Friday, October 10, 2008

There goes the neighbourhood

It has been a wet and rainy day, and much like our cats, the local bogans clearly need to let off some steam. It is 5:50pm, and I can hear them screeching their cars already. 
I think it will be a good night to stay in and revise haematology. The pretty patterns will distract me from the language lessons and sound effects that make their way up and down our road at night.
Hopefully before we have children who are learning to talk, we will move to a neighbourhood where we don't get woken up early on the weekend by the neighbour working on his car in is driveway and using words that begin with "f" and "c" in place of every verb, noun, pronoun, adverb and conjunction that his gifted but wasted imagination can come up with.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I can tell that I am extremely stressed right now. I just spent a couple of minutes trying to piece together a sentence in an order that made sense. 
If only they had told us that most of the stress would come from medical school, and not necessarily from the study or the exams!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Stop torturing me, Mr Sandman!!

The exam nightmares have begun!
I usually dream that I am going into the exam right now, and am woefully underprepared.
In the dream, I can argue that the exams don't start for another month or so, but then they tell me that these are extra exams that I should have known about, and they count as well.
I open the paper, and the questions are ridiculous. I can't argue with this in my dreams, as it happens so often in real life, too.
Usually when I wake up the next day, I go and read a little about the scary topic from my dreams. 
That is, if it is slightly relevant. If it is about purple elephants, anti-gravity time machines, or the krebs cycle, I just ignore it and go on with my usual work.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Oh, hello you - long time, no see!

Now, what is your name? Can I remember ANYTHING about you? I know I spent a lot of time talking and reading about you, and have seen what you get up to, if only I could remember!! 
Yes, I am talking about study topics in medicine - although it could apply to casual acquaintances in real life, too, couldn't it? 
The other thing that happens is that you hear a name and just can't put a face/image to it - this happens in medicine, too. 
I have recently started scaling up my revision in preparation for exams (yaddayadda) and I have the above mental conversation with any number of topics semi-regularly. In this age of teach-yourself-medicine, it is quite easy to drop the ball a little without realising it. 
Back in the (real) working world, you have a number of set tasks that you have to manage by the end of the day/week/month, people to work with, and you are employed to do fill a very specific role. Studying graduate medicine is much more amorphous and ill-defined, and I would have to warn somebody who needs strong guidance and is not a self-starter that graduate medicine would be their worst nightmare.
The thing is that you get to the end of semester and revise things, and generally find a lot that you thought you knew at the time, but actually just read about and promptly forgot. I don't mind finding this, as long as it is BEFORE the exam. However, finding it during the exam is not so bad, either - I figure that I should be able to get some points by scraping together what I do remember, using logic, and can pass because hopefully most of the things that I was reintroduced to during revision will help me through in the other sections. 
After all, not knowing one thing on the exam is no biggie. Not knowing a few things on the exam is fine, too. Not knowing ANYTHING on the exam hopefully means that you are in the wrong exam room. :) 

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday wine/whine

Hello, Friday!
I used to look forward to you. I love my weekends.
Now, the coming of each Friday is as the bells of doom.
Exams are approaching very quickly, and each Friday means seven less days to study.
Okay, that is enough drama and enough negative thinking. ;)
On the bright side, each Friday means seven less days of the PAIN of second year. I am confident that I will pass. Therefore, there is very little to stress about.
Our poor year are starting to fret, both about exams and the location of their third-year placements. I am mildly concerned, but am mostly resigned to the fates. 
Wish us all luck.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Dear Blog,

Today I went to the dentist and got a filling. It wasn't a big one, just a small amount of tooth-rot (aka "decay") in the groove on the side of one of my molar teeth, and it was more of a preemptive strike at preventing more rot in an area not easily accessed by my toothbrush. I didn't even need anaesthetic as it didn't go in deep enough. Boy, do I feel tough! 
Blog, why are medical students and doctors so bad at looking after our own health, even with all that we know?
I haven't been to the dentist in two years, and was surprised to find out that I have damage from tooth grinding and no longer brush my teeth very well. I didn't even realise that I have issues with tooth grinding. I just bite my cheek a lot, and the grinding happens then. 
Now I am going to be a good little girl and brush my teeth properly again, and am even going to floss - honest!
One brilliant thing is that I have found a lovely local dentist. She is very friendly and gentle, and has some uber-fancy equipment (including digital x-ray) which I found to be very cool. They don't even need to scrape tartar off with that crazy-looking mini-pick any more - she just used a little drill/brush thing, and it didn't hurt at all. However, the sound was like some teeny tiny angle grinders were going crazy in my head. I almost giggled, but was able to restrain myself. I don't usually find dental work particularly amusing, but this was something different. Plus, I was completely chuffed at not having to deal with the tartar pick. I HATE that thing.
Anyway, all is well in the land of teethdom. Can doctors claim repairs for tooth-grinding under occupational expenses? Just a thought.

The Girl with the New Blue Toothbrush.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Am I bothered?

In the spirit of the continued survival of this blog, I thought I would write about something that I have noticed over the past year that really bugs me.
When I go to the hospitals on clinical placements, I am dressed in my clinical gear and my stethoscope and am introduced to people as a “medical student.” We get a LOT of respect from patients and staff. It may not be direct respect (but mostly is), and is occasionally some nurse or doctor rolling their eyes at the medical students, but this is also a type of acknowledgement of our role.
When I leave the hospital, in the same clothes (sans ID and stethoscope) and go to the shops or somewhere public, I get a LOT less respect. I don’t really care, but it is fascinating to notice. I can tell that people look and either don’t care what I do, or look at me and think “office-worker/secretary” and I quite frequently get treated like I am stupid.
Fast-forward to another day, when I am going to the shops in neat but casual clothes during the daytime, and I often get people assuming that I am unemployed/stay-at-home-mother/random bum. I get asked if I have a pension card (i.e. the kind that the unemployed have), I get served second or third even when I am there first, I get service staff looking down their nose at me.
Like I said, I don’t take this personally, but I resent the way that the exact same person can get treated so differently based on my outer appearance/clothing on the day, or my ID badge. People are so bloody shallow and self-centred that it just astounds me. I might be having an off day and haven’t dressed to the nines to go and buy some veggies at the supermarket. Does this make me any less worthy of respect than if I were in my clinical gear with a big sign that said “MEDICAL STUDENT” hanging around my neck? Actually, if somebody went to the grocery store with that sign around their neck, I would think they were more of a tosspot than somebody who was just happy being themselves.
One day I just might go to the store with the old stethoscope around my neck, and the ID badge still on. However, it would have to be with somebody else. It would also have to be a dare, AND a bet, AND involve substantial bribery.
Like I have already said, I don’t give a damn what people think of me as I am wandering around the shops. I am polite, neat and courteous, and that is all that matters. It is such a shame that society is so shallow and people so thoughtless that differences in treatment based on dress are noticeable.