Monday, January 28, 2013


The following statement comes with the caveat that perspective is important and everything is relative (all will become clear by the end I hope).

This week has been really quite rubbish.

Monday set the scene. I left nice and early for physio (finally getting my NHS appointment!), was supposed to be there by 8.50 so I left at 7.45 seen as it had snowed. My phone rang on the way, didn't answer it (obviously!), when I parked for physio I had a message telling me that the clinic had been cancelled. Had to be in town (very close to physio!) to sort out paperwork for new job), but I was way too early so I turned straight round and went home again. That took more doing than it should have done 'cos I managed to get stuck in the snow... Anyway. Wasted journey and no physio. This made me grumbly.

Tuesday. New job day. This got off to an equally bad start. A journey that would take 10-15 minutes for most of the day took me almost an hour (which I am reliably informed is excessive, even for rush hour!) so I was late. Turned out not to be a big issue 'cos I had to wait around for a health and safety talk and tour of the fire exits etc. In principle the job was OK. I was conscious that I was involved in work that was actually important (unlike work in the teaching labs where if it went wrong you lost a few marks or started again!) and I didn't want to mess up so I was happy to be given a straight forward (if not tedious) job to do for most of the day. It mainly involved transferring things from one vessel to another, lots and lots of times. Unfortunately, whilst my brain was perfectly happy with this (I was actually starting to enjoy it more than I thought I would!), my arm was not so happy. At the time it was starting to get a bit sore but it wasn't too bad, I was happy to put up with it...but alas things weren't to be - my day of excessive pipetting clearly aggravated something because it has been extra sore since. To the point that I had to speak to my employer about it, and it was decided it was for the best that I didn't go back. So I don't have a new job any more (but still have an annoyingly grumbly arm!).

Wednesday. I'd been waiting for this one for a while - time to see the consultant about my arm! Very impressed with how my consultant dealt with me, I managed to ask everything I wanted to (instead of sitting and nodding when required!), and he gave me answers so it was a productive appointment, even if it didn't have the outcome I was hoping for. It would appear there is nothing more to be done for me so consultant is writing to GP to get me sorted with new painkillers, and although he is not optimistic, he's going to refer me to another consultant, just on the off chance he comes up with something because he knows how much it bothers me, and the impact it may have on the future and stuff...  So yeah. Can't say as I'm thrilled at the prospect of this being as good as it gets! Just have to hope that my new consultant can come up with something, probably won't see him for 2-3 months, but I have met him before (on work experience) so I have faith having seen him in action! 

Right, Thursday. Here's where the perspective comes. I had arranged to spend a morning on ITU with one of the consultant anaesthetists. Obviously can't go into the details because of confidentiality and stuff but it's fair to say I've had a lot more luck than the people who are currently patients there... I was only there for a short time but it was really quite intense. Feel like once again I learnt a lot (and was called a "legend" for finally remembering the percentage of oxygen in air...), patient communication being high up on the list...particularly when discussing end of life type stuff. So this was not a bad morning, in fact it was quite enjoyable for the most part (although I was closer to tears than I'd expected to get at one point!). The rest of Thursday was sorting out the job stuff, which meant some unpleasant conversations.  Oh, and I got a rejection from Southampton so that's one less option for studying medicine!

I thought today (Friday) was going OK, didn't really do much, but then I got a rejection from King's so there we go. What a week. Back to work at the shop over the weekend. I'm looking forward to it - shall be putting this week firmly behind me if I can and trying to get back to "normal".

Having made it through these last few days tonight shall definitely be involving some sort of chocolate. That's definitely allowed because I've been on the turbo trainer today! (Still keeping up my 2 sessions a week, despite little prospect of getting back on a bike properly in the near future!).

Suspect that's enough whinging from me for one week!  

Saturday, January 19, 2013


I'm afraid this is going to be another one of those "wow an awful lot has happened in the last week or so" type of posts...

Firstly - last weeks job interview. That one I said I really wanted. Well I didn't think the interview went badly, although it was very short so I'm not sure I had the chance to get across everything I wanted to, but 2 days later I found out I didn't get the job. Rats.

It'll be OK though right?  Offered 2 more job interviews since (more on those later). I also had my first med school interview. If I end up being lucky enough to get more than 1 offer (and one would definitely be enough to make me very happy!) then this isn't my first choice of uni, so whilst I wanted to give it everything to try and secure myself a place I know it's not the end of the world if I don't get an offer here (especially as there were apparently 1600 applicants, 160 people invited to interview and only 28 places....). It was nearly over before it started though. The small amount of snow wasn't going to cause any problems with the trains but a broken down train on our line did. We were held up for almost an hour in total, which was more time than I had allowed in my journey planning.  Couldn't get through to any one helpful at the uni so just had to turn up and hope for the best.  I'd over allowed time for other parts of the journey, so with a bit of running I was only 20 minutes late. But too late for my interview slot.  Thankfully they had a space in the group an hour later so I still got my interview! I signed something to say I wouldn't go into the details, but it was a very stressful process (8 5 minute interviews...timed with buzzers!), I know a couple of stations went badly but the rest were OK. Don't want to speculate as to whether I'll be in or not.  Just have to wait 4-6 weeks to find out!

Onto Tuesday....I was very excited. Having been volunteering with audits for one consultant anaesthetist in particular I was allowed to go into theatres with him. Despite the fact I didn't see any of the actual surgery going on I feel like I learnt loads being at the anaesthetic end! Whilst some of it was described as useless information I'm trying to remember as much of it as I can as I'm sure a lot of it will come in handy.  Most of the things I was "taught" came from questions, it was really good to feel challenged by something again.

"How do we know this patient's airway isn't obstructed?"
-You can see his chest moving up and down
"Yes, how else?"
-His oxygen saturation hasn't started going down
"Anything else?"
-The mask has a good seal?
"OK, what else can you see that shows us he's breathing?"
-You can see condensation on the mask

There were lots of questions, throughout the whole morning - mainly physiology related. Generally things that could be worked out if you thought about it in the right way as he knows I'm not even a med student yet so haven't actually been taught anything, but it was good nonetheless!  Back next week to see what they do on intensive care...! :)

I had a bit of a wobble after that.  Cancelled the 2 job interviews that I was given. Not entirely sure why - fear of the unknown I suppose! Turns out that wasn't such a bad idea. Been offered a job as an analytical chemist for a month. I nearly didn't take it, but couldn't come up with a good reason why I shouldn't so I start on Tuesday! (I was hoping for a week or so to get myself together and "back in the game" but I'll have to make do with a couple of days!)

They wanted a full week out of me next week, but I'm only doing 2 days (although as of Friday I'll be doing 31 days straight at work (cos of the bike shop too), well with one day off in the middle for a uni interview!) as I'm going to be at the hospital for the other 3 days. Once for my "work experience" on intensive care, once for physio and once to see my surgeon again. Mildly panicking about that, but also panicking about new job so maybe the panicking will cancel each other out!

Hopefully I'll be able to make the most of being given then chance to "break myself in gently" to work, had a fairly quiet day at work today and I'm more than a little bit tired so it's definitely going to be a challenge...

Shall keep you updated where I can!

Monday, January 7, 2013


It's been a bit of an odd week, good odd I should add...

My New Year's resolution was to stop being grumpy.  I realise this was a bit vague, and really setting myself up for failure.  In the first 7 days I think what I have achieved is at least being less grumpy.  I think I've done well - I had a couple of wobbles, because whilst it's been a good few days it has been quite stressful at times! It was commented on at the weekend though...someone who known me for almost 5 years, and therefore knows me pretty well said it was like having "the old Becky back", this someone didn't know that I was making an effort to be more cheerful about things so he wasn't just saying it either.  I class that as a win so far!

So what's been going on then?

Firstly, as I alluded to in my end of year post January is the month where things are changing and moving on for the better and even more things have happened since I wrote that!

I had a mock med school interview, this was in quite a different format to both the interviews I have been invited to (yes both...there has been a second invite!) but I think it was valuable nonetheless. I got to witness 2 other applicants being grilled (and they were an audience for my test-run) either side of my 15 minute questioning.  There quite a lot of questions asked which I hadn't considered before, so that was already helpful, but the general experience and the feedback were also good!  I was nervous, and I thought it had affected me - I felt I struggled to get answers out coherently or in enough detail but both interviewers said actually I did quite well, whilst I was visibly nervous I settled down into the interview and they thought I came across well nonetheless. 

OK, so the following morning I had a job interview (which I had only found out about the day before!).  The situation round this job is  a bit odd so I wasn't sure what to expect, but with my extra confidence from the previous night's practice I think I performed quite well - just remembering to breathe and think, then answer seemed to really help. They said they'll be in touch...

I have *another* job interview tomorrow. This is the one I really want. I think. I know I could do a good job here and hopefully I'll be able to get that across to the interviewer such that they think I am the best candidate!  My new found confidence means I'm actually more nervous about finding the right building than the interview itself (although I'm sure that will change tomorrow morning!).

There has been another interesting development too.  I can't go into the specifics as there is much still to be discussed and confirmed but it's just another option I have for the next 6-9 months. Who'd have thought I'd have so many offers on the table eh? (And it looks like I've got at least 1 more NHS jobs interview coming in my directions if everything else has gone pear shaped!).

OK. Med school interviews. My first one is at Kings, that's a week today. More excitingly I got my invite for Warwick today! It was sent out weeks ago apparently but got lost somewhere (presumably in the same place my Kings one did first time round!). I have been nervously waiting for an invite or a rejection from Warwick and I am very relieved now it's sorted.  That's not for a couple of weeks yet but it's in the diary which is all that matters!  I am very conscious that "the dream" is still quite some distance from being the reality, and there are more than a few hurdles to jump, but every step is important!

So everything really seems to be coming together at last!

That goes some way to explaining why I'm feeling more chirpy than I have been of late, the rest of the credit goes to someone (well not just "someone") on twitter. @ffolliet tweeted me a couple of weeks ago with "No one gets fit whining about it." it was (I think!) a slightly tongue in cheek comment as we were talking about "The Sufferfest" so suffering and pain are all part of the journey!  But it did provide the motivation for me to get up and do a session on the turbo trainer.  I am now aiming to do 2 a week (plus other stuff) and it is going well so far. The concept of a Twitter training partner is a bit odd but if it keeps up going then it can't be a bad thing! 

As well as the turbo training I finally went swimming today. It was "tough" but very glad I did it, and I seem to be putting in even more effort in to physio too (I was already working hard, and my improvements in strength were noted, but it still hurts so there's still work to be done!). So yes, I'm getting back on the exercise bandwagon...not in a New Year's resolution kind of way, just in a "it's about bloody time" kind of way!

I hope to keep "fun" things going to.  A cinema trip shall be required at some point this week!

Sorry. I've waffled on a bit haven't I?  Suppose that's what happens when I don't write anything for a week!  See you soon!