Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Two month countdown

Well folks, the wedding is in less than two months' time now! It's funny how the final year of Medicine has warped my concept of time entirely. I worked so hard towards the finals and now that they are over, the wedding seems like a long time away mentally! I dropped off my gown to be altered today, Birmingham School of Sewing in Northfield. Sheila-May was such a nice lady and made me feel very at ease, I look forward to seeing the results. Not to give too much away, as I know my fiance does read this blog, but I bought it from Monsoon and the hem was too long for me to wear flats in. 

I hope the weather takes a sunny turn for my friend's wedding at the weekend. I remember how when I got quietly engaged last July, she was saying that hers would never propose, then lo and behold, she has raced me up the aisle! I'm so excited for them, the wedding will be absolutely lovely, come rain or shine. Definitely bringing tissues, I have been to three weddings now, but I do think this will be the tear-jerker! 

I had an impromptu meet up with my friend, Elena, today after the dress fitting. Going out is still such a novelty to me at the moment, I giggled like a mad thing as I climbed aboard a tiny child-size gingerbread house ride in the shopping centre, clutching a half-eaten curly wurly in my hand. Quote of the day went to:

'Hey look, Matt's name is on every can of paint!'

I am so excited about our trip to Anglesey at the start of June! I've never been on a roadtrip before, we'll be staying in a cottage in the countryside and it shall be glorious! Have lots to look forward to, even if I can't believe that this time last year, I was in South Africa. Time has really flown by!

Edit: Here is the photo, supplied by Elena!  

Saturday, 7 April 2012

It's raining ducks!

I found my 'Duck Diaries' whilst trawling through some old uni files the other day. It's basically a short video compliation I put together years ago when I was still a fresher, following a family of thirteen little ducklings and mummy in spring. Happy Easter!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Last day of Medicine block

You know, I'm actually a bit sad to leave my Respiratory team. I've been acting as junior doctor whenever my FY1 has been away or on nights. Now the thought of starting my job isn't so bad. For once, I actually felt like I was a member of the team and have been useful, especially as the consultant and registrar have both been on leave for weeks until recently.

Finals are closing in and my Surgery block is next. I caved in yesterday in between revision to watch Junior Doctors on iplayer for the first time. The Chelsea girl didn't know how to certify a death and had to borrow a nurse, I thought back to earlier this week when the CT2 and I were running the ward round and had to certify a patient that had been with us for weeks. He had a brainstem stroke so poor prognosis anyway, but so far in my medical school career, the dead that I have seen haven't been patients that I've helped to take care of. It felt strange to be there when he was pronounced dead. 

Another patient came in with chronic heart failure and ischaemic lower limbs, his bloods were deranged and after investigation, he got diagnosed with myeloma whilst he was with us. It was really sad, I remember talking to him about his great granddaughter, he always had her photo by his bed. He was bright and chatty before, and got steadily quieter and more poorly until he no longer talked. I didn't see him on the ward today and thought he might have died, I asked the nurse and thankfully, he had actually been transferred to a hospice. We had been working to him discharged for a while, I felt happy it actually happened.

Another junior doctor on the TV programme told a patient that he was about to put in a chest drain on her, but it was his second day as a doctor and he had never done a chest drain before. Speaking of which, there was a patient causing a bit of havoc on the ward the other day when he went into the toilet and used a lighter to burn through the tube of his drain. Apparently he was waving it around on the ward afterwards and singing. Alcohol withdrawal.

Another patient on the ward is both blind and mute, illiterate and does not sign. Every time the ward round stops by him, I wonder how lonely it must be, to just sit there and be so cut off from the rest of the world. 

On a Respiratory ward, there are always lots of end of life discussions. To ventilate or not, what about resus, where do patients want to die, how much they would like their family to know etc. I think as medics, we get a skewed view of old age. There are plenty of healthy elderly people out there but we see so many sick people who are not suitable for invasive ventilation or ITU, ones who have accumulated so many different conditions over their lifetime, so many hospital admissions, their family can't cope with them at home, or they have no family, they can't walk anywhere, can't dress themselves... the list goes on and sometimes, it's just plain depressing.

On the flip side, because of being in hospital, any patient below say 60 is young. So I'm going to hold onto that thought and keep smiling. Today is a lovely day, and I am really grateful for my life. Some day, I will become an old lady and with any luck, I aim to still be smiling then.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Food photos

Goat cheese tart with balsamic vinegar and tomato salad.
Roast duck breast, caramelised plums and potato dauphinoise.
Pan-fried sea bass fillet with sauteed vegetables.
Passionfruit teardrop torte with pineapple salad.

Here are some of the photos from the menu tasting, they say you eat with your eyes first! Peter took all photos except for the duck one. Here are two more from the belated Christmas/New Year, bring a dish yesterday at my house. We do like food photos, it's wonderful being in the age of digital cameras. I've heard people say that they were born into the wrong time, that they'd rather be living in a castle and ride horses. Personally, as much as I love medieval dresses and harps in a court, I love daily showers more. That and it's not called the Dark Ages for nothing, volcano aside.  
Yesterday's lunch spread.

Last time I saw Sumayah, she was two. One year on, and she's grown so much! She won't remember any of our names but one. Benji the wabbit. To his credit, he did put up some pretty enthusiastic petting, being chased around, having piles of hay thrown near him in her attempts to coax him out. I was worried at first, Benji is a curious but nervous rabbit by nature, only likes affection on his own terms. After the first grunts though, I think he realised that she was a baby human. Animals have a way of knowing things like that. Her parents texted on the way back that she was knocked out asleep in the car, bless. 

Benji cautiously eating out of her hand for the first time.

I realise also that this is the first photo of me shown in my blog. Here's to friends in all shapes and sizes. Whiskers, snot and all.

Friday, 13 January 2012


We've just checked the brochure Ramada Hotel sent before, and it does say menu and wine tasting, good job we asked then! Another reason not to have a traditional receiving line - we're having a tea ceremony.  

Been putting together our invitations last night, trimming card and rubber stamping. It's crazy how much the wedding industry is worth, as soon as you put the word in front of something, the prices go up. We figured we'd do it ourselves. 
Resumed my driving lessons yesterday after the two-three months' gap when I was concentrating on job application and finals. Learning to drive in Birmingham for two hours at a time is no walk in the park. I thought I'd forget everything, also as my instructor got a new car since, but it went pretty well actually. Need to work on my speed on turning corners, I hear the words 'right turn' and my pulse rate goes up. 

Just been addressing a load of wedding envelopes and stamping the last of the cards we had. Ordering some more in a second. Then I'm going to make myself some tea, unload the washing machine yet again (I forget how many loads I've done now), and start ranking every single FY1 job there exists in the West Midlands. I did see the number but I think I managed to blank it out of my head, it's something in the region of 400-500, which sounds horrific. 

Still, 'there is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.' Having a belated Christmas/New Year, bring a dish tomorrow with good friends and looking forward to it. Then the Saturday after, we've having a Chinese New Year bring a dish here as well. Peter and I have been going back to my parents' for CNY the last four years, if we went this year, that would be the third time we'd have stayed in Guildford in the space of a month. So we're having our friends come to us, CNY is quite early this year, only saw my relatives a couple of weeks ago. Next Tuesday is a Bake Soc cupcake competition event, will be baking, tasting, judging, and making extra to sell the day after to fund for more baking events. Think I've got a design in mind, will post photos in due time!

Weather is nice outside, clear and sunny, but cool. In fact, it's my favourite sort of weather and it makes me rather happy. Think we'll go for a walk later to stretch my legs.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Much ado about nothing

At pitch dark o'clock last night, our neighbour knocked on the door to tell us that the leaves in front of our house were 'disgraceful' and that we should bag it in time for the collection in the morning. I think it was fortunate for him that I wasn't the one to answer, or I would have laughed. Talk about curtain twitching and middle class problems - some people simply have too much time on their hands. 

According to the web, the green bin collection won't resume until February anyway. His green bags are sitting outside his house, waiting for him to come home. Poor man, he's going to fume for a while.

Reminds me of 'Fall, leaves, fall' by Emily Jane Brontë.

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree. 

I shall smile when wreathes of snow
Blossom where the roses should grow;
I shall sing when night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day. 

We haven't had any snow yet, which was good news for everyone travelling over the holidays. Plenty of 'slippery rail conditions' causing delays though, the old leaves again, I presume. That or the rain. I wonder how Russian trains cope and manage to run when ours just grind to a complete halt with a dusting of snowflakes. 

Prior to the neighbour calling, we had just arrived back after a weekend of parents meeting parents for the first time, and lots of wedding planning. Prior to leaving for the trip, I had a week of very late nights trying to finish the report ahead of the deadline, which fell on the day we would be driving back from my parents'. Parents got on well, my dad perhaps drank a bit too much and my mum was aghast by how I joke around with my future in-laws but otherwise, everyone enjoyed themselves and my dad's cooking.

Tasting the menu with Peter and his parents was a nice end to the trip. Surprisingly, we were pretty unanimous in our votes for the big day. The food was lovely, I particularly enjoyed my roast duck breast main course with caramelised plum and potato dauphinoise. Beautifully cooked. 

We also enjoyed a free wine tasting, which apparently doesn't normally happen, according to Lizzie, the events manager, which was the replacement of the replacement of the original wedding planner. Lizzie was much more efficient than the original and much less scatter-brained.

If you have ever seen Hotel Babylon on TV, the food and wine manager was like James. Peter's parents recently got back from their big trip to Singapore, Australia and New Zealand and they were talking about travelling.  It worked out for the hotel anyway, because we decided to opt for the much nicer, but more expensive, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc instead of the house white for table wine. For us, the wine made up for having to pay postage and Royal Mail admin fee to receive the wrong wedding contract.

My future mother-in-law especially enjoyed the wine and we all had a good laugh. The quote of the trip also goes to her - 'I hope I don't put my foot in it too often!' Just glad we weren't there when she 'negotiated' superior chairs for our sit down meal a.k.a. wedding breakfast. Wouldn't have her any other way though. 

Today is Wednesday, the third day of my two weeks off placement before the long haul. It's almost 1pm and I am still in bed, blogging in my pyjamas. How glorious.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Another year over

Or should I say, another year is beginning? 2011 has been a big year, I became a final year student, I went to live in South Africa for two months, I set up my Etsy shop, I got diagnosed with a serious chronic condition, and I got engaged.
2012 is going to be even bigger - I'm getting married, graduating, moving into our marital home, and starting work as a doctor. I've passed my first set of finals, have a job somewhere in the West Midlands lined up, just don't know where exactly and doing what just yet. Peter is still amending his thesis, so it's all hands on deck. 

I'd be lying if I said that none of this worries me but the truth is, I'm not nervous about my wedding day. Well, apart from my dad's speech perhaps. I'm more worried about my studies and working on the ward.

The news was just talking about an elderly man celebrating his 85th birthday by flying from one village to the next by zip wire, which made me think of my favourite superhero grandma:

'I knew I should have washed at 40.'
All taken by Sacha Goldberger of his 91 year old grandma, Frederika. He realised she was feeling lonely and came up with this idea. 

'No power in the 'verse can stop me.'

I only hope I'd be half as cool, if I ever live to that age. People moan about feeling old every time their birthday comes round, another year is over. The way I see it, we should just embrace our age. My last new year resolution was to learn to knit, I knitted a white fringe with the help of my future mum-in-law, just in time for 2012.

'Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.'

Wishing each and every one of you a very Happy New Year.