Monday, April 30, 2012


Well April has come to end, you'll be pleased (well you might be anyway) to hear that I'm going to spare you a "review of the month" and instead.

The presentation giving went OK, although I did have to "hide" behind the podium because I was rather shaky.  Really impressed with how much we managed to improve it in the 45 minutes we spent as a group practising (although really it shouldn't have needed that much work at that stage...).  The questions were a bit mean, and I think my lack of organic chemistry knowledge showed through.  However having had to watch 3 other presentations we definitely weren't the worst performing team with the questions (some of them really were harsh!).

Anyway, that's all over, and assuming the 1 piece of missing data which I'm expecting to receive in the next couple of days doesn't change everything, my medicinal chemistry report is also finished.  I look forward to handing that one in!

That means that 80% of my degree is now completed, with 2 exams worth 10% between them and 1 piece of coursework worth 10% remaining.  If I'd done really well up to now that would theoretically mean that I don't need to try very hard (although I think I would anyway!), but that's a bit academic because I'm still hovering somewhat around a 1st class mark so need to do well in these last few assessments to secure it!  No pressure then?

It's fine, I don't think I've quite realised how close the end is yet.  Despite knowing that the first exam is 3 weeks today (in fact this time in 3 weeks I shall be still be sitting there because exams are looooong) I don't think I'm "aware" of it yet if that makes sense.  Anyway, eyes on the prize... (whichever one it may be...)

Today's picture has nothing to do with anything I've talked about thus far, but it does highlight 2 things.
1) The sun was out today.  The forecast suggests it'll be short lived, but it was nice to be reminded of the feel of the sun on your skin!
2) The path was closed, I walked round on the way in to uni (despite numerous amounts of people ignoring it), but then I forgot on the way back and I was too lazy to turn round and walk the other way so ignored the cones.  I didn't die.  I'm not entirely sure why is shut.  Perhaps there was some damage from all the rain!

P.S The gerbils are fine. We have had cuddles (and I have been chewed some more).  Working on Darwin's scaredy-catness by offering him treats.  They also seem to have finally discovered the wooden things I put in there for them to chew.  Just as well because I'm running out of cardboard things!

Sunday, April 29, 2012


I had a lovely night on my own in the house last night - curled up on the sofa in front of the TV in the most part.  They've only just got back (I know this due to the return of doors slamming and the stomping up and down the stairs - they haven't actually said hello!), so I've had a nice day too.

The arm didn't want to play ball today, probably got a bit carried away with the note making yesterday, so I've focussed my efforts on the med chem report (which is due in at some point this week) - it's getting tantalizingly close to being finished - just have a few details to add, some loose ends to tie up and then another half a page of reductive amination to write.  It's looking good though I think, I've deviated a bit from how the example was written but the project that that was based on was quite different so I think my deviation was necessary and hopefully will still gain me lots of marks!  Can't wait to get it done, although I expect it will be early next week that I finally finish it!

Tomorrow is presentation day.  My last ever presentation as a chemistry undergrad.  Can't say as I'm confident.  I know I never am, but as with the first presentation I did with this group we are terribly under-prepared.  I've done my bit, I've been nudging people for a while but as is the student way no one else wants to do any work until the last minute.  I know that my segment is too short as well, but I'll just have to talk slowly and hope for the best.  Really hoping they're nice with the questioning too because despite the reading I've done I suspect there are many gaps in my knowledge (things which I probably should have learnt in first year...).  At least it will all be over soon!

I have done a little bit of revision today, just testing my knowledge of the amino acids.  I will learn them and their syntheses, good practice at being right handed too!

Yes OK, still some work to go there...on the learning and the writing!

I shall dedicate the rest of the blog today (as I expect many posts over the next few weeks) to the gerbils.  They really are good fun to watch, and it's amazing how different they are.  One thing they both share though is a love of chewing, really can't believe how quickly they can get through some card!  Thought I'd let them get to know me a bit today, Ludo is pretty happy at going on my hand and is lovely to handle too, Darwin (as I mentioned yesterday) is more nervous, although I did manage to get him out in the end.  I thought I'd concur this by leaving my hand in the cage and just letting them explore and do whatever they wanted, to let them know that I didn't mean any harm.  Ludo decided that climbing up my sleeve (and then chewing a hole in it...) was a good idea, whilst Darwin found my hand quite tasty.  There was a lot of nibbling, I thought it was best to let him, it was only gentle and I guessed that if I flinched away it would scare him.  He carried on though...working his way round my hand and he did manage to make my thumb bleed.  I won't hold it against him.  Just hope we can make some progress in the next few days,  I expect we probably will and it's just a matter of him settling in and adapting to all the new smells and noises.  He is cute though...


Hoping that next week, as well as bringing an end to this project, will bring some news of appointments.  Not optimistic mind, given I was told it might be 3 months 'til I hear from the pain clinic (but it's OK, it's not like they told me that treating early is important or anything...oh wait...), but I should be hearing from the new consultant (or at least whoever organises his clinics) in the next week or so as I was told that should be within 2 weeks.  Fingers crossed for a magic wand when that one finally comes round!

Should probably mention the weather before I go - it has been really quite wet today hasn't it?  As if we haven't had enough rain in the last week or so... let's hope for some sunshine in the next few days too... :-)

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Once again a reasonably productive day, although I'm definitely behind where I need to be.  Done a lot more than some of my colleagues mind, and I have an excuse to not go any faster!

In an attempt to keep myself happy, I decided that the time had come to replace poor little Ned.  Hadn't entirely planned on buying anything today, but I couldn't resist them when I went in the shop.  So meet Darwin (right) and Ludo (left).

2 8 week old gerbils. They are chewing machines, and have already got through 2 loo roll tubes!  They're settling in well, and have already turned the wheel into their bed.  I've had a little cuddle with them too, although being careful not to rush things.  Ludo already seems quite happy running over my hand in the cage (although when I had him out he was far happier running on my sleeve than me!).  Darwin is a little bit more nervous and timid but is still lovely. 

I fear I have created a bit of a distraction at exactly the wrong time, sitting trying to make notes of the biosynthesis of penicillins and cephalosporins because slightly more difficult when they're right in front of my running about and playing.  I'm hoping it will turn into a positive distraction.  My ability to revise is limited by my arm and not time so I'm sure it won't hurt to have a few more breaks from writing by watching them!

The housemates have all gone down to Hertfordshire for a party (it's the only non-returning housemate's birthday soon).  I was supposed to be going but decided against it.  It's a long way to go for something I probably won't enjoy.  I don't do late nights, or parties in general!  If it was being held here I would have shown my face for a little while and then sloped off but you don't get that option when it's 100 miles away!

Right, I've done too much writing today so I shall stop typing now before I start pulling faces!

Until tomorrow folks...

Friday, April 27, 2012


I wrote a lot yesterday so you probably don't want to read an essay today, and seen as I've been working hard on various chemistry things I don't really fancy writing one today so you're in luck!

My "highly" productive day was fueled by some early morning smarties!

See you tomorrow folks!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Back seeing the GP this morning, hard to stay annoyed 'cos he's such a nice guy (if not a little bit patronising at times) and apparently it was the secretary's fault...

That means my referral is now finally in the process of being sorted.  While I was there I queried the bruise that's still on my elbow from when he "stabbed" me.  It's apparently not a bruise, he went into a wonderful metaphor about chicken skin to explain it.  I'm still chuckling about it.

"Can I have a look it at?, ah yes, that's not really a bruise.  Have you ever seen an uncooked chicken when it's been all plucked?..."

Not sure he's realised I'm a "scientist", and am interested in medicine (despite telling him about the work experience just a couple of minutes before) so do have a vague understanding of things.  Not that I'm complaining, I'd much rather he explained things and makes sure I understand (which he does), than assumes knowledge and leaves me clueless about what's going on!

Just to make today that bit better I also had a dentist appointment.  I spent much time in the waiting room, I was a little bit early and they were running late.  Story of my life!  Did have a little bit of paper work to fill in while I was waiting though...they apparently like to know about medications and stuff (not that I could spell them all...).  Still had enough time sitting there to get nervous though.  

I used to be fine with the dentist, but then our family dentist retired and we had one I really didn't like for a while (wasn't just me, my dad thought she was incompetent too!).  I have to say the dentist up here has been very good, and I'll try and stay with him after uni if I can, he has slightly restored my faith in the profession (although his new hair style was a mistake!), he's a nice enough chap, lovely accent (just as well 'cos he likes the sound of his voice!) and I was rather impressed that he remembered about my arm and asked how I was getting on.  "You're teeth are the least of your worries at the moment then."  Yeah, you could say that!

Thankfully after what can only be described as a thorough check up my teeth are in good shape (glad something is!).

Seems I've got my moneys worth out of the NHS today.  Despite the apparent disorganisedness and many failings I really can't complain.  I've seen a GP for free, and am now waiting to hear back from a clinic where I will see a consultant, again for free (although I was offered a private option!).  I then picked up 2 prescriptions and didn't have to pay a penny and then although I didn't take up much of his time saw a dentist without having to pay too.  Makes letting them off an occasional mistake seem a little more acceptable doesn't it?  

Spent far too much time here today:

And getting rained on (the weather tricked me!)

Really should be getting on with work now.  My presentation (which I'll be giving on Monday but said I'd get done by tomorrow) is kind of done, but I know it's not long enough.  I spent hours (I really did!), reading last night - textbooks, papers and patents trying to get a bit more background information and understanding so that I could add more into the talk.  Didn't find a whole lot more to add, but I do have a slightly better knowledge of the area, which I guess is the point of these exercises.  Might even be useful because one of the reactions I need to talk about was something we learnt this year and therefore might be in an exam!

It was nice to do because it reminded me that chemistry can be interesting.  Sometimes the good stuff gets lost and you become too focussed on assessment.  Then again, it's the assessment that counts.  I've hit a bit of a wall really - I've reached the point in all the bits of ongoing work where I really don't want to do any more (having been rotating around them so I can avoid things I don't want to do!).

Presentation needs lengthening (due Monday).  Med chem report needs a lot of work (due sometime next week).  Biosynthesis notes need finishing (no real deadline but the sooner the better!).  Need to start note making on Catalysis, polymers and surfaces too (may abandon some of the note making seen as I only seem to be managing a few pages a day).  Then I need to actually learn it all!

I'm trying not to think about exams really.  If I don't think about them, and how quickly they are approaching I won't panic.  Too much.  Keeping one eye on the prize though...despite many "shall I/shan't I?" ponderances I'm getting far too excited about medicine!  I suspect the following of people at various stages through their medical lives isn't helping - on the whole everyone from 1st year students right up to long standing consultants all make it sound very appealing, even the complainy tweets sound almost good to me! 

Wow I really have gone on a bit today.  I suppose congratulations are in order if you made it through all that! My arm hurts having typed all that out, ah well..another excuse to delay work for just a little while longer...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


OK, well you may have noticed my mojo seems to have been missing lately, and having said yesterday that I was feeling a lot calmer things inexplicably went a bit downhill, today so far (touch wood) has been better though.

Despite torrential rain my recumbent testing was a success.  Only had a quick spin (on 2 different recumbents), but it was enough for my grin to come back for a little while.  The problem with this is that they are rather expensive... I can dream though right...

Staying on the topic of rain, it really was horrendous.  There were some points on my journey that my wipers just didn't have a fast enough setting.  There were some huuuuge puddles too.  I'm a "safe" driver though and will only use my phone when at the traffic lights...

Progress with work this afternoon hasn't been hugely quick, but there has at least been progress.  I put this down to a bit of perspective and some thought last night.  So as I stood a chance of getting some sleep I made a list of all the things that have bothering me, and causing excess worry/panic and then what I'm going to do about them.  It seems that most of the things are a bit out of my hands, for the time being at least, and it's just a matter of waiting and seeing but I can do that.  No point worrying too much about them.

A couple of things do require action, and in one case this action must be carefully thought out, but again, I can do that.  I think I have a bit of a plan and I shall implement it next week...

I haven't spent 2 and a half years working (reasonably) hard to mess things up now (either by fault of mine or someone else's)!

Fingers crossed my new more positive outlook will last.  (or perhaps I'm just in denial!)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Well, today has (thankfully) been a much calmer day than yesterday.  Although once again I haven't been that productive.  

I have tried.  But I've been easily distracted, particularly when the "answers" are proving difficult to find and so haven't really achieved that much.  Not helped by the fact that every time my brain says "OK let's do some work" my arm says "No!"  *grumble grumble*.  Still, at least my referral might finally get sorted on Thursday (after being delayed again with the phone call yesterday saying they couldn't work out why I might want to see an arm specialist...)

The most positive thing from today is that I have stocked up on revision supplies, so at least I know in the next couple of weeks (ha - as if they'll last that long!) my revision efforts might at least be rewarded...

If anyone wants to offer hugs they would be greatly appreciated at the moment.  As would someone to re-teach me organic chemistry!  Everything (almost) made sense at the time, but looking back over notes from before Christmas isn't proving to be all that helpful (if I'm honest looking back at notes from before Easter isn't either!).  Exams and deadlines are definitely coming around far too quickly for my liking!

*grumble grumble*

Monday, April 23, 2012


Today I seem to have reached (what I hope is) the peak of the "stressed Becky" thing.

A slightly worrying e-mail about exams/coursework (which has since been slightly more sorted), and another phone call from the GP's secretary (further delaying the potential referral to new consultant) combined with lecture notes that don't make sense, as well as the usual things, meant that when I went to make a cup of tea in order to maintain some sort of sanity and my tea bag had a hole in it (and it's not the first split tea bag I've had in the box!) I shed a tear a 2 (or several more than that...).  That's definitely not a disproportionate reaction to a split tea bag right?  Just glad my housemates were all still in bed and didn't witness it!

I then spent over an hour lying on my bed drinking tea, eating crumpets and watching Frasier (it's the only thing I brought with me to watch!).

After spending that time calming down and relaxing a bit the last thing I wanted to do was getting back to work, but needs must. I know I have already done more work for these exams than many people, but I haven't done any where near enough to settle my only worries about them and I know a last minute panic isn't going to work.  Even with the short burst method I've been trying to do up to now I've struggled with work (really not helping my exam worries!).

I have managed to do a bit though.  Including the almost epic synthesis of lysine!

No idea how I'm ever going to learn that, or the equivalent for the other 19 amino acids I need to know (although thankfully lots of them overlap) given that I currently can't even name them all, or draw their structures.  Knowing how the biosynthesis works currently seems miles away!  Especially seen as I've previously learnt things like this purely by writing them down again and again until it's stuck.  Something tells me that won't work now...given how long it took me to write that once and how much it hurt to do it!

A bit more of a break so my arm can recover and then back to it...lots more to do! Argh!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Well I'm back in Nottingham.  The drive up was rather uneventful, although I finally remember to reset my mile-ometer before I set off and discovered the journey is actually just over 60 miles rather than the 50 I've always thought it was (only taken me 2 and a half years...)

4 out of the 5 of us are back in the house now (with 2 of us returning today!), it's nice to be back and today has been full of nice happy things.

A couple of my housemates have been away and greeted me with presents.  The highlight being this:

Which also came with a lego star wars watch!  (I thought it was quite cool although I don't suppose I shall wear it in public!)

The return of another housemate means today has also been full of hugs.  And the 4 of us went to the pub too.

Despite these various good things (which really should have made today a good day) I'm still feeling a bit low :(  Hoping a good nights sleep and perhaps a productive day or 2 will get me back on the right track.

I feel an evening of Frasier watching might be in order too, minimal effort required and normally makes me laugh!

P.S. Blogspot appears to have updated.  Everything has moved - this is distressing! 

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I shan't say much today as I could spend as much time talking about how great some people are as well as the reverse. It's just something recent events have made me think about - the different actions, attitudes and words from various people and how this changes my perception of them.

I just hope that the great people realise how much I appreciate them! (Really I do!)

I'm heading back up to Nottingham tomorrow morning, a week before the end of the holidays. Hoping that a change of scene, and perhaps a few less things going on will give me a bit more inspiration to get on with work as well as perhaps providing a way to get me back to my usual smiley self!

Today's photo is a bit of a cop out as I haven't really done anything today. Just something I have in my room, bought it on holiday a few years ago 'cos it made me smile!

Friday, April 20, 2012


Keep your head up, keep your heart strong.

Keep your mind set in your ways, keep your heart strong.

Been listening to this song a fair bit recently, even more so today. It serves as a reminder to try and stay positive.

Slightly struggling with that today mind, somehow seeing something which you already know written out in black and white makes it seem a lot more real. Had a rather long letter from my consultant today summarising what we talked about on Monday. It's left me feeling less than happy. I'll be alright, 'cos I always am, and as I've said before I know things could be a lot worse but I think it'll take a while to sink in.

It must be bad because I don't even fancy consuming vast quantities of ice cream. Maybe getting back to revision will take my mind off it and cheer me up a bit. Yeah right!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I suppose I should start by updating you on the referral to new consultant progress.

I decided to ring them back at lunchtime today, just so I know what's going on. Had to wait to be rang back by the appropriate secretary (OK, lunchtime probably wasn't the best time to ring!). It seems the message I left on Tuesday got lost. And he's not in this afternoon. So he might be able to sort it out tomorrow instead. If I'm lucky!

My plan to get it sorted by him (my official GP, but not the one I've been seeing recently) because I thought it would be quicker than waiting for the one who I've actually been seeing to come back from his holiday (think he's back next week anway) has some what failed.

Will see what they say tomorrow if not I was going to be making an appointment in the next couple of weeks anyway 'cos he said he's going to try acupuncture to help once I'm back after Easter, and I need more drugs soon :P

Why are things so unnecessarily complicated sometimes?

On the subject of unnecessarily complicated things - revision. I'd be going much faster if these notes (the handout we were given rather than any notes I've actually made) were organised in such a way that I could follow the mechanisms and work out what's actually going on! Slowed down further by the fact that hand writing seems to be the only to efficiently get through the various syntheses (I did try it on the computer but it takes *ages* and far more patience than I have going spare!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Was almost going to write about having a really productive day today, then I realised I haven't really done *that* much work, and it's a really insignificant amount compared to what is left to be done. Slightly panicking now. Argh!

Logic says I should stop writing and get back to work, but I probably needed the break anyway!

Been waiting all day for a phone call from the GP about my referral, haven't heard anything. I don't know it it's because he deciphered the message and didn't need to speak to me, if he's just been too busy or if he isn't going to do it. Might ring them back tomorrow.... or just wait until the next time I'm there (which I expect will be next week anyway!), cos I don't like phoning. Again - panic!

I did at least manage to sort out the posting of my old frame today. Despite getting soaked on the 10m dash to the car! Rather than finding an appropriate box I used almost an entire roll of parcel tape and constructed one. Only problem was it wouldn't stand up!

OK. I'll stop now. Really ought to get back to doing useful things.

Or more likely, just panicking and flapping but not actually doing anything!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Despite waking up rather grumpy this morning you'll be pleased to hear I am a bit happier now than yesterday!

I went out for coffee with some friends this morning, as did getting my "annual haircut" but it's actually because I heard back from the consultant today. Part of me was expecting him to just ignore the e-mail (to be honest I wasn't sure if getting in touch with him that way was the best idea), but he replied, and it came across in a friendly way too.

It would appear that he's happy to see me (although he's not sure if he'll be able to significantly help), so I've just got to wait for my GP to officially refer me. I rang them this afternoon, and it took a lot of explaining to the receptionist what I actually wanted but she's going to pass the message on for me and I'm expecting a call in the morning from an actual GP where I'll have to explain it again. No idea how long I'll have to wait for an appointment, and I'm not sure if it will actually help but it means I can at least be a bit more optimistic about things!

Going about things this was has taught me something. However great the NHS is, free care for everyone regardless of finances etc. is that all is not equal. I'm not paying to go private (although I'd maybe be tempted if I could afford it!), but just because I did some work experience and got chatting to a consultant means I can name him and get referred to him by my GP. My consultant (who isn't really my consultant any more) didn't seem overly keen on me getting a second opinion and he certainly wasn't going to offer it to me without any prompting. This means, although theoretically everyone should be getting the same standard of care, because I now happen to "know" a consultant, and have made a bit more of a fuss than I usually would, I am getting to see someone else. There may be many other people out there who can't do this, because they don't have a named consultant to get referred to, or they don't want to make a fuss and get it sorted.

As I see it, it's not fair. But that's the way it is, and with the proposed NHS reforms (which have been remarkably well kept out of the public eye) it's only going to get worse and I hate to think about what's going to happen in the future.

Sorry rant over. I don't normally do pictures of me. But I thought I should show off my new hair cut given the last time I went to the hair dressers was last June. My head feels so much lighter now!
(please excuse the awful photo!)

Right. I need to get back to work. I've been having a bit of a panic because I've always revised by making notes and then when I've made notes I do exam questions and tend to just repeatedly write down answers until I remember them. This is definitely not going to work this time so I'm on the hunt for new revision methods!

Monday, April 16, 2012


I knew that it probably wouldn't but the magic didn't come this morning. Had rather a long chat with my consultant (no wonder he's always late!), to discuss everything. To cut a long story short he says there's nothing more he can do for me.

It sounds like my nerves were in some way damaged during the surgery (the nerves causing problems after the original accident are apparently purely motor function) and are now sending the wrong signals hence my pain. He's going to refer me to the pain management team and then it's just a case of hoping that it fixes itself.

In the mean time I'm getting in touch with the consultant from last week, I feel the opinion of someone else is important, and I think being from a different background he'll be able to look at things from a different angle and therefore perhaps come up with something previously missed. Well I hope so anyway (not even sure I'll be able to see him yet!). So fingers crossed things get sorted! It gives me some reason to be optimistic anyway.

This has led to a bit of a grumpy day, I've not managed to get much work done...have made notes on a few slides from 1 lecture and that's it because my heart just isn't in it today! Meeting with friends and getting my hair cut tomorrow but hopefully I'll be able to get some work fitted in too!

In a vague attempt to cheer up a bit, and prove to myself that I'll be alright I went out on my bike, took my dad too. In a previous life we'd have gone for a ride *around* the reservoir, rather than just there and back but that definitely wasn't going to happen today. 2.76 miles is the furthest I've ridden in a long time (and being home now it had a bigger hill!), and don't I know it. Despite the fact it hurt (arm not legs!), I'm glad I got out. Have at least cleared my head a bit now.

2012 total: 46.92 miles (given that many people are aiming to get 1000 miles this month alone that's a bit pathetic isn't it?)

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Had a busy Sunday - first we were off to visit the grandparents who provided sausage rolls and chocolate cake before we headed off to my brother's football match.

Let me assure you that it was really cold. And windy. And there was rain and hail. Although the sun did come out for a while too. On the plus side his team won 2-0 (much to the dislike of the other team who were rather vocal about their frustrations...).

I took the camera again to play with, figured I need the practice with action shots if I'm hoping to get some good cycling pictures at a few races this summer. Did manage to get a few half-decent shots today, although I gave up midway through the first half 'cos my arm was giving me "gyp" (as my dad would say...).

Here's a couple of the pictures:

I'm not sure what it is about it, but I really like this shot. It was a bit of an accident if I'm honest, but it really caught my eye when I was initially going through them. No one else seems to be convinced though!
And a couple of proper action shots...

I think this one highlights just how competitive the game was!
I think it's safe to say that there is much work to be done with my photography skills, but I enjoy it and I'm sure I'm getting better!

Right - tomorrow is the big day. First time seeing my consultant in 6 months. Not sure entirely what I'm hoping for given that I've seen a few people in the last few months and none have really been able to help- I'm pretty sure the options are physio (tried that and was told I'm not ready for physio!), maybe something surgical (not very keen on that idea!) or continuing with pain management (fine in the short term, but again something I'm not very keen on).

Some sort of magic hand waving would suit me rather nicely but something tells me that's not going to happen! But I can dream right? Would make a change from dreaming about cycling which has oddly found its way in to my head while I'm asleep....turns out I can ride up big mountains really fast (yeah...I wish!).

My friend's offered to take me to save me driving there, and to give me a bit of moral support so I'm sure I'll be fine! Shall let you know how it goes...

That'll do from me for now. I was contemplating doing some biosynthesis revision (oddly that's the topic I'm feeling most motivated about!), but that would require writing and I don't fancy it. Instead I'm going to turn my hand to teaching as my brother is in dire need of a crash course in algebra!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Strange one today.

My head doesn't want to play the game. I'll be 'reet though.

Took the dogs out for a walk in the sunshine with my dad, always makes me smile. Dobby walked into a bollard 'cos he wasn't looking where he was going and Barnaby, despite being very tired after a long walk on 3 legs, was very proud of himself!

He didn't want to give up his bird wing!

In other news not only have I managed another 2 hours of lecture listening (only 4 to go now!), I've finished my lab report. Well I think so anyway, don't want to submit in case I've done something wrong, I'll probably send it off later today though, then I don't have to worry about it. Just the med chem report to go now! And I can't finish that one yet 'cos we don't have all the data back.

Not much else to report so I'll get back to my ponderances...

Friday, April 13, 2012


I bought some running shoes today. And went running. Well I tried anyway.

Thought I'd take one of the dogs with me but didn't take into account his silliness. He has a tendency to get *very* nervous about silly things (he was a rescue dog, don't think the first few months of his life were very good :( ).

As he was on his own, without his "big brother" looking after him he wasn't keen on running, so I went slowly, then he decided he wasn't keen on walking either. Thought I'd try the usual tricks (not the first time I've had this problem!), but he was wise to me today.

He picked up the handle to his lead (which I'd let go to show him I wasn't going to force him to come), and he turned round and starting trotting back in the direction of the car. It was rather annoying, and a little bit embarrassing 'cos apparently I picked peak dog walking time, but it has to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen and this picture really doesn't it justice!

Eventually I did manage to coax him to come, all be it a bit of a slow run (and there were a few stops on the way!). I did about 3/4 of a mile and then turned round to come back, funnily enough Dobby was more amiable to the idea of running back towards the car so managed to run at my pace for a little while (although being a bit more unfit than I was hoping I was glad of his stops on the way back!).

Think I have a lot of work to do if I'm going to get "good" at running. I shall give it a go though, nice to be back out in the countryside where I belong.

Although I did have to fashion a bit of a sling out of the dog lead when I was running 'cos although better than handlebar holding the arm swinging isn't all that great either. Possibly scuppered my chances of doing much work tonight (and so much to do - argh!). At least I'm seeing my consultant after the weekend - and if he can't help me I've got another one lined up to have a look!

Here's one more picture of the dog, just before he pounced on me!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I definitely didn't nearly forget to write a blog today!

I've been very busy today, I managed just over an hour of work this morning (going over surface chemistry notes) before getting a bit distracted and getting some other jobs done. Since coming back home again I have been job hunting!

Most of the jobs I've found I've been very under qualified for but 2 have stood out.

1 of which I have now sent off a CV and covering letter to (never had to write a covering letter before!), it's 200 miles north but looks like a great opportunity as they're not requiring experience (which is very unusual). Not going to get my hopes up as I know there are lots and lots of people (most of whom will be much better than me) looking for a job at the moment! Still, feels like I've made a big step. Helps with the whole "deciding my future" thing too.

The other job is many many miles further south. It's a bit different. I've started filling out the application, but with the deadline not until Sunday I'm definitely going to think hard about it! 6 months training in Cambridge followed by 12 months in Antarctica! It'd be a big change, and a big commitment but now would be the perfect time for me to do something like this given I'll be fresh out of university and won't have settled down so I'll be free to go off and have an adventure. I have no doubt that it'd be an amazing experience! (Although again, I expect there will be many people more qualified than me applying!).

So yes, exciting times! It has just about distracted me from thoughts of theatre, it would appear that yesterday made more of an impression than I thought!

Anyway, I'm going to stop now. I've done too much computering today and my arm is sore and I've got over 60 miles to drive tomorrow (I'm playing taxi for the rest of the family!).

Today's photo. Might not have been ridden for a while, but I'm still thinking about bike (well one of them) has new stickers!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Rather unexpectedly today turned into my last day of volunteering with the audit team. Friday was looking like a bit of a no go anyway due to lots of absences and a quiet list, but I had a chat with a couple of people in the department and we decided it was best for me to have tomorrow off too, given that I've been working hard for 2 and a half years to get this chemistry degree and it has to take priority in the last couple of months if I'm going to get the best out of it!

Today though, has been a great day. One of the theatre staff (she's some sort of specialist/senior nurse) took the time to explain procedures to me and make sure I had a good view of what was going on so it was really interesting. Also got into a conversation with her about bikes - turns out her and the scary consultant from last week (who I was back with today, and he isn't that scary!) had been in the shop that I work in a couple of weeks ago getting new bikes!

We had a good chat about various cycling related things, and of course the subject of my crash came up! Was very impressed with the consultant who managed to ascertain from the slight red mark around my elbow that I'd had a steroid injection (despite that being a couple of months ago!), it seems that if my consultant can't help me when I go back next week (I'm on the borders of his speciality) this consultant might be able to have a look at me and see if there's anything he can do instead (nice to know I'm not being given up on!). They've also suggested me as a case to be used in a junior doctor teaching session, because apparently I'm "interesting"!

But anyway, yes, a really great day. Definitely got me excited about the prospect of being a med student!
Now back to uni work. Have a few things I need to get done over the next few days as well as work but hopefully I can catch up a bit now I'm done at the hospital, although I'm sure the arm will slow me down anyway!

I have nearly got my lab report done, when that's out of the way it's "just" my med chem report, presentation and then revision left to be done! Oh dear. That's lots of work! (panic!)

I best get on with it then...

P.S. Wasn't the sky awesome today? Wish I'd stopped on the drive home for a photo!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I'm not sure I even remember feeling quite this tired before. Not only can I barely keep my eyes open my whole body aches!

I guess that's what a bank holiday weekend working in a bike shop followed by many hours standing in theatre with a lead apron on will do to you (even the med student got a stool!).

I still have the same fascination with medicine, although have slightly lost my enthusiasm for this audit giving that despite the fact what's going on might actually be quite cool (i.e. screwing/plating various bones) you don't get to see much unless you're a real med student!

I have had lots of time for thinking today, much of which I'm sure would make a good blog post but it shall have to come later because I'm rather struggling at the moment. Words aren't working and nor is my arm so I shall stop rambling now!

Today's picture is the scene that greeted me this morning...after 3 days in my job at the bike shop which does involve going outside, with grotty weather, today, with little prospect of getting to see the outside world for 8 hours...

Monday, April 9, 2012


Unfortunately work is taking over my time. Much to be done. Not enough time. Panic!

Despite being tired, sore and stressed about work I'm looking forward to tomorrow - observing (and auditing) in the main theatres so will hopefully see some interesting stuff (which hopefully won't make me feel ill!).

Should make tomorrow's post a bit more interesting that today (and the last few day's too!)

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Not much to report today on account of the fact I've been at work all day and it was pretty quiet. Did have one drama mind, one of my colleagues had an accident with some scissors and there was a lot of blood. Whilst waiting for his wife to pick him up and drive him to A&E he was left in the care of "doctor" Becky (me). He popped back in later in the afternoon to pick up his stuff and he seemed alright thankfully!

Knackered when I got back (despite it not being a hugely busy day!). Really did enjoy getting my feet up when I got home!
Just one more day in the shop tomorrow. I'll have to try harder tomorrow to keep my arm out of harms way tomorrow. Feeling pretty sore after 2 days :-(

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Back working at the bike shop today. It was a bit of a quiet one (rubbish weather!) and I expect the next 2 days will go in much the same way. Nice to be back though!

I should probably learn that lifting of bikes, bike boxes and others such heavy things is a bad idea (although undoubtedly I'll end up doing the same thing again!). Feeling a bit broken now though (seems to be a recurring theme!).

Shan't say anymore today because a) I haven't really done anything exciting and b) I need to get my work done. Too much to do, not enough time (or motivation!).

Friday, April 6, 2012


I want to start today's post with something that I forgot to mention the other day, relating to my work experience/volunteering, although the thought has some what developed now!

Having now officially seen medicine from the other side it has got me a lot more excited about it! I still need to do a lot of thinking because getting there is going to be a lot of hard work (physically, intellectually and emotionally I imagine), not to mention the financial implications of following the path. I'll work it out eventually!

I'm now really looking forward to my week of shadowing work at the end of June as this will allow me to see more areas, I found myself fascinated in the theatres by what was going on but at the same time there were many questions which were remaining unanswered because being there to do a specific audit means that's all I got to see. I'm really interested to see more of the before and after the surgery - all the patients were asleep by the time I saw them, and I only saw 1 awake at the end (and that was only just awake!) - so I'd like to see more of the process.

At this point I should clarify although medicine excites me and it was really great to see I do understand that it is not a good time for the patients (and having been on the side of it I do understand), and I'd much prefer it if no one ever needed to see a doctor! Just seeing the surgery, and in several cases on Wednesday I never even saw the patient from under the drapes, means it's easy to stay emotionally unattached. In fact I found that easier than pulling of records, particularly when pulling a file of a young child (it's bad enough that they're in hospital at all) but to see the thickness of some of the files, you know that they must be (or have been) very poorly indeed and have spent a lot of time in hospitals. It just makes you think.

Sorry I'll stop talking about it now!

Onto slightly less exciting matters - today is my last day off for 7 days (have 3 days at the bike shop and then 4 in the hospital) so making the most of the time to get some work done seen as exams are looming. My aim is to be as close to exam ready as I can be by then end of the holidays and then the remaining 3 weeks can be spent keeping the knowledge in my head, rather than getting it there. I'm very conscious of needing to do well in these exams (and coursework in some cases 'cos I'm broken!).

Have been reasonably productive so far (have managed to make notes on 1 of the remaining 3 polymers lectures), despite distractions from cycling on TV and of course from the dogs. They're too lovely to leave along for too long and always want a cuddle! (also distracted by thoughts of wanting a new pet having been to the pet shop yesterday, I miss having Ned around...not sure what I want to get though...).

Today's picture is therefore dogs!

Pretty sure you've seem them before, but here's Barnaby - an almost 11 year old springer with less than the average number of legs! Still a bit mad, but now he's getting older he's happy to lie down and have a cuddle instead of running around all the time!

And Dobby, a much younger Cocker Spaniel. Totally nuts. Wouldn't have him any other way though, he's stupidly quick but very soppy. Loves a cuddle and if you don't satisfy his cuddling desires he'll use his head to nudge you until you do!
Very rare to catch him sitting still!

Despite reasonable productivity so far I expect it'll slow down pretty rapidly now. I've already been hit by sore armness (wonder how I'll get on in the shop with the arm...). I'll do my best though. Medicine won't happen if I don't get good enough marks now!

So until tomorrow, goodbye!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Thanks again immune system, I really appreciate the runny/blocked nose, aching head, sore throat and blocked sinuses.

I'm sure they loved me coughing and sneezing in the cinema, took my brother to see Pirates: An Adventure with Scientists, I say I took him, I more insisted that he came so I didn't have to sit on my own!

Also had a trip to the pet shop (not sure they appreciated me there either!), spent far too long cooing over creatures of all sorts - hamsters, mice, rats, rabbits, ducks, hens, tortoises, lizards (no cooing over the spiders!). They also had a very cool parrot:

Am now feeling a little bit dead though. Not sure what to do given that the "good" cold remedies with decongestant (phenylephrine) in are all paracetamol products, so can't be taken with cocodamol so I have to choose between relieving sore arm-ness and relieving some of the cold symptoms darnit. Suggestions welcome here! .

Or alternatively once I've had dinner I could curl up in bed (with a vague intention of doing some work from under the duvet but probably sleeping or watching a film instead!)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Well, still feeling a bit rough this morning but armed with cough sweets amongst my usual armoury of drugs off I went to work! Somehow I avoided the rain (it chucked it down on the drive in but stayed dry for my walk from the car!). We had a few things in the office to sort out first but then it was down to theatres. I was a bit apprehensive because I didn't know how I'd react in a theatre situation, it's not something you ever experience in "normal" life.

The thing that struck me first, perhaps surprisingly, was the theatre culture, everybody (except me!) has their place and there are certain routines which must be followed. For example the first procedure we watched (a knee arthroscopy) the theatre manager who was looking after us took us in and asked the registrar if she could speak to Mr. X (the consultant) and got permission, she was always referred to as "sister".

I just tried to keep out of the way, especially when I was put in the theatre with the "scary" consultant on my own in the afternoon! I really enjoyed the experience, most of the procedures we were watching were arthroscopies (shoulder and knee), one of these was quite cool 'cos the patient had a shoulder replacement previously so this could be seen with the camera!

I also got to watch a knee replacement (basically from start to finish). Was really interesting to watch, could see a lot more and understand what was going on better than with the arthroscopies (although perhaps not the best thing to watch before lunch!). I was already pretty keen on doing medicine but today has encouraged me more, not sure whether I'd necessarily want to be a surgeon but it's got me thinking about just how awesome modern medicine really is. Just hope I get in to be able to study it!

Despite the awesomeness it was rather odd, seeing it from this side. Especially when seeing the end of a surgery on someones arm, just a bit weird to see. Hard to describe why though! Just hope I don't bump into my consultant next week (especially seen as I'm seeing him the following week to deliver the bad news that I'm not fixed!).

Here's me dressed up ready to go into theatre (excuse the rubbish photo!)
More good news is that due to the bank holidays, and the fact that everyone seems to be taking tomorrow off, I don't have to go in again until Tuesday. Means I have a couple of days to relax, and to get some work done before a bank holiday weekend in the bike shop! Also means just 4 days in the theatres next week (hopefully seeing the main theatres at some point as well as the ortho ones), depending how we get on I may well extend my volunteering period 'cos I think this will prove to be invaluable experience!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Woke up this morning feeling a bit rough! (despite having gone to bed at half 8 cos I was cream crackered!). I briefly contemplated phoning in and saying I wasn't going to turn up to "work" today but I figured I ought to go in if I could. So off I went...

We spent the first half an hour or so discussing plans for the audit we'll be doing, as they've now started to decide on the official questions and then off to the medical records department (we got there and back without getting lost!), spent the morning pulling records for clinics next week (and the week after due to the bank holiday). If I'd stayed long enough I expect I might have had to find my own file given that I'm due back in just under a fortnight!). Having got to the end of the pile just after 12 (and seen as I'd filled up my trolley!) that was lunchtime.

I wimped out and went home rather than spending the afternoon back in medical records. It's not a brilliant job for someone with a sore arm and that combined with the fact I wasn't feeling any better (my voice is slowly disappearing too...) I nipped back up to the office and they said it was OK so off home I went!

Before leaving I was filled on on the plans for tomorrow, as the audit involves lots of theatre time and neither myself or the other volunteer has any experience in a theatre we're going to be getting out first taste of it tomorrow (hopefully!), once they've taught us about scrubbing in and what not we'll be observing in the orthopaedic theatres of the hospital. Nothing like a gentle introduction...if anything is going to make either of us queasy/faint I expect orthopaedics might be it! Hopefully I will emerge from the other side without issue! Assuming they let me in anyway, not sure they'll appreciate me coughing and spluttering everywhere in their nice sterile environment (especially with a patient on the table!), fingers crossed even if I don't feel 100% tomorrow my cough has gone!

I have been reasonably productive since I've been back, got a chunk of my lab report done and after a few missed calls managed to sort out the phone call about exams. Have I mentioned I don't like talking on the phone? Anyway, that's now sorted, or at least more sorted than it was. People having already disappeared from uni for Easter means it's a bit tricky for him to organise much more but the plans are there so all is good (I hope). I really need to get going with proper revision!

Today's photo? Someone has been in my room while I was working this morning...

Monday, April 2, 2012


I survived!

As predicted the early morning was difficult (although I can leave later tomorrow - yay!), and me being me I couldn't manage breakfast (or much lunch for that matter!), but I've actually had an alright day. Spent the morning doing

"induction" things and an e-learning module of confidentially and found out a bit more about the audit project which I'll be starting next week. The project itself doesn't seem overly interesting (but I don't think it was ever going to be!), but due to it's nature I should get to spend some time in the theatres next week! (maybe a tad excited about wearing scrubs now!)

After a 2 hour lunch break (induction finished quickly and we weren't needed until 2!) it was off to the records office. This seemed very daunting. 250,000 records all organised in what seems like chaos, but actually - once you learn the system it's OK! Wouldn't go as far as to say I enjoyed finding a list of records from every corner of the department but it was still quite good (and I was remarkably efficient!). This has potential to be a summer job (that I might actually get paid for!), back there for most of tomorrow I think so I'll see how I feel about it then (another day of it might put me off!).

The good thing about it is that as a volunteer they are acknowledging that we're really there to help them (despite the fact they've spent a lot of time helping us and we haven't accomplished a whole lot yet!), it does take the pressure off a bit though, so if I feel like I'm dying next week I can have a day off, and equally if I'm really enjoying (as long as I can fit in uni work somewhere) I can carry on helping them for longer as I'm only officially doing 2 weeks!

Anyway, back again tomorrow!

I've been a bit lazy with my photo today, so here's me looking vaguely smart! (Rest assured I'm now back to the usual jumper/jeans combo!)
In other news - you may or may not be aware that I'm in the process of sorting out my summer exams (once again not going to go into huge detail here - sorry), the powers that be were going to try and contact me by Friday (the end of term) and the didn't so I e-mailed him in my lunch break today just to get an update. He now wants to speak to me on the phone. This worries me for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I just generally don't like speaking on the phone, I've got a lot better at it but I still don't like it. Another issue is the fact that my voice seems to be slowly abandoning me which may prove to be problematic given that hand gestures or written words don't travel well over the phone! Plus it means I'm probably (I don't actually know what he's going to say!) going to have to do the whole asking for help/admitting brokenness thing. I don't know why but I just don't like doing it, I tend to struggle on when I can...

Anyway, that's probably enough waffling from me! Shall update you as usual tomorrow!