About Me

Larbert, Scotland, United Kingdom

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Yesterday was Comms skills, and despite Faculty knowing that there are only 5 roles per session, and only 4 sessions through the year, they put 6 people in each group!

Because I as off ill for our introductory session, I didn't have a role yesterday, so I watched the other 5 - who were really quite good, and tried to give useful comments in the spirit of our peer support curriculum.

I also noticed that faculty have been out spending money again. Not only do we have 3 plasma screens around the place with a list of what lectures / tutorials etc are taking place in which areas of the building each day, but we now have plasma screens in the Comms Skills rooms.

Until now, the camera / mic in the Comms Skills consulting room have been linked through to a small 24" TV/Video combi unit in the 'group' room next door. Soon though faculty wants us to move to a DVD based system. The idea is that each student will be able to record each consultation onto DVD for review later. In most rooms the DVD recorder's are in place, but in their wisdom, faculty have also purchased a 48" plasma/LCD screen (I can't tell which as it still had a cover on it) for each room.

My issues with it are:

a) why could the DVD recorder not just be hooked into the existing TV
b) how much are the plasma screens costing - my guess is about £8k for them all
c) if students are expected to record the stuff onto DVD, then the DVD will have to be finalised in that machine before it will play on any other machine, so this will be a 'cost' of one DVDR per session.
d) This outlay is despite the same department saying that copying all the Clinical Skills instruction videos onto DVD for students would cost too much.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Naval gazing.....

No, not a blog about reflective writing... but about the launch of a ship. On Tuesday, HMS Diamond was launched from BAE Systems over at Govan, so butcher Boy and I had agreed to go and watch it, as a way to fill a quiet damp November Tuesday.

We were a bit late getting organised and walking down from the nearest train station, so we didn't make it to the optimum viewing area (as recommended by the folk over at Hidden Glasgow) down at Glasgow Harbour. Sadly we couldn't persuade the viewing agents for the flats that we really wanted to look at a Penthouse apartment with a good view of the river. So we stood at the back of the crowd on the boardwalk, next to the Policemen and Council staff, all in their hi-viz jackets (who I'm sure were there in the interest of public safety and crowd control).

There were a few fireworks, then the national anthem, before the ship started to slide her way slowly backwards down the slipway and into the river, before some more fireworks were set off.

Then the rain seemed to get heavier, so we made a beeline back to Partick to the railway station, and home. All in all, a interesting hour out from studying.

According to Mum & Dad someone took me as a small child down to Swan Hunter back home to see the launch of a naval boat - wiki suggests either 1982 0r 1992 as the years, but since I don't remember it, I think it was 1982 to see HMS York. The logic of 1992 would be that one of the launches was HMS Northumberland, so we might have gone with school?

Flying through term...

Well, it's Wednesday already. Which bizarrely makes me 66% through my Uni week, despite having Tuesday totally free this week (it is the time when my quarter of the year are on Community Clinical Practice).

Monday was nice - Clinical Practice in Hospital in the morning, followed by our PBL debrief/briefing. I was shattered and slept very badly on Sunday night, so I was on the black coffee - 2 before Uni, one at coffee time and a 4th before PBL. We only examined / history-ed one patient in the hospital, and she was a confused old lady who had broken glasses and had no teeth, and was slightly deaf. We managed to get a fairly good story along the way, covering most of the main points. We missed a few social factors about her home care and family support, but managed ok on the medical bits I think.

Sadly I didn't eat breakfast, so I was full of nice black coffee all day, which probably made me feel worse. I headed back down to Uni to do some printing then met Butcher Boy for lunch.
He'd been working all day, so we both had lunch about 3pm.

Then I headed home to complete some more of my anatomy colouring book, and also to read through today's communication skills scenario's.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hedgehog impressions

Inspired by a picture of the blu one and her rugby team-mates trying to do hedgehog impressions using only their hands (i.e. just your own body - no props or costumes), which she posted on facebook, I have spent 15 minutes trying to do the same. This has proved two things:
  1. You need one hand to do the extended nose, and that only leaves one to represent the spines
  2. Their impressions were actually quite good.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Roll up, roll up, Bargains to be had

One of the issues with a December birthday is the fact that any gifts come in one month. This means that you have spent them all by November. Due to the English LEA Student Loans system paying out on a termly basis for me (pre 2006 entrant) as opposed to the new monthly system which applies in Scotland and to new entrants in England, I also got my Student Loan at the end of September.

Thus November is always a bad month for me financially, and I;m having fun at the moment trying to find things to sell on Ebay / Amazon.

Examples include a textbook which I owned but then was sent for review purposes by a publisher (So as not to break the rules, i am selling my copy, not the one that the publisher sent me.) and some DVD's. Sadly I tend to break the CD cases so none of them for sale...actually i can't think of anyone who'd want to buy my CD collection... Anyway, this is how I'm spending my Saturday evening!

Please note he is glued to the bed.....

Friday was our Clinical Skills session- the clinical skills course is a random combination of sessions which runs through 3rd Year, with no regular pattern, or real connection to current academic or clinical practice topics.

This one was loosely themed around Cardiovascular examination technique, valvular disease and an introduction to Harvey.

We were introduced to Harvey as "The chap in the bed next door with no legs, and a bad haircut." He is also glued to the bed (so you can't really examine his hands), at a fixed angle (so you can't make him sit at 45 degrees) making him somewhat useless for the finer points of cardiovascular examination.

Harvey can mimic several types of heart condition, and has a nice chart showing the condition you want and the magic code you have to type into him to get it. He/it then can move their apex beat and heart sounds within the chest, though these at any time are only audible if you hold the stethescope directly above the area - there is no sense of it radiating or getting louder as you get closer. Also His rib interspaces are well marked out with dirty fingerprints!

Still I feel sure that I will be back to see Harvey again this year to listen and try to understand valve disease.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Crap week.

This week is very very very crap.....
  • No money for the next ten days - I can get food cos that comes from different account (makes it sound like I have loads) but no spending money except VISA.
  • People owing money - my sister, an a job I did 2 months ago....
  • Doing jobs for people and just getting shouted at in return.
  • Feeling lethargic and tired all week.
  • Sleeping in 2 days this week and missing morning Uni - had to send grovelling emails in both. cases
  • Can't get to sleep properly at night and sleeping poorly.
  • Not seeing friends all week due to a combination of 1 & 4.
  • It's cold, dark, and raining all week. What happened to the lovely sunshine and clear weather we had las t week.
Still only 2 half days in Uni to go, then the weekend. Maybe I can catch up with everything over the weekend and feel better by next Monday?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I see numbers, floating before my very eyes

Today I was helping out the people who run the primary groups associated with DIMe and auditing their account which takes in donations, children's camp fees etc, and pays out for the Primary groups, the camp fees, the trips and office expenses and such like.

Now I can see numbers before my eyes, but after 7 hours with bank statements, receipts and such like, we got the account to balance for 2006-7. So that's sorted for another year.

Now I just have the DIME accounts to complete and get to the Team leader by Sunday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The joys of dentists

For the past 3 months I have been trying to find an NHS dentist near where I live, or near Uni.

Due to living in the middle of town there are few NHS dentists (if any) around the place, and the nearest ones are in some of the less nice areas surrounding the city centre, or in the opposite direction from uni with poor transport links.

There are lots who have websites saying they do take on NHS patients, but upon phoning you discover that they only do that in March for one week.

So this week I tried phoning further afield, and still found that most of those I could get numbers for are taking on private patients only. This leaves me in a quandry:
1) Bite the bullet and pay up for a monthly dental plan
2) Risk not having a dentist and having to go to the dental hospital if it goes wrong.
3) Go to a dentist miles away, who takes on NHS patients.
4) Keep looking - this one kinda links with number 2!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mashed Potato!

For a while I have been raving to Butcher Boy about the wonders of Monster Mash, the Edinburgh cafe which does sausage and mash etc - I had many pleasant meals there as a final year student, and even visited their Glasgow branch once during its' short life.

Butcher Boy and I tried to visit the Edinburgh cafe when we went to see the Amateur Transplants in the fringe, but it was full and had a waiting list, so we vowed to return later. Later is here and we need to decide a day etc to go over for the wonderous mustard mash and tasty sausages.

Just thinking about it has me almost salivating.

If it's Tuesday, it must be Edinburgh

Another Tuesday, another trip to Edinburgh - my 3rd in 8 days. This time was to setup a presentation about the work of DIME and the Primary groups. In principle it should be really easy - connect laptop to Data projector and voila it's ready!

Sadly due to people forgetting about an email I sent them, the data projector had been borrowed by someone else, and I couldn't get my laptop S-video port to output in colour, so the presentation was in black & white on a TV - not my finest technical moment.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A line of red lights....

On our way back from the DIME weekend, we came round a corner on the A9 to see a line of red lights winding across the valley as far as we could see. These roadworks, to do with the construction of anew roundabout, had delayed us about 20 minutes coming north, but this queue looked much much longer.

Half the traffic seemed to be heading up a narrow road up the hillside to our left, so after looking at a map, Rachel decided to give it a go. We followed as part of a constant line of traffic down this single track road (the drivers coming the other way were pulled over and looking very bored with it all), before coming to a junction and choosing to rejoin the main road at the new roundabout, with only a short (15 minute) queue to get through the traffic lights at the contraflow.

All in all we had saved about 75 minutes, and were not far behind the bus with the kids on by the time we reached Perth.

DIME Weekend

This weekend was also the DIME weekend up at Aviemore. We had great weather- a bit damp on the Saturday, but not enough to stop the activities, and clear cold weather on Sunday. I managed to escape having to go on the bus, and instead met two otehr Leaders at Perth, and went up by car.

I was with the S1's as a Dorm leader, which we knew would always be slightly challenging as they are youngest, and not so acquainted with being away from home. They were, as expected, a wee bit hyper when they arrived, and despite best efforts to run the energy out of them, they still were a bit disruptive at bed time, so much so they didn't get their bedtime story.

Saturday was despite the rain, a good day. I was running the craft bay and we made stress balls, using salt and balloons. this was a great idea and I wish it had been mine! The kids also had options to decorate photo frames or make Hama bead creations, so all in all it was more of a quiet hour amidst the adventurous activities outside.

On my free session, I went with the S5-6's on the ropes course, and was beaten in the forward rolls game and probably most of the others, but we had a laugh with the Leaders looking almost as silly as the kids at times. However, Rachel and the blu one videoing me crawling through a net tunnel wasn't very nice, as I hardly look my usual composed sophisticated self! Then they went off into Aviemore for a coffee and I stayed on site with the younger ones.

Our Saturday night film was Monsters Inc, which I haven't seen before. The Tattooed drinker recommended it by text when i asked him what it was like. Given that he is a gore / horror fan, i did wonder what we were about to unleash, but was pleasantly surprised - it is a great film, though I do worry about agreeing with the Tattooed Drinker on anything!

The Sunday was a nice clear day, and while the kids played games, we tidied the centre, so that just after the kids left, we were finished and on our way. We stopped for a nice coffee at House of Bruar on the way and looked at the necessities of 'country living'. In hindsight, I think the main necessity is money.

Block 12 week 1

The first week of this block was quite nervy really. I was a wee bit scared about being in hospitals - always am - I'm convinced that I will put my foot in it, mess up an examination or dry up completely. So much so that on Monday I couldn't eat any breakfast and felt nauseous until I got to the hospital.

I was also nervous about meeting my Clinical Practice/PBL group for the first time. In the event, the clinical practice group seems ok. They all seem so much more confident and smarter than I feel, but once we came to feed back, we all seemed to have got stuff at about the same level, which was good.

The afternoon PBL was interesting, especially in comparison to my 2 PBL groups in Year 3 last year. This year's group seems to have 2 or 3 groupings and is less homogeneous. This leads to interesting bits in the discussion of people ignoring each other (politely) and a general sense of chaos, as the questions end up not being in the correct order. We muddle through the scenario though.

On Wednesday, we started the day with Lectures at 1 (I hate early starts like this!?) which was a standard afternoon with a plenary on Statin's and one on Medical Statistics, focusing on likelihood ratios. We also had an OSCE briefing (its longer this year) and an introduction to the block, and exams. Focussing on teh exams now already has me feeling very nervous. Oh well.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I'm back

The last week has been quite chaotic, but a lot has happened that I want to write about, so I will do my best to catch up this week!

The first and most unusual piece of news, was the birth of a baby boy to some friends of mine today. Although they are a wee bit (4years) older than me, they are the first friends to have had a baby which has made me feel old. Mother and baby are doing well, and I;m really happy for them, as they strike me as perfect parents!

Now it starts to make me worry that people I think of as 'my age' are having children, and have proper jobs etc. I always knew that doing Medicine as a post-grad would involve some sacrifice, and self-denial, but at times in the past year it has seemed like I am giving for no feedback.

Anyway, I'm tired after the DIME weekend, where one of the themes was on sacrifice......but more on that story later.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


On Saturday night, a gang of people from work days (or at least who roughly worked tehre at some point over the past 3 years) went out to the local Hilton hotel as you do.

Well, not quite. One of the former checkout supervisors, who is now a teacher (who was also doing HR when I started there, and interviewed me) , is an events organiser for a charity, and we were all going to their fundraising Ceilidh.

The first surprise was drinks at 6.30pm, with Dinner at 7! We all thought that was very early, but all made it, dressed up to the nines, and looking smartly glamorous. The second surprise was just how nice they have now made the hotel inside. Butcher boy kinda spoiled this moment by spotting his nemesis manager*.

Then we headed in and noticed that they had sensibly located a whole table of ex-work staff in one corner, a short trip from the bar and dancefloor. We all sat chatting for a bit and reading the Menu, which had 5 courses (if you count coffee)
  • Melon with a fruit coulis
  • Carrot and coriander soup
  • Roast Beef with potatoes and vegetables in a caramelised onion gravy
  • White chocolate and strawberry torte
  • Coffee with mints
The food was really really nice, and we had not too much, but enough such that by the end you thought you'd eaten well. The staff from work, true to form had all brought in some fortification, and thus were only buying soft drinks. Mind a smallish glass of coke was £1.50! Mid way through the meal, the table next to us, which included the organiser (our former colleague) and her family started singing the French national Anthem, in French, which was a nice touch.

Following the meal, and a few speeches and thank yous, we moved onto the dancing. This was mostly ceilidhing, but with a bit of discoing in the middle, and a raffle draw. The draw seemed like it was organised by ITV, because people at our table and the one next to it seemed to win about half the prizes, including the big prize!

We all had a great laugh, especially with Auld Lang Syne and Loch Lomond at the end, although one of our females did manage to break my big toe nail and leave me a nice black bruise under the nails using her heels! It was great fun, and we left about 1.30am, having had a great night and raised some money for a worthwhile charity.

*When butcher boy is working backshift, he has to get the delivery truck into the loading bay at work, but the cars from the Hilton often park in the loading bay, or block truck access, and he has to get the Hilton porter to come out and move the cars. Some managers are less helpful than others.