Wednesday, 6 July 2011


Not only did I survive all my exams, I only went and passed them all too! So I'm officially a quarter of the way through on my journey to becoming a doctor!!

I always come out of exams thinking oh that was awful, definitely going to be retaking that. But after my last exam, the spotter, I really convinced myself I was going to have to retake it. I felt like I knew the answer to about 10 of the questions, gave educated guesses on half of the rest, and the remainder we hadn't even been taught so were complete guesses! Luckily everyone else felt exactly the same so I think there must have been some heavy moderation for me to get 60%! The other three exams weren't too bad, I felt like I'd forgotten a lot in the OSCE and messed up a couple of stations but it ended up being my best exam so I just think my standards are too high!!

I've now been back home for a week and a half. Still in my annual adjustment phase of getting used to living with my family again, but I think I'm coming to the end of it...but that may just be as I've been out of the house at work a lot over the past few days. Have done a couple of shifts at the hospice and a couple at the hospital. At one of my hospital shifts the other day I went into theatre with a young girl having a CVP line put in, under the guise of holding her hand and being a familiar face, which I of course did, but I also ended up having the anaesthetist talk me through the procedure at the same time, amazing!! It actually worked out pretty well for the patient as the anaesthetist didn't really explain what she was doing (despite the patient specifically requesting she did!), so I was filling the patient in at the same time :)

Now that the pressure of potentially having to do resits is off, I can enjoy the working every hour I possibly can! I'm hopefully going over to Germany for a few days to visit a flatmate so that'll be something to look forward to. I'll also have 2 weeks break from my family as they're off on holiday, plus I'm moving in with my uncle for a couple of weeks to look after my cousins (as my aunt that died recently was their main carer) I'm sure in no time I'll be heading back up to London with all my things ready to start 3rd year. Going to try not to think about the forthcoming year at uni too much as I fear I'll have a complete freak out about the amount I've got to learn and having to be a spare part on the wards, I need to find some confidence from somewhere! Saying that though, everyone says that 3rd year is a walk in the park compared to the GEP first year, phew.


Sunday, 19 June 2011


Exams start tomorrow and I'm freaking out just a little. I used to get like this back in school but I was a lot better during my degree and have been fine all this year so far; I thought I'd done so many exams that I'd got used to them. But apparently not. It started really badly in bed on Friday night when I felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack (I'm guessing here having never had one!) then when I woke up on Saturday (after a very restless sleepless night) I started feeling nauseous and have ever since. Despite this new-found fear, though, I haven't been cramming that much; I seem to have subconsciously come to the conclusion that I'll never be able to remember 2 years of medicine, hence why I'm blogging right now. So I'm freaking out but doing little about it in the way of revision, great one Faye.

I keep saying to myself that I've passed all the modular exams well so I should be fine to pass these too, right? Well all except for the stupid mini-OSCE in December which I unjustly failed (but that's a whole different rant), resulting in a knocking of OSCE confidence...I wouldn't be surprised if I did something stupid like throw up or start crying on Wednesday! I keep oscillating between thinking I'm sufficiently prepared and will be fine....and thinking oh shit I know nothing, my brain is empty, I'm going to fail! I suppose failing wouldn't be the end of the world as I would be able to retake in would just massively mess up my finances for the next year since I need to work the entire summer just to stay afloat.

I guess a major part of the freaking out is fear of the unknown; maybe after this set of exams I'll be fine? I hope so as I can't go through another 3 years of getting like this!

Right, now I feel suitably rested having showered, eaten dinner and blogged, I'll try and shove a bit more (probably useless as it's always the randomest stuff that comes up) info into my poor overworked brain of mush.


Monday, 23 May 2011

When the unthinkable happens...

I said in a previous blog entry that my aunt was ill and that I wouldn't be able to cope if anything happened to her. Unfortunately that time has come, completely unexpectedly and utterly prematurely. She'd had cancer for 8 years but those who didn't know could never tell and she easily had several years left yet (we'd been planning a big holiday together to Florida next summer). I won't go into details but within the space of an hour she went from getting ready to go to a friends for a BBQ to not being with us any more. It didn't help that the ambulance took 50 minutes to come, but I'm not going into details with that easier as it makes me too angry.

Everyone's just completely shell-shocked, it just doesn't seem real. My uncle is in a bad way - my aunt did everything for him, he doesn't have a clue how to cook, clean, anything. My mum (sister-in-law to my aunt) is lost without her, they used to go shopping and out for lunch several times a week, now she has no one. My cousins seem to be dealing with it remarkably well but I can't help thinking that's partly because their house is constantly full of people and partly because they just don't understand that she's gone forever. Me, I just keep thinking of all the happy memories we have but can't get my head around the fact that there'll never be any more with her. One of my earliest memories is with her when she looked after me when my nan died, talking about heaven as she tried to explain to a 7-year-old what happens when people die. She took me to my very first music concert, she's interwoven into every Christmas and holiday our families have shared, and that's it, there'll be no new memories. I have this constant fear now of who's going to be next...I struggle to sleep when I'm at home as I'm listening out for my family's breathing, every time my phone goes off I'm scared it's my dad telling me someone else has gone. I guess I, and everyone else, just needs time to come to terms with it; time is a healer, as they say.

The funeral is going to be on Friday and I've been asked to read out a poem. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to do it; I'm hoping that if I focus on the page and what I'm doing rather than the 100-or-so sobbing people in front of me I'll be ok. This will be my 3rd funeral in 7 months and I really hope it's my last for a while. After that I'll have Saturday - Tuesday to cram for my last in-course assessment which is on Wednesday. It's unfortunate that everything has happened when it has, as this easily would have been my best module but I guess I'll just have to see how I do. Then it's a mock OSCE on Thursday (which I'm massively screwed for due to complete lack of preparation), a final day of Interprofessional Education on Friday (I won't be sad in the slightest that that's ending) and then 2 weeks of study leave begins...

Re-reading this I can't tell if I've over-shared. May come back tomorrow and edit some of it out...


Monday, 2 May 2011

Nearing the end...sort of

So today is the last day of Easter break before we start our final module tomorrow: Human Development. I've particularly been looking forward to this one as it contains lots of baby-related things! It has a reputation of being a bit of a nightmare though so we shall see how it is! We have 5 weeks of HD then 2 of study leave and then it's 4 days of final exams. So of course I spent the last 2 weeks revising and doing lots of work didn't I? Of course not!! We had the most pointless essay ever to do on Interprofessional Education that I bashed out in a few days (it's so rubbish I'll be surprised if they even bother marking it!) and I wrote up some lecture notes that I ran out of time to do earlier in the year. But other than that I've been taking some much-needed R&R and done a few night shifts at the children's hospice.

Night shifts are a bizarre thing. Before working at the hospice I'd done nightshifts in a hospital where there was lots to be done and patients often woke several times during the night so it was rare that you got to sit down for more than an hour at a time. In the hospice however, there are 4 members of staff (2 nurses, 2 care assistants) for 6 children (usually 8 but 2 bedrooms are closed for renovation work) and on the 3 shifts I did, all 6 children slept all night. There were a few things that needed doing, like a ton of laundry, which I found surprisingly therapeutic, and some filing but apart from that I was just paid to try and stay awake! Although the nightshifts were rediculously easy, I think I much prefer day shifts where you actually get to play with the children rather than spending a couple of sleepy hours with them before and after bed.

Most of the children I've looked after in my time there have been long-term disabled children that stay at the hospice to give their parents/carers some respite; I haven't actually yet looked after any there for end of life care. However, the other night I spent time with a child who was recently diagnosed terminally ill but didn't know (the staff had all been told but the parents hadn't yet told the child); they looked and sounded perfectly healthy which made it difficult to think of them as someone that is dying. The child wasn't particularly young and the way they spoke showed they felt in-control of their condition and had accepted it as long-term; I can't imagine how they're going to take their prognosis. On a happier note though, I looked through the notes of the first little child I looked after and it seems they're in remisison, yay!

I'm off now to go finish unpacking and then enjoy my last day of freedom (well technically it isn't freedom as I have muchos work I should be doing, but we'll forget about that) before I start on the downward spiral towards final exams!


Friday, 1 April 2011

Most. Amazing. Thing. EVER.

Yesterday I watched a baby being born!! And it really was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. It was Obs&Gynae and Paeds day on my hospital placement and I was lucky enough to get put in the room with a mother about to give birth (I'm never lucky!!). She'd been pushing for a long time and wasn't getting anywhere so the Reg came in and assisted with ventouse and had to do an episiotomy (OUCH!). I kept thinking to myself that I should be more grossed out but I wasn't at all; I was just fascinated! Unfortunately I barely got to see baby as I was whisked out to move onto the next thing (we were rotating round different Obstetricsy things), I only just managed to shout my thanks and congratulations to the parents as I left.

In the afternoon we were shown around the neonatal unit and given a crash course in neonatology by one of the consultants and I absolutely loved it. It's definitely something I can see myself doing in the future. Then we finished off with a quick look around the Paeds ward which was really good once we swapped consultants. At first, the one who'd taken us round the neonatal unit was making us ask a mother in the middle of comforting her child being given medication questions about her child...bearing in mind we've never taken the history of an adult patient, so had no clue when it came to Paeds! It was so awkward and luckily the other consultant came and rescued us from out floundering.

In terms of the rest of the course I'm plodding along with Consolidation&Integration not doing as much work as I should be as per usual. We're into April now which makes the exam, which is on the 15th, seem so much closer! It's my birthday on the 13th so the plan is to try and do all my revision before then so I can take my birthday off completely.

Right, off to go and pack now as I'm home for the weekend to see the Mother for Mother's Day...haven't had time to buy a present so my presence will have to be enough!


Saturday, 12 March 2011

Made it to the other side!

I just read over my last blog entry and it wasn't particularly cheerful so hopefully this one will be a bit better! I'm feeling much less stressed now the dreaded Brain and Behaviour exam has been and gone...and it was absolutely awful. But luckily everyone found it the same so I won't be the only one to have done badly, I'm sure!

We're a week into our new module (Consolidation and Integration of Systems) in which each lecture is on a different disease, some of which we've already done so it's not all completely new and daunting, hence the consolidation in the name. I'm enjoying it so far, especially the lecture on heart defects as I was born with a hole in my heart and my brother had major heart problems too. I'm also loving the fact the latest we've finished all week has been 1pm, it's like being a normal student again! This is supposedly so we can do lots of self-directed learning but I've very wisely used the time to go shopping, nap and catch up on TV, bliss!

I finally went on my first home visit on Thursday on my GP placement day. I went with 2 others to visit a 96 year old who still lives on her own in her completely immaculate flat, is completely with it mentally and, although she's had a couple of heart attacks, aside from that is completely healthy (and don't stop her going out for a walk every day). She was a lovely lady to talk to, I can only hope I age as well as her! Our next GP day's theme is the complete opposite of "The Older Person" since it's "Pregnancy and Childbirth" and the fortnight after that it's "The Young Child"...they've definitely left the best two 'til last. Obs&Gynae and Paeds are most definitely on my potential specialities list so I cannot wait for these days, I just hope they live up to my expectations! It's crazy to think I've only got 2 sessions left at the surgery, it's going so quickly and it'll be sad to leave the surgery as they're all so lovely. But...onwards and upwards!


Thursday, 24 February 2011

Just about hanging on in there...

Things aren't particularly peachy for me at the moment. Firstly my current module, Brain and Behaviour, is hard, like really insanely hard. As well as the concepts themselves being difficult to get my head around, there's just so so much to remember. The exam is next Friday and I can't see any chance in me being prepared for it. Secondly, my grandad passed away last Wednesday so I missed uni Weds - Fri to go home, plus I'm missing uni again tomorrow for the funeral. Which means lots of missed lectures plus lots of missed time in which I'd normally be studying equalling a very behind and stressed Faye. I've submitted an extenuating circumstances form and spoken to the GEP coordinator though and she's told me just to do my best under the circumstances so at least that's something.

After B&B's out of the way we dive straight into the next module, Consolidation of Systems, the exam for which is two days after my birthday so that's going to be a quiet one! Then after Easter break (only 2 weeks rather than the usual 4!) we've got 5 weeks of Human Development, then 2 weeks of study leave and then EEK end of year exams!! And then year 1 (and 2 technically) will be over and, providing I pass, I'll be a third year medic!! We're having to put down our preferences for where we want to be next year at the moment...and although they apparently pay no attention to anyone's preferences, it's still seeming an impossible decision right now to know which to put down. I don't think I particularly want to do an out-firm (i.e. living out in Essex for 9 weeks) - I know I'd get really lonely plus I'm looking forward to living in a house again (although that's a whole extra worry for me at the moment as I have no one to live with at the moment but I'm gonna stick my head in the sand with that one and hope it sorts itself out!). But then saying that, teaching on out-firms is meant to be better as there are less students per consultants - there can be up to 15 students per consultant on some of the in-firms apparently so it's a fight to do and see anything. Maybe I just won't fill in the form at all and leave it up to karma...but then I can't moan if I don't like what I get!!

I suppose I should try and sleep soon (although have left my sleeping tablets at uni and I'm incapable of getting to sleep without them, bad times! Note to self - after saying it for months I really must find time to visit my GP soon!) as it's a big day tomorrow. I went to my first funeral just before Christmas (my mum's best friend's who died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma little more than 6 months after being's a cruel, cruel world) and it was horrible. I mean it was a nice service and everything but it was just so sad. I know tomorrow is going to be just as bad. And unless everyone's prayers are anwered it might not be massively long before I'm at another one as my aunt's having a major battle with her cancer at the moment. But I refuse to think about anything happening to her as I won't be able to deal with that.

Anyway this has turned into a bit of an outpouring of everything in my head at the moment...this is what happens when I leave my diary at uni! Good job I don't have the greatest of followings...