About Me

Larbert, Scotland, United Kingdom

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


On the day that my student body elected someone with an alcohol problem to represent us to the University, we 3rd years had a session on alcohol, addiction, treatment and also a personal story from a GP who has alcohol dependency. Of these, the GP was the most listened to, with less talking and noise from the back rows. The GP referred to their realisation that they had a problem; their attempts to abstain; their family background; the effect on their patients and colleagues and the support from other addicts within the profession.

This was actually a really good end to the session as it brought together the 'academic'' talks about epidemiology, aetiology, genetics dependence syndrome, co-morbidities, treatment and management. This PBL has also been interesting as it also looked at the responsibilities of us to our colleagues if they have issues which affect their ability to do their job. The scenario was in a GPO setting, which is harder as the line manager is not so clearly defined.

As ever the advice seems to be, call the BMA advice line, call your Defence Union, talk to the person concerned, then call your Clinical director, and/or the GMC if needed.

Anyway, I'm, sure Charles, the GUU and the LibDemSoc will be celebrating with a few glasses tonight.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Clinical teaching

I seem to have reached Tuesday without me realising somehow that the week had started. Anyway. Monday was my usual hospital then PBL day.

We turned up at the hospital in bright sunshine (this becomes important later), and went to the room. No one came down to teach us, so we waited a bit then called the subdeans secretary. She told half of us to go to each of two wards. Two of us went up to the Cardiology, where we met a very friendly FY1 and a stressed out FY2 - the Consultant being in Egypt!

The two of them were doing the ward round on their own, so we followed bits of the ward round and stayed to see 'interesting' patients where there were some.

These included a man who had had a dissection of the aorta, and thought he was having a heart attack because of the pain, but the big teaching hospital had sent him home because his ECG was normal, only for him to re-present with breathing problems and cough 10 days later, and a trans-oesophageal Echo to show he had dissected his aorta. Hew as then rushed in for an emergency valve replacement and aortic surgery.

We also got to examine the visual fields of a man who had a stroke last year, and had a complete loss of vision to his right, although everything else about his eyesight was fine, and he didn't think he'd be a danger on the roads if they gave him his driving licence back. He is one of the many characters in the hospital, and indeed some of them are such good raconteurs they should write a book.

The FY1 was very nice, and invited us to go back whenever we wanted to see patients! They also gave us a good going over of reading ECG's and how to spot which artery is affected, and the patterns of LBBB and RBBB.

By this point the rain was very heavy, and it has continued to pour with rain for the past 30odd hours, including all through my driving lesson, and today the rain was joined by very strong winds. There was much discussion in PBl about how bad the weather was.

Tuesday morning saw a whistle stop tour of the mental state examination and how to do a psychiatric history and examination, in a session lasting 2h30. It was very rushed and a touch stressful, trying to get the concepts and their symptoms clear in your head. I was sat with shermanator, which is goo, because he thinks of lots of questions after most teaching sessions, and in our attempts to answer them for him, it makes you think more about the subject and you can cobble together a good argument - good exam practice, even if we talk in large concepts and not the minutiae that the medical school like in exams!

Tuesday afternoon was supposed to be an FRS on alcohol, but I remember it well from 2007, and since I was feeling crap, nauseous and tired, I came home and had an afternoon nap.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Decisions, decisions

Later today, before the DIME Leaders Social, I am meeting Rachel and the blu one and some other Leaders to watch Ireland vs Scotland in the Six Nations.

I am in a quandry - do I support Scotland because I live here and have seen several of their players play at Edinburgh when I was a season ticket holder there, them beating Ireland also gives England a better chance of being in contention for the Championship.Or do I support Ireland because my sister's fiancee is Irish, and well they are playing Scotland and the England vs Scotland rivalry dies hard.......

It's not helped by who i will be watching the match with - probably in a pub, with mostly Scotland fans, but a few DIME Leaders are of Irish descent, and if they turn up we will be split....

All in all, I think I have to support Scotland.

My head hurts.......

This evening I have been getting ready for the DIME quiz next weekend. This is our main annual fundraiser for a youth group in Edinburgh which I became involved in when a student over there and can't quite escape from.

Tonight involved putting all 112 questions onto powerpoint, together with a slide with the answer on, set to appear on a click, as well as finding necessary pictures for some rounds, and editing 25 music tracks for various bots of the quiz (can't say too much about where they are for). So after an evening of Limewire, Audacity, Powerpooint and google, my eyes and ears hurt and I seem to have dehydrated myself.

The good news is that tomorrow is teh DIME Leader's social, so we all go out for a meal and such like. Should be fun.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Harry's blog about dissection reminded me of a question my sister asked last week. She and her husband to be popped in on their way home from their Valentines meal to collect some stuff I had been doing for their wedding in April.

She and her colleagues had spent the previous week on the internet at work (glad to know she is so productive) trying to discover what the disease that you could catch from intercourse with a dead person was (the question was prompted by this news item.......). She maintains that there is a specific disease - my general answers of 'any STD' and 'well it depends how dead they are, cos when the bacterial decay starts it could be any infection' were deemed to be waffle, so now I feel like I have to find the answer.

Can anyone help me find the answer and thus prove to my sister that I am learning something at Uni.....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Daddy got me my job....

If you haven't seen this then you really really should. It is a bout a gap year written by some guy who writes skins, but also happens to be the son of the travel writer at the Guardian. Wonder how he got that job??

Anyway ignore the blog post he writes, its more rubbish than the crap I spout here; read the comments. they get gradually more and more funny, until everyone reading it agrees that the job of writing the blog (if such a job really exists) should go to someone else, more deserving; with more fashion sense; with something to say; or just unrelated to the current staff.....

Thanks to Dr Crippen and Kal for mentioning it on their blogs and thus letting me see this fantastic piece of bloggery gone mad.

Tying up loose ends

Today has been a day of tying up loose ends.

  • Adding the weight loss progress ticker to the top of the blog, to monitor my attempt to lose 2 stone in just over 2 months.
  • Playing badminton with Butcher Boy, after last weeks session was canceled due to him being a bit rough after a night out.
  • Buying my next months worth of multivitamins
  • Picking up some more stationery supplies
  • Ordering the next batch of books I keep putting off
  • Tidying up the blog look, with the about me finally updated.
  • Deciding which songs will be in the music round at the DIME quiz.
Now to do some actual Uni work.


I was just flicking across the blogosphere, looking at some random new blogs, when I came across this posting, featuring the video below. Follow the link to see the story.

It has left me speechless and heading for bed....

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A quiet week

It has been a fairly quiet week at Uni, though I still seem to have the same pile of work still to do this weekend that I had on Monday.

On Thursday I was at my first clinical practice session at my new Hospital. The change from my previous hospital was like chalk and cheese. This one had a proper programme for the morning, with 2 different members of staff teaching us, and covering two topics of clinical teaching.

The hospital is in a state of flux, moving from being a DGH to become a campus with ACAD unit, outpatient clinics, day surgery, minor injuries unit, hospice, care of the elderly wards, reference lab, adult and adolescent Psychiatric units, and the West of Scotland secure psychiatric unit. Thus the site looks like a builders merchants! The new units are all being built at one side of the site, thus leaving the site of the current 1900's hospital ripe for housing developments and thus paying for the modernisation. The current hospital is a maze of corridors, ramps, temporary corridors between buildings and then the ore recent units which are a nice 5 minute walk across the site. There are many mature hospitals, and I can see how it would be a bit scary at night, especially with so many entrances, a site over a large area, and 3 400yard driveways to get to the hospital from the nearest roads. '

The new hospital.....according to the Health board....

The PBL group seems quite good as well, with a good mix of people and attitudes, as well as a facilitator who a) is a subject specialist; and b) encourages us to think outside the box and develop our thinking around the PBL problem and not just the presenting complaint.

Monday, February 11, 2008


A friend has lent me a box set of house series one, which I am watching at 1 or 2 episodes per night.I have spotted a couple of interesting things

1. Why can House's team (from Dept of Diagnostic Medicine) be surgeons, physicians and Lab technicians as well as run the scanners, report radiology and work as porters - either the hospital is under-staffed, or they are superhuman.2. How can a hospital - even a major teaching hospital funded by large health insurance companies afford hyper-barric oxygen chambers, and all the other treatment options that House come sup with?

3. How can any hospital have so n many plate-glass windows, and doors, and the nice wood paneling on corridors?

4. How can Cuddy be so hot on Law, Medicine, and yet be such an awful Manager?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Have you seen the Virgin Atlantic 'Upper Class' advert? The one with John Hannah in it, where he talks about the importance of time, and how being able to have your own check in gives you more time to play Pool while waiting for your (delayed again) flight. Well today i had a lesson in time as well.

Lesson 1 - Carry extra stuff cos you might need it

For the second time in a week, and I think only the 4th or 5th time in Med School, no-one showed up to take our session this morning. It was to have been a 3hour session on Mental State examination, mental Health History taking and such like. But it didn't happen. After 20 minutes the course secretary came down to say that the lecturer was a no-show and he couldn't be reached at work or on his mobile.

I hadn't brought any work to do today in an effort to now end up like the hunchback on Notre-Dame when I had my rucsac on. So I now had 3 hours to kill.................which I did, semi-productively reading sBMJ, printing off some useful looking bits from it, checking emails, and having a longer than planned lunch break (the planned break was eat a sandwich while going to the hospital for PBL - this way i ate my lunch sitting down).

Lesson 2 - If you have a plan remember it!

On Monday, some of my PBl group had discussed that since the tutor was missing on Monday, we would ask our Thursday facilitator to let us feedback both scenarios today (being the end of a teaching block, there were no new scenarios this week), however we all forgot until we were leaving today. Thus I found myself at 2.35 with 55 minutes to kill until my driving lesson, and even less work to possibly do.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


I had a nice weekend back in Newcastle (thanks all of you who asked). Vast amounts of the weekend were spent listening to, o being dragged into discussions about my sister's wedding. However the plus side of this was the chance to go on Sunday for a tasting of the options for the meal. It was all very nice, especially the ............ which was very nice and a touch surprising.

The weekend did have its downsides though.

The Rugby...........less said the better. I am still not sure how we threw our half time lead away, but if we continue to play like that, we deserve to lose to Italy next week. Ireland played with lots of mistakes, but also some nice moves (like the cross field kick) to beat Italy, but I'm not sure if that tactic will work as well against stronger opposition. I was eating during the Scotland France match so didn't see any of it, but judging by the comments of the Scotland fans on my train back to Glasgow, they deserved to lose as France were the better team.