Friday, 29 January 2010

Apoptosis: when cells go Kamikaze.

This has officially been the longest week of my life. Not in a bad way, just in a very, very busy way. So busy I've hardly had time to think about home/Archie/depressing things, and that is the way it should be, so all is good in a stressed-out way :) I shall revert to bullet points as I can't remember this stuff in any kind of order.
Oh, before I forget, bizarre moment as I walked out of the Student Union shop today, and overheard a snippet of conversation between a man and woman stood outside.
Woman: '....positron emission tomography.'
Man: *Giggles*

Yes... I didn't know what to make of it either. ANYWAY, back to my list:

  • Dissection. We became...'acquainted' with our cadaver on Tuesday. We were studying the pectoral muscles- the dissection itself went fine, and was all incredibly interesting. I even coped fine with washing the bits of dead-person off my scalpel at the end.  It was only later that evening when I was about to take a bite of food that I thought, 'We peeled off the guy's chest'. And at the same time detected the very faint, imagined smell of latex/death on my fingers. Let's just say that sandwich never really got to encounter my digestive system.
  • Had a nightmare that night- not actually about dissection, but I've never had dreams about things that happen during the day, so I felt it worth documenting. In my dream, Bursitis (painful inflammation at joint, usually in elbow/knee) was actually a disease that dehydrated sufferers to death (ie diabetes in the olden days), and many people I knew suddenly came down with it and despite me offering water, wouldn't drink anything :| Horrendous. I woke up at 4 and realised that this was the utter lowest of lows: medicine, as well as being all I could think about, had now breached my subconscious. I mean, if I was going to have medical dreams, the diseases could at least have been correct and then I'd have been getting some revision out of it. Dayyamn.
  • We've had some pretty bloody pointless lectures. And I'm having trouble staying awake during the more important ones. Well, if they WILL insist on having them at 9am, no amount of caffeine overdose will keep me awake ¬_¬ 
  • During an extensive work session, Jamie read 'Manubrio-Sternal joint' as 'Mandasubrial joint' in a moment of epic dyslexia. It shall henceforth be referred to as the Mandasubrial joint.
  • We dissected a heart on Wednesday. Well, my group did. I stood back because I felt very flu-y and didn't want to upchuck on the cadaver we'd be using for the rest of this year.
  • I have not purchased Mass Effect 2. 
  • I bought a penguin poster for my room!
  • Apparently I have another penguin poster, but it's currently sat in Heckmondwike...Dammit.
  • Work, gruesomeness aside, is actually really rather fun, and all clinical, and feels much more like medicine :D I am enjoying this whilst I still can :|
  • I must be one of the only people on Earth not to have seen Avatar yet. There are tribes in the Amazon who dream of Pandora, and yet I just can't be bothered.
  • I am missing certain people of Wolverhampton, and their baby bear addition to the family *Sigh*.
  • One Republic's 'All the right moves' and 'Secrets' are awesome.
Gawd, well if you got this far, I applaud your committment, really. Naturally I'll have left out some major piece of life-changing information, but it's all good. Now I'm going to go re-read Chuck Palahniuk books, starting with Diary/Fight Club. It feels GOOD having time to read :D
Over and out.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

"Let's call him Archie, so when he misbehaves we can address him as Archibald"

I think it's only right that this post is completely about Archie. Let's face it, I've thought of little else since Tuesday evening.

Anyone that doesn't know- Archie is (was) my cat. I got him in June of year 12- the exact date is marked by a little note in my mobile's calendar that says 'Archie :D'. He was a kitten, ten weeks old, who'd been found as a stray and taken in by the local shelter, but they didn't have room for him, so if they didn't find anyone, they were going to put him down. I have wanted a cat with all my heart since I was tiny, so you cannot imagine how much it meant to me when this woman turned up with this black kitten, with white paws and a little white neck-tie shaped patch.

I don't know if it makes sense to people who haven't had pets, or had a cat, but there's a kind of peace about them. I spent a lot of summer of year 12 just sat on the stairs, with Archie fast asleep in my lap. And I couldn't bear the thought that he'd have been put down- it's a helpless animal. I literally intended to protect him for the rest of his life- slightly pathetic, I know, but he was just a baby- who abandoned him??

Hyperactive moments- he was jittery around people, and left me with the scar that runs vertically down my wrist in a self-harm-like way, when he tried to scrabble away from me because the family were being loud around us. So now I'm left with a permanent reminder that utterly depresses me every time I see it.
He had slightly psychotic times- the first time (okay, every time) he saw his reflection in my bedroom mirror, he growled, arched his back, and ran at it in an attempted attack. I have numerous videos- again, painful.
Last Easter, when he got stuck up a tree- twice, and practically wailed all night long- that's one I'll never forget. Oh, and when the other cat that hangs round in our garden attacked him ¬_¬ Little shit. 

So yeah. Coming home on Tuesday, I noted that he wasn't there, but  he's not usually in the house on an evening so it didn't stand out. My aunty asking me, 'Have you heard about Archie?' didn't seem weird, I just thought he'd done something stupid. My mum insisting that I sit down before she told me what he'd done...well, that kind of told me everything I needed to know. Turns out he was hit by a car a week ago- the day after I left Dewsbury for Leicester. The neighbour brought him to the door in a box, and my parents spent the day digging in our snow-frozen garden to bury him. Turns out I'd walked right past where he was buried on my way in, and hadn't noticed the new wooden stick that was placed there as a marker. I sort of attempted a joke about him dying of old age by the time I'd finished my degree before I properly started crying. I was also furious. I don't care who the driver was, but I want to them to burn for leaving him out there in the cold, hurt and alone. It's the cruelty of it that still gets to me.

Still, drama over now, and I've stopped welling up at stupid times. I've spent the week studiously avoiding looking at his spot on the stairs, or the landing outside my bedroom. Every time we get back from somewhere I expect him to burst out of the trees of the neighbour's garden, where he used to wait until he heard us open the gate, and would come to wait on the front step, so he could run inside before us when we opened the door. I mean, shit. How long til I forget that?

I get that it's stupid to get this cut up over a pet, but to me, it meant so much to finally get a cat, that Archie was literally a dream come true. He delighted me every time I saw him, without fail, and even up to last week I used to just sit with him as he was curled up in his favourite spot out in the hallway, and watch him sleep. Maybe it's just something about me and non-human company. No social skills needed whatsoever for a cat to appreciate you. I will miss him like hell- so will the rest of my family, but I can safely say we fed him like a Pakistani, and collectively loved him to bits.

*Tribute post over*

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Raindrops on roses, defibrillators and kittens.

Firstly, a poem, massacred in my honour by Bryony and, I felt, strangely apt...

Raindrops on roses, defibrilators and kittens
Bright copper explosions and fingerless mittens
Colourful paperclips and playing with string
These are a few of your favourite things.... 
 As pointed out to Bryony, when I read this, I was in fact wearing fingerless mittens (There was a cold draught coming from the window which froze my knuckles and..yeah), and had been playing with string that morning. Hence, I am indeed honoured by this. Also, Bryony, regarding your comment, I emphasised that the decade was a 'personal' fail- it was a definite win friends-wise, lol.
Coming back to uni has made me feel incredibly weird: like I'm having to settle in all over again. I have absolutely no wish to leave my room ever again, and no wish for human contact beyond what is absolutely necessary. Last night I stood pressed against my door, literally starving but completely unable to leave the room. My flatmates are lovely, so this is completely irrational :S It seems there is yet progress to be made on the conquering-one's-own-mind front.
I was meant to go in to an embryology revision lecture today, but slept in and woke up at the ungodly hour of 11. Fail. Though I'm not too bad on embryology... touchwood....
Got 'Bridge to Terabithia', the latest birthday present I have ever received! Thank you, E-madness. Naturally, soppy friendship/coming-of-age films are where it's at. 
 I have 3 followers!!! This is so exciting! Despite the term 'followers' making me slightly paranoid, and despite the fact I know two of them *waves to Jamie and Rabiya, and apologises to Jamie for not coming in this morning due to being asleep*
Anyone else fancy Dixy chicken for breakfast? Is that bad? It's bad, isn't it? Just a short bus ride away... *mmm*
Aherm. As you can see, I have had no breakfast yet. And making breakfast would require me to leave my room, which means another epic battle against my useless twit of a subconscious.
I have discovered that having brothers is drastically different to having sisters in terms of the advice one is given. When I told the brother of my homesickness/wish to stay in my room, his solution was 'Have yourself a great big sandwich'. He was not specific as to the details, but he is pretty sure that a sandwich, in some shape or form, will solve everything. The other, younger brother spent the whole time making strange faces at the webcam. 
Speaking of which, the skype conversations held between myself and the entire family every evening since I arrived are much fun. Especially since the Wolverhampton crew is still there, and so webcam conversations are interrupted by Hasan telling me something about ladybirds/quotes from Kung Fu Panda, or Aunty Em /my mum wandering past with baby Ibrahim, who is nothing short of a baby bear. *Melts*
Think I'll go have some soup now. My days have fallen into the routine of eat, revise, iPlayer break, revise, eat, iPlayer break. Now also interspersed with the reading of Empire magazine, which I brought as cheer-up. Oh, and I want to watch the Hurt Locker. 
I'll go now. Back to revision. Never surrender, etc. 

Friday, 1 January 2010

She talks to herself. A lot.

It's a New Year, and I don't feel any different.
Not to sound depressive or anything, but I don't get the huge fuss that surrounds new year... sure, you'll make a resolution, then drink yourself into stupidity til you forget it, then get depressed in the huge anticlimax that is the day after new year's day, and as normal again..? And much as I love fireworks, I can't help thinking that the thousands that they spent on the fireworks for the big countdown in London could have been put to better use... how about matching it, and giving that amount to charity as a New Year gesture?
Another thing that pissed me off was the montage on the BBC- they showed the major events of each year this decade. Good stuff- winning the olympic bid, etc. Serious stuff- 9/11, 7/7. Stars who died. What struck me was that there was no mention of conflicts... it's a year since Gaza was obliterated. If they're going to have moments of silence in their decade montage for Michael Jackson dying, then why not have people remember the conflicts that rocked this decade as well, and people in these zones who are still suffering? I get that they couldn't cover everything, but it just annoys me that there was no mention at all except the obligatory 'oh, and the Iraq war started'. Surely something like this is more important than the first winner of Strictly Come Dancing?
*Sigh*. Yep. Social conscience kicks in, just as everyone's pissed out of their minds.
People keep asking me what my New Year's Resolution is. No different to last year's, I guess. Or the year before. Etc. Generally survive, be of use, avoid breakdowns, not piss anyone off. I think that literally boils down and let live? :)
As for the last decade, I'd have to say that personally, ie me-wise, it was an epic fail. I have high hopes for the next one though, since I'm now at the point where I can hold a conversation and maintain eye contact, can practically look at myself in a mirror, and recognise that being a human pressure cooker is not healthy. In short, the side effects of high school are wearing off. This is always a good thing.
I was thinking, the next time we're celebrating the end of the decade, I'll be almost thirty :| That's a bloody scary thought, considering how this last ten years definitely did not feel like ten years. It's scary to think what could happen (especially if, like me, you constantly run through every possible worst case scenario in your head). By then I could be a doctor. Or I could have failed at the first hurdle and found something completely different to do (English Lit lecturer, specialising in Hamlet sounds oh-so-tempting). Quite honestly though, it doesn't matter- the job will never be anything more than a job, whether it's as a consultant, teacher, whatever. Rather be happy and working for someone than concentrate on climbing the career ladder and have no life. It's never been about the money. Comfortable means a lot of things, but if I'm comfortable, I don't care what I'm doing for a job. Sometimes I think I'm not cut out to be a doctor because I'm not outgoing, personally ambitious, or especially competitive. I just want to be helping, in general, because this would make me happy. The brother tells me I'll change my mind after seven years of slaving away, and I will want to get to the top of my profession. I'll be surprised if I do. But what do I know :| Personality transplants have happened, I guess. I might look back at this in five years and laugh at my green, sheltered, not-yet-disillusioned self.
So there it is. Possibly the most introspective, coherent, and boring, I have been on here. Well, the function of the blog is to organise the filing cabinet that's been set on fire in my head, so I make no apologies for the wild variation in content.
Suppose I'll get some sleep now.Or not. I'm in a thinking mood, in case you didn't notice.