Wednesday, 20 March 2013


And like the hermit crab emerging from his...crab-ness... so I emerge back into the world. Ahem. I'm a poet at heart, don't you know.

So my last post was pre exams. I started my revision in October. Yes. October. For an exam at the end of February. And I have only just moved past my post traumatic stress disorder, including horrendous failure-nightmares, and exam flashbacks, in order to write this post. Just...where has my life gone. 

I did not dare tempt fate by typing a blog post in the meantime, because obviously, if I did fail, it would be due to the thirty minutes I spent that one evening writing on my blog. But all that's over now, I did indeed pass and this is awesome and somewhat unbelievable but also in a way I should bloody think so too considering the large fraction of my life that I gave to becoming an overweight hermit crab. Who got so overweight that she was stuck in her...crab-ness (SHELL, thats the word), and couldn't get out again. There I go, snowballing. Stop talking Humaira.

Where was I...oh yeah, I passed! And am now a final year medic @_@ And in just over a year, could be handling peoples lives. Which is a little bit shit-scary. But trust me with your lives. Ahem.  *Confidence-inspiring, winning smile*

Let us have a think about what's happened since...October... This could take some serious thinking, which is beyond my brain capacity at the moment. Having a saturated brain has a dementia type effect on you, seriously.

  • My cute squishy lump of a baby brother grew by 4 months! He is now prone to make his views known on all subjects, whether we can understand him or not thank-you-very-much. He becomes particularly excited when one of us is on the phone, somehow interpreting this as a request to him to become personally involved in that conversation, and prompting a spew of excited babble and giggles. Anything that takes solid and grasp-able form is fair game to be eaten, and he finds this an excellent rule to live by. He has also discovered the association between cars, and the word 'car', and has taken, rather adorably, to whispering 'KA' in hushed, excited tones whenever a car drives by.   

His favourite part of that Elmer? The label. Seriously.
  • ...Okay, seriously, that little fatty is all that is going on in my life. Can you blame me though?! How squishy. 
  • I am currently on A&E! I will let you know how this goes, since today was only my first day, but have to say it's cool to feel like a real doctor and be helping out with things, and making decisions about patients. So Yay for that. 
  • I desperately need to write something fictional. Anything. ANYTHING. Have to get medicine out of my head for short periods of time! But I find that when I do, I just get mental scenes of tumbleweed :(
  • THIS is the most awesome thing I've heard in a long time. My favourite line is about the two year olds. But it's all genius. I love it so much. 
  • I randomly came across this old blog post from first year. It was somewhat scary to read... I feel my blog reads differently now. What has happened to me etc. Also, so much boundless enthusiasm back in first year, I'm surprised at myself! Pull it together, Past Humaira. You also sound different, Emad. Though the reduction in deadpanning is an improvement :P
  • Aaaand...I'm done with life updates :) Totally listen to 'Be with You' by Owsley because it's awesome and yes alright okay Emad does have good taste. 
In a while, crocodiles!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Countdown in the Early Hours

It is indeed October! But I made no promises, so shhhhh. Shush, gawwd! I have a life you know ¬_¬ Can't be keeping up with all this blogging malarkey, it won't stand up as an excuse for failing the year. ('THE BLOGOSPHERE NEEDED ME' etc.)

Anyway :)

 Since the last post, I have gained little knowledge, even less wisdom, and waaay more weight than I am comfortable admitting. I mean, come on metabolism. It's not even like I'm eating any different, and if anything I'm exercising more than I was. But no, my body likes to play a cruel game known as lets-see-how-much-heavier-we-can-get-before-humaira-cracks-and-buys-a-gym-membership. I mean, it's not that I dislike the idea of a gym, I'd love to go. I just hate being around other people at this sensitive time of increased weight. Nobody who's in the gym looks like they need to be there, which can be a bit soul destroying ¬_¬ That and I refuse to join any kind of 'class' because I have a thing about needing to be in the back corner of a room so that nobody is behind me or even looking at me without my knowledge. Otherwise I feel hemmed in and horrifically self conscious. So classes are not happening. Neuroses, eh. What fun.

Let me think, then, what has happened...

  • Did I mention I got a car in my last post?! I can't remember and can't be arsed checking, but I have a car now, wooooo! :D It means I can just drive home every week which is awesome, and I'm kind of enjoying the driving solo, it's peaceful. Beats the train by a million miles- I think I'm allowed to rub that in as I was punished by the trains for 4 years, which is longer than anyone should have to put up with National Rail and it's Lack of Train Times. Also the car is a he, and he is called Fernando, and we are great friends and, I like to think, Partners in Crime. Just like Michael Knight and Kit :D
  •  My cute squishy adorable lump of  a baby brother has just gotten chubbier and cuter and smilier and now sort of laughs and is generally happy at anything. He also discovered that he has a voice, and vocalises enthusaistically in response to any noise whatsoever. Seriously, any. The other day he full on serenaded the hoover as my mum went past with it. 
  • My 24 month phone contract, which has ensured that I am the only person left in the UK without a smartphone, is due for upgrade next week, which means I can fiiiinally get WhatsApp and whatever else you do with these newfangled phone devices...
  •  I read Life of Pi which is officially being added to my list of Best Books Ever that Changed My Life, along with Mister Pip and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay. It was just so ridiculously good and you absolutely have to read it especially since there's a film coming out pretty soon, and I'm sure it'll be a let down and I will cry but at least you'll have read the book and it will have changed your life :D *And breathe*
  • I actually successfully took blood and cannulated various patients! Don't get me wrong, I'm by no means in any way 'good' at it, but I'm taking my occasional successes as miracles, and my frequent failures as 'well that patient just had really bad veins anyway'. 
  • This block is awesome- and that's saying something, haven't really enjoyed a full block before. It's  GI/Metabolic/Renal, so it's a bit of everything and generally all the patients are elderly people with diabetes. But it's awesome because the ward I've been placed on has the loveliest junior doctors ever, who really look out for us and totally sympathise with the awfulness of being a Med Student on the ward (you're just in everyone's way, seriously). So yeah, they've really made us part of the ward, we help out on ward rounds, take bloods, do cannulas, and actually feel of use. Nice people man. We're not used to doctors being nice to us. Initially I flinched every time the FY1 turned to speak to me. Like an abused puppy. Yes. But I'm better now :') 
  • The next block is GP which should be..interesting! I kind of want to be a GP so it'll be the moment of truth. Or 7 weeks of truth. Fun. I feel like the niceness of the GP I'm placed with could make or break it for me, because 7 weeks of hell would probably influence whether you pursued it as a career, so reeeeally hoping he's nice.
  • Had an interesting conversation with friends yesterday- I will be turning 22 soon, and my friend said 'Oh, your best year is almost over then. 21 was the best year of my life.' Okay, 21 was definitely not the best year of my life- my mum was a wreck for most of it, and whilst I'm totally and utterly ridiculously grateful for the cute little lump of smiley adorable-ness that is my baby brother, he caused us a bucketload of stress and a half. And it didn't even stop when he was born! So no, not the best year. I then realised I can't really think of a 'best year'. My other friend just shrugged and said I hadn't had it yet. Which was a nice thought :) Because I was panicking somewhat, thinking it'd happened and I hadn't noticed. The fact that I didn't even consider not having had it yet probably says something about living in the past and optimism etc. In conclusion: NOTE TO SELF, BE MORE OPTIMISTIC AND FORWARD LOOKING INNIT.
  •  Oh god, so Doctor Who...THE PONDS, NOOOOOO! I found that this really helped me to express the horror and despair.  Ugly sobbing indeed.
  • I am getting dangerously close to huuuuuge exams that are just so unfathomably difficult that it will be a miracle if I don't cardiac-arrest midway through the whole thing. Just *horror*
  • And just because:

Awwwwwww look at his little feeeet! Because baby feet are not as repulsive as adult feet.
Also, I am totally loving this song, massively. I know Radio 1's liking it at the moment so you may have heard it, but if not, watch! And if you have, watch again! If only for his amazing massive hair :D It just sounds so good.

So yeah, woo! I shall be off now! I wish you all well! I say all, I mean, Aunty Em/Rosie/ Lexie/Emadness are probably the only people who read, but I wish the four of you and anyone else who stumbles here well! Drop me a line and let me know how you are :)

Friday, 10 August 2012

Pitter Patter

...So I've been absent for like a year, but you knew this would happen. I have an excuse, as ever, but it's a slightly better one than usual. This excuse weighs about 10lbs 9oz, and has a tendency to projectile milk with surprising accuracy.

Yes. I had a child.

I joke, I joke. But there IS a baby! At 21, I have become an older sister for the third time. Before I start going on about how cute he is (awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww-), I would just like to get all the terrifying maths out of the way. Yes, when he's 10, I will be 31. When he's 21, I will be 42. By the time he's 30 I'll be over half a century @_@ I have kind of almost somewhat come to terms with the fact that my family, which had just about settled down, with me and brother at uni and younger brother midway through high school, now has to start all over again. All our memories and nostalgia are going to be meaningless to him, we have to create a whole new set of memories for this tiny little bundle that has arrived in our house.

And yet, it's totally lovely. Our home, which was getting quieter and quieter what with two of us away at uni and one teenager increasingly confined to his room, is now filled with the kind of warmth and light and noise that only seems to come with a baby. I've been lucky enough to have holidays for the last 3 weeks and the next fortnight, and I don't think I can bear to leave him and go back!

He is a total Bear, seriously. Five weeks old now. He snuffles and sneezes (in twos, always) and whimpers and scrunches his face up and frowns, and occasionally cracks a huge, adorable, toothless smile. He is the new centre of our lives and we are all totally smitten by him. I didn't want to put a proper photo because I'm wary of plastering his face all over the internet, but just so you can appreciate his adorable bear-ness and babygrow...

So the reason I Kept That One Quiet is that my mum was very unwell for most of the 9 months, and we weren't actually sure it'd work out. Thankfully it was all good, though the last few weeks have been horrendous, as my mum has been bedbound for a lot of it. Since her recovery has been so slow, I have had to step in for a lot of the baby-care-related-things. This has been...educational...

Things that I have learnt, then, having acquired a new baby brother and been mostly in charge of him:

  • Nappy changing is a dangerous, dangerous game.
  • The care one takes to avoid certain projectile nappy situations (see 'strategic placement of baby wipes over certain areas of anatomy') is directly proportional to the likelihood one will be hit with a jet stream of wee. 
  • Emergency baths, following projectile nappy situations, will start out as a careful procedure involving smiles and shampoo and baby moisturiser, but after the 94th emergency bath, will consist of repeatedly dunking the baby in question into a large bucket of water like a giant biscuit.
  • I can now make bottles of formula milk on autopilot, to the point of walking into the kitchen half asleep, and coming to as I'm walking back out again with a bottle all made up. Totally Bourne.
  • Babies need to be winded. A lot. Like, a lot a lot. 
  • Nappy rash is the most horrific ailment known to mankind. And Sudacrem is the saviour.
  • I have established my own baby talk. It disconcerts certain people, ahem, but it's established now. Nothing I can do about it. 
  • If one discovers that a certain gesture makes baby smile, one will never tire of repeating said gesture, however much slapstick self harm it involves. 
  • I have new respect for new mums. I see them in the street and feel the urge to wrap my arms around them, saying 'It's okay, I know.'
  • I WANT a papoose.
  • A 21 year age gap means that people are inevitably going to assume that this baby is my child, whenever I am without my mum. I find myself being repeatedly congratulated in shopping centres, and getting 'aww bless' smiles from old women. I'm not complaining, but the subsequent explanation tends to get a little awkward.
  • That baby smell ^_^ awwwwwwwwwwww
  • Our house is no longer a coherent house with rooms separated by function (kitchen, living, dining) etc. Every single room has become baby oriented. The Room for making Bottles, the Room for Changing Nappies, the Room for Emergency Baths...
  • Baaaaby clothes....Oh my god, so cute! I melt every time I'm shopping. 
  • Forget feminism, I wish to give up everything and just be a stay at home mum. Seriously. I want one. It's ridiculous.
There are many other things I've learnt, but I'm conscious that I am rambling, and that not everyone wants to hear about the adorable little things that babies do. Even if it's all I'm going to talk about in this post. Ahem.
 Don't get me wrong, it's been the most stressful time of my life so far, all this anticipation of baby, then mum's health scares, then mum in and out of hospital, me having to take time off uni, then mum being in a bad way. It all added up. But he definitely makes it all worth it. And my mum is improving, and so it's all good!

So yeah... It's been one of those major life-trajectory-changing events.. We're all re-evaluating where we stand in light of this new development. I keep worrying about not being present for a big part of his formative years- after all, I'm just about flying the nest! Yeesh. How can I make time to be around and spoil him?! And how am I meant to stay all hip and cool when I'm 21 years older?! What the hell man. But we'll make it work. I guess it's just that we lack a blueprint- I don't know of anyone else who's been in this situation. But just because it's unchartered territory, doesn't mean it has to be a bad thing. We've never been more happy or more thankful, especially because we know how touch and go it was for the last 9 months.

So..I guess, in conclusion: Welcome to the world, babybear. It is so lovely to finally meet you.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

You've got a smile that could light up this whole town

Hello there! It has not been like fifty weeks...Shh!

So I feel I should acknowledge the weather, since it's really outdone itself, even by the standards of weather-PMS we're used to here in not-so-sunny England. What the hell happened?! I swear, just two weeks ago I was sat in the garden with a Solero, reading a book, dressed like a girl, and steadily getting sunburnt, as follows:

 Yes I did wear socks. Because one should never, ever be without socks (preferably stripy ones). Feet are just horrible.

But then, just like that, it was gone. Like the sky got shy or something and was like 'STOP LOOKING AT MY BLUE-NESS, I CAN'T TAKE IT, I MUST RETURN TO GREY AND REMIND THESE PEOPLE OF THE MEANING OF OVERCAST AND DAMP'
Apologies, I am in a strange mood.

Which allows me to segue shamelessly into the fact that I have just started my psychiatry block, woo! Haven't met patients yet, we're still having introductory lectures, but it is all massively interesting and I really have been enjoying learning all this random new stuff abotu mood disorders etc. Also I'm pretty sure I have many traits of Generalised Anxiety Disorder. But then, a large number of us self-diagnosed ourselves with some kind of psychiatric condition by the end of the first day. Maybe we're all just hypochondriacs- another psychiatric condition. Ahem. Steam coming out of ears. 

I feel like I never really acknowledged the surgery block being over- let's just say the highlight of it was getting to hold someone's small intestines out of the way (The surgeon needed space to work in the abdomen so just piled the intestines onto the patient's chest). This was the coolest thing that has ever happened to me. Intestines are warm @_@ And as I was holding them, they were actually moving, kind of like worms, beneath my fingers!!! I thought something was wrong and that the patient's intestines had come alive to strangle me, but realised eventually that I was actually seeing peristalsis, the natural contraction of the intestines in order to move food along. Mind = BLOWN.
Also got to cut a few stitches/feel a few intestinal tumours before they were removed. I have decided never to be a surgeon though. The main reason for this is that once you're scrubbed up, your hands are sterile so you can't touch anything, not even your mask to adjust it. So naturally my mask rode up my face repeatedly, and pushed up at my eyelashes, causing me to be blinded by eye-irritation until I plucked up the courage to ask the nurses to lower my mask for me. Naturally, it had ridden up again within seconds of them pulling it down and I didn't have the guts (OH, PUN INTENDED) to ask them again.


My dad approved of it more than is normal for him...or for any male, really. I was walking around with it in the store in the way you do when you try on new shoes, and caught my dad looking over and giving me massive thumbs up and a hugely happy expression. I was impressed by this, as he doesn't tend to acknowledge that I am a female.

I have got into Arrested Development! It is utterly brilliant, and so, so funny. Will Arnett and David Cross are my favourite things about it, but I had to put in this clip. Generally the premise is that Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) tries to cope with his hugely dysfunctional family. A running joke through the series is that none of Michael's family seem to know what a chicken looks/sounds like, so whenever someone calls Michael a chicken and subsequently attempts to imitate one, it's disastrous/hilarious. Observe:

Also, listen/re-listen to this, as it is totally awesome :D

I Shall return with a verdict on Psychiatry block! Just give it a few weeks.

In a while, crocodiles!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Because Poppet is the best term of endearment ever.

Well, hello there. We meet again.  I've been expecting you, Mr Bond. Etc :)

It has been a strange two weeks, fluctuating between days where literally nothing has happened and I've come home from the hospital depressed, and days that are so weirdly intense I haven't stopped talking about them. For some background, I am now doing the surgery block, which I had been dreading due to hating the idea of surgery in general, and also the faff of having to change into and out of scrubs etc. So brace yourselves, because I am going to go onnn and onnn, lol .

  • Intensive care
 So the first week of the block was spent in ICU. It was a massive change for me, being on a ward where you can't just wonder round taking histories from patients and being all smiley, because near enough every patient is sedated/comatose/seriously ill. Over the week I became accustomed to their faces, who had deteriorated overnight, and who was improving.

Some patients had their sedation lifted- I found it strange to walk in and find a patient who I'd observed sedated for the past three days, awake and talking to nurses. It was a massive relief, but he had no knowledge of what he'd been through. Just two nights ago, his potassium levels had become dangerously high and his blood pH had dropped very low, and his bed area had been flooded with doctors and nurses, all trying to stabilise him. He had no idea that they were the reason he'd made it to today.

And then there was a patient who had been on ICU for a very long time, gradually deteriorating for some reason that the doctors couldn't explain- they had tried every course of treatment for every possible disease they could think of, but he just kept getting worse. People look so small in hospital beds- he was frail anyway, but it was so sad to see him almost lost in a vast array of tubes, monitors, needles, and venous and arterial lines. We did the ward round with the doctors, and each morning they were at a loss for him. Worse still, his family were unable to accept that in these modern times, a solution could not be found. Who could blame them? The doctors eventually sat them down and explained that they were considering stopping treatment. I passed the family later that day- they were all stood outside the ward, crying. I couldn't even meet their gazes, it was horrible. The patient died at the end of the week, quietly at some point in the night.

It's very hard to detach yourself from cases like these- you're encouraged to be somewhat distanced, because otherwise the amount of trauma you'd take on would likely stop you functioning as a doctor. At the moment though, I'd rather be fully involved, and feel every loss, and terminal diagnosis as sharply as though I know these people personally- because in future that feeling will almost certainly be blunted by a massive workload and sheer weariness of experience. Better to let yourself be affected and sympathetic now, than never understand what patients are going through. And as a student, what can you do for patients but offer a bit of comfort and empathy, anyway? The doctors would if they had the time, but they don't. It's the only way we can help at the moment, and in a way its one of the most important things to offer.
  • Surgery
 So we saw some surgeries for the first time this week. I have always been completely sure that I never want to be a surgeon, and it still stands. I have to admit though, that surgery is pretty amazing in that it literally is butchery. As one of the lecturers said to us, surgeons are causing a trauma to the body in the same way that car accidents cause trauma to the body. The only difference is that they cause it in a controlled environment. You truly appreciate the fragility of life when you see that people can be patched up/sewn/glued/have bits cut out/have bits added/have bits taken from places and sewn elsewhere, and then return to their lives. The first operations I saw were eye operations- just so intricate and complicated that I had no idea what was going on. They were correcting people's squints (where one eye points out in a different direction), and to do this you have to shorten certain muscles that control the eye, or reposition them. But you have to be very precise in your measurements, and how many millimetres you move/shorten the muscle by, because obviously if you're slightly out, they will have double vision. Never becoming an eye surgeon. And needless to say, it required a strong stomach not to be repulsed by scalpels in eyes etc.
I have to admit though, as a sidenote, that it felt pretty damn awesome to walk into the hospital restaurant in my blue surgical scrubs, and stand in the lunch queue. I can see why surgeons are totally high on themselves. It's the same kind of glamour reaction a pilot gets walking through an airport. :D
  • Maternity.
So the anaesthetist I'm attached to spends some mornings in the maternity operating theatres, and so I was there the other day, wondering like a lost sheep until another anaesthetist ran past and told mine that an emergency caesarian section was going to happen. So mine sent me running (yes, literally running. How embarrassing) after him. I helped him draw up a load of drugs that might be needed into syringes (by 'helped', I mean I opened boxes for him and threw away empty packages, lol). We then entered an operating theatre where, it appeared, all hell had broken loose. Fifty different doctors, surgeons, nurses running around, getting monitors and IV drips and surgical instruments ready. Another set of doors burst open and a very scared, very pregnant lady was wheeled in and helped up onto the operating table. She was still having contractions, but they had found that the baby was in distress for some reason (I wasn't sure why myself, as I didn't know her history) and so they needed to operate quickly or its life would be at risk. Within minutes this team of staff had her hooked up to IV lines, had numbed her from the waist down, had completed the safety checklist before proceeding surgery, had put up a set of drapes so she couldn't see what was happening, and had brought in her husband to hold her hand. And they were ready to start! It was pretty seamless, I was massively impressed with their efficiency. And they were all very reassuring with her as well.

I tried to stay out of the way, and watched as two surgeons made a large cut below her navel, then more carefully began cutting through layers of muscle and tissue, trying to locate and make an incision in the uterus. The baby is contained within an amniotic sac in the uterus, and just before its born this ruptures (waters breaking etc). But if the kids in distress (e.g. oxygen deprived), it effectively 'poos' a substance called meconium, which turns amniotic fluid green. When these surgeons cut into the sac, a load of very green fluid gushed everywhere, it was..eww. The surgeons then practically wrestled this poor baby out, suctioning all the muck from its mouth, so it could take a deep breath and start crying. After all that tension, it was the most beautiful sound, and everybody visibly relaxed. Mum and dad were congratulated by everyone, and the process began of carefully controlling any bleeding, then sewing the lady back up. Baby was taken to a corner and vigorously rubbed down and warmed, and tested for reflexes. I was pretty spellbound. Miracle of life and all that. Ahem :')

I left with the anaesthetist after a while, and we began preparing for the next caesarian, which was a planned one. It was amazing to watch- this time the atmosphere was much more relaxed, and controlled. The surgeons took more time since there was none of the urgency of before. And it was twins this time! Just brilliant. My clinical partner and I were practically in tears, both being guilty of over-emotionality at the best of times, lol. We didn't get to see them complete the sewing-back-up phase as we had to leave, but we were on a total high for the rest of the day. Just, how awesome! I am now considering being an obstetrician, despite having only experienced it for three hours, lol. One can dream etc.

So thats it for major things that have happened! I know, I know, she's shutting up etc.
And, finally, in other news... I had to include this picture of a neatly abandoned pair of shoes that were near the door of the train I was on. 

...And of the food I made at my uni house! It's a chicken/red pepper/mushroom/spring onion curry type thing. With salad-ness. It was rather nice if I do say so myself :D I'm just proud because I bought the ingredients and made it myself, as opposed to microwaveing/pot noodle-ing my dinner like I usually do, lol. 

And of course, all credit to Emad-ness for the awesomesauce-ness that is this rainbow slinky :D It is a massive source of cheerup. (Yes, my dressing table is messy, shhh)

I leave you with this, that I was relistening to yesterday (again, thank you to Emadness), and saw a comment that it would be featuring on the Voice, so woo for it being more widely used, despite the guy killing it when I watched the Voice clip ¬_¬ It just sounds so lovely!

(Also, lastly, I promise- ItsComplicated- I watched that slam poetry American guy and was blown away! Favouritest line EVER- "Death is breathless but poetry's deathless". WOW :D )

Oh, and rewatch Mrs Doubtfire, everyone!

In a while, crocodiles!

Saturday, 31 March 2012


Phase 2 has started! And I was kind of dreading it (not least because of the stethoscope-under-headscarf conundrum, which has by the way turned out fine), but it has so far been waaay better than I expected! It definitely beats 2 and a half years of lectures. SO, I am at a hospital in an undisclosed location, but which happens to be the middle of Nowhere, and I have been here several weeks now, and have got to do a hell of a lot of waiting/chasing consultants around/waiting... but also a few VERY COOL THINGS! And so I shall concentrate on these.

Cool Things What I Have Done/Seen in the Hospital

  • Taking blood from NOT ONE, BUT TWO REAL PATIENTS. We're supposed to be able to take blood with our eyes closed (well...not quite) by the end of this year, but since we only trained on plastic arms in October, I was very hesitant to actually try on a real patient. My partner chucked me in at the deep end this week by saying 'HUMAIRA WILL DO IT' when a doctor mentioned that bloods were needed for a patient. Ouch. The first was very gracious when I missed the vein first time (perhaps because I did not disclose that he was the first Live Patient I had to steal blood from), and let me try the other arm, which thank God, I got. The second patient, whose vein I got first time, was incredibly nice about it, and whilst I had an actual needle in his arm said 'Your parents must be very proud of you. They should be, you're doing a great job.' WHILST BEING IMPALED WITH A NEEDLE. I took this as a compliment of double value.  He also kept thanking me for taking his blood so well. Totally overinflated my ego. I am now convinced I am the KING OF TAKING BLOOD. (I joke, my inferiority complex remains as strong as ever).
  • I got to shock a patient! HOW AWESOME. Now is probably the time to reveal it wasn't all that impressive a deal, since all I did was shout 'clear' and press a button. And it wasn't one of those cardiac arrest saving-a-life scenarios- this was a planned procedure to try to get the patients heart back into rhythm. But still. It works better if all you know is that I got to shock a patient. Just go with the awesome images of me rushing in with those huge black paddles (which incidentally aren't used anymore...the stickers are so unimpressive!) and shouting 'DON'T YOU DIE ON ME TODAY' whilst repeatedly shocking some ridiculously-good-looking young patient with a dramatic backstory back to life.
  • Our consultant threw me in at the deep end in a clinic by giving me a patient file and saying 'There's a room, see this patient in there, take a history and do an examination and then report your findings to me.' I actually died at this point, since I've taken loads of histories from patients but never been the first person to see them, and I've never had to report my findings and a preliminary diagnosis back to a doctor @_@ A very big deal. But I felt like a total doctor, seeing My Own Patient in a clinic. Also, I thought I could hear a specific kind of heart murmur, but his previous notes said it was a different kind.. But when I reported back to my consultant, turned out I was right! AWESOME. I may or may not have dont a silent Victory Fist in the Air right there in the clinic, before realising that the patient was sat opposite me and unamused at my glorifying in his diagnosis, after which I quickly subdued my enthusiasm. 
  • We had a patient who had over TWO litres of fluid in his lung, and I got to help drain it! This was totally amazing, because it has an instantaneous beneficial effect on the patient, who can breathe better as you are draining. So totally got to stand there with a GINORMOUS syringe and just pull out massive amounts of yellowy fluid which was nasty and yet awesome. (I'm sure this enthusiasm will be killed by next year but I'm just revelling in it for the moment :D)
Other Things:
  • I saw bronchoscopies, where you put a camera down into peoples' lungs. Not particularly cool but very interesting, as they let you find out the source if someone is coughing up blood, or if someone has a suspected cancer- we did see one or two tumours, which was weird. To learn so much about them and the huge effect cancer has on people, and then to just see this small, unremarkable lump show up on camera in someone's airway. To think that's what all the fuss is about, all these massive charities and fun runs and Macmillan nurses and support services and family breakdown and chemotherapy. Just... a very strange sensation.  
  • I have seen waaaay too many lung cancer patients in these last few weeks. Some terminal, which was horrible, and some young and newly diagnosed, which in a way was worse. All of them had a smoking history. DO NOT SMOKE. Just not worth it. 
  • I see a lot of sad, lonely old people who come in from care homes and don't get visitors :( 
  • There are some doctors who are absolutely amazing with patients, and who will comfort them and make them feel better even if they can't do much for them, and they tend to be young, which is good to know because these are the consultants of the future. There are others who are... a little robotic, but they have minds like computers so I'm hoping they're the future of research.. lol.
Aaand things that aren't to do with the hospital:

  • I watched the Hunger Games! AWESOME. Very fast paced and tense and creative and pretty much true to the book. And I love Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role. I am willing to overlook the sliiight overtones of TeamEdward/TeamJacob going on, which might get played up in the next film which would disappoint me. But the whole satire/reality tv/social commentary thing still has me hooked :D  Also, Josh Hutcherson is all grown up since Bridge to Terabithia! And has a very square jaw... which is strange.
  • Apparently I am supposed to upload a picture of a pier...? But since Rosie and Emad seem to have the monopoly on the most awesome piers, I decided to have a different picture. Besides, at the moment, my life feels more a split between this: 
 And this!

Not just because I was torn between the prettiness, and am now explaining away the situation with a shoehorned-in commentary on calm days and hectic days and something about the Great Unknown up ahead.
  •  An awesome weekend was had with the Wolves crew, including catching up with Aunty Em and being given an AWESOME purple eyeliner/nail polish/eyeshadow, Hasan being unusually well mannered and stressed by mess, Baby Bear looking like a small Harry Potter with his baby glasses, and Umar being so chubby he has actual folds :D Cellulite is clearly the next step.
  •  Took this picture of my dad and brothers at the park a few weeks ago, and I totally love it, mainly becase my dad (on the right) is doing a distinct Winnie the Pooh hands-behind-back walk, and because both my brothers are now taller than him :) How lovely.

So I have probably rambled on enough now, and shall go and catch up on other people's blogs! Who know when I shall next blog, so I shall just leave you with an 'In a while, crocodiles'!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Of Beaches, Daylight Robbery and Feral Kittens.

....So I just got back from that place. Naturally, could not have been happier to see Merry England again, with her rolling fields, her vibrant greenery.
...Except that literally nothing could be seen out of the aeroplane, and so I thought we were descending through miles of cloud, when suddenly we hit the runway, and I realised that it was actually just fog that reduced visibility to zero. FUN.
As I said. Great to be back, lol.

So Tunisia! Spent a week there as a post exams gift from the parents (partially to make up for the fact that whilst I've been on this degree they've all been on holiday without me ¬_¬) and it was TOTALLY AWESOME. Granted, all the Tunisians were bewildered at how this was the coldest they had known it in 10 years (naturally, the climate followed me), but this was not too big an issue, as when the sun came out it was totally beautiful.
So I have photos! :D

This next one is a typical street in Kerouan, which is a small traditional village- a man (see: vulture) recognised that my dad and I were tourists, and so offered to be our 'guide' by saying 'YOU COME WITH ME'. Naturally, like lost sheep we followed him around streets like this one, whilst he showed us various interesting things. He also made sure that he took us to all his friends shops, and that we bought something ridiculously overpriced at each one. Since this was our first day, we were failures at haggling, and were effecively robbed of our money. Ahem. We decided to avoid markets after this.

One thing that is interesting is that the doors are really important! Arab houses have brown doors, Berber houses have blue ones, and mosques have green ones. All had very intricate designs on them. Tunisians are also very superstitious, and so their door knockers are shaped like a small hand, called 'the hand of Fatima', and it's supposed to ward off evil eye...! And the number of knockers on a door signifies how many families live there. Some doors also have a smaller door built in, so that kids can use it. Of course, the 'guide' could've just made all this up... but we trust him. My dad paid him at the end of the tour because if anything, he was creative.

 On the way to Kerouan our driver pointed this out- Butchers will hang the head of the first animal slaughtered that day outside the shop. WHAT THE HELL. At one shop we saw a camels head hung outside! Highly disconcerting.

This is Saeed the camel (I kid you not), who walked round this well in Kerouan, which drove a wheel to pull up water. He was quite adorable.  Kerouan is, I believe, the origin of the word caravan, because it's where bedouins etc used to camp and rest with their camels and caravans.

This was the beach when the sun came out in the evening and it lit up the sand like gold glitter. I was just taken aback by how beautiful it was, seriously. Oh my god. 

...This was me trying to be arty and take a perspective shot. Ahem. This failure that you see below is part of my dress, towering over my dad in the distance. Nice one, Humaira. 

Just WOW. 

We had a horse and carriage ride! There were two horses and the left one kept attacking th eright one, which was funny/disconcerting. The driver, pictured below, looked like Asian Bradley Cooper (Good thing I am not a fan), and smoked like a chimney, taking time to turn around and inform us about Tunisia, whilst breathing smoke in our faces. Nice. He informed us that his priorities in life, in order, were house, car, money, then wife. What a guy. 

Tunisia is overrun with cats. One adorable example is the one below, who, when I took out the camera, assumed it was food and came right up to me to try and eat it, hence the close up. Another one found me whilst I was eating at an outdoor cafe with my dad, and sensing I was a soft touch, sat and watched me eat food forlornly, with great big cow eyes,  mewing and waiting for me to throw it some chicken. When I refrained, it spent half an hour trying to jump into my lap/onto the table/mewing loudly/watching me with guilt-inducing judgement. Adorable! But I couldnt get a photo because it thought the camera was food also, and tried to jump on me.
Other things that happened

  • The Hotel that we stayed at was very nice, but had a tendency to play the same songs again and again and again @_@ I lost count of the number of times I heard Enrique Iglesias's Hero, and Mariah Carey's Hero one, and some other 80s hits that only my dad could identify, which made him very happy. It was all I could do to stop him going to the karaoke ¬_¬ At one point, when we were having dinner, the cheesy keyboard player started singing the Police's 'Every step you take' song in a heavy Tunisian accent. He must've been puzzled to see the unassuming small man with glasses at one of the tables suddenly brandish his knife and fork fiercely, whilst shouting 'YOU'RE MURDERING IT!'.  
  •  It rained.
  • People assumed my dad and I were Arabs, and so Tunisians full on addressed us in Arabic, only relaising that we had no idea what they were saying after about five minutes of us looking gormless. 
  • French was the other main spoken language. I spent a lot of time conjugating verbs in my head as revision.
  • I READ FIVE WHOLE BOOKS :D Seriously, it felt amazing. The Hunger Games trilogy is totally awesome and addictive and should be read. And Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is THE BEST BOOK EVER. Since Kavalier and Clay and Mister Pip and a few others. But seriously, SO GOOD. I would avoid the film like the plague because I can't understand how it's going to do the book justice.
  • We visited the ruins of a massive Roman public bath at Carthage, which was awesome. My dad and I were the only people under 55 on that coach...just not good. Also, the tour guide was the grumpiest person ever, and held no prisoners.
Tour guide (speaking to us via mic on coach): Es ist ein sehr klein-
Woman (interrupting): Are you going to be talking in English? because most of us are English on here and we can't understand you.

Best tour guide ever. When she started on him again later, he turned away like a sulky child and shouted 'IF YOU WANT SAY SOMETHING TO ME YOU SAY TO MY FACE'
He then had a complet mood swing and offered her part of a doughnut he was eating. Just hilarious!

  • I was also full on proposed to by a random Tunisian man, on the one occasion I was alone in the lobby. This would, I suppose, have been flattering if he did not have th eeyes of a killer, and if, once I told him I was recently married, he had not promptly asked if I knew any other single Pakistani girls ¬_¬ Thanks a whole bunch, Romeo. 
...And not much else happened! Or rather, a lot did but I can't remember it now, so we'll leave it there :)

Hope you are all good and well and awesome etc!