me, Im being told I am empathetic , warm, bubbly and caring and have had no bad comments about bad eye contact. Maybe , I’ll be a human doctor after all instead of a robot!
In the evening I had a Neuro committee meeting before heading off campus (whoop) to see my student seminar team from last year. These people became family to me last year both in a warm cuddly way and also in a medic family way. We just had an evening laughing about pretty much everything, drunk quite a bit of prossecco to celebrate the 100% pass rate in our student seminar, and chatting about how the first years get a week off between blocks now and how the exams have changed for them with the written papers now averaged across. This has brought about much jealously in the upper years as it caused us A LOT of stress with us having to make sure we passed all the written papers. Im glad though that the first years won’t have that terror facing them when they hit exams.
I also was messaging my best friend from UCLan who I was joined to at the hip back in undergraduate (literally when you saw one, the other wouldn’t be that far behind). I love the fact we are still as close as ever and more importantly, it’s nice to know that someone outside the Warwick bubble understands the chaos of Med School. I have found it has been hard to keep up with my friends at home and I can see the distance growing between me and my friends from home, but I know with Rosie she understands and though we go weeks without messaging, we both understand our lives are crazy . I think those are the best type of friendships. Especially, for busy medics who love our friends a lot but can find it hard to keep up with everything all the time.
I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to my lie in today. I am shattered with whatever the first years have infected me with so I needed a bit of a nap. However, me being me, I couldn’t just have a day off so I ended up going to UH to go to Neuro teaching as well as hoping to bump into one of the Neurosurgeons at UH to get involved with the research and hopefully shadow operations. Teaching didn’t happen but I did meet one of the surgeons who is known amongst us students for being helpful and open to us so I booked a meeting for next week.
I decided that I also wanted to get a bit more out of the day so I went down to Ward 1 where my bedside teaching was last year to take some blood. The nurses were so lovely and I eventually had my first patient. I was terrified inside but tried to not let it show (though apparently she guessed it was my first time) and I successfully found the vein the first time ! However, it stopped bleeding before I filled the bottles I needed so we went for the back of the hand approach (with a beautiful vein) and I successfully filled the bottles I needed and got them labelled and sent off to the lab. I suddenly felt like a doctor in training and had a massive grin on my face for the rest of the day. I also managed to take some blood from a pregnant lady with my technique being a bit less shaky this time and managing to fill all three bottles. We got chatting about names and due dates and I loved every second. I also managed to squeeze in a quick ECG before I had to run for my bus which was also , incredible.
I had my first meeting with my DSA mentor that evening and then headed off to my medic dads house finally for pizza and to see their four new Guinea pigs so I could finally have a cuddle. I’m glad this week is finally over – I am shattered ! (First years, your levels of tiredness do improve I promise !)