Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011...

2011 was not a great year. At least, the first half wasn't. It was a bit like ying and yang really.



Part of the year was awful. It was dark, hung with a black shadow that didn't seem to go away. And every time I thought it would improve it just seemed to get worse.

But then, the second half of it was amazing. I've been having a great time at Bristol, and I'm better in myself than I have ever been. I'm coming off my meds. I'm happy. The outlook for the year is good.

I don't do New Year's resolutions. There I things I want to happen next year, aspects of myself which I want to change. But I'll be changing not because it's New Year, but because it's a new start to myself. So, over the course of the next year I aim to be healthier (in body and in mind) to be more positive about myself and to stop putting myself down.

So, here's to a new year *raises a mug of tea*. May it be a good one. I wish you all peace and happiness, and good fortune in all that you do.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Both strange and wonderful...

I've started writing poetry again.

Earlier in the month I wanted to blog about how I was drowning in beginnings, both in terms of my writing and the books I'm reading (and in life generally). I will probably still blog about it at some point, after I've fallen out of this little pool of bliss in which I'm currently floating.

On Thursday I told someone that I don't write poetry.

A while ago I thought about what a waste it was that I didn't write more during the bad times last year, and how I had somehow missed out on a way to document the experience.

I'm not sure if all these scenes are relevant to this but they seem oddly appropriate.

Whilst I was lamenting about drowning and trying (and failing) to write a blog post about it (I couldn't get past the beginning), I did things the old fashioned way and went back to pen and paper. And I scribbled. I wasn't allowed to cross anything out. I just wrote. I think one line even reads "Don't cross this out". It wasn't much, and it wasn't profound. A few lines were about this odd half dream I had had the night before where I purposefully jumped off a bridge, fully dressed, in the middle of winter. Not a happy thought, I'll give you that. But somehow those few lines became a poem.

I was listening to Sam Tsui sing "If I Die Young" on YouTube earlier (about 1am-ish because the insomnia is still there) and did the same - I just wrote lines on Word about how I keep getting scared at night. Somehow those lines became two poems.

They're not much. And they're not profound. But I'm oddly proud of them.

Monday, 5 December 2011

It's all in your head...

It turns out that I felt the way I did about a month ago because I reduced the dosage of fluoxetine too fast. Which is interesting. Because there was no external trigger. I wasn't feeling lonely. I wasn't hating the course, or the city, or the uni like I did last year. There are no battles being fought on the family front, no evil housemates, no horrid course mates. Nothing. Which shows that it is all in my head. Not in the "I'm making things up" way or the "stop acting crazy" way or the hallucinating way. But in the science way. It's all to do with the neurotransmitters. Or the synapses. Or something. Somewhere there is a deficit. Which makes me feel a little happier, cause it shows that I wasn't making it up. It wasn't teenage angst. It's not my fault. Well, not totally :p

I'm not sleeping much better. When I do sleep I sleep for hours and can't get up but it still takes me a while to fall off, although the time between head hitting the pillow and dreams is getting less. Last night I woke up every few hours, which I used to do every night but which hasn't happened for months. In the overall scheme of things it may not be that great but it is a small improvement on earlier in the term. I do however feel like I'm hibernating. And I feel awful at night, round about this time. Everything goes back to being pointless. But it passes (generally).

Baby steps Lexie, baby steps.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Perfect...

So I really want to write a really insightful post about...something, anything. But the words are evading me en ce moment. Instead, this is for everyone who feels like they're shit, or worthless, or pointless, or less than perfect. You're not. We're not.

Friday, 18 November 2011

"Love the way you lie" ...

I'm not entirely sure what's going on with me at the moment, but I have realised that I'm using the term "at the moment" too much at the moment. See. We went on a trip today, to M Shed, a museum in Bristol, and I was alone with my tutor for a bit and she asked how I was doing. I gave the whole "I'm fine, fine, just busy and I've been a bit ill" but she noticed there was something more and asked me again. I tried explaining and couldn't. Because I can't explain. But I was in a state wandering around the museum, quite detatched and on the verge of tears. The coffee afterwards with my course-mates helped a little, but I came back to the flat and got straight into bed. I've started a "no chocolate" thing (because I've been comfort eating way too many brownie pieces lately) but I really, really want chocolate now.

I'm either sleeping or not. Which is a stupid generalisation but that's how it seems to be. I slept for about 10 hours the other day, got up and ate something then went back to bed for another 7. Then I'll sleep 8 hours, then be insomniac-y the next night, then the night after, then sleep for a day, then insomnia, then ok, then insomnia. And it's insomnia in the proper sense. Last year insomnia was waking up every few hours and taking a while to get back to sleep. This year it's lying there, shattered, eyelids closing and wanting to stay closed but brain on fast fast fast fast fast. So I'll get up and watch cooking programmes then feel proper tired round 3/4ish but then develop this irrational fear about going to sleep because I know I'll have trouble waking up in 3/4 hours when my alarm goes off.

Talking of irrational fears - since when has the thought of leaving my flat scared me?? Like actually scared me. Not just slight anxiety. It's like the next stage of anxiety. And it blinking scares the beep out of me.

Mum's naturally really worried. She said she'd come down but I have this essay to do, which is due in on Thursday but I'm not progressing with.

This time it's not uni, or the course. Last year it was Birmingham and medicine. This year it's all internal, which makes me very happy because I am in love with Bristol. Want to do my foundation years here in love. And the course is amazing. But yesterday I missed a class because I couldn't bear the thought of leaving the flat. So I slept instead.

Breathe Lexie.

I have a doctor's appoitment on Monday. I'm hoping it's just the pill withdrawal, or just a phase. I just need to ride it through.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

That's not everything I am...

I love this song at the moment, and the message it's trying to get across. And the fact that Gary looks so emotional and has to stop singing. And I love the video, cause I have this fantasy about dancing with him, whoever he is, although I strongly suspect...never mind. And I know what it's trying to say is true, and I get that, I'm just flitting between believing it and not lately. Wow, I'm really not articulate today..


Sunday, 13 November 2011

An Insomnia Post...

I'm blaming the insomnia on my inadvertent discontinuation-ing of my Fluoxetine. I went down to one capsule a day as suggested by the doctor, and although I wanted to be off them by New Year I hadn't made any concrete plans. Then I forgot to take one, then took one, then forgot, and so now I'm on one every other day. I'm also using this as the excuse for my horrible bad moods, general laziness and grumpiness. In all honesty I have not been happy with myself this week. If I could clone myself I would do so, purely so I could slap myself and tell me off for being such a bitch. Not to other people, although I pity my Mum.

I could go on to tell you about the ins and outs of my emotions but honestly, I'd rather not. So instead I will leave you with the music I have been rediscovering recently. I love it when you half remember a song, or a lyric, so you type it into Google and realise you used to listen to this on the bus on the way to school four or five years ago. It's a real warm moment, that never fails to make me smile. The best one was when I clicked on a video in the side bar on YouTube, listened to the introduction, paused it because it reminded me of a song from a few years ago which I then sang to myself, re-started the video and realised it was the same song.

Enjoy :)










David Powter - Bad Day (This is the one from the little story :D )

Monday, 31 October 2011

The Romantics...

So I didn't go to bed. Well I did. Just after midnight. But I was lying there like I have done every night for the past week and I didn't feel tired at all. Well, I did. I was shattered. My eyelids were drooping. But my mind was racing and screaming and dancing and shouting and singing and refusing to turn the music down. I got up at about 1am. They say that if you've been lying in bed for over half an hour, unable to fall asleep, you should get up and do something mundane until you feel sleepy. Like read a book.

I went on my laptop.

The sleep didn't come. So I made myself a cup of tea, listened to Ludovico Einaudi and Taylor Swift and other songs from my first year of medicine that brought back some strange memories and worked on my philosophy essay. Like a boss.

It's funny how fast time goes sometimes. I didn't get anywhere with my essay but suddenly it's 3am, then 4am, then 5.30 and I'm starting to feel a little sleepy but if I go to bed now I'll be a grouche when I'm woken up after four hours sleep.

In conclusion, I haven't slept. I'm currently sitting at my window waiting to watch the sun rise over the rooftops and planning breakfast at Starbucks.

I spent some of the night reading the stories I'd written growing up and have saved on my computer. I did this last night too, although, not until dawn. I always find it fascinating reading back on things I've wrote. Half the time I can't remember writing them. I can't imagine that I managed to manipulate the words that way. It doesn't sound like me. Some of it sounds...well, good.

Reading some of it tonight made me realise just how ill I was, even in 6th form, even in my first year of medical school. I didn't write anything last year, nothing fictional. I really wish I had. Because reading some of my stories opened a window on all the emotions I've felt over the years without pulling me back in. It's almost therapeutic.

The sky's turned lilac and grey. I can hear the birds.

Anyway, I found something I had saved as "The Romantics". I don't know if it's because I haven't slept but I found it hilarious. I remember writing it, not where I was or what the weather was like, but the sensation of the words hurtling down my arm so fast my hand couldn't keep up. It's autobiographical. I remember thinking it all. I know exactly which boy I'm talking about. And I thought I would share it with you. I've tweaked it a bit, but otherwise it is how I wrote it on the 20th December 2009 at 00:50.

Enjoy. It's not perfect. Most of it isn't grammatically correct. But it's a tiny insight into the mind of a first year medic with a crush and an obsession with happy ever after.


The Romantics
There’s a problem with liking the Romantics – be it the Victorian Romantics, the Modern ones, the books, the poems, the movies, the songs. Sometimes, all the time, you get a little caught up in them. You daydream. You hum as you walk down the hall. You concoct elaborate story lines in your head and then blink and realise that guy thinks you’ve been staring at him for the entire lecture. And then you realise that it’ll never happen and you have to accept the fact that you are just you. You’re not Jane, not Bridget, not Natalie and the Prime Minister isn’t Hugh Grant, nobody will ever sing to you, be it at your window or at a party or over candles and lobster, you’ll never dance with that one special person at prom, or at your engagement, and that guy who you were inadvertently staring at will never talk to you because he thinks you’re stalking him, when you’re not.

What do you do then? What do you do when you’re not looking for love even though part of you really wants to? How do you advise your friends when he breaks up with them, or upsets them? Do you give advice based on what you’ve seen in the movies or do you tell them to pull themselves together – we’re too young to have found the one, there are plenty more fish in the sea, he’s a bastard and you’re better off without him.

But then there’s that guy. The one who thinks you’re stalking him. It’s not your fault you're both on the same course, in the same halls, both come down to breakfast at exactly the same time. You didn’t time your departure from the Medical School to the second to ensure you would bump into him at that exact corner as he returned from the opposite direction. It was coincidence. Really. Because when you realise you see someone everywhere your brain automatically picks them out. Fact. I suppose it doesn’t help that you go all stiff and awkward when he walks past. How do you deal with that without looking like a total spaz? Especially when you know you can never have him, not just because he’s way out of your league or he isn’t actually the guy you think, he is just the guy you’ve projected this perfect image onto, but because you’re not looking for love. Not because you’ve had too many bad experiences in the past and have decided that the right guy will appear if you stop looking for him, but because you can’t have love till marriage and marriage is definitely not on the table right now.

This could go one of two ways. Either it could be a fairytale and you’ll be swept off your feet in perfect accordance with all the rules and regulations of your religion or, real life could happen -  you never talk because it’s too awkward to start now. You forget about him. And love is made when your parents agree and you marry the other him, even though he isn’t the one, with the hope that he’ll become the one but it ends in divorce, as all marriages do.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Philosophy of Studying Philosophy...

So my course this year - Medical Humanities -  is almost like doing Joint Honours in English Literature and Philosophy (which has a bit of history thrown into it) in a year. And so far I'm loving every moment of it. Doing first year English modules is something like a dream; I love how I've only got a compulsory two hour seminar for Critical Issues AND THAT'S IT!!!! In medicine we would have at least five hours a week per module, with four/five modules a week. Naturally this year is bliss :) There is a lot of reading to do, and I'm finding it hard to concentrate on anything for any length of time (a side-effect of the joys of last year) but there's a Starbucks up the street and I'm happy so everything is peachy :)

If I'm being honest I mainly wanted to do the degree for the English side of things. Most of you know that English has always been a passion of mine. The philosophy was just an added bonus. And it is. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving the philosophy. I'd much rather get out of bed to attend the first year Intro to Philosophy lectures (optional) than I would to go to the Approaches to Poetry lectures (also optional). But philosophy is so...mind boggling.

Seriously, that's the only adjective I've been able to use to sum it up.

Our compulsory philosophy module this semester is Philosophy and History of Medicine, which is a third year/Masters module. That kind of scared me. How were we meant to attend lectures/seminars with people who have done/almost done a whole philosophy degree?? So I thought I would go to the Introduction to Philosophy A lectures, a compulsory module for the first years (don't tell anyone - I'm not technically allowed to go...yeah...in my defence the lecturer said it was fine for me to attend, as long as I don't tell the admin staff...). I thought it would...well, be an introduction.

It's not.

I hoped it would ease me into philosophy.

I feel like I've been thrown of a cliff and told to fly.

Like I said, it's interesting. I love it. But I come out more confused than when I went in, which I suppose is the point with philosophy. After all, it's all about the big questions. But on Tuesdays we have lectures about Descartes. Descartes decided to pretty much re-write and question everything we as a race "knew" up to that date. Do I know that I'm sitting in my room, typing out my blog. No. Do I know that my hot water bottle is on my right and there's a pile of dirty dishes on my left. No. We can't trust our senses. Everything may have been fed to us by a demon. But apparently he can prove that God exists and, what more, that we exist. The rest is questionable.

As an aside, if a demon/higher power/super computer is feeding information into my mind to make me believe that I'm in Bristol, studying Medical Humanities and sneeking into first year philosophy lectures, then why would he let me believe I'm being lectured on the possibility that all this is false and there's a demon telling me things? Surely that's risky for the demon. Or maybe he's just a sadistic bastard who likes to watch the first year's heads explode.

Anyway, I get my first Philosophy and History of Medicine essay question tomorrow. It's due in on November 7th, which is a Monday. I forgot this and decided to go home for Eid at the weekend. I leave on Friday 4th and don't come back till the Tuesday. The essay has to be handed in at the office, in person. Which means it really needs to be pristine by Thursday. Yeah...this weekend is going to be...well, mind boggling :)

Toodles
Lexie :D

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Student Room...

So I've just realised that somebody posted a link to my blog on a thread on the Student Room.


First of, go look at blog of the postee. He's a real inspiration :)


http://somedaysomewhereitwillhappen.blogspot.com/


Second, hi! Thanks for dropping by. I hope you like what you've read/you weren't too disappointed! Leave a comment, let me know what you think/any questions/Birmingham interview tips...


That is all. I want to promise a new, proper post in the next few days but everytime I've made that promise I've broken it...


Toodles
Lexie

Monday, 10 October 2011

Some wonderful snippets from my first poetry lecture...

l(a

le
af
fa
ll

s)
one
l

iness


By ee cummings, 1958

"Not to be interested in poetry is not to be interested in humanity" -- (I didn't write down who said this! I thought it would be on Google...I was wrong)

"Of all writers under the sun the poet is the least liar, and, though he would, as a poet can scarcely be a liar...for the poet, he nothing affirms, and therefore never lieth...though he recount things not true, yet because he telleth them not for true, he lieth not" -- Philip Sidney, "A Defense of Poesy" (1595)

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Finally settled...

So, after a year of darkness, anguish, emptyness and disappointment, and a summer full of pain, uncertainty and guilt I am, FINALLY, at Bristol :)

I moved in on Saturday. I've been given a room in the only flat on the 7th floor (in our block anyway). There's a lift but it only goes up to the 6th floor. That, plus the fact that every road in Bristol seems to be a really steep hill, I'll be so much fitter come Christmas.

The view from my room is beautiful. It's all rooftops and trees. I can see Cabot Tower :) It's all very Parisian, or at least how I expect the view would be in Paris. All that it needs is a few balconies and I would feel like I was in a rom com, or a perfume add.

Cabot Tower, almost exactly how it looks from my window


Registration today was a bit of a fail. I haven't got a student number. I'm not on the system. I've yet to find a list with my name on it and I haven't been given a tutor.There's another girl from my course in the same position. But the School of Arts and the Faculty of Arts (they're different things, aparently) have been made aware of the position and so, at some point in the next few days everything should be sorted. Then I can access my timetable and the Blackboard system and the internet in my room. At the moment I'm using a visitor log-in, which is better than nothing.

I feel...settled. No homesickness. No regret. There was a brief moment earlier after visiting the School of Arts with my fellow stranded coursemate that I felt how I did before. We had separated and I suddenly felt alone and insignifanct. Drifty. But it passed. I was pleased with how I managed to pull myself together and get over it but it was a reminder that everything isn't peachy perfect yet.

So, hopefully, lectures and things start next week. I have a lot of reading to do but I'm kind of looking forward to it :)

Toodles
Lexie

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Always darkest before the dawn...

This is just a really quick update to let you know how I've been getting on. And, thankfully, it is very good news!

Yesterday, at 11:24am, my baby sister was born. She is adorable!!!!!! I am one very proud big sis!

Then, at 8pm, I received an email from Bristol. They have agreed to let me join them for my intercalated degree :)

I leave on Saturday and haven't started packing yet. I also have a whole summer's worth of prep reading to do in the next few days. Once I'm settled in Bristol I'll blog again.

Thank you, to everyone, for all your help and support over the past few weeks. You've all been amazing. I am so lucky to have such good friends, both real and on-line.

Toodles
Lexie

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Failing...

I've been putting off writing this post because it's easier not to think about it. It hurts. Part of me is holding out for a miracle I know will never come.

I failed cardio.

I passed renal and neuro but somehow I managed to do worse on the cardio module than the first time round.

I've been offered an external resit, which at least means I'm not being chucked out. However it does mean that Bristol probably isn't happening.

I went down to Birmingham after getting my results on Thursday. I cried on the bus, on the platform, on the train. I cried when talking to my personal mentor, and again when in the meeting with my year tutor. I kept seeing people from my year and it hurt. I think I just need to admit I'm a jealous person and stop trying to hide it. I'm jealous of everyone going to Bristol to do the iBAMH. I'm so happy for those who past the exams, but also jealous that their life is going right, while I'm floundering.

There's a tiny, tiny possibility I can still go to Bristol. As it's an external resit I'm not registered at Birmingham. My case is unheard of but I've appealed to both universities, and am just waiting on an answer.

There was something good that came out of this though. Throughout the 2 hour journey down to uni, whilst in the waiting room, when I was in my meetings I only once thought about transferring to English, and it was a fleeting, emotional half-thought. I had all the time to seriously consider it and I didn't. I guess I do really want to do medicine.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Lost Confidence...

My exams are over. I went down to Birmingham last month for two weeks, in the hope that I would get more work done there than here at home. And I did, to a point. Despite the exams looming over me there were some days when I couldn’t even bring myself to get out of bed. It was like the autumn term of 2nd year all over again.
I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to do if I fail. Let’s face it, the exams weren’t spectacular. Certainly not how they should have been after an extra two months revision. And I need to learn to stop kidding myself that everything will be alright. That’s when you get disappointed.
People have told me that I just need to stop worrying and wait. They say that I have nothing to worry about because I did everything I could do. But that isn’t true. “Everything” would have been 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s not excessive. I’ve done it before. And so I should have been able to do it again. I didn’t. Like I said, some days I didn’t do anything. And yes, mostly that was because I couldn’t face the prospect of the world and it seemed like there was no point, but that doesn’t make it any better.
Everyone keeps saying “You’ll be fine.” I don’t believe them anymore.
Shit’s happened before. I’ve been having episodes since at least year 10. I used to write “Help me” on my books all through high school and I can kid myself all I want but that must have come from somewhere.  And despite the constant arguments of my parents, or the divorce coming through, or finding out my Dad had married without telling me or the dark thoughts that would occupy my mind, I’ve always got top grades. Top boxes on my report. 10 A*s. 4 As. My academic performance has never suffered.
And no one ever thought it would. And they didn’t expect it this time. I would come out of an exam and say that it was hard, and mean it, and people thought I was being modest. And when the results came through I don’t think people were that surprised that I achieved what I did. Happy for me, yes. Surprised, not so much. They would always say “you’ll be fine” and I was. And even though I never stopped worrying about exams I think I started to believe them. And so this year, when everything went sub-zero there was a part of me that thought I would make it through.
I didn’t.
And so now, when everyone says “You’ll be fine” I can’t bring myself to believe them. I’m literally surrounded my books I’ve bought for Bristol but can’t really bring myself to read them in case I don’t get in. I won’t let myself get excited about next year. I won’t even order a new NUS card.
The results should be through on the 15th but because of a Student Finance situation I might get them earlier.
I am trying to forget about it. To have faith. I know I can’t change it so I shouldn’t worry. I try and do things I enjoy, go places with my friends, have fun. But there’s still a little gremlin whose had a midnight snack sitting in my mind, waiting, to say “I told you so.”
Toodles
Lexie

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Happy Birthday to me...

It's my birthday today :) I'm 20, or as my brother has been saying, "ancient". It really hits home when he tells me that I'm 1/5 of a century, or that I've lived for a quarter of my life :) I don't actually feel older, but then you never do, do you? As I keep telling my mum, "age is just a number". If anything people will stop looking so surprised when I tell them how old I am. I don't get it, why were you so shocked I was 19??? According to my mum I've been acting older than my years since I was born, so that probably has something to do with it.

This past year has been...well, complicated. Definitely not one of the best. Probably the worst. It's been something of a rollercoaster. But it really hasn't been all that bad. If anything I'm grateful that I made it through my 19th year without doing something really stupid. There have been some good moments - my relationship with my dad is on the mend, I realised that I have some really close friends at university (and at home!) and my cousin's epic marriage finally came to a very beautiful close. I've spent some amazing time with my family and friends.

One of the best things about this year has been...this. Social networking. I've really enjoyed writing this blog, and it's certainly helped me get through some hard times. Not just through the writing, but more importantly because of the people who have read and commented. I feel like I actually know some of you guys really well - you're my friends - and I'm so thankful for all the help and support you've given me. But I'm even more thankful to you for just reading what I've had to say.

It's the same with Twitter. I know some groups go on about how social networking is bad - it leads to cyber bullying and social isolation. And yes, sometimes it does. But I have met so many wonderful people on Twitter (and on my blog). People who are kind, sweet and generous with their time; these are people who have taken an interest in me, and ask me how I am, even though we've never met.

Really this is a thank you to all of you.

So, next year. The big 2-0. Any hopes? Well, I hope that I'm happy, and that I find a way to keep being happy. I hope that I can make it through re-sits and that I have a great time in Bristol. And I hope that I don't lose any links I've made with family and friends, both cyber and solid in nature.

That's all for now. Thank you for reading.

Toodles.
Lexie :D

Just read: The Passage by Justin Cronin - An amazing post-apocalyptic book that I never thought I would enjoy but really did.

Currently reading: The Greatest Benefit to Mankind by Roy Porter. It's on my reading list for next year. And it's huge. Like an encyclopedia. But so far it's been quite good, very readable and interesting, which is always important :P

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Wishing the Summer Away...

This summer has to be about more than just revision. And so, even though my resits are now ominously close, here's a list of the things I'm looking forward to doing once the 26th August has come and gone:

1. Going shopping. I used to hate shopping, but I'm starting to looking forward to strolling around clothes shops, taking way too many outfits into the changing rooms and trying them on. Especially with my friends :)

2. Losing weight. So I can fit into all the clothes I want to buy :)

3. Baking. There's just something so relaxing and summery about being up to your arms in dough!

4. Reading without feelin guilty about it. I keep buying books from next year's reading list but I can't get stuck into them yet :(

5. Writing. I have all these ideas flying round my head, taking up space that should be filled with countercurents and anti-arrythmic drugs. As soon as these exams are over I'm going to curl up with my laptop and write to my heart's content!

6. Long bike rides through the little villages near where I live that I never even knew existed. With my brother, if I can pry him away from his X-Box.

7. Driving. Mum says shes going to try and get the car insured!!!!!!!!! Now I just have to prove to her I'm a good enough driver that she'll take me out on the motorway...

8. Generally having fun :D

Not long left! Now, back to revision!

Toodles.
Lexie

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Medical Humanities...

It’s been a week since I went to the Medical Humanities Conference in Leicester and I’ve FINALLY got time to blog about it!!!!
I always thought that I would have to chose between English and Medicine, career wise at least. There was nothing stopping me from reading in my spare time (except a distinct lack of spare time) but if I went down the medicine route it would be all science this, and science that. English wouldn’t have a place. It would be shunned into the corner like a naughty puppy.
Then I realised that that wasn’t strictly true. Because of this thing called Medical Humanities.
At Birmingham, Medical Humanities covers all the intercalations that aren’t physiological in nature. So, History of Medicine, Law and Ethics, Psychological Medicine, Public Health and International Health. At Bristol Medical Humanities is completely different. The intercalation I’m doing next year (of the same name) is English Literature, History and Philosophy but with a relation to medicine and science. We do first year English modules and 2nd/3rd year Philosophy modules and then modules designed specifically for our course. It’s my perfect degree :) I used to say that I wished I could do joint honours in English Literature and Medicine. Now I sort of can. I even get a BA!!!!
In my limited opinion, Medical Humanities is one of the few good things about medical education that we have taken from America. Let’s face it, PBL isn’t really working out. But Medical Humanities has been a large thing over there for years now. This website was set up by the New York University School of Medicine in 1994. The blog has stopped being posted on but the database is updated regularly. To get into the John Hopkins School of Medicine, ranked 3rd in the US, you have to have studied the humanities/social science in some form at pre-med level to “foster broad understanding of humankind and the increasingly diverse cultural and social environment of our world”.

Medical Humanities is starting to grow and gain respect in the UK. Many universities, including Leicester, offer an MA in the subject; only one or two offer a BA. It is, however, still in it’s infancy - The Medical Humanities Journal published by the BMJ was only launched in 2000. The conference I attended in Leicester - "The Drama of Medicine: All the Ward's a Stage" - is only the 2nd student conference to be held; there were only about 20 of us and most of the attendees were from Leicester. But as someone who is interested in the subject I thought it was well worth it, even if I did get up at 5:00 am and spent about 6 hours on trains that day (I came home and was in bed and out like a light by 10. Apparently my mum came and stood over me and I didn’t even realise. This is the girl who gets woken up by the birds outside!)


There was a lecture on the use of the word “gift” to describe tissue samples taken from child cancers for research purposes; one about the medical profession in comedy shows (I really want to watch TLC now); a workshop by the Medical Writer’s Society; one given by Prof. Bill Fulford on “Values and Evidence Based Practice” and loads of student presentations which ranged on topics such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Art to the use/benefits of patient narratives and cinemeducation.
I wish I had stayed for the full conference.
I can’t wait for next year :)
I thought the study of humanities was important to medicine before the conference; I’m only reassured of that fact now. And hopefully (assuming I pass my resits) I’ll have a lot more to say about the subject on this blog as the year continues.
Toodles
Lexie

Saturday, 16 July 2011

A Few Random Things About Me...

I was getting sick of the first post people saw when they came on here being the previous one, and since I haven't got round to doing my Medical Humanities post yet (cause of the joy which is revision) I thought I'd post one of those "All About Me" questionnaires. Why? Cause I'm sad. 

Who or what always puts a smile on your face?
Comedy shows. Glee. The Big Bang Theory. And my brother when he breaks out of his shell to try and make me feel better. And when people from Twitter who I've never met ask me if I'm ok when I tweet that I'm not. Sometimes the virtual world is nicer than the real one.

What are you reading at the moment?
Ummm, The Passage by Justin Cronin, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell's latest book (I can't remember the name). All of them. At the same time. Oh, and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Marquez. And the latest StudentBMJ.

What's your earliest memory?
Sitting under the tree in our garden on a bench with my mum and dad talking about Lion Bars and Snickers.

What is your greatest fear?
Moths. Although I am getting better! Acutally, it used to be jumping into water. I couldn't even do it at the swimming pool. But I haven't tried in years so maybe I wouldn't be quite so scared any more!

How would you like to be remembered?
As someone nice.

Have you ever done something you've really regretted? 
Yes. Many things. The earliest was cheating on a test when I was in Year 6.
 

How do you spoil yourself? By buying a new book, taking it to Starbucks and settling down with a grande something-or-other. Or with chocolate!

What's your favourite word/book?
Captain Correlli's Mandolin. The book, not the words.

Who do you turn to in a crisis? My mum.

What makes you angry?
Game Shows with stupidly large prize funds. Do they know how many African villagers they could save from starvation with that money?? And stereotypes. And people not respecting other people's views.

Are you in love?
No

What are you proudest of?Getting through this last year without doing something really stupid.

Where's your favourite city?It used to be Stratford-Upon-Arvon. I haven't got one anymore.. 

When was the last time you cried?
Recently.

One wish; what would it be?That the human race would just get on with each other. Life is too short to get annoyed.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Depression and Me...

I failed 3 out of the 11 modules that I sat this year. We found out today. Surprisingly the medschool we're very prompt when it came to posting results, which makes a change. But yeah, I failed Cardiovascular, Renal and Brain.


And the most annoying thing? I failed each module by 4 or 5 marks. If medics followed the rest of the uni and had a pass mark set at 40% as opposed to 50% I would be sitting here with a big smile on my face.


I moped. And I cried. Then I curled up in bed for a bit. But you know what? I shouldn't be that upset. And being upset isn't going to make the situation any better.


This academic year has been the worst I've ever had. But in a very strange way it's also been one of the best. It started off all black and red but slowly it turned grey and now there's even a few hues of yellow and green. I'm making progress. For the first time in about 5 years I'm happy. I'm dealing with the problems around me, instead of pushing them away or curling up in the foetal position. I actually feel...good. I haven't felt this good in so long. I feel different. I am different.


Being diagnosed with depression was actually a good thing. It helped me realise that what I was feeling/experiencing wasn't normal. It also wasn't my fault. I didn't have to feel guilty anymore, because to a degree I couldn't help what I felt because the depression was endogenous. There was no trigger. It just was. That's a really hard idea for a lot of people to get their heads around. My mum still doesn't understand properly. I don't even think a few of my closest medic friends understand that I could be upset without a trigger.


The diagnosis opened a door. It provided me with a pathway and a light and now, here I am, 6 months after being diagnosed, feeling completely different to how I felt back in November at the height of my illness.


I've made so much progress this year. I've learnt that the most important thing in life is that you are true to yourself. You should never be ashamed for believing what you do, or partaking in the hobbies/extra-curriculum activities that you enjoy. It doesn't matter if you don't look like everyone else, if you're slightly tubbier or thinner, or dress differently. It doesn't matter what other people think about you so long as you're happy with yourself. You should be proud of your differences, because they are what make you special.


That doesn't mean that I'm cured. I never truly will be. I'm going to be on the fluoxetine for a very long time, and will probably relapse over the years. Even nowadays I still have days when all I want is to curl up in bed and cry but you know what? That's ok. Because I know that I can work through the black and the grey and see the colour on the other side of the wall.


And so back to the resits. I shouldn't be upset. I've had a terrible year. I should be happy that I don't have to resit more than 3. And it doesn't matter that I know people who have been through worse things than I have but somehow have managed to pass everything. Everyone's different. I'm different. I dealt with this year differently to how they dealt with their problems.


I also shouldn't feel ashamed. I've never had to resit anything before. I've always been top of the class. But now here I am in the 4th quartile with a summer of revision ahead of me. It doesn't matter. Academics aren’t everything, even though they may have been everything to me in the past. I defined myself by my grades. Now I don’t. Even the best doctors had to resit something at some point. We're only human. We're not genius robots who know everything about everything (as soon people may think). We're not perfect because we're not God.


I'm happy. Because now I have the strength to work through the summer and come out happier and better off on the other side. And the medschool have even acknowledged that because my August exams are being classed as 1st sits so they won't be capped at 50%. It's not like I'm missing out on anything (except Ramadam) because I didn't even have any plans for the summer.


The important thing is that I'm here, and I'm happy. And I know, with absolute certainty, that I can work through this. Depression doesn't make me a bad person. Resits don't make me a stupid person. Crying doesn't make me a weak person. They are all different aspects of me. They make me me. And I'm proud to be me.


Toodles
Lexie :)

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I got burgled and I need your help...

It doesn't make any sense. That's why I'm going to tell you exactly what happened in the hope that someone can do a Miss Marple and figure it out. I've tried. I've even gone round tapping on the walls to see if there was some way next door could be breaking in. I think I'm actually loosing it. I feel so sick.

At about 2:15 my housemate (J) and I left the house to go to the cinema to see X-Men: First Class (which was amazing but completely overshadowed now by subsequent events). The taxi was waiting outside. J put the alarm on. I saw her do it and heard it count down. I locked the door.

As we were going to the taxi the postman walked up and gave J two parcels, both of them DVDs for me ("Tangled" and "Eat, Pray, Love"). She posted them through the letterbox. I saw her do it.

When we got home at 6ish the parcels were gone.

Two of my housemates have gone home. One other one is still here. She was out when we left. She (P) got back to the house at 4ish. She said that the alarm was off and the parcels weren't there.

There was no sign of forced entry. All the windows/doors were secured. All the bedroom doors were still locked. Nothing else had been taken.

It doesn't make sense. No one has the house key. No one knows the alarm code. The landlord hadn't been by. The other two housemates hadn't been by. I went next door (both sides) and no one had seen anything. The creepy builder who was watching us when we came back and tried to see if you could fit your hand through the letterbox (you can't) claims he didn't see anything. And even if they did put their hand through the letterbox it doesn't explain why the alarm wasn't on.

Why did they take my DVDs??? Why didn't they take the TV, or the DVD player????

All year things have been going missing. Little stupid things. Like a bottle of olive oil. Some frozen fish. A chocolate bar out of a money box, but not the money. 80p from the dining room table. My USB stick went missing. I thought I had left it in the computer at uni but now I'm doubting it. We thought it was someone in the house. Now I really, really don't know. And why would you take stupid little things? It's like stealing for the sake of stealing.

Oh Gosh, I hope they don't put your full card details on Amazon invoices...

Does anyone have any thoughts or theories??????

Lexie

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Return to the Blogosphere, and my new name...

Yellow :) By which I mean “hello”. I actually wanted to say “Yo Dudes!” but I know my brother will tell me off for being “too American”.
Sorry, I’m full of endorphins. Why? Because I’ve finished my exams!!!! Kind of...I still have my prosection test/viva on Monday but it doesn’t count towards anything so, technically (and I like technicalities) I’m free!
Exams have been...awful. Sickening. Amusing, but only because when I can’t cry, I laugh. Also amusing in the sense that we got asked a twenty mark question on what ten questions you would ask a patient to work out if their illness was work related...yeah, odd. They’ve also been quite fun. At least, the OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Exam) was. We were tested on measuring blood pressure, peak flow, examining visual fields and doing a neurological exam of the lower limb. What’s the one thing our GP tutor doesn’t properly teach us? Lower Limb. It wasn’t that bad though. We got told the day before what we would be examined on so I spent the afternoon/evening in the lower common room practicing on my friends. In the actual OSCE I got a few questions wrong, and the Babinski sign completely the wrong way round, but overall I actually really enjoyed it! It was fun. It made me feel like a real doctor and gave me a taste of what to look forward to!
I’ve had about 3 months of revision, late nights, early mornings so I’m ready to do absolutely nothing for as long as possible! We get our results on the 24th June so I can enjoy myself until then. I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I’ll probably have at least one resit (don’t look at me like that, I’m telling the truth) but considering how ill I’ve been this year I’d say that was more than acceptable.
It’s actually been really interesting to see how my depression has...evolved over the last few months. My mind started off so fuzzy that nothing would go in, nothing would make sense and so there wasn’t really any point doing anything. But in the last 3 weeks or so everything has become so much clearer, almost sharper. I was going over a podcast from a Semester 1 lecture that I didn’t understand before and it made perfect sense. It was a case of “This is easy. Why didn’t you find this easy before?” It’s nice to see actual signs that I’m getting better :)
In other news:
I told my Dad about my depression. This was something that I was so afraid to do. I was convinced he would blow and go crazy at me the way he did when I didn’t tell him about my sigmoidoscopy (if you Google this please don’t judge – it was necessary at the time!). But the opportune moment came up. And he didn’t scream. He actually got really upset. He looked like he was about to cry. I think telling him has brought us closer. He’s realised that our relationship isn’t perfect but we’re both trying hard to make it better. We actually have conversations now when he rings (as opposed to just exchanging monosyllables like before) and he’s coming down at the weekend J Everything seems really good on that front.
My stepmother is having a girl :) Very excited!!! I get to be a big sister again. And my brother wanted it to be a girl, so all is good
I’m going to LONDON with some friends on the 10th June to see a show! Can’t wait!
Mum and I have tickets for Gardener’s World Live which I’m actually looking forward to *smiles sheepishly*
I’m crazy excited about Bristol next year. I can’t wait to have a year somewhere new where I can read and “find myself”, as corny as that sounds. I’m not quite sure just who I am any more, but I do know that I’m getting happier and stronger.

On a final note – a few people have wondered what to call me. On blogger my name is “A”, which is boring. I used to be the (Sometimes) Despondent Medic but I don’t want to go back to that. So I’ve thought long and hard about it and decided to give myself a fake name, something I can go by on the internet. Just to re-emphasise, this is not my actual name.
Good Luck to anyone who has exams :)
Toodles.
Lexie

Sunday, 1 May 2011

The Royal Wedding, The NeverEnding Wedding and The Sneeze...

I’m a little disappointed. I just looked through my blog list and discovered that NO ONE has blogged about the Royal Wedding. I must be following the wrong people.
If you hate the Royal family, or are just a bit sick of all the wedding hype, feel free to skip this next section.
I love weddings. I also think I’m a Royalist but I’m not entirely sure. I don’t understand the difference between Republican, Left-Wing, Liberalist, Democratic etc but I do really, really like the Royal family. I don’t think they’re outdated. Well, some of them are. But I think the younger generation (ie William) have got their heads and hearts in the right place. They realise the power they’ve been given and they use it for good. I know they’re not superheroes and I know that really they’re just regular people with a special last name but I do think that they make a big difference to the charities they support.
I’m also a little old-fashioned. I think the Royal family is part of what makes Britain great. Or Britain Britain. They have history and legacy and they work wonders for our tourist industry. Without them Britain would just be another America, or France. The Royals help us to carve our little niche into the world and remain individuals, and stay unique.
I also realise most of what I just wrote didn’t make much sense, but I hope you got my drift.
I’m also a hopeless romantic. That’s not relevant for the “Royal” part, more for the “wedding” part. And so yes, I did get up early just so I could watch the ENTIRE BBC overage, which started at 8. And I squealed, multiple times. I tweeted, much to my mother’s amusement. I awwweeeed at
the dress

the bridesmaids and the page boys

I gossiped about what the guests were wearing.


I got a little emotional when they said the vows.

I compared the part when they left the Abbey with the final scene from Cinderella.

It drove my brother crazy, lots of you are probably tutting and shaking your heads, but I’m not embarrassed about it.

But what was most special, for me at least, was how happy everyone was. Not just the bride and groom but the country. It could have rained and I don’t think you would have seen anyone get upset. In the current climate, with the economic problems and the African Spring (as it will apparently be known) it’s nice just to have a day when everyone can come together and share in a couple’s joy. A little serotonin goes a long way. And I know that in a week or so, when everyone’s sick and tired of the updates and the coverage and pictures of “the kiss” (which was a bit of an anti-climax), we’ll all go back to being cynical about everything, like the children at the start of the Morrison’s advert. We’ll find fault in everything and we’ll moan about how many thousands of taxpayer’s money was spent on a wedding that we weren’t even invited to. But at least for a day or so we could collectively grin and embrace our inner romantics (yes, even the guys) and remember that despite the darkness and hardship in the world there are still moments of light and happiness and laughter. It doesn’t even have to be a Royal wedding, it can just be a wedding. Or a birth. Or the smile of a young child. Or the look on a grandmother’s face when her grandkids laugh and play in the corner. Or a picture of that bridesmaid’s disgruntled expression.


Ok, Royal wedding stuff over :D I should just leave it there but there are a few more updates on my life.

It was the final instalment of my cousin’s NeverEnding wedding. Let me bring you up to speed. He got engaged in April 2010. There was a big engagement party. The Islamic wedding ceremony (the Nikkah) was in June 2010 and then the Valeema (which is a big party attended by all the boy’s side (normally only the girl’s side goes to the Nikkah, apart from close family)) was in July. Each event involved loads of planning, and family arguments and coaches that would put the Royal minibuses to shame.  But despite all this they still weren’t married. They were Islamically married, but not legally married. In the eyes of the law they weren’t a married couple. If my cousin died his bride couldn’t get his pension.
I’ve seen registrars done on the day of the Valeema. Or the week before. Or after. I’ve been to weddings where EVERYTHING has been done in 2 days. The “problem” with this wedding is that it just kept going.
The registration was meant to be in November 2010. I’m not entirely sure why they were waiting that long in the first place. But then my aunty was hit by a truck and broke her hip so it had to be postponed.
But now it’s finally over. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every moment of it. It actually feels like there’s something missing from my life now. But it’ll also be nice not to have to worry about the next big do and all the related hassle, which is now even more complicated as my Dad’s not talking to his mum or sister anymore (the grandma and mum of the groom), but that’s a story for another time.

And now I’m back in Brum. And I’m ill. Again.  My exams are in 19 days. Actually, I have an assessed presentation next week so technically my exams start in 3 days. So I’m going to go revise. Or at least try to, considering I sneeze every time I move.

Good Luck to everyone who has exams in the next few months :D
Toodles.
Thank you to the internet (Google and BBC) for the photos

Monday, 11 April 2011

Flush Away your Sorrows...

It’s the holidays. Apparently. Because Easter means revision and revision means exams and exams means mental torture followed by physical death. The type where you stop breathing. Because man, have I got shed loads to do this Easter. Observe. I must:
         Revise for my exams. 8 modules worth of exams
         Revise for my first OSCE without a reflex hammer or eye-torch thingy or willing volunteers
         Write my essay for Lit in Med
         Do my presentation for Lit in Med
         Go to my cousin’s registrar (part of the Eternal Wedding saga! Seriously, it’s been two years, just do everything already)
         Find somewhere AMAZING to take Mum on her 50th
         See my dad and his pregnant wife
         Sort out my mitigation
         Try and get the government from taxing me???
         Stop complaining.
It’s not actually that much, if you think about it. I just need to get a grip and move on. Apologises in advance for my lack of blogging over the next few months...
Quick word about photo albums – because of my mum’s upcoming birthday I found myself in the attic last week looking for photos of her in her “Glory Days” so they could be stuck up around the office at work and laughed at. I don’t get it either, I think it’s a middle-aged thing. But since then we’ve had almost every album/photo pack downstairs and looking at them gives me this horribly weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. According to my brother it’s nostalgia but I think it’s more akin to guilt. As a kid my brother had these amazing chipmunk cheeks - the kind that attracts old lady’s pinched fingers - but seeing him that young and cheeky and innocent made me all...I suppose I’m just getting old.
Last Thursday I went back to my old school for a poetry evening. It was amazing, not just because I managed to get Mum to come with me, but I got to see my old school and all my old teachers and was accosted my some Upper Sixth girls who actually remembered me. Everything really cheered me up. The main part of the night was Luke Wright, an amazing poet who was one of my tutors on an Arvon course I went on.

(I love this one!)
He didn’t remember me but my Mum thought he was handsome; it’s weird when your Mum comments on things like that. Even weirder that I’ve discussed the attractiveness related pros and cons of the Ninth and Tenth Doctors with her and my aunty... (Matt Smith in the Times last Saturday. Just saying :p )



"Life should always be better than a lemon crescent" - Matt Smith
I leave you with a Quote of the Day from my from my little brother. He manages to come out with the most worldly things despite only being 14:
“To clear the bullcrap from your mind you must first flush the toilet”.
About as clear as a Chinese proverb and yet, somehow, it makes perfect sense. So I’m off to find the flusher...handle...thing on the side of the box on the toilet that you pull...
Toodles
:D
(Copyright goes to The Times and Luke Wright - thank you!)

Thursday, 10 March 2011

A Prosection Memorial Service...

I’ve just got back from a memorial service. I’ve never been to a memorial service before and, come to think of it, have only ever been to one funeral. I’m well aware that that’s going to change dramatically over the next few years – my mum keeps reminding me that everyone we know is reaching that age. She’s not saying it to upset me, but to prepare me. I can see her point.
But today’s memorial service was different. It was for the bodies we use in the prosectorium.
When I found out they did prosection at Birmingham, as opposed to dissection, I was quite upset. It was part of my medicine dream. The one where I was at Cambridge, enjoying the course, top in the class, top in the year, wrote for the newspaper, directed plays, had a book published and was well on my way to becoming the next Dr. Shephard, or a nicer version of Dr. House. Someone cool. The kind of doctor they make TV programmes about.
I dreamt a lot as a child.
Anyway, in this dream we did dissection. I thought it was the only way to learn anatomy. The best way. But, I was at Birmingham, and anyway, prosection was better. Is better. I thoroughly believe that. When you’re a first year and you’re presented with a cadaver it would be easy to accidently slice through something important. At least this way someone else has already done the hard bit and all the important structures are there for you to try and identify. And anyway, it turns out that I hate prosection.
I remember my first session. I was excited. We had had the lectures on the Human Tissue Act and the appropriate decorum and dress for the prosectorium (no skin visible ie don’t wear dolly shoes that day!!). We had been threatened with jail sentences if we brought a mobile phone into the room. My class had been talking about it for ages. I imagine I was literally jumping for joy, as I do. We had gathered in the antechamber, hair tied back, labcoats and aprons on. I couldn’t wait.
Then we went in. I think I expected it to be wonderful. It wasn’t.
There were tables, and on each table was part of a body. It was yellow, and wet from where they had sprayed it to preserve it. The smell of formaldehyde that I had been warned about by cousins and English teachers was quite strong. The sections looked so small on the big tables, the way you see a baby on a king sized bed. They had the vulnerability of a baby on a king sized bed.
For me the worst bit was how it wasn’t a whole body. There would be an arm, or part of a pelvis. I’ve seen a whole person with their private bits exposed and organs taken out. A head, or a head in sections. I don’t like how it’s not a whole body. I feel like they’ve been violated in some way. I wonder if the donors were fully aware that this is what would happen to their bodies. I could tell you so many (horrible) sights but I won’t, in case I’m breaking confidentiality in some way and because I don’t want the bodies to be remembered in that way. I want them to be remembered for the people they were.
 I hate prosection. Thankfully today was my last session, apart from the test next term.
I could rant about how it isn’t useful either. It isn’t. There aren’t enough demonstrators and sometimes you have no idea what it is you’re looking at. Is that a nerve or an artery? Which muscle is that? Which part of the body is that?
But it isn’t all bad. You do get a greater understanding of how the body comes together; you understand the scale of it more. The brainstem isn’t as big as the diagrams in the book – it’s probably the size of a pebble. It’s fascinating to see how the body comes together in all it’s layers and systems. And when you get a demonstrator you leave that station with a much better understanding of that part of the body. I feel it helps when it comes to revision and exams to have seen textbook diagrams in the flesh, as it were.
I think today’s memorial service was exactly what I needed to come to terms with it all. I think it’s good to remember the human aspect of prosection, which I think gets glossed over sometimes. I’m sure most medical students are aware of it but I know it affects some more than others. But it was important that today we took time to remember the donors, and their family and next of kin who are deprived of a funeral or cremation. A list of names of those we have seen was read out. There was a bouquet of flowers at the front of the lecture theatre and tributes were read. We had two minutes silence. It was beautiful, and graceful, and appropriate.
I wish I had written a tribute. I didn’t. Instead I’m going to write one here. In a way this whole post is my tribute to those who donated their bodies to the medical school. I know that they, you, will never read it and I doubt that your families will ever see it but...anyway...

Thank you. Thank you for allowing your body to be used to teach the next generation of medical students. Thank you for allowing us to prod and poke and lift and inspect. It takes great courage, and is probably the greatest sacrifice, knowing that your body is being exposed in that way and your family aren’t having a funeral. But we are grateful. I am grateful. You are all individuals, you have all had your own lives. You loved, you fought, you got ill and cried. You maybe got married and had children of your own. You each had your own story. But your donation has meant that even in death your story continues. Your generosity means you influenced and helped, even in death. Especially in death. Thank you for allowing me to learn from you, in more ways than one. The knowledge that I have gathered from my time with you will help me to treat and save in the future, and hopefully to make a difference to people’s lives the way you made a difference to so many people both then and now. I hope that my conduct was appropriate; I hope I treated you with the respect you deserve. Thank you.

I want to end the way the memorial service ended, with a poem by Simon Armitage. It’s light hearted but also poignant and I think it sums up everything I have said, and everything that was said at the service. I hope Mr Armitage won’t mind me reproducing his poem here.

I've Made Out A Will; I’m leaving myself
I've made out a will; I'm leaving myself
to the National Health. I'm sure they can use
the jellies and tubes and syrups and glues,
the web of nerves and veins, the loaf of brains,
and assortment of fillings and stitches and wounds,
blood - a gallon exactly of bilberry soup -
the chassis or cage or cathedral of bone;
but not the heart, they can leave that alone.
They can have the lot, the whole stock:
the loops and coils and sprockets and springs and rods,
the twines and cords and strands,
the face, the case, the cogs and the hands,
but not the pendulum, the ticker;
leave that where it stops or hangs