Tempus Fugit

So here we are, a week and a half away from the Easter break. That means there is a mere 7 and a half weeks of uni (as in time in lectures etc..) left of the year. A quarter of my medical degree done.

The general feeling is not so much of stress but tiredness. A combination of a lack of breaks since christmas, mountains of work and a bit of burnout. Despite having a ‘break’, there are 2 essays to be written, a portfolio to be completed and revision to be started.

Time really does fly though, and each day I’m closer to reaching the light at the end of the tunnel that is placements. It also means I’ve done over half my time at uni (4 years out of the total of 7!) and for the first time, I can’t wait to get out of all day lectures and workshops.

Regardless, i’m not wishing away the time, instead simply enjoy what time I have off. This will, after all, be the last year (possibly of my life) where I’ll have significant holiday time off. No point wasting it!

Salient Saturday

It’s been one hell of a week, even by my standards. So I was incredibly glad to wake up this morning to find the sun blazing through my blinds (unfortunately, off the mirror and into my eyes).

It’s the last day of winter but spring has come a bit earlier. It’d be a waste not to utilise it. So, I went outside and stayed there. I bought a new book – ‘It’s all in your head’ by Suzanne O’Sullivan- and sat in the garden on the sun lounger and enjoyed a day off.

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There’s something about spring which puts, well, a spring, in everyone’s step. I know I am someone who becomes infinitely more productive when the sun is out, but at the same time I can also finally relax. Indoors is great….to a point.

It has dawned on me that there are only 12 weeks left of my first year of med school left (including a very generous 4 weeks off for easter!) which means exams are near. Quite often billed as the hardest year of medicine (for graduate entry) is nearly over and that is rather scary. At least i’ll be able to revise outside!!!

Good Grief!

Yesterday I said good bye to my Grandad, whom I held very close to my heart. It was the first time his death had become real, being so far from home after hearing the news.

Grief is a natural response to a loss. It enables us to process the information at hand, make sense of what happened and come to terms with the uncertain future. It’s something as future doctors we learn about. Moos’ crisis theory, Kubler-Ross stage of grief and illness behaviour. We learn that this is natural for our patients when hearing bad news, but do any of us truly understand being on the otherside? The side where we don’t give names to models of behaviour but simply let our emotions run as nature intended.

Kubler-Ross model describes the stages of grief as: Denial, anger,bargaining, depression and acceptance.

This next part is going to be a bit self-indulgent. A way to make sense of this situation.Feel free to skip over this part.

Denial? Nope, never denied that this ever happened. Anger? Nope, he lived a long and happy life, doing so much for me and others. Bargaining? Nope, I got to see him before he died, albeit a month before, but that is the memory i’ll always remember him by. Depression? Other than an extension of what already existed, I wouldn’t say so. I’m sad but not depressed that i’ve lost him. Acceptance? I accepted this fate many months ago. That’s the thing about knowing about diseases, they become more real, quicker. I knew this was how it was going to end, and when, before most of my family, who were stuck in denial about how long was left. This is not to say i’m not in grief, I miss him, but most of my feelings (anger, annoyance, sadness) are aimed at myself. Once again I dealt with this with the utmost professionalism, being there for the family when they needed me. When in fact, I needed to breakdown.

As said before, medicine is an occupation, not a way of life. Although, once you turn on the mindset, it becomes very difficult to turn off, so while it may not be a way of life, it will change the way you think forever more.

Self Help(lessness)

More often than not the only person who can help you is yourself.

It can be a struggle to find the help you need, but finding it is only the beginning. This week I started counselling again. This is nothing new, however since moving to a different university everything which had been set up nicely in place was gone, I was back to square 1. So as soon as I felt myself getting worse, I got on the self-referral. My initial impressions from the new counselling include knowing exactly what I want out of it. Before I went in and just said everything that was on my mind. Now, I don’t want to go over that all again, but instead focus on what’s really troubling me. I’ve even been given homework to do between sessions (because nothing says ‘I understand you have a lot of work, so here’s some more’). Ironically, it’s actually the first time I want to get the homework done.

I realise it will take time for it to have the full desired effect but i’m on the right path again.

Until then, I may as well keep plodding on…

Coughing and Splurting

Well isn’t this typical. Just when the weather is getting good and the motivation has returned, illness appears. Granted it’s only a cold but right now I just want to sleep rather than make use of any free time I have.

The first week of a new module is always hectic. New material to learn and often exams from the previous module. This time it was clinical skill exams. Nothing like trying to take a history from a simulation patient when trying not to sneeze.

As usual, next week will be busier so a relaxing, bed-bound weekend probably isn’t the worse.

Although I did have my first ice cream of the year this week! DSC_0050

Life and Death

This is not a blog I thought I’d ever write. Mainly because I never thought that something like a blog would be so important to me as a way to open up.

Today, I lost my grandfather. While I understand this is something that happens often in everybody’s lives, it matters to everyone in their own special way.

For me he was a shelter. As someone who doesn’t have many male role models, he was someone to look up to. A no nonsense, caring individual, who couldn’t stop giving. Throughout his struggles with health, he remained positive. A true inspiration. Without his presence, my life would have turned out much worse and I can only thank him for everything he did for me. He had no right to let me into his life (not blood grandson), yet he did, with open arms.

Is there anything quite like a grandfather’s storytelling? I don’t believe there is and I couldn’t care less if he told me some stories hundreds of times or a brand new one. I cherished the time I spent with him and will cherish it forever more.

As for the last words….

‘I look forward to seeing you again’ – I do to, grandad, I do to…