Sunday, 12 December 2010

Ummm hi again?

So I haven't posted anything here for a really really long time. I don't really have a good reason for that either, well I have a good reason for not posting this week, but last week I have no excuse for. I actually has to go and read the post to find out what I had said. So, sorry.

Week before last continued to be very cold, so I experienced my first 5.55 train to Ely as the Cam was frozen! It wasn't so bad but I am very glad that I don't have to do it all the time yet. Other than that the most notable thing that happened last week was the Cam freezing solid and causing Fairbairns, the big end of term race to be cancelled. It was the end of term for all the undergrads, and we had our traditional celebration for Megan's birthday with mulled wine and mince pies.

This week has been a bit more eventful- well one big event- I came down with gastroenteritis overnight on Tuesday. Luckily for me, I was with David so he has been looking after me and I spent 4 days in bed not eating and generally feeling sorry for myself. In fact today has been the first day I have eaten three normal sized meals. I have lost a lot of weight over the week- not the way to go about making weight as a lightweight though! All of this means I missed out on CUWBC sparring with the Alumni on the Thames this weekend, which I had been really excited to go and do. I'm not sure why I was quite so excited about it but I was pretty gutted not to be having a weekend out with everyone and doing some racing.

Thankfully I'm feeling a bit better today so once I have completed my enforced 48hr quarantine tomorrow this week will be back to normal and I'll have something to write about.

In the meantime here is my christmas list again:

Sunday, 28 November 2010


As in I have one and it is...

So yesterday and today CUWBC has been seat racing in positively Arctic conditions. It was -8 Degrees this morning. Except I have not been seat racing as I have a horrid cold and therefore can't guarantee that I could be consistent over many pieces, so instead I have been messing around in small boats while other people seat race. Despite this seeming like a bad deal- I am much much more likely to fall into the Ouse from a single or pair than I am from a IV, this was actually a very very good thing- I got to row continuously and therefore avoid the extreme cold that came with seat racing switches. I still had to spend a very very long time at Ely over the last two days though, what with rigging and faff- which makes me exceptionally glad that I own enough to have two changes of this with me:
Leggings x2 (one thick one thin)
All in One (to hold it together in the centre)
Short sleeve tech top
Long sleeve tech top x2 (one running base layer, one rowing layer on the outside)
Merino wool base layer

One rowing gilet
One pair of Seal Skinz
Two hats (one to row in and one for the break)
Fleecy balaklva/neck warmer
Jeans for the break
Down Filled Gilet
The thickest socks in the entire world
Waterproof gloves which I can rig in

At one point today I was wearing all of these things. ALL OF THEM.

Also I went to BCD last night. I was sober. I sat with Novices I didn't know who were trashed and obnoxious. I am not keen to repeat this.

Anyway my roast dinner is ready!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

High Emotion

So it seems that this week in blogs-that-people-I-know-write has been about honesty about our problems, and I am about to follow suit.

Really this all starts on Sunday, when at BIRC I pulled a 2k that I wasn't exactly happy with and tried to reason that everyone else wasn't very happy about their 2k either. And then on Monday I went to do a 3 by 6K in my shiny new thigh-squishers and after 1 good 6k found that I could not, whatever I did hold a spilt on the second, and then I was all of a sudden crying hot angry tears in the darkened weights room at Goldie while I should have been doing the third. Not good. So I went to see David who gently reminded me that it was only an erg.

So why, during the outing on Tuesday did I feel a general sense of foreboding? And why on Tuesday evening, after a good weights session did I suddenly get irrationally furious at David for doing something as terrible as suggesting I moved an erg earlier in order to go with him to a very very nice dinner?

I have a little theory about where all of this has come from though. This week has been a pretty potent mess of things that could knock me a little off balance by themselves. I saw Mum and Angus this weekend and now I'm a little homesick having been away since late August; I have done 11 weeks of clinical medicine which is really kinda tough; I have done 10 weeks of trialling and all that involves; oh yeah and we are going to be Seat Raced this weekend.

But luckily I snapped out of it last night by pulling a PB 2k. And not just a little PB- a big 6s faster than ever before PB. And then going for the previously mentioned very very nice dinner at The Pheasant. Usedul because it meant I could deal with Clinical Communication Skills "Breaking Bad News" session like a reasonably well adjusted medical student not like some crazy sleep deprived person.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Sundays Mean I Actually Post

Sorry about the lack of posts this week, I had about three lined up in my head that I just didn't get round to writing at all.

On Tuesday I went to see the Addies Panto opening night, and it was great fun. I meant to write a proper review here- especially as the only other review they got was here The less said about my colleagues' love for taking their shirts off the better. As ever it was full of in jokes directed solely at those of us going through clinical school, but I enjoyed them more this year because I actually am, and full of my friends showing their surprising star qualities. (and cross-dressing).

I do have a funny story from the wards to tell you about a patient too- no names obviously. So I have just finished my first week on the Diabetes and Endocrine team in Addies and apart from feeling pretty stupid- turns out medics expect more knowledge of syndromes than surgeons- I have seen a lot of people with Diabetic foot problems. One of the guys on the ward was a diabetic who had come in for some surgery on his feet (not uncommon) and Alex and I went off to interview him as we had it on good authority that he was friendly and would be very happy to chat to us. And he was- waves and smiles when we get to the end of the bed and someone who was actually generally fit and well makes a nice change in someone to talk to. After about 15 minutes of me asking questions and some good-natured old man flirting and banter with Alex from him we get to the bit where I ask how he copes at home. He chooses this as the moment to announce the fact that he has been registered blind for the last two years- obviously I am a little taken a back that he didn't say anything earlier but its what he went on to say that cracked me up:
"I've got Glaucoma love, can't see much more than shapes, don't get me wrong I know you're there and that you're gorgeous but I have no idea what your features look like."
Gotta love the compliments from little old men.

What was really nice was Mum and Angus came for a flying visit on Friday, as Angus had a meeting in London. So Mum came up here Friday lunch time and Angus came up to meet us for dinner. And as I had to spend the afternoon in Clinical School Mum tidied up my room and DID MY IRONING FOR ME! Thank you Mum! She told me that she wanted to help and all of a sudden my room is tidy and I have clean ironed work clothes again so I am a happy bunny. We all went out and had a lovely dinner at D'Arry's which I would recommend to anyone in or around Cambridge and then they went home yesterday lunch time. There's talk that it will become a more regular thing and that would be really nice, especially because I'm really bad at ironing.

Finally, BIRC was today. After a lot of planning on my part and then a LOT of anxious waiting we got to go out onto the machines in the sweltering NIA. I'm not overly pleased with the 2K I pulled and I think none of the CUW girls really were, but it was always a gamble going to do a 2K in unknown conditions. Despite all of that congratulations to Tamara, Penny, Lizzie and Marthe who all pulled impressive enough times to medal. And we got to see John Hodgson who is 100 set the very first records for that age group, Debbie Flood post an impressive time and Graham Benton win his 8th (i think) medal at BIRC. Oh and 5 of us got some Compress Sport for Quad things to review so I'll let you know what I think once I have worn them for something more than the car ride home.

One last thing, Happy 21st Birthday to GP who had to come race at BIRC on her birthday and who treated us to a lovely dinner in Small Hall on Thursday!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Sunday Update Time

A short one because it has been a very long day.

Medic Stuff:
This week was R&I week, which was a nice rest. I wore jeans and a hoodie and did lots of sleeping. I was also lectured on Diahorroea for 3 hours, which was pretty unpleasant.

Rowing Stuff:
Results from Four's Head are here. From my point of view it went pretty well and while it would have been nice to be closer in speed to the other two CUW fours, we finished in the order I expected. More importantly- boat for boat CUW did better than OUW and that makes me very happy!

Social Stuff:
It's Prash's birthday today- HAPPY BIRTHDAY! So we went to MCR formal on Fri night which was lots of fun. And then it has been nice to spend some time with the girls and Mat from my four this weekend, its nice to get to know them away from the pressures of Cambridge.
I also met Anna this week and had a very odd- so you know me because I write about doing too much rowing on the internet- type exchange. She is very lovely, and also wanted to eat lots of the free food at the Metaswitch presentation when it seemed that no-one else understood that free food should be eaten quickly and in large quantities. Oh yeah and her blog is much much funnier than mine.

Other Stuff:
David and I are planning our Kenya trip for next summer- exciting!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Draw 1, Draw 2...

Ahem. I can make bad rowing puns.

I am racing with CUW twice in the next two weeks, and it would be awesome if some of you could come and watch so here are the draws for Fours Head of the River and BIRC.

  • Racing starts at 9.30, but as I am in CUWBC II and we are going off 461 (in division 7, the last of the day) I will not be racing for some considerable time after 9.30.
  • Good places to watch are Hammersmith Bridge and along the bank from there to the finish at Putney.
  • CUWBC are boating from Imperial Coll (I think...) on the Embankment at Putney, so could possibly see you there to thank you for coming to watch after we are finished racing.
  • BIRC is at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham and Entry for Spectators is free
  • Both the student women's categories (Lwt and Hwt) will be racing at 14.00.
  • There will be a cool screen so you can see how everyone is doing rather than just trying to guess.
On a side note, I went to Queen's Ergs for the first time in my 4 years at Cambridge on Tuesday and it is insane! I'm quite glad I never did it as a novice, it would have really put me off I think. Congratulations to the Clare Seniors for coming 3rd without entering the possible team of 4 triallist girls and 2 triallist men and only 2 men who actually row for Clare this term. Even if I did really want a T-shirt.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Regular* Sunday Update

*I say regular but I mean it is going to be regular I know my posting is anything but regular.

Week 8

So the clocks changed last weekend and it seems that this has made me pretty tired. Because I get up when it is light, and that has got much much (an hour) earlier so now I am spending more time awake and more time in the dark. But I'm sure I'll survive as it is about to be R&R (oh no wait R&I) week where all the medics come back from the sticks and spend all day everyday in lectures in a nice warm comfy lecture theatre.

So I have driven to Hinchingbrooke for the last time until February and so I now get to save £50 a week on petrol, this is very good as my bank balance is not looking healthy. My time at Hinchingbrooke has been excellent, even if we did all get less keen by the end there were always lovely doctors of all stages willing to teach us and help us get the most from our placement. I feel like we were really part of the team and even though the most useful things we could do was carry notes and put in the occasional cannula all of the very busy doctors did loads to teach us. I might not have been as keen about going into surgery as some other people and yes by the end it seemed like everyone in the ward had exactly the same things going on I saw lots of really interesting things and feel like I learnt quite a lot. And the clinical skills tutor there is great fun. As a side note here we learnt to place nasogastric tubes on Friday and I'd reccomend never needing one. I'll miss the sense of community there was at Hinch when I get to Addies.

Rowing wise I have spent lots of time in the IV that will race at IV's Head of the River on Sunday and while there have been moments of tension we have really made big steps in our rowing ability and technique. To quote Anna (from something about rowing) who sent the CUWBC list an email earlier this week "If it doesn't feel weird then you are just doing what you have always done" and perhaps more impressively Annie Vernon who emailed CUWBC a few weeks back "challenge yourself more than you think you are capable of – you
never know how good you might be". Rowing this week has been HARD my brain feels like it might explode at the end of an outing and my legs are burning but this is the kind of challenge I signed up to when I decided to trial.

Relics officer wise I need to be sending a newsletter soon, the mailshot happened this weekend and I should be finishing my fundraising proposal. I hope that everyone has done their mailshot duties, and I am avoiding doing the rest by blogging/ sleeping this weekend. It'll all get done over the next week.

Socially I dressed up (covered my face in face paint) as a dead person/ghost and went to the boathouse for some CBC fun on Halloween and played lots of silly games and inhaled a large portion of my weekly calories as sugar. I'd forgotten how much fun acting like a kid with some friends can be and at many points I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe. Then on Friday David, his brother and his wife, Andrew and Kathryn, his mum and I went to see the spectacular fireworks in the rain and then went and had a yummy yummy dinner (lucky I am on weight for BIRC already really with all this socialising!). Last night Prash hosted dinner to celebrate Diwali and it was so so nice to see everyone and just chill out like old times. I miss them all so I hope that we can do plenty of stuff like this in the near future but I know I can't organise it myself.

Right I'm off to do something useful before I head off to formal with the medics. If anyone wishes to procrastinate as much as I have in the last few days I'll direct you to Random Acts of Reality.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Things that have happened since I last posted.

Umm yeah sorry that it's been over a week since I posted here. I have lots of posts I want to write but I'm about to get dressed up and head out for halloween so they'll have to wait, here are a few interesting things that have happened:
  • I handed over all responsibility for the novices to GP
  • I was selected to race 4's head in London on the 14th of November and will be stroking my boat
  • Mum has arranged to come see me on the 19th of November :)
  • I have flights booked home for my very short christmas holiday
  • I have started a christmas list
  • I have started to arrange going to Kenya this summer!
Enjoy Halloween!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Bloods, Bikes and BIRC

Don't worry the three things in the title are not related, they just alliterated nicely.
Two pretty exciting things happened yesterday, first of all I (semi) successfully took blood from a real patient for the first time, and secondly I was told I am selected to go to the BIRC.

I know that many of the clinical students have taken lots of blood from patients already, having had their sessions with the Phlebotomists (awesome word) but my Phlebs session is not untill next Monday and so I am still pretty cautious about volunteering to take bloods. But yesterday a woman I had seen a couple of times needed blood taking as she was off the ward when the Phlebs came round to do all the bloods that morning. So an F1 and I went off to get 2 bottles of blood from her, and despite my nerves I successfully filled the bigger bottle! But I sadly must have wiggled my needle as I switched bottles so I couldn't fill the second one and despite another new attempt at venepucture, so I let the F1 do it!

When I got home yesterday, in my normal mountain of emails was one from Lizzie to announce who Martyn has chosen to go to the British Indoor Rowing Championships from the CUWBC squad. And I am one of four lightweights going! So I have to be 61.5kg on the 21st of November but seeing as I am pretty close to that now I don't think it will be a problem! I'm really excited about this, as I am any time I am picked to do something, I think it comes from my experience of being the one picked last at school sports!

Finally, I went out on my lovely shiny bike this morning, sadly not with CUWBCCC (that's Cambridge University Women's Boat Club Cycling Club) as I had to get to the hospital quite early. Despite realising how cold and dark it was and how unprepared I was for that I had a lot of fun being out on my neglected bike especially as I found the one hill in South Cambridgeshire and did a couple of loops around it, being rewarded at the top with lovely views of dawn over the City :).

Monday, 18 October 2010

The Importance of To-do lists

To give you an idea of my typical days:
  • Wake up,
  • Go Rowing/Training (4 days a week)
  • Drive to Huntingdon (5 days)
  • Spend all day running round hospital (5 days)
  • Have one hypoglycaemic almost fainting moment (1 a week atm)
  • More running around hospital
  • Drive Home
  • Go Training (4 days)
  • Eat
  • Bed
At some point in all of this I need to learn some medicine, drum up some novices, earn CBC some money, end up with clean ironed clothes, eat, record every thing I do eat, update this, see David and my friends.
So I have 6 to-do lists on the go at the moment, and any time I tick anything off on one I add another two things somewhere else.
There is a list of things to do for
  1. Medical Learning
  2. Medicine Admin
  3. Relics Officer
  4. LBC
  5. Rowing
  6. General Life
As a result I am currently, at least on the surface much more organised than I was when I posted last and feel that I can now introduce this blogging to other people for the first time. When I was first posting here and using my blogger account to follow other blogs, I did of course realise that other people could read this in theory, not that I thought anyone else actually was. So now I am ready to send an email to my family and put this on my facebook and generally let other people know that I am doing this. Is it weird that I have written 4 posts before telling anyone I'm blogging?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


So despite the weekend and taking Monday afternoon off, ostensibly to organise myself, I am still in a horrific state of disorganisation.
My room has a layer of clothes built up around the edges, threatening to overspill onto my thin pathway between here and the door, via my bed. Yet somehow there are still lots of clothes in the wardrobe and the washing basket, how do I own so many clothes?? My desk is in a similar state with papers mixed with magazines, components of my computer, books and there is a small space for me to eat my breakfast while reading my emails. Mercifully I am pretty on top of the laundry, food buying and washing up!

It's not just physical things that are in such a mess although that makes my stress at the disorganisation worse. I am getting about 25-30 useless emails a day- why am I on so many mailing lists?! I know that there aren't many girl novices, though we are up to 6! And somehow the hospital are not very clear about when I should and shouldn't be there for teaching etc so on no more than a few hours notice I ended up still there at 6pm yesterday being taught and so missing a training session. I understand that it is a hospital and things can't run like clockwork but I have other things to do damnit! And of course the teaching was on the clinical case studies which we need to do two of every week and they give us model answers and teaching sessions for, why do we need both?! So what I have done is 4 case studies in the last two weeks and I have managed to spend far too many hours on them when I have spent less than two hours on writing up some of the really interesting patient's I have seen and will start to forget if I'm not careful.

I'm just not quite sure when I'm going to get on top of all of this, particularly because it is the last thing I want to do in the hour I have between getting in from Hinch and going to training! David thinks I am going mad, as every time I see him I am talking a mile a minute about how I am getting nothing done.

Anyway, bed time now- first Cam outing for ages tomorrow morning!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Girls don't like sport

So we at CBC had a big BBQ on Saturday, which GP and I rushed to get back to from Ely ready to see lots of enthusiastic novice girls for us to teach. What we actually saw was 30 odd boys, nothing odd so far the boys are always keener to come try out a new sport, and the grand total of 3 girls. One of whom has rowed before.

Apparently just 3 of all the fresh faced girls we signed up to the mailing list at fresher's fair were keen enough to come to the BBQ at all. That means only 3 of them have been on an erg or out in a tub and so we're going to have to spend loads of extra effort emailing around college for more girls, getting them to the BH, getting them in a tub etc. In essence it means we are about a week behind where we should be. *SIGH*

Seems girls just aren't that interested in sport. Not even sport where they get to meet lots of big tall muscly men.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Aims for this Year

Hopefully this will be a good way for everyone to keep abreast of my crazy year, in which I aim to:
  • Pass Stage 1 Clinical Medicine with flying colours.
  • Wear some gorgeous *ahem* Minty-Green lycra and beat some Dark Blues.
  • Teach some Novices How to Row.
  • Maintain some semblance of a Social Life
So far I have:
  • Completed the Intro Course and 1 whole week of Placement- I can talk to patients, yay! (and I have to commute lots, boo)
  • Been part of CUWBC for two and a half weeks- long enough to have been to Ely twice and done a lot of erging!
And so far so good I have only had:
  • One episode where I was so tired I curled up and got randomly emotional
  • One moment where I went green and nearly fainted on a ward.
  • Three slightly hair-raising moments with lorries and the A14 (I AM FINE MUM)
  • Blisters which are a bit sore and then go dry rather than blisters which end up as gaping wounds.