Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Money makes the world go round.

Finally I get round to moaning about money.

My medical school has a hardship fund, I recently submitted an application for the award which is available biannually and have, unfortunately just been told that my application has been rejected. Why? Who knows, they didn't tell me, I've asked for the reason but I don't expect they'll tell me. Don't get me wrong, I'm only about as poor as the next student, and I do manage to live a pretty decent lifestyle for a student. Why did I apply for this hardship fund then? Well, since the Medical School shipped me off to a hospital 40 miles away, I spend about £50 a week on petrol. I hoped, that given the medical school's willingness to send me there against my will, they'd at least offer me some help with petrol costs but it seems I was wrong. I've come to the conclusion that the medical school couldn't give a flying fuck about me as a person. I'm just another student to them, I make up their numbers and they get money to 'teach' me medicine. In future when they ask me to do this, and do that for them I'll say "sorry, I've considered your request very carefully, however I regret to inform you that on this occasion I can't be arsed."

By the end of my fourth year at Medical School I will already owe over £19,000 in student loans, along with another few thousand student loan in my 5th year, My £2,000 overdraft and a £2,000 loan from my parents, I expect to graduate owing over £26,000 which will probably take me for ever to pay off, literally! Oh well, at least I'll have a job to go to and depend on, or will I? God only knows.

Solution; stop funding university courses for people who will be about as much use to society as a car made of marshmallow when they graduate with a 2.ii in marshmallow studies from marshmallow university and give us grants rather than loans, that way when we qualify we wont be in debt to society, we'll be able to get onto the property ladder etc etc, and we won't spend out life paying off debts from years and years ago.

Thursday, 14 December 2006

Decision, Decisions, Decisions...

Time for a bit of philosophy...

I've recently been thinking about how each decision we make has an impact on our lives. Whether you believe we all have a destiny to fulfil or that life is just a series of coincidences each tiny little decision changes something. It could be a tiny little, seemingly insignificant decision, which is barely a decision at all such as pressing the snooze button once, or twice, on your alarm clock.

Consider situation a) Your alarm goes off and you press the snooze button twice, you then get up, get dressed, have a shower, and have breakfast. You then leave for a work, the time is 7:53. On your way to work you encounter bad traffic, noticing an accident up ahead, as you go past you realise its a serious accident and its likely that someone is injured, you are delayed but you get to work 10 minutes late.

Consider situation b) Your alarm goes off and you press the snooze button just once, you then get up, get dressed, have a shower, and have breakfast, just as you did in situation a. You then leave for a work, the time is 7:43. On your way to work you encounter little in the way of traffic and you get to work early.

So much depends on a small decision you make, when your alarm goes off, when you're barely awake. An infinite amount of possibilities could occur in either situation. The obvious thing for me to have said would be that the person in situation b was involved in the accident because they set off early, however the accident could have just as easily occurred during the gap between the two situations, in which case your immunity from involvement in the accident is based on when you set your alarm in the first place, or what you had for breakfast or how long you stayed in the shower. A million little decisions which change the outcome of your day.

Situation a) having got to work late you miss the beginning of a ward round, as a result you don't know your patients properly and unfortunately one of your patients dies because you didn't get the full history. You then get fired for making a fatal mistake - bang goes your career, and your life.

Situation b) having got to work early you are able to get full and complete histories and realise that one of your patients needs immediate care, he is very ill but survives, you get a nice card and a box of chocolates to say thank you for saving the patients life.

Moral of the story, you snooze you lose.

Real moral of the story - every single decision you make, no matter how big or small, will affect the way your life unravels before you. So make sure you make the right decisions every time!

Of course some would say these decisions are already made and we are just following fate by implementing them. But that's another argument entirely and will have to wait for another day.

So why the philosophy? Well, I made a decision almost 3 years ago which was the wrong one. Why did I make it? I don't know, it didn't seem wrong at the time but ultimately it changed my life for ever and I'll never know how life would have been different had I made what I now consider to be the right choice.

"You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes." - The Matrix (1999)

Fantastico, Its Christmas, and what better present than an exam result.

I passed my first 4th year OSCE!!

Yay, in an unexpected turn of events it turns out I've actually passed the OSCE I did a couple of weeks ago. I managed over 70% which I'm ecstatic about, Unfortunately I was about 2 marks off Honours which is very annoying for a couple of reasons: a) I could quite easily have gained those marks had I bothered to say what I was thinking rather than being scared of being wrong and b) Unfortunately, as a result of the extremely annoying system my medical school uses to give us all our academic ranking, it makes no difference that I just missed the boundary, had I got that couple of extra marks, I would almost certainly had gone up a percentile which would make getting my first choice deanery much more likely. Never mind, its a year until that comes around so I shall not lose sleep over it and hopefully will have chance to gain more points in other exams. *curses examiners*

On another positive note its Christmas, term is over and its time to eat, drink and be merry! I've been counting down the days for the last month or so and at last its finally arrived. (although the Christmas tree has been up for weeks) Christmas is a time for relaxing although I do have an essay to write and yet another exam looms just beyond the Christmas holidays. (Which, rather annoyingly come to an abrupt end on the 2nd of January). That sucks.

It's been a long and hard term, and an interesting one too, although I'm extremely glad its over. Patients keep asking me how long I've got to go, "a year and a half" I reply eagerly. Its worrying how quickly time is disapearing. I'm not ready for real life yet, and i'm most certainly not ready to be a Doctor or to have any repsonsiblity. I hope thats something they teach us in fifth year, otherwise i'm fucked!

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

So Much to Moan About...

I want to get stuck in, I want to blog, I've got a million things to talk about, but it'd be a bit silly of me to do one huge moan about everything I can think of. Likewise, it'll be a bit stupid if I spend the rest of today doing post after post on different things. This will be my last post of today, despite all the ideas in my head to blog about. Which topic to choose, could it be the awful psychiatry placement I've just finished? No, that's in the past, and would probably get me in trouble. Could it be medics? No, I'd probably end up alienating a good proportion of my potential audience. What about something non-medicine related? No, I'll save that for a rainy day. There is only one thing worthy enough to be my first 'official' moan...

My medical school! - For the past few years, I've often wondered why I even bothered applying here. Why? Because they're evil, some would say I'm just petty, bitter, or even just unlucky, but from my point of view, life as a medical student here sucks! Am I worried about getting in trouble for saying that? Perhaps, but I'm not going to lie, mention any names, or even hold a grudge. You might say I should be grateful for my place at medical school, and I am, it was one of the best days of my life when I got my results and realised I'd be able to fulfil my wish of going to medical school. Despite what I might sometimes say (and probably will say in future posts), I do, overall enjoy medical school, I find most of the stuff very interesting but probably don't work hard enough, although I've never had any trouble with exams as yet (touch wood.) So, what do I have to moan about? Well, as fellow medical students and doctors will be aware, life as a clinical medical student is usually based around a teaching hospital. One would think that these placements would be somewhere in the region of the medical school you originally applied to. Unfortunately my medical school seem to be unable to grasp the concept that I applied to university because that's where I wanted to be, and as a result, they decided to send me to a teaching hospital in a far away place. For 1 module I could understand, medical students should be used to being sent here there and everywhere, I could have even understood them rotating students around each teaching hospitals for a year at a time. But no, They decided, through a 'random' allocation process to send me 40 miles away, with none of my friends, to a teaching hospital in a completely different city for the the 3 of my clinical years. I now have no link whatsoever to my original university of choice, except when I visit biannually to sit exams, fucking ridiculous. What really bothers me about this, is the allocation process wasn't random at all, I told the medical school this when I appealed against the decision but they just laughed at me. 2 years later they publicly apologise because of an error found in this 'random' process which meant it was biased in exactly the way I'd told them it was 2 years previously and they wouldn't even apologise to me despite having completely ruined my university life and cost me thousands of pounds in petrol. The medical school hates me, but I can safely say that feeling is mutual!

Now I've got that off my chest I can breathe again, its not very interesting but its about the biggest thing I've got to moan about and is the main reason why I'm often disillusioned with medicine. (what on earth will I be like as a Doctor?) I promise that future posts will be more interesting and more relevant to whats happening in the world.

Finally, and on a more positive note, I'd like to say thank you to a few of my blogging colleagues for inspiring me and keeping me amused. As I go on I'll be collecting a list of links to blogs which have inspired me or amused me in one way or another.

Welcome To My Little World.

Welcome to my blog, will anyone read it? probably not but I've been meaning to start a blog for ages and having spent the morning procrastinating reading other medic blogs from around the world I've finally been inspired to do my own.

Unfortunately the world has already missed out of 3 and a half years of my medical student life, though that's probably for the best as I think I would probably have been kicked out of medical school by now had I been free to air my views. Psychiatry being the reason for my most recent outbursts, I'm not even going to go there for the time being, but watch this space.

One of the reasons that I've not had a blog in the past is the fear of being exposed. Although this is still a worry, I don't envisage anyone being too upset about what I've got to say, in fact, its likely that nobody will even bother reading it so that solves that problem. How long will my blog go on for? Who knows, I've begun blogs in the past and have soon got bored but fingers crossed I'll make the effort this time and keep it up indefinitely.

I always have a lot to moan about from medical school life to why slow people at checkouts should be tortured. This blog is intended as a way for me to moan even more, about everything. Hopefully there will also be at least some positive posts too as I blog my way through to the end of medical school and beyond.

Finally, I must ask that you excuse my terrible use of English, despite having lived here since I was born, I've yet to grasp much knowledge of spelling and grammar. I do however have a Cambridge, English graduate as my girlfriend so hopefully it won't be too awful. (She has already corrected multiple errors in this first post.)

I hope you enjoy the show...