Year 2 Day 58 - Murder Mystery (06/11/2018)

An exciting evening - we all needed a break and what better way than with a Murder Mystery themed night? It was an order-online affair, where we bought a package containing the story and characters.

The basic gist was that everyone was assigned a particular character appropriate to the Hollywood gala-esque setting - in my case that was aspiring young rapper T. Redd. One of the guests would eventually be murdered, and it was up to the group to share (or choose not to share) evidence to either solve the case or have someone else accused.

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It was a really fun evening, and definitely something different - would very happily do another.

Year 2 Day 57 - Complex Case (05/11/2018)

My penultimate bedside teaching session today - made somewhat more difficult by the fact that I’ve been temporarily struck deaf in my right ear due to excess wax. Gross but true, so when I was taking my patient history today I was always slightly facing the right.

Without going into detail, it was a fairly complicated case where the proper investigations and tests had not been performed yet, so it was quite interesting to work without that final conclusion and reason around the most likely diagnosis. I also think that seeing presentations like that are more likely to help me remember things long term, as you can associate a set of symptoms to a face and a character in your mind.

Managed to make it home reasonably early and upload an interview I’ve been trying to get out for a while - a chat with my housemate Emily about her transition from A&E nurse to medical student here at Warwick.

Year 2 Day 49 - Anatomy Day Teaching (28/10/2018)

I went on a lot about how good the anatomy days were last year - directed by the Surgical Society, they’re a chance for first year students to learn from their older colleagues and be taught from a ‘what you need to know’ perspective.

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Myself and my housemate Ollie (convenient, right?) volunteered to teach the Inguinal Canal, a connecting tunnel between the anterior abdominal wall and the scrotum in males and the labia majora in females. I remember finding this topic extremely difficult to get my head around in first year, and as such have spent a lot of time trying to work out how best to teach it.

We managed through a series of drawn diagrams, analogies and 3D simulations - it’s complex and there are a lot of layers involved, but we got there eventually.

Year 2 Day 45 - Pear Drops (24/10/2018)

Regulation of blood glucose and diabetes (I guess lack thereof in the latter case, really). Opened a new CBL case wherein a young girl had collapsed at a party with a ‘pear drops’ smell. This is a textbook presentation for a particular condition - any thoughts?

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Year 2 Day 44 - Quiet (23/10/2018)

An exceptionally quiet day - no lectures at all. A great chance to catch up on work, start working on my Anki decks again and get some meetings out of the way. Bliss.

Year 2 Day 43 - Blue Sky Centre (22/10/2018)

Back in the hospital this morning, but on self-directed learning - for my sins I used this time to catch up on work from the previous week and prepare for the afternoon session. I did actually finish my work with some time to spare, so dashed to the wards and did get the chance to speak to a couple of patients so I’m glad I went.

In the afternoon I was given a tour of the Blue Sky Centre attached to George Eliot Hospital, a space dealing with sexual abuse and assault cases. Due to the incredibly difficult and personal nature of those cases we were obviously not allowed to see patients, but the description from the staff there was very helpful and I’m glad that those very safe and private services exist. Everything about the centre was built for maximum patient comfort and security, and the fact that it’s manned 24/7/365 is a testament to how passionate the staff are about it.

Year 2 Day 40 - Many Meetings (19/10/2018)

Good job past me, assigning yourself early morning meetings. Very sleep-deprived from last night, I blearily made my way to med school. Thankfully I got quite a lot done - it turns out planning events is actually really quite complicated, especially with what we’re wanting to get done for this MMI prep day. Lots of emails sent, lots of funding requests rejected. We’ll get there.

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Huge proper cook in the evening - I assembled some final curries, and an assortment of wraps. Chicken fajitas for a few evening meals next week, and breakfast wraps containing scrambled eggs, mushrooms, spinach, fried onions, sausage and bacon. I very rarely have the motivation or energy to make a proper breakfast in the morning, so I feel like by preparing more complete options it’s at least a step in the right direction.

Year 2 Day 39 - Doctors and Nurses 2018 (18/10/2018)

Here again, that fabled time of year where we take to the streets of Coventry in nothing more than the cheapest nurse outfits available on Amazon and what remains of our dignity. Med students don’t get the chance to party that often, but when they do they party hard.

Everyone converged on Kasbah in Coventry for around 11pm, and it was actually a really good night.

What was a new experience was that through osmosis a lot of the first years knew who I was, which was a really nice barrier-breaker to be honest - lots of them said they’d found them useful and wanted to do similar things of their own, which is so vindicating and supportive it’s untrue. Clearly a made a decent decision by starting the blog.

Year 2 Day 38 - So Much Chicken (17/10/2018)

Okay, this is going to be a boring post but it’s about food so bear with me. I’ve done the maths over several large-scale cooks and it’s definitely more efficient buying whole chickens and butchering them yourself over buying pre-cut breast, for example. I basically planned a couple of weeks’ worth of meals and purely bought the ingredients for those, along with a few ‘just-in’case’ meals.

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It seems expensive to bulk cook because of the upfront cost, but when that £60 shop will last 3 weeks easily, it makes the value really quite good. I also made banana, oat and honey cookies which were really rather delicious. So delicious in fact that the batch disappeared within an hour.

Looking this dumb goes with the territory really

Looking this dumb goes with the territory really

I’ve also been experimenting with a small action camera that can be attached pretty much anywhere you like - it’s been living on my bike for the last few days, but I did for my shame attach it to my helmet for the ride home today.

Year 2 Day 37 - Proper Tapping (16/10/2018)

An interesting day of renal disease and allergy lectures, along with the closure of our 5th CBL case. SSC was focused on the different steps involved in teaching, and some models that can be used to plan sessions.

We each had to teach a basic clinical skill - I chose percussion, one of the most basic skills but something that as first year medical students we were never properly taught, it was just something you had to learn to do and hope you got it right.

Our seminar session in the evening was centred around surface anatomy and vertebral levels

Our seminar session in the evening was centred around surface anatomy and vertebral levels

The point of the session was thinking about what exactly you were doing at each stage of the teaching process and why. How much prior knowledge does the student need? What questions can you ask to see if they understand the concept fully rather than just parroting back to you or nodding along? How can you test them on the actual application of the skill in wider contexts? Teaching is hard.

Year 2 Day 36 - Clinics (15/10/2018)

Monday Monday.

Back in hospital for my introduction to outpatient clinics, one of the compulsory signoffs. I was a bit apprehensive as some of my coursemates had reported this one as being fairly boring, or at least a gamble as to whether they would be or not.

Thankfully, I sat in on an IBD clinic - all patients had Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or both to varying degrees. Block 1 covered these conditions and gut anatomy, which thankfully I remembered quite a lot of.

My attire of choice - can’t yell at me for wearing a tie if it’s restrained

My attire of choice - can’t yell at me for wearing a tie if it’s restrained

The thing that really surprised me was how little relevancy to these consults those main conditions seemed to have - they’re autoimmune conditions that can flare in periods of stress. This meant that although control of the condition was somewhat routine by now for the patients, the upsets were all linked to sources of stress in their lives.

One of the consults also sparked a discussion between myself and the nurse about homeopathy and alternative medicine. Do medical professionals have an active duty to discourage patients from being suckered into these ‘treatments’ and if so, how do you do it in such a way so as not to make the patient non-receptive to the other advice you really need to give them?

Afternoon was bedside teaching, this time with an F2 doctor - less than two years out of medical school. It’s nice dealing with F1s and F2s because of how close they are relatively to us, that is to say real doctors but still with a long way to go in their careers.

Year 2 Day 34 - Early Train (13/10/2018)

Why did I book the 6.38 train. Why.

It was at least in part (and probably in totality) my own fault I slept badly. It turns out Mr Robot is actually an incredibly nuanced and intriguing series, and I binged through the entirety of the first season into the early hours and on the train home.

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At least getting home in decent time meant sure I could get some work done in the afternoon, and a good night’s sleep tonight instead.

Year 2 Day 33 - Joe Bonamassa Trip IV (12/10/2018)

Today I caught the MegaBus to Nottingham to meet up with my father and younger brother - we were going to see blues guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa at the MotorPoint arena. It’s the fourth time me and my Dad have seen him and the third for my brother - big fans here. We’re all big fans of old-school blues-rock (think Hendrix, Clapton, Led Zeppelin and the like), so it was also very cool to see the keyboard player from Double Trouble as part of the band.

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Nottingham itself was nice during the daytime - I wandered about a bit and made use of the trams, but once night fell it did feel notably unsafe. Admittedly this might just be a negative stereotype, but I was warned by one of my housemates not to walk alone at night. At least the hotel was pretty nice.

Year 2 Day 32 - Medic Family Dinner II (11/10/2018)

Much more virology today! We covered HIV, antiviral treatments and how to deal with fever of unknown origin - how to approach the diagnostic process and management etc.

Over lunch myself and two colleagues from NeuroSoc were selling raffle tickets outside the common room to raise money for events in the coming year - I think we actually ended up selling far more to staff than we did students. Curse this cashless society.

We also met our Clinical Personal Tutors in the afternoon! In Year 1 students are assigned a personal tutor, who is a general pastoral first point of contact for queries or concerns that develop. In Year 2, you are instead assigned a Clinical Personal Tutor (CPT) who performs a similar role but is based in whatever hospital the student is - in my case, that’s George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton.

Our tutor is a genuinely lovely orthopaedic surgeon, who gave us some really firm, solid advice on how to manage ourselves during the clinical phase and seemed keen to get to know us, preferably through experience in his operating theatre which suits me just fine.

The highlight though was our medic family dinner in the evening - myself and Tom (who you’ll have seen in the videos) have two first year boys to look after, and there was a large gathering (3 generations!) of family units in Earlsdon for a collective meal.

The food was absolutely incredible (here on a slideshow for you to enjoy) and a credit to Richard Lenton, who took the planning and cooking very much on himself. It was a four-course affair followed by a cheese board - the height of student decadence. We also decided that singing Auld Lang Syne in the middle of October at midnight was a good idea, so that happened too.

Year 2 Day 31 - Viruses & Cookies (10/10/2018)

This week is virology week, so it makes sense that we’ve had lectures on some basic virology and the burden of global infectious disease. It was a bit quieter today so I got caught up on some outstanding work (as in work that I haven’t done yet rather than work that was especially awe-inspiring or otherwise remarkable).

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I also decided to bake when I got home - one of the few flawless baking experiences I’ve had, producing a set of really rather nice peanut butter and chocolate cookies.

Year 2 Day 30 - Our First Seminar (09/10/2018)

A long day indeed - a day of lectures, followed by SSC (in which we had to deliver a journal club on a Medical Education paper we’d read) and then our first teaching seminar in the evening with a group of first year students.

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They wanted us to go over some of their anatomy lectures from the previous week, which was a nice challenge for us at times! I was covering embryology which in my opinion is one of the more challenging areas of anatomy to understand, but it was a good exercise for us to recall the detail we’ve previously covered, and offered us some new questions to think about as well.

Year 2 Day 29 - Long Wait (08/10/2018)

We left the house at 8.15 and did not make it to the hospital until 10.10. What is normally a 20 minute journey took just shy of 2 hours. Thanks M6 traffic.

I arrived very late to the Bedside Teaching session with one of the doctors, who was thankfully very understanding and had me perform a whistle-stop neuro upper limb exam before the wrapup discussion started. I actually got to see some quite cool signs - dysdiadochokinesia (inability to perform rapidly alternating movements), pronator drift and hypermetria. I won’t explain those right now as I am extremely tired.

The afternoon was an SDL for me so I headed briefly to the wards to practice my neuro exam further, then headed to the library and wrote up a couple of lectures from the end of last week. I really need to get on with Anki-fying the lectures so far for future revision.