Tuesday, 29 May 2012

I could have qualified last week

I could have qualified last week

So last week the fifth years got the results for the second (and last) part of their finals.  Those who have passed both bits effectively know now that they will be a doctor come August.  This includes a large number of my original year group and some of my closest friends.  For those of you who weren't following last year, I took a year "out" of medicine between my third and fourth year of medicine in order to do an intercalated BSc in Sports Science (as did a large amount of my friends, but a few of the closest did not so we are no longer in the same year group).

Now I don't regret this extra year in the slightest - I had so many incredible experiences last year which I could not have had if I had stayed at my university, only ever studied medicine, and never been a "real" student.  Furthermore I've had experiences this year (I can't talk about these as much as I am very proud of them and they have been a massive part of my year, as linking myself to them would COMPLETELY destroy any sense of anonymity) which I could not have done if I had been in the fifth year and were not an option last year as the society I was part of did not exist then.

However its hard not to feel the slightest tinge of jealousy (and I mean very slightest, and not in a bitter way - I'm unbelievably proud and happy for my friends that all their ridiculous hard work this year has paid off) or slightly weirded out that without this year, I could have passed (or failed..) my finals last week and be starting as a doctor come august. That kinda blows my mind.

I have mixed feelings about whether I would want to be in this position - on the one hand MONEY (I'm honestly not going into medicine to get rich, but the amount of student loan we get at this stage of the course is pitiful and I'm growing weary of counting pennys student style), the knowledge you've done it and the fact that by five  years of uni you are a little weary of the whole thing (however much I honestly love my medical school) and just want to be done.  On the other hand, I'm not sure right now that I am quite ready for the responsibilities of a doctor - not knowledge wise (I definitely don't have that yet!) but emotionally/ situation management wise; perhaps though going through fifth year would have meant I would feel more ready at this stage though.

One of my friends who has just passed is only 22, she will have just turned 23 once she starts, so perhaps although I feel too young at 23 to be qualifying it is not so much age making me feel this but the amount of clinical experiences I am yet to have but will hopefully have been exposed to by the end of fifth year.

I think my overwhelming feeling though is being quite daunted by the prospect of finals and fifth year in general.  From seeing my friends go through it, it looks exhausting. I'm envious of my friends for being past this stage now. Their finals being done now, means my year group are the next to have finals (ignoring retakes). FLiiiiipppping heck.  I still remember walking into my first lecture of first year thinking how long the course was, and scoffing at the lecturers who told us before we knew it we would be coming to the end. And I still have so much knowledge to re-learn after forgetting it all during my intercalated year. Well, one things for sure, next year should be...interesting..!

But above all:
This year this is for my friends, group of absolute geniuses who I know will make incredible and caring doctors (hopefully next year I can do the same with the "halfa" in my blog title!!!)

Halfadoc x

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Drs ABC at a post office

Drs ABC at a post office

Hello again, I've been gone for a while as I was frantically writing my medical school dissertation.  And if you've been reading my blog for a while you might remember from my intercalated year just how much I LOVE writing research projects. For those of you who are new to this blog, I hasten to add that this is sarcasm.  But, it is DONE. Feels pretty good (plus two committee positions that I have been undertaking which involved a great deal of work have just come to an end, so I'm the most free I have been all year :D)

The two bound copies of my completed dissertation - needless to say the pink scribble is not on the actual copies but to protect anonymity! 

However whilst last week was mostly a case of being permanently attached to my desk and trying to make myself write this ^ damn thing, one of my few ventures out into the real world did yield a blog worthy story.

The context: So there I was standing in a massive queue for the post office, rather annoyed because the packages I was collecting should have been there 2 weeks ago (our local post office is widely known for being really shoddy lately, its in the local papers regulary) and instead had of course come on the one day that no one was in the house but due to their crappness lately I wasn't risking getting them redelivered and instead had paid £3.60 in parking to collect them (one was too big for cycling) and was wasting my time doing so when I should be writting dissertation.  So I was quite annoyed and was planning complaining at the counter as well about the fact one of my packages STILL hadn't arrived (and in fact STILL hasn't another week on... ....).  Anyway enough of my postage rant, but that gives you an idea of the context.  Oh and further context is that I was dressed like a total slob in trackies and a hoody (ironically my medical school hoody) as thats what I wear when I'm writing essays etc.  Anywhere so there I am, queuing, in a bad mood, dressed like a slob, when....

The event: The girl in front of me collapses! Now I didn't have to think too hard about my first action, I assumed she had fainted from standing too long (as I've said before, I'm prone to doing this so that was my immediate assumption for her).  As a result my first words to her were "Are you ok?".  I wasn't at all expecting her not too respond.  When she didn't I went into "first aid" mode from what I have been taught on countless courses and said loudly directly into her ear "Can you hear me??", when she still didn't respond I added a shoulder pinch (no no no, not to be mean but because this is what I have been taught).  [There then was a brief moment when I thought shit I'd better put her into recovery position but fortunately I calmed down and remembered I needed to check one or two things before I jumped to this stage!]
At this point I realised she really wasn't responding and asked the people in the queue behind (none of whom as of yet had offered any help) if anyone was there with her, no one was.  Someone then asked if I wanted them to call an ambulance, which was a good prompt to be honest as this is the next stage really when someones not responding so I said yes please call an ambulance.  Fortunately someone asking this reminded me to calm down and go back to the basic Drs ABC algorithm for what to do in these situations (if you don't know what I mean, the picture below explains it but not what you should do at each stage - google it or even better go on a first aid course, you can literally save a life from knowing 5 basic steps).   So I turned the patient over (and as I did so did actually have a brief scan of the girls wrists to see if she had a medic alert bracelet but I only saw what look like a watch).  At this point someone else scuttled over and said lets take off her scarf , which I didn't think was entirely the most important next point as it was far too loose to be impeding her breathing and wasn't going to stop me doing the "Head tilt, chin lift" to open her airway but I let them do it and just said something awkward like I'm a medical student if that helps at that point they promptly backed away, happy to leave someone else to do it instead and reassured that despite looking young I had a vague idea what to do... At the same time I realised that yes, I probably was the most medically qualified person here, oh god oh god oh god!! But quickly checked nothing was in her mouth and then id the head tilt chin lift to open her airway and was about to listen for breathing when she started incoherently responding - PHEWWWWWWWWWWWW

I realised the first thing she was trying to say was that she DID have a medic alert bracelet (that watch thing? verrrrry sneakily engraved in small letters on one of the links!) , then as she came round more I took her history, tried to see if she had any prn meds she usually took in this situation (she didn't and in fact hadn't taken her regular medication for a week which is almost certainly why she had collapsed) and passed everything on to the ambulance operator on the phone.  She was shivering a bit so I put my hoody over her, and someone else in the queue offered theirs.  Eventually a post office first aid person came out, checked the ambulance had been called and then did absolutly nothing (literally didn't even chat to the girl, it was insane).  Fortunately the ambulance crew turned up quickly and I was relieved there was someone more qualified to take over!

The ambulance man made sure someone went and got her package while he was checking her bp etc which I though was a nice touch.

But yeah, a bit more dramatic than your average trip to the post office! Was retrospectively quite exhilarating though ( I think this is ok to say because she was ok in the end).

Learn first aid, go on a course, its simple and you could save a life

Halfadoc xx