Monday, 20 December 2010

Previously in my life...

Hi :D
Sorry it’s been over a month since my last post. I could blame it on the work, and my health, and the weather but then this would turn into a bit of a rant. Instead it’s going to be a bit of a list instead as I update you on what’s been going on. As Miranda Hart says (in my new favourite TV show) “Previously in my life”:
The Snow
It snowed. A lot. And it ruined everything. Normally snow fills me with joy and delight. I revert back to a childish innocence the moment the weather man mentions it. This time it just filled me with dread. It was so cold in our house that we could see our breath. I may not have qualified as a doctor yet but I know that it’s too cold when it’s that cold. Obviously this led to loads of arguments and fights but I think (she prays) that we’ve finally got the heating situation sorted, so fingers crossed for next term.
You know on the TV when they keep talking about how all the old people need Winter Fuel Allowance (the first time I heard that I thought they were talking about money for petrol :P )? Well what about the students? We can’t afford gas either!
Then the snow disappeared (oh blessed days). Then it came back. And it chose the weekend when most students were trying to get home and most families were trying to get abroad. My mum couldn’t come and get me like she normally does so I had to leave loads of stuff in Birmingham and get the train home. Guess how long it took:
SEVEN HOURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For an in depth narrative concerning my journey home see my twitter feed ( I don’t have the energy to write it all out again.
But, on the plus side, I am now home. Safe and in one piece. And I don’t have to worry about heating, or bills or food. Just about revision, but we’ll save that for next time.
As a subtitle it looks a little ominous but it isn’t what it seems :D.  I didn’t fall, I didn’t have to go to A&E and I still have all my limbs. It was much more exciting than that.
I took blood! From a real live person! For the first time!
And she didn’t scream, or shout. And I didn’t shake. The needle went in fine. The hard bit was getting the bottle on but I did it and blood came out and it went great. There’s something about taking blood that makes you feel like a proper medical student. It was amazing.
My partner (ok, we didn’t take it from a patient but at least she was a real person, as opposed to the blue empty tubes running through latex like last time) then took it off me. And it went fine, although the vein blew a little and so blood spurted out a bit. It’s never, ever done that before, and I’ve had loads of blood tests. But it didn’t hurt. And then she took the needle out without having the cotton wool ready so I bled a little bit more. But it definitely hasn’t made my list of Top Ten Worst Blood Taking Experiences (Number 1 – The nurse missed the vein, scrambled around in my arm for a bit, took the needle out and stuck it in the other arm, missed the vein, scrambled around for a bit, took the needle out and put it back in the first arm and, somehow, managed to find the vein. It hurt. A lot. I distinctly remember screaming. Number 2 – The Occupational Health Nurse went straight through the vein. I then went to the GP and was waiting for another blood test and thought my arm felt a bit wet. Looked down and there was blood all over my white jumper. Fun)
Lots of them. Too many of them. We had one on the last day, which isn’t fair at all.
How did they go, you ask? Not well, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Yes, Bristol. I’ve found another intercalation course that I really, really want to do but it’s in Bristol. And I’ve already signed on the Birmingham house for next year. But I really want to do it. It’s called “Medical Humanities” and it’s basically English Lit, History and Philosophy for a whole year. It would be my chance to get the English degree I’ve always wanted. So far I’ve decided I’m going to apply. I could probably commute down to Bristol every day...

I think that’s it. Nothing else of any importance. Just lots of iPlayer watching (Miranda!!!) and doctor’s appointments (but we’ve got that sorted and things are looking up) and the slight issue with my fluctuating appetite but again, on the mend. At least it’s the holidays, and that means Christmas TV, which means DOCTOR WHO!!! Yes, I’m sad, get over it :D
So until my next post, which will not be in a month, all I can say is have a wonderful Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year/Holiday period. For all you with exams don’t work too hard, remember to enjoy yourselves a bit too.
See you soon
Toodles :D

Sunday, 14 November 2010

There's a certain irony about having a fire in your fire alarm...

So I came home last week, (Monday I think) and was told by the housemates that the fire alarms were making funny noises when they got back from lectures. They had rung the (fabulous) landlord who came over ASAP, despite only getting back from holiday that day. He discovered that the fire alarms were on the same loop as the downstairs plugs. This isn't good. Anyhow, all alarms were tested (but not all examined due to a lack of keys) but no blown fuses were found so it was assumed it was something to do with a plug in the downstairs bedroom (which couldn't be accessed at that point due to the above lack of keys).

Stay with me here.

Me: Ok, so funny noises. Anything else?

Housemates: The roof is still leaking.

Me: Oh joy. Anything else?

(There probably was something else but it was over a week ago and I can't remember :P )

Me: Right. Ok. I'm going to put my bags down. See you later.

I go into my room. And my fire alarm sounded like a sparkler. An actual sparkler.

*Shouts for help*

Turns out that when you turned the light off the fire alarm looked like a sparkler too.

There was a fire in my fire alarm.

How? Well, the water from the leaky roof (which has now been finally, properly fixed) leaked through the floor in the attic bedroom into my ceiling where it followed the wires and shorted my fire alarm.

Thus followed mild panic and a phone call to the landlord who was somewhere north of Wolverhampton and heading towards Stoke so couldn't come round. He sent his trusty electrician who is the sweetest old guy ever - he even offered to hoover the plaster off my carpet once he was done, but I wouldn't let him :)

I'm still missing a fire alarm. Instead I have wires hanging from my ceiling. I'm not planning on starting any fires, or lighting candles any time soon, and I've promised to be extra careful with my straighteners.

In other news:

I tried to give blood and they wouldn’t let me. Just take my stupid blood. I’m here, offering you a plump vein and you’re turning me down. A vampire would take it but no! What’s even more annoying is that once I’d convinced the nurses I was well enough I failed the haemoglobin test and a blood sample showed that even though I was above normal levels I wasn’t high enough to actually donate. Bet I would have been if I’d taken my iron tablet that morning.  

I got four books for less than £10 and found the nicest Waterstones ever in the process!!! It has three floors and ballroom stairs and ... sigh...can you be in love with a building?

One of my housemates had a pregnancy scare. That was fun. But thankfully it was only a scare. I don't think she's ever been so happy that she started her period.

Leicester is no longer an option. Turns out the course I wanted to do is an MA which means it’s a postgrad degree which means I won’t get funding from student finance which means I can’t afford it L Oh well, maybe once I’ve qualified. However the courses Birmingham offers are looking increasingly more attractive and I’m seriously considering it – I could use the break.

We’ve decided to sign for the house again next year, despite all the problems. Just hope we can all be a little more civilised about the heating. The point of my nose is like an iceberg.  

I had three meetings with three different people and I cried in all of them. In two of them we discussed mitigation for the January exams. In one of them we discussed anti-depressants.

I also had a bit of a breakdown. But I missed a few days, went home and now I’m back. Am I ready for life at the medschool again? Ummm, no, but I can certainly try. Just trying to ignore the fact I have a test tomorrow. I’ve told myself that I’m allowed to flunk one test in fifteen years of A* worthy education – I thought that test would be the last IIH ICA (Infection, Immunology and Haematology In Course Assessment for all non-bham medics out there) but as I didn’t do too badly on that one I still have the flunk-test wildcard available J What’s two percent in the grand scheme of things anyway?

I’ve eaten copious amounts of junk food and still seemed to have lost weight. But the junk food eating continues, as does a bad diet consisting of not enough veg and too many Oreos (the best biscuit ever!). This makes me a hypocrite as I told my medic kid to eat better.

Peppermint Mochas from Starbucks are like sips of a minty heaven. And I’ve upgraded myself to grande!

I’ve listened to soooo much music. And as I’m not entirely certain of the Islamic viewpoint on this I’ve also convinced myself I’m going to hell. (NB. If you’re going to leave a rude comment (you know who you are) about this don’t bother cause I’m not going to publish it). But it’s been useful and has given me many opportunities to scream and cry – I now have playlists for most occasions.

I’ve rambled for a bit so I really should go. Another update soon, hopefully. Sorry this has been so...weird. It's been a weird few weeks. Emotionally draining and weird. Sorry.


Reading: Jingo by Terry Pratchett. I love him, and I love any book that can make me laugh out load in the quiet zone of a packed train.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Rambling thoughts and Leicester?

So I haven't blogged in a while. That was bad of me. Sorry. And I'm not sure if this post classes as a blog - it's more a collection of rambling thoughts.

It's SSA (Student Selected Activity) week this week. Thank goodness. Any more of the days I've been having and I would have fainted. At least I made it through to Friday night before crashing! Now I have a week to catch up on sleep, catch up on revision notes and to do my project. Also to write my novel, but more of that in a sec.

Speaking of Friday night - Stranger's Tour. Fantastic. Made me cry a little though, felt guilty for being an "inshallah Muslim" but it also made me smile, and laugh. There was that sense of not belonging again, although I'm getting used to it now.

I still haven't blogged about Feel Bright. I'm not going to promise you a post in the next week because chances are I won't follow through. But I will try.

This weekend I did nothing. Absolutely nothing. And it was bliss.

National Novel Writing Month started today. 50,000 words in 30 days? Sounds scary and it probably won't happen. Current word count: 535. I am going to try and write some more before bed though.

What else has happened lately?

I've had some very mean comments, and I responded.

I've also had blog readers from Denmark, Singapore, Mexico, UAE and South Korea :D

I've been made to feel (slightly) guilty about having a reading week.

I told my housemate she didn't have a heart because she laughed at the ending of Single Father (amazing) and then felt insanely guilty about it.

I made piri piri chicken using Quorn pieces - probably the most cooking I've done in the past 6 weeks.

Six weeks!

I've thought about intercalating in Leicester.

That's right Humaira - Leicester.

Leicester offer a MA in Medical Humanities. It's an 11 month full time course - not sure how that would fit in with Birmingham but I'm sure I could make it work. Bham offer Medical Humanity intercalations but they're in things like History of Medicine (I keep thinking History of Magic) and Psychiatry. Psych actually sounds really interesting but Medical Humanities sounds better. And it's an MA.

But it's in Leicester. That's a long way from Birmingham. It would mean leaving everyone behind, paying a whole year's extra tuition and graduating with the year below. But if friends are true friends they'd stay in touch. And it sounds so good.

I've sent off for a prospectus. And I think I'll mention it to my tutor later this week.

Big decision.

I'll try to blog more coherently later on. Try to, not promise too.


Wednesday, 27 October 2010

In Response to An Anonymous Comment...

A few minutes ago I checked my email and found that I had a comment from an Anonymous reader. Normally I love getting comments. They make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. But this person actually made me feel slightly annoyed. Mainly irritated. I was going to reply to him as a comment but instead decided to reply as a full on post because this reply says a lot about my views, and I would like to share them with everyone.

Anonymous wrote: It makes me feel sick when Asians associate themselves with Islam. You don't speak or understand Arabic, you don't understand the Quran, you don't actually know anything about Islam. You seem completely westernised and corrupted. It makes me feel sick.

My response:
Hi Anonymous
Firstly, thank you for posting a comment. I can assume that you're not the Anonymous who has posted before because no one has ever gotten that annoyed with me on the blog. But I'm going to be civil, in keeping with the previous post which, I have to say, you seemed to have missed the point of completely. Peace and unity. Understanding other people, their cultures, their views. Just saying.
In relation to what you actually said - different people have different views on religion. Some of them are very religious. Others not. People interpret religion in different ways. Look at the different sects you get of all the major religions. I like to think that I am very religious person. I may not understand or speak Arabic, I may read it like a three year old but I understand Islam and that is what is important. Islam means peace. Islam is a religion of understanding. I can get that from an English translation of the Qur’an. I don’t need to understand Arabic to understand the teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Your post wasn’t very Islamic because if you are a true Muslim you respect other people’s views and understand that not everyone thinks the way you do. It is possible to be both a "western" and a Muslim. I am a British Asian. I am a British Muslim. And I'm proud of it.
You don't know that much about me. Actually, you don't know anything about me. So in the future I would appreciate it if you didn't use this blog as a means at shouting at the world, which is, essentially what you're doing. You are stereotyping. You are also being very rude. And that makes me feel sick.
I published your comment because I believe that people’s opinions should be heard. I am also a strong follower of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states in Section 18 that “You have the right to profess your religion freely, to change it, and to practise it either on your own or with other people.” It also says in Section 19 that “You have the right to think what you want, to say what you like, and nobody should forbid you from doing so. You should be able to share your ideas”. That is why I published your comment. It is also why I wrote this reply.
Please don't be rude on my blog again.
Thank you

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Global Peace and Unity...

Last weekend I went to the Global Peace and Unity Conference in London. The GPU is one of those things that I’ve heard of and have known about but I’ve never been. I’ve never even thought of going. We don’t do that, in our family. You know, go to conferences, or lectures, or events. But my uncle goes almost every single year and a few months ago (on the day I moved down to Brum, actually) he rang and reminded Mum that she had expressed in an interest in it a while back and did we want to go?
Well yes, we did want to go but couldn’t really swing it at the moment. But somehow, using his excellent and at times scary skills of persuasion, my uncle persuaded us. It would be an investment in our future. And to be honest, I was really looking forward to it. Global peace and unity is one of those things I shout at the TV screen about. I think the only way to end the bombings and the fighting is for people to have a greater understanding of other religions and cultures. For people to discuss their problems. For there to be a mass global movement that opposes war and thinks that talking is the way forward. I’ve become very opinionated in the last few years (it drives my mum crazy!) and it seemed like this was right up my street (if people even say that anymore).
So on Friday night Mum and brother came down to Brum and stayed the night. Thankfully we’ve become a family of ear plug users so the huge house party next door didn’t affect them (thank goodness – honestly, if one bad thing had happened in Brum to do with the house Mum would have worried about it for the rest of the year). Then on Saturday we started the drive to London, stopping off at Watford Gap services to meet up with my uncle and his family.
I was really excited. This was going to be great. Not only was it a weekend where I could see my family (for the first time since term started) but it was a weekend of peace and unity and Islam and hotels and it was LONDON BABY (this has to be said in an American accent like Joey does in Friends).
But the first day wasn’t great. There was one hall full of stalls and a conference room. We stayed in the stall room where we proceeded to lose everyone almost immediately. And it was busy. Couldn’t-see-the-stalls-properly busy. And my brother kept moaning. And my grandma was ill back at home. And for some inexplicable reason I had a bit of a breakdown that my brother and cousin saw that involved me sitting on the floor crying.
Don’t ask me why. I honestly don’t know.
We didn’t manage to make it to the conference room till that evening. We just spent all day walking around, trying to get freebies, trying not to lose people, (trying not to cry) and eating really good cookies and cream ice-cream (which I would pay for on Sunday!). But eventually we got to the conference room and that’s when it all became extremely overwhelming.
To understand you have to understand my family. I’ve grown up in a very White, lower class, ex-mining town. I was the only Asian at my primary school till about year 4. The BNP are loved where I’m from (although not enough thank goodness; they were still 4th in the last election). My friends growing up were white. High school was better. It had a huge catchment area so I grew up surrounded my people of different beliefs and different religions. If I could do that again I would – it’s what fuels my people-understanding-different-religions rant from earlier. I love that I know loads of different people from loads of different backgrounds. I love how I know little tidbits of information about different religions and different countries. I especially love how I have at least one friend from each of the major world religions and some less major ones.
I’ve never felt particularly deprived due to the fact we didn’t have a strong Islamic/Asian community. The only other Asians we saw were family, or family friends or at weddings. But I never felt like we weren’t seeing enough of them. That was my life. I thought I had the balance pretty well sorted.
Then we were sitting in the hall surrounded by Muslims from all over the world and there was a nasheed artist on stage (Zain Bhikha) and everyone was cheering. Apparently he’s famous. I’ve never heard of him before. My mum, brother and I kept looking at each other quizzically. That kept happening. More cheers, screaming girls and quizzical looks. Then Sound of Reason came on. Apparently also very famous. And they were great! I loved them. I want their CD. But through it all I was just laughing because it was so overwhelming and I felt so cut off from this world that’s meant to be my world.
Does that make sense? Does anyone else feel that?
Sunday was better but still not enough talks or peace and unity and still too many stalls.
The same thing happens when I’m with ISOC. They’ll talk about these people, about things they’ve seen on Peace TV or the Islam channel and I just sit there and smile and feel ignorant of the world. I bet Friday’s the same – I’m going to the Stranger’s tour at the uni. At least I’ve heard of Baba Ali.
It was odd. But it’s like I don’t belong in this world, this English world because I’m Asian. But apparently I don’t fit into the Asian world either. Like I said, I thought I had the balance just right. Turns out I was wrong.


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

National Novel Writing Month...

I know I said I would write about the Feel Bright campaign and I will. Soon. But at the moment I'm actually buzzing because I just found out about the National Novel Writing Month and I wanted to jump up and down and tell people about it.

I was reading a fanfic online (laugh all you want, I don't care!) when I saw an author profile where he talked about taking part in the NaNoWriMo. So I googled it. Turns out there's this site where you aim to write a whole 50,000 word novel in a month. November. Ten days from now. You have from 12:01 on the 1st to 23:59 on the 30th. Apparently it's "thirty days and nights of literary abandon".

And I couldn't stop smiling. So I signed up and filled in my "Author Profile" (hehe, I'm an author :) ) and somehow committed myself to at least attempting to write a novel in a month. I'm trying to ignore the fact that I have two tests and a visit home during November. I'm also ignoring the fact that I don't have a novel plan. I have an idea, one that's been stewing since April last year when I was meant to be revising for my exams. Actually, thinking about it, I have three ideas. Now all I have to do is pick one, write a rough outline and try and find time to write a novel whilst trying to get through my medical degree. But hey, it's only a month. And I don't seem to sleep anymore anyway. And I need this. Need this. I need some creativity in my science-full life.

And it doesn't matter if I don't do it. If you write over 50,000 words you "win" ie you get a certificate and the joy of knowing that you did it. But I don't need to do it. I just need something to concentrate on. Something to try. Something literary. Something that can make me smile and fill me with the kind of joy I experienced when I saw the website. So let's go for it and see how far I can get.

(There's also a ScriptFrenzy in April but I need to revise during April so maybe I'll wait till I've qualified for that one).

And now I really have to go write up histology notes for tomorrow. Wish me luck (for both things :D )

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The Mystery of the Broken Flush...

This is a bit of a rant-y post so feel free not to read.

So I was going to come home from my very long day and blog about the Feel Bright campaign which is running at the medical school. I was going to tell you how brilliant and worthwhile it is and about how I had an amazing day and met loads of new people and about how things are finally starting to look up.

Then I came home, watched Waterloo Road, got very teary (because everything is making me teary at the moment) and then realised that someone had broken the flush in the downstairs toilet and hadn't bothered to phone the landlord about it. The same flush I broke this morning, got really upset about breaking, then fixed and got ridiculously excited about how I had done some plumbing and fixed the toilet. Sometime between me fixing it and 9 o'clock tonight someone else broke it to an extent that I can no longer fix it and nobody told the landlord. Now I'm peeved. And really, really upset. I don't see why I should be so concerned about fixing the plumbing just for someone else to break it and not inform anyone. And it definitely wasn’t my fault – there was still toilet roll left when I broke (and fixed) it. When I went back there was no toilet roll. Ergo, someone else broke it (the repetition is mainly to reassure myself that it isn’t my fault.)

Now I'm too annoyed and too depressed and too sad to write, because the incident with the bathroom has pushed me over the edge.

My Quote of the Day was going to be from one of our Immunology profs about Schistosomiasis, which are these small snail things that go up the waterstream and infect you (I think, I had given up any hope of following this lecture without a handout by this point):

"Then they go and have sex in your liver, which is outrageous"

At the time I thought that was hilarious and worth sharing. My apologises.

Instead my Quote of the Day comes from our Year Tutor who, when talking about helping fellow students who we think might not be coping well or have depression, said : "Start as you mean to go on". It seems more fitting here - the day started with a broken toilet and ended with a broken toilet. Just about sums up my life.

More about the Feel Bright campaign when I'm feeling more bright. Promise.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Things just kept getting worse...

I know I’ve been slightly AWOL this week but it’s been so hectic and so many (bad) things have all been happening in quick succession that I either didn’t have time to post or was too depressed to write.  I seriously could have written a post a day and you wouldn’t have got bored. Or at least, I hope you wouldn’t have.

(I've just finished writing this on word and it was three pages long. I won't be offended if you don't read it. I'll put some pictures in to try and make it a little more interesting.)

First: The Illness
I used to be ill a lot. Pretty much ever since I was released from my cotton wool world into primary school. I think I spent more time off sick in Reception then I did at school. But come this summer – nada. Not even sniffle.
Until the day I moved back to Brum. Since then, major illness. Cold, turned into flu, almost fainted, got better, got very very wet (I couldn’t carry the shopping and the umbrella), got worse, got green phlegm, warning bells, got chesty cough, more warning bells, got continuous nose bleed, GO TO THE DOCTORS!!!!!, went to the doctors, got antibiotics, antibiotics made me sick, got food poisoning, had an ultimate IBS bad day, getting better.

I blame the mackerel for the food poisoning. Stupid fish. It didn’t even taste that nice. Suffice to say I threw the rest of it away.
That’s pretty much two weeks of feeling awful. It meant that the first few days at uni were hell, but more about that later.

Second: The House
I like it. I actually do. And I was worried that I wouldn’t get along with some of my housemates but it’s actually not been as bad as I thought it would be, thank goodness. There have been some minor disagreements about the heating, which has resulted in some sneaky, covert putting-the-heater-on-for-half-an-hour-without-anyone-realising missions that I’m not meant to tell people about, but apart from that. It’s been alright in my room but there have been a few nights when I’ve slept wearing three layers with a blanket and a duvet, wearing knee high Winnie-the-Pooh socks. So cool.
Then, last Saturday, it rained. A lot. And the housemate who had only moved in about an hour ago, and is staying in the attic, went into her wardrobe to find a big wet patch. We phoned the landlord and he said he couldn’t do anything until next week. Then it rained some more. I woke up on Sunday morning to see a slightly grey patch on my ceiling. I live under the attic room. And, sure enough, the roof was damp, although not dripping, thankfully! The roof is now fixed – huzzah!
And then there was the thing with the extortionately high electricity bill from over the summer. We sorted out that too – huzzah!
And then the fire alarm went off yesterday. Apparently it is possible to mess up the cooking of chicken.

Third: Medical School
I hate it. It’s stupid, I know. And I was doing so well over the summer. And it’s stupid why I hate it but I do. I hate it. A lot.
I don’t have many friends. There were people in my class last year who I got on really well with during our SGTs but outside the class, in lectures, I either sat by myself or with the two girls from my high school, both of whom managed to make friends of their own. I pretty much spent all of my time with one of those girls, who I was best friends with at school. But this year she’s resitting.
Cue Monday.
9:00 – Sat with remaining old school friend and her friends. Old friend from class came and sat next to me. She’s a little weird. Didn’t really talk to anyone for the ensuing three hours.
12:00 – Met my class for the first time. Kind of know some of them, but not really. They all seem to know each other though. Try to make an effort but feel really, really stupid and very isolated.
Lunch – sat with one girl from the class and her friends. Didn’t really get spoken to.
Afternoon – sat by myself in lectures. People I don’t know came and sat next to me. No one spoke to me.
I came home and ate massive amounts of junk food.
I know I shouldn’t be getting upset about not having any friends. That’s a problem you have at high school. Mum keeps saying to try and make new friends but everyone’s already in groups and they don’t want me butting in. Trust me, I’ve been in a group when we’ve had butter-inners. They are hated.
It got slightly better as the week went on but not much. Tuesday I got food poisoning. Cue more sadness. Wednesday was the best – I went to the ISOC Meet and Greet and was getting along with people, so hopefully that should lead somewhere. I think I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I am to remain friendless for the next four years. I can do my foundation years back at home.

Well done if you’ve read this far. Almost done. Promise.

Fourth: The Kids/Stupid Prank Phone Calls
I went in to the medical school last Tuesday, after almost fainting, and met two of my medic kids (one got lost). They were both really nice. I did the tour, gave them my number, and told them to text me if they have any problems.
Now one of them won’t stop texting me. And it was all at stupid times as well.
8:30 on Sunday morning.
6:45 on Monday morning.
12:11 on Tuesday morning.
I was asleep for all of them. None of them were emergencies. They were all trivial things that could have waited till a more sociable hour. I tried not to get too worked up, but I did. I was ill. I needed my sleep. I text her Tuesday night saying, “I’m ill and going to bed. Please don’t text until 9am”. She didn’t reply. That was the other annoying thing. I’d reply to her ridicously early texts (yes, I know I could have turned my phone off but it needs to be on for an actual emergency) and wouldn’t hear from her for about four hours. And she was messing me around, asking to borrow a text book but not buy it, then she didn’t want the text book, then she did, then she didn’t.
 It didn’t help that I was being prank called – somehow someone had got hold of my mobile number. They rang really early one morning last week pretending to be a little kid. It freaked me out. I have since learnt to ignore any calls from their number (they don’t even block it!). Although I didn’t get a call from another unknown number yesterday, which I missed, so it looks like they could be starting again.
I’ve since talked to my kid and explained (really nicely) that I love how she feels she can text me with her problems but can she wait until a more reasonable hour next time? She told me she never looks at the time. Figures.

Rant over.
Hopefully next week will be better. It should be. I just need to not get so upset when I sit by myself in lectures, and try to ignore the fact that one of my classmates was looking at me strangely today. Little bit of TLC this weekend, some crumpets, the Saturday Times crossword and some films and hopefully I’ll be in a better state of mind next week. As for the rest of it...lots of prayers I think. Maybe I can get a class transferral...
Thanks for reading this epic post. :D

Currently readying: Clinically Orientated Anatomy. Again. Stupid big book.
Quotes of the week (both from my renal prof): “You can use the dye ‘Evan’s Blue’. Now I know it sounds like a porn shop in Swansea”
“I’m now going to draw a joint. I know you expect me to draw a guy with a spiff in his mouth bit I’m sorry to disappoint you” (or something to that effect!)

(Thank you to Google Images for the pictures. Please don't sue me)

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Return of the Brum...

I'm back in Birmingham. After an epic day that involved the quickest drive down ever, two supermarkets, a trip to Homebase, many antibacterial wipes (there was so much dust!), paracetamol and a very nice smoked salmon I am finally curled up in my new bed in my new room between new sheets wearing new PJs :D At the moment, life seems good.

Not so much this morning though. I really didn't want to leave. All summer, up until we turned off the M6 and I saw Birmingham again, I haven't felt like I'd be coming back. In my head the summer just stretched on indefinately. I think that's why I haven't been feeling nervous or excited or anything really, because I couldn't/wouldn't acknowledge the fact that I'd be in this position again. The psychological reasons for that can be left to another time. But then I saw the slip road into Birmingham that, for some obscure reason, doesn't have a central reservation and it hit me. That's when the stomach started with the flip flops.

Then we got here. And the house wasn't as bad as Mum expected it to be. It was also a lot cleaner than I remembered, which is definately a positive. Every room has been painted, the carpets have either been changed or cleaned really, really well and I haven't seen a single bug (yet). My room, however, is about a third of the size it used to be. And my wardrobe hasn't got a door. And there are no curtains at the window (which is right at my head) only a blind. And it's cold, but that's a given. But we're focussing on the positives, at least for now.

In other news: I am a single (medic's) mum. My wife/sister is no longer in the Mums/Dads scheme for "personal reasons". I think she's having to externally resit, because she's still living in Birmingham, but I'm not certain. If she is then she's the 5th person I've heard of who's having to do that. One girl from my M-group failed an essay so she has to wait a whole year, and pay full fees, just to re-write it. But I'm still here and, in addition to being a second year medic, I am now also a single mum to three (first year) girls.

Told you life was complicated.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Malfunctioning Ear Plugs and Stuff...

I shouldn't be awake now. It's too early. But the Brother and the Mother both woke me up by being insanely loud in the bathroom and, for some reason, my ear plugs have stopped working. But it's good practice for going back to uni, which I'm doing in 11 days!!!!! I think the excitement is beginning to set in, although the medical school is still being oddly quiet for an administrative department.

List of things I still need to buy:
  • a mirror
  • a bin (my landlord doesn't seem to provide anything)
  • a draft excluder
  • Redbush tea bags
  • pyjamas
  • extra socks (learning from last year - it snows way more in Brum than it does where I live)
  • food

Because of the list I need to go into town. But I can't. Because the Brother ordered a new XBox game that comes out today but won't be here until at least Wednesday and he needs me to sign for it. Do you know what this means? - he's going to be uber miserable until it comes and somehow - not sure how but just somehow - it's all going to be my fault. The joys of home life. Still, it doesn't make me want to leave, especially when he told me last week that he'll miss me. :)

Toodles :D

P.S. A very belated EID MUBARIK to everyone!!!!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Congratulations, it's a girl...

Finally, after 11 weeks of silence, I heard from the medical school. It was an e-mail, and not a MedSoc bulletin one where the only important news seems to be the swim sessions for the people living in Birmingham. It was from the office, reminding us to remember to pick up our kids.


Every time I've said that to someone, especially non-medics, they've looked at me like I've had a boil the size of Canada on my nose. It makes me laugh. Don't worry, I'm not pregnant. Nor have I ever been pregnant. The kids I'm referring to are my first years - Birmingham runs a Mums and Dads mentoring scheme.

Every medic is in a Personal Mentor (PM) group with one or two others from their year - your siblings. The second years are your parents, third year are your grandparents etc etc. It's your medic family. When you get to second year you become parents yourselves, in what has to be one of the most incestuous relationships of all time - my sister is now also my wife. We're a lesbian couple; we have lesbian parents as well. I suppose that says something about the male:female ratio at medical school.

It's funny because you'll be talking to someone and they'll mention their Mum and you have to clarify which Mum they mean - medic or real.

Anyway I have to be at the medical school between 8 and 8.30 on the morning of Tuesday 28th September. Monday will be the first Gatecrasher night of the new academic year - it'll be interesting to see who turns up still drunk :D

Reading: the Harry Potter books. Again. The film comes out in November :)

Monday, 30 August 2010

Back to School Blues...

This time last year I was so excited about going to medical school. Jump-up-and-down-on-the-bed-can't-stop-smiling excited. I had lists and checklists and timetables and agendas. Every second weekend was spent at Ikea or Asda or Home and Bargains comparing the prices of plates and clothes horses.

Not feeling it this year.

I mean, I am looking forward to going back. I've been off for ten weeks now and I haven't really done anything interesting. I have, however, watched so much television that I know what they're going to say on the advert before they say it. I got excited when the new BT adverts come out. I voted on whether or not Jane should be pregnant (yes, obviously). I have reached ultimate sadness levels, according to the brother. So yes, I want to go back, if only so I have something to do.

Yesterday saw the start of the annual stationary shop, in time for the new year. I bought twenty black ball point pens for £1.49. Once upon a time such a small detail would make me smile because it was linked to uni. Yesterday - nothing. I also bought new trousers for GP days. Again, nothing.

I don't know if it's because I'm a "veteran" now but I'm really not feeling it this year. Maybe, in a week or so, something will click and I'll get all excited. Until then, more television, less eating and idealistic dreams that I'm going to be thin before I go back.

Just read: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Amazing - heartwarming, elegant, poignant. Just ignore the fact it's aimed at children.

Reading: Left Hand of God by Phillip Hoffman. Terrible, despite The Times calling it "well told" and Eoin Colfer saying it was "Magnificent". It isn't. Don't read it.

Thursday, 26 August 2010


After boasting about my skill at baking this happened yesterday:

They got burnt. Turns out that it is a fan oven. And they taste all chewy. This is what happens when you try to be healthy and make fruity muffins instead of chocolate chip. Of course, it could just be karma telling me to keep my mouth shut...

Toodles :D

Monday, 23 August 2010

Resits and stuff...

I passed my driving test!!!! With only one minor! Made me very happy, I have to say, especially since the examiner was telling me off for being too cautious. We did have a nice conversation though about the deminse of politeness and decency and how hospitals should bring back matrons. I agree, by the way, about the matron thing. Would help with the superbug problem if there was someone in charge of the ward in that way. A Madam Pomfrey kind of figure, or someone from an Enid Blyton boarding school book.

I also got a new camera. It's a Fujifilm JX530 and is very nice. Black, sleek, thin enough to fit into my pocket, takes photos nice and quick unlike my last camera which would jutter, sigh, then pull itself together whilst moaning about it's arthritic knees before clicking. I'm going to do the 365 day challenge. You take a photo every day to sum it up. Or I will do, if I can decide on a photo for today. I'll try to post some up here. The one's that are as unpersonal as possible.

So it's resit week this week. At least, it is at Birmingham. There are quite a few medics with resits, about 10% somebody said. Good luck to everyone who has resits. One of my best friends has quite a few, so she's been pretty much non-existant during the summer because she's been revising so much. If I had gotten resits I would have taken it as a sign that I wasn't meant to do medicine and dropped out, because there honestly wasn't any more revision I could have done. Well, there was, but I wouldn't have slept. I'm sure that says something about my revision strategy.

I'm sure that paragraph was going to go somewhere better.......ummm.......

Update on the house: we're now sorting out TV and broadband. Turns out we're going to pay more for high speed broadband than it would have cost for the joint broadband, TV and phone package. That having been decided, quite undemocratically I have to add, we're now buying a freeview box and arguing over whether or not you need an ariel or a dish.

Just finished reading Neil Gaiman's Nevewhere. He now holds the position of "Favourite Author" alongside Steven Moffat who it "Favourite Screenwrite". Amazing book, by the way. He writes fantasy without creating whole new worlds (like Terry Pratchett, who I still like). Instead he takes the real world and alters it and adds to it to make it fantastical. Sigh, I wish I could write like that. At the moment I'm toying with shifting dimensions that slip in and out of focus like 3D pictures. And I had a great idea about dreamwalking but Inception came along and stole the patent rights to that novel. Oh well. Let's just see how it goes.


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Kitchen Disasters Both Now and Next Year...

I think it’s sufficient to say that I will never cook Asian food like my Mum does. Actually, I think that I’ll never be able to cook Asian food. Ever. Ever, ever, ever. Unless my Mum is standing over me the entire time. We made butternut squash curry (with mushrooms and chickpeas) together at the beginning of the summer. It was so good I’m salivating just thinking about it. Yesterday I tried to make it on my lonesome. First I put the garlic and ginger in at the wrong time. There wasn’t enough oil. There wasn’t enough salt. And then it burnt. There was a layer of...stuff at least a centimetre thick coating the bottom of the pan. It was depressing. I cried (I’m blaming lack of food for that momentary lapse of composure). Mum drained off the veg and made it again from scratch in what seemed like half the time it took for me to fry my onions.

This does not bode well for the future. No prospective suitor (and I am talking waaaay in the future here) wants a wife who can’t cook. And makes chapattis that look like different continents.

Actually I lie. I can cook. I cook great when there’s a recipe to follow and, in the case of yesterday, the squash is peeled and chopped before anything goes on the heat. But Mum, like most other Asians, doesn’t do exact quantities. Instead it’s “a bit of curry powder, a bit of garam masaala” or “put some oil in the pan and fry some onions”. Well, how much is a bit? Some oil? How much oil? Hence why I need parental supervision.

But I bake a treat. (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.) I make the nicest chocolate fudge brownies and apparently really nice Millionaire’s Shortbread. But you can’t live off confectionary at uni. Well, you could, but you would be huge. And that isn’t a good thing. Can you imagine telling a patient that they need to be healthy and lose weight when your office chair has to be custom made? However, I did enjoy watching “The Great British Bake-Off” yesterday, even though I was fasting and it was Hour Fourteen. Some of those chocolate celebration cakes looked yum. I really hope the recipes are on-line. I see a giant bake day in the very near future.

Ah yes, cooking next year. You see, last year when I lived on the Vale, I was in catered accommodation. Mum said it would help with the transition to Uni and it did. I have huge respect for my fellow medics who had the same 25-27 hour week as me and cooked as well. Next year I’ll be one of them. Part of me is really looking forward to it – I’ve ripped out loads of recipes from the Asda magazine and spend the first day of Ramadan fantasising about all the lovely risottos and leek tarts I was going to make. Part of me is dreading it. I can see myself living off gypsy bread and beans. Or takeout. All this Ramzaan weight loss is going to be for nothing.

But moving into the house in Birmingham is still a month off. I’ve got packing to do before then, text books to buy, long facebook conversations with the housemates about who’s going to bring the bleach and who’s bringing the iron. They want to buy bread and milk as a house by having a tub in the kitchen for us to put money in. I can’t see it happening, least of all because I’m drinking lactose free milk at the moment. But we can dream. Arguments within the first month? Yes, I think so too.

I’m off to watch Richard Dawkin’s “Faith School Menace” on More Four. Boy I hate that guy. Sorry, dislike him immensely.

Toodles :D

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Hi Everyone...

Hi everyone!!! Welcome to “It’s Complicated”!

Last year I started my medical degree at the University of Birmingham and decided to blog about my experiences. I had loads of fun writing the blog but at the end of the year decided I needed to make some changes in order to make it better. And, because I like to do things the long, complicated way, I didn’t just change the title of the old blog, I made a brand new one. Voila.

It’s Complicated is my attempt to make sense and write about my complicated world. Things aren’t just straightforward with me. During fresher’s last year I realised that when people would ask me questions, especially about my family, I would reply by saying “it’s complicated” (where the blog title comes from). It’s not actually that complicated but compared to some, and especially when you start trying to explain things to total strangers, it can seem that way.

So, the succinct version. I’m a second year medic (or at least, soon to b
e) at Birmingham Uni who hates science with a passion. Especially physiology. I don’t mind the clinical stuff, I love doing the practical stuff but, although I find it kinda interesting, I can’t stand pure science. I did medicine for the people. But when you’re in the pre-clinical years the people seem a long way off and you spend most of your time learning pathways and molecule names and the answers to every single “why” question you can think of. I don’t ask why. I just accept.

But I love English. Favourite subject at A-level: English Lit. Favourite hobby: Reading. I write. Or at least I did write until my creative spark decided to evade me during this stupidly long summer. If you could do joint honours in English and Medicine I would. So I spend most of my time wishing I was in English lectures and trying to find a way to balance both halves of my life.
Not your typical medical student.

Then there’s the family. My parents are divorced. My dad got remarried without telling me. I have a love-hate relationship with my younger brother. I didn’t really deal with everything that well the first time round and I’m now having lots of déjà vu moments/episodes.

It’s not all that bad. At times I love my life. And then, like most people, there are times when I hate it. It’s Complicated is so I can have somewhere to write about it – medicine, English, the family. Kind of like a journal, but people read it (and hopefully comment on it). There will be posts about medicine and the medical degree here. There will hopefully be bits and bobs about books I’ve read. There will be rants about the family. And, if I get any followers, there will be a Twitter page too. Sound like something you’d like reading? Follow me. Tell your friends. See if you can work out who I am.

And thank you, for reading this far at least.

I’ll blog again next week, probably something about moving out of halls and into a house, or something about resists (which start soon).

Until then, toodles :D