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Dance so it all keeps spinning...
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12th-Jan-2010 10:37 pm - My kingdom for a coffee...
jam email surveillance
So the reading isn't going quite as well as planned. My efforts have been hampered by work, a two-day migraine, and excessive sleeping. I will do better. I'm going to Paris for a few days at the back end of this week so hopefully I'll get some reading done on the Eurostar. Assuming the Eurostar works... fingers crossed!

I actually managed to get out of bed yesterday and go to London. I had a lovely time pottering around my favourite haunts and some awesome new places until it got dark and cold and I decided to catch the bus home.

I thought I might begin blogging about some of the places I return to time and time again when in the city in a section I'll call "The Big Smoke" for want of a more imaginative name. I doubt my readership of around three people (most of whom do not live in the UK) will make much dint in their sales but I figure it won't increase the queues either.


Monmouth Coffee Company

This has quickly become my favourite place in London. It serves the best coffee in the whole city, if not the world (even surpassing the excellent Cafe Grumpy in NYC). And I cottoned onto this WAY too late. As a coffee fiend I should hang my head in shame. But since its joyous arrival into my life a few months back it has featured heavily. I regularly walk out of my way to their pokey but character filled cafe in Monmouth Street. The queue is always out of the door. It is always worth the wait. Take the time to enjoy the gently wafting aroma of freshly ground beans. Their latte is a velvety slice of heaven. It has the consistency and creaminess of chocolate as it french kisses your tongue on a cold Covent Garden afternoon. And as it trickles down your oesophagus (trickles for this drink requires savouring) your stomach awakens to warming wonderment. Yes, it does merit this ebullient prose. They roast their own beans down the road and sell them by weight in store. I'm partial to the Kenyan.

And on that note I'm gonna go make a cup of Joe (from Monmouth beans) to wash down some of the pumpkin pie I baked this afternoon.
6th-Jan-2010 12:38 am - What country, friends, is this?
embrace, jam
Canada, apparently.

My last post was about snow but the weather outside right now puts that day to SHAME. There is almost a foot of the white stuff outside our door. The section of the ringroad nearest our house has been closed and the country is coming to a standstill. Because we're British and we just can't cope. I'm at work again tomorrow afternoon and I have a feeling we'll be short staffed (more so than usual that is) because people will have difficulties getting in to work. I fully expect there to be even more patients than usual though.

I just came off nights so although it's midnight now it feels like midday to me. I meant to go to London today and I had every intention of going even though I didn't fall asleep until almost five. However, someone called me (in error) at 7.15 and woke me and then I nodded off again and woke up at 3.45. D'oh. I wanted to see Nush too :(. Although in hindsight it's probably best that I didn't go as I might have had trouble getting back. But I hate that I always sleep through my off day post-nights because I'm so sleep deprived that I can do nothing else.

Christmas at the hospital was super busy. The emergency room was full of people who'd slipped on the ice and had angina attacks due to the cold. I left over an hour late on Christmas day. My parents came to pick me up (it was super cold) and I had to leave them waiting in the staff room for a while as I ran around the department trying to finish up with my patients. One of the regs dressed up as santa though and that was pretty awesome. My mother also managed to slip and fall on the ice BEFORE we'd even left the hospital grounds. Luckily, she was fine which is a good job as I really didn't want to have to go back to work! And some muntjac deer crossed a busy A road in front of us on the way home. Perhaps they'd seen Rudolph and his buddies the night before and wanted in on the action.

New year's eve was fun. We had a few drinks, played some games, and then our friend Sarah missed the vital few seconds because she was in the bathroom. Epic. I don't usually make new year's resolutions because I never keep them (in fact one year I made the resolution of "never making another new year's resolution" and I broke that too) but I've decided upon one for this year. I'm going to read a book every week. I might stretch this to one every fortnight because with my schedule I think this may prove difficult. I love reading but I find it hard to devote the time to it, mostly because I'm tired after work. I've done a little better recently. In the last few months I read Flowers For Algernon, Brave New World, The Great Gatsby, Zuleika Dobson, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler :), Intern: a Doctor's Initiation, and some other things I've forgotten.

So then- book one. It's almost the end of the first week of the year and I'm not doing too well. But I've been on nights so I'll cut me some slack. I've started reading The House of God which is yet another "I'm a junior doctor- get me out of here!" book. But this is the most talked about one. I picked it up in Blackwell's second-hand some time back but never got around to reading it. Now is the time.

It's also "lunch" time I think. I'm gonna fix up some food and snuggle up with my book. Happy twelfth night!

ETA: I'm quite excited at the prospect of all this reading. I've read some more of The House of God tonight and then I got distracted by Edgar Allen Poe stories. Does anyone have any good suggestions for interesting reads? I have several books adorning my shelves which are longing to be read and re-read. Below are novels I have lined up.


To Kill A Mockingbird- Harper Lee
Sons and Lovers- DH Lawrence
Nineteen Eighty-Four- George Orwell
The Egyptologist- Arthur Phillps (I picked this up cheap in a wonderful little bookstore in Chicago but have yet to begin reading it)
The Portrait of a Lady- Henry James


Matilda, The BFG, The Witches- Roald Dahl
His Dark Materials- Philip Pullman

And I just ordered Kafka on the Shore, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and The New York Trilogy from Amazon.

Obviously these will keep me going for some time but, in the words of Tom Lehrer, "more, more, I'm still not satisfied!".
16th-Dec-2009 06:59 am - 2009: A summary
My body is refusing to reboot from working nights. I shifted to lates (4p.m.-1 a.m.) last Saturday and yet it still refuses to allow me sleep. This is not helped by the fact that I've been off sick AGAIN for the last two days. I'm determined to go in this morning. It's one of my off days but we have mandatory teaching. I figure my lungs might just cope with sitting and listening/discussing as opposed to running around resus like a crazy person. Oh yes, I'm a "genuine" ER doc now. But I feel like a fraud. The green scrubs do little to make me believe that I actually know what I'm doing when faced with really sick people.

Anyway, I need to get up in an hour so it seems futile trying to sleep at this point. Therefore, dear friends, you get this...

2009: a summaryCollapse )2009: A summaryCollapse )

31st-Oct-2009 11:42 pm - A wicked good time
 Happy Hallowe'en!

I'm on vacation (thank GOD) in Boston, MA. I am having a great time. In fact I'm thinking of just bailing on work and running off into the rest of the US until my visa waiver paperwork expires in January. I suspect they would miss me though. I got a very suspicious call from a blocked number at around 5 o'clock UK time on Friday when I know work needed somebody desperately for weekend nights. They left a voicemail but for some reason my phone won't let me pick it up. I would have liked the satisfaction of calling back with "sorry, I'm an ocean away".

But enough about work... Boston is beautiful. It poured down the day I arrived but ever since it has been clear. It was really warm today though blustery but I consider myself very lucky considering it's the end of October.

So what have I been up to in sunny Massachusetts? I've walked the Freedom Trail around the city. This is a self-led tour of various points of historical significance. It's a great way to become familiar with different districts of the city and involves a whole lot of cemeteries. I visited the New England Aquarium which has lots of penguins and rescued sea turtles which made me very happy. I toured the Museum of Fine Arts and oohed and aahed the Monets. I pottered along Newbury Street with the fashionistas. I rode the elevator to the top of the Prudential building for a beautiful view of the city. And today I travelled to Salem to check out the Witch Museum, view the harbor, and see more adults in fancy dress than I ever thought possible. It was AWESOME. I took the Jim Halpert approach to dressing up in that I donned my Wicked! t-shirt and made no further effort. I almost stood out because I wasn't in fancy dress. Then I wandered too far in the South End but eventually found my way back to Chinatown and Quincy Market. 

In summary, Boston is wicked good. Tomorrow I'm going to go to pahk the cahr in Haaaaarvard. And probably get shot for mocking the accent (or the fact that they think being founded in 1636 makes them old...).
9th-Sep-2009 11:55 pm - Crash and Burn
abby, doctor
I just watched the BBC's new medical drama "Crash" and I don't know whether to laugh or cry. It's a drama following a group of new medical graduates as they start life as an F1 doctor. Besides the sketchy acting, paltry plotlines, and blatant plagiarizing of my favourite medical show it's downright offensive! I'm particularly upset by the portrayal of the A&E nurse demeaning herself by brazenly hitting on the new house officer.  And as for the depiction of new junior doctors... geez. I bullet pointed because that's just the kind of thing that I do.

* Drinking and partying the night before beginning F1? They'd be BRICKING IT! I remember my fellow HO pacing the floor before the ward round started.

* Looking up at the hospital and gleefully saying "oh yes"? Not in a million years. Especially on day one.

* Twenty-four hours on call? What happened to the European Working Time Directive?

* Where's the crappy day long induction?

* Why are they rounding on a dead patient? Why are they not pronounced and in the morgue already?!

* "What do I do with nutters?" First up, don't call them nutters... that tends to get the patient (and other staff members) sort of upset

* Nobody senior calls you "doctor" when you're a HO! Except perhaps in jest.

* A crash page with no voice over telling you where to go?! What?!

* Medical HOs in the mess?! And having coffee? I dropped 2 BMI points in my medical job due to running around like a mad person and having no time to eat or drink.

* And NO bleeps yet? You're doing something wrong...

* Bless- being happy when your bleep goes off? That'll get old... fast.

* And why didn't he CALL the number back instead of running there?!

* "She's in here for her legs and not her lungs" and those two things are in no way connected...

* So her intentions were good but she did breach patient confidentiality and call the patient's son...

* Oh god... it goes from bad to worse... and way to rip off ER!


C'mon BBC Wales! Junior doctors certainly turn up on day one scared out of their wits that they'll do something terrible, they get bombarded with bleeps asking questions to which they've no idea of the answer but are usually met with an understanding audience. And they sure as hell don't rock up on day one having crawled out of some random's bed still half-drunk to be hit on by unprofessional health care workers. Geez!
5th-Aug-2009 11:14 pm - Who says you can't go home?
abby, doctor
 If I thought things were crazy when I last posted then the past twenty-four hours escalated to a whole new level. 

I attended an interview for a standalone F2 doctor job last Thursday. And they offered me a post on the spot! The next few days were spent madly trying to determine whether I had to work notice for the job I had previously been offered. I'd never accepted it or sent back any paperwork or in any way implied I was taking the post but deaneries can make things tricky and I wanted to do it by the book. I had to keep the new job on hold and try get a delayed start date agreed for if I needed to give notice. The old trust didn't respond to my emails or phone calls and so I only found out yesterday in the middle of my afternoon ward round (in York) that I didn't have to work notice and could go to Oxford to commence my new post.

That post began TODAY. Yesterday was all kinds of crazy. I had one of the busiest days at work with patients becoming really sick and then somebody peri-arrested whilst I was standing at the nurse's desk. I was already stressed with the whole "not knowing which city I was sleeping in that night" thing so that didn't help. My parents collected my house keys mid-afternoon to help pack things up and then they drove me to Oxford after work. We arrived at midnight and I started my new job at 7.30 today. I still don't really know what's hit me. 

I've temporarily moved back into my old house (with my best mate) but sadly it isn't a permanent solution because a new pre-arranged housemate is moving in tomorrow and so I need to find a new place a.s.a.p. because this house ain't big enough for the both of us.

My new job seems scarily busy and I don't understand the rota. I'm not on call until at least next week though so that's a blessing. And I'm going to cover the paediatric wards. 

I can't believe that somehow I have wangled my way back to Oxford. The beautiful south! I could cry I'm so happy. Apparently you CAN go home again...


24th-Jul-2009 12:09 am - Progris Riport
abby, doctor
It's been awhile. Here's what I've been up to since I last posted:

1) working the crazy busy world of gastroenterology
2) visiting Nicky in London and Oxford
3) watching Wicked!... again...
4) reading novels (mad props to you if you caught the reference in this post's title)
5) working
6) sitting in the sunshine (for that one week where clouds didn't get in the way) with fellow house officers
7) bumping into my surgical registrar in Leeds and having coffee ("Come in and have a drink! I'll buy!... (silence as he discovers he only has £1.15 in his wallet...)")
8) hating my job
9) applying for other jobs
10) watching Harry Potter 6 (huzzah!)
11) being the centre of attention at my consultant's garden party (I was one of only three juniors there and the consultants LOVED it... they kept coming up to chat with the "youngsters"... then my consultant mortified me on our next ward round by telling me that three of his male colleagues had commented on my dress... :S )
12) working

I came back tonight to discover I've been shortlisted for interview for one of the standalone posts I applied for... in Oxford! Huzzah! I don't think I'll make the cut but I'm sure as hell gonna try because if I could go home my life would be one million percent better. Even if the rotations are crappy. The interview is next week. I'm going to go beg for the time off tomorrow. They owe me three lieu days so it shouldn't be too difficult.

I am so tired this week. Tomorrow is day 12 of being in the hospital non-stop. I worked last weekend on call for elderly (three 13 hour days in a row with my regular job for a week either side... and another 13 hour day thrown in for laughs...). And this week we have lots of really poorly patients and they're all terribly heartbreaking. I never want to go in the staff room on one ward ever again because we've delivered so much bad news in there over the last 48 hours.

This week I've been having allergy testing which involved sticking lots of patches all over my back for two days and then removing them and drawing over where they were with lots of surgical marker so they can be "read" tomorrow. I look like a bad tic-tac-toe game has been played on me. One of the radiology consultants bumped into me in CT yesterday and "ummed" and "ahhed" for a minute before, very politely, saying "you have something on your shoulder...". I haven't been able to shower properly since Monday because I have to keep the area dry. I am very much looking forward to tomorrow when I can wash my hair in a way that doesn't involve leaning over the bath.

I shall try resume my usual attempt at witty repartee post-haste... after I've slept for more than five hours.
27th-May-2009 10:58 pm - Out, out brief candle...
pam sad
 I feel frustrated, homesick, and most of all sad this week. The world is short one wonderful woman. My friend's mother passed away on Sunday and I'm devastated so I can only begin to imagine what her family are going through. She suffered a long illness but always kept her spirits high. The family are the most amazing group of people in the world. There is so much love in that house.

And everything else I was going to write seems somewhat irrelevant.
12th-Mar-2009 06:39 pm - Kobenhavn a ball!
phone, pam

Godaften! I just discovered that the hotel's free wifi works in my room as well as the lobby so I can update you all from the comfort of my bedroom.

I'm having a lovely time here in Copenhagen even if it is proving a little chilly. The flight was brief and uneventful except my heart wept for one poor girl who was petrified of flying and had a hard time when we hit some turbulence. I hate flying too. I also almost literally wept as I've begun reading Flowers for Algernon which is beautifully written and so poignant that I keep wanting to cry. I had to put it down half way across the North Sea and read something else instead.

My card worked fine at the airport so I have money and the train was relatively easy to figure out so I made it to my hotel unscathed. I went for a potter around town and wondered if I'd really left when I saw the likes of Top Shop, Urban Outfitters, and H&M. Either that or I'd gone to Ireland such are the number of Irish bars. But after a while it all looked more Danish. And very pretty. And everyone seems to be able to tell I'm English just by looking at me. It must be that look of "resigned bewilderment" we all wear, if Andy Hamilton is to be believed.

Today I set off for The Little Mermaid and had my first real wienerbrod (Danish pastry). I tried ordering in Danish and the girl serving me switched to English straight away and asked which I wanted. I pointed at the biggest pastry I could see and was informed that my chosen food was not a wienerbrod. So I let her choose for me. I tried to pay compliment to her language skills in that typically English self-deprecating manner declaring that "everyone's English here is far better than my Danish!" and then she told me she was Swedish. Oops.

Anyway, I found Dan Lille Havfrue sitting on her rock with lots of children climbing on her. One thing I've noticed is that all the really tiny children here wear those little snow suit things. It's very cute. Emma would go nuts.

After lots of walking through pretty parkland I decided I was too cold and hungry to walk much more so I popped into a genuine Scandinavian Netto, bought some groceries, and caught the S train back to the hotel to snaffle them.

Rejuvenated, I walked around the corner to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek which is Copenhagen's answer to the British Museum or the Met and stunning to boot. It centres around a pretty, covered winter garden filled with plants and running water. I walked through that and checked out the Egyptian stuff first. They've arranged the mummies in the basement and the access is down a dark staircase so it almost feels as if you're descending into a tomb. It was a tad creepy as I was the only person down there. When I'd had my fill I wandered through the French impressionists and ancient Rome and Greece before heading back outside to the snow.

Hamlet's castle tomorrow!

23rd-Feb-2009 07:22 pm - Oxford blues
pam sad
I went to the lie-berry in town this evening and borrowed a couple of books. I've just started one but had to take a break because it's nearly making me cry. It's really not supposed to do that. It's about a junior doctor in Oxford that diagnoses one of his patients (on level seven!) with bubonic plague. It's making me sad because of its geographical accuracy- "right by the little line of shops where the heavy traffic came in from the ring road"- is my little line of shops :(. I feel homesick. Although, it's cracking me up too with its suggestion that the John Radcliffe resembles a secret Stalinist headquarters and its exquisite marginalia from somebody who has corrected every sentence that ends with a preposition. They're not always correct but you've got to admire their pretension.

In other news I bought more shoes this weekend :). I should not be allowed to shop unsupervised. But they're totally fabulous.


I had a frustrating morning at work today wherein I attempted to do several things and achieved very little. I spent literally all day chasing up monitoring of a drug so that one of my patients could go home. He'd sent my registrar a thank you card and said registrar decided to rub this in all day. However, on the evening ward round he spent a while telling the patient how hard I'd worked for him today and made sure my name got dropped into the mix in a flagrant attempt to gain me some written kudos. LOL. This is the same guy who told a patient I was "really good for a work experience student" last Friday. My dramatic mime of swatting him with my ward list prompted a smile from our depressed patient in the same bay so it's all well and good.

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