Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The one sandwich to rule them all


Hi,


I finished up my first rotation as a junior today and thought I should give a bit of an update. The last few weeks have been a bit hectic, as I have had to cover for the breast F1 (who almost forgot to take his annual leave, and took it all at the end) while my SHO was on nights and then recovery. Busy times! Either way, it has been quite an interesting few weeks, where I managed to bleep myself, I got confused over someone as they had changed out of fancy dress, I have some success at the 'sandwich war' and end up making one of my patients cry...

Before that, I would like to comment on the current 'Movember' crop which is going on in my hospital. A number of the juniors have gone for a certain look, which one of my (85) year old patients commented on, asking me why there were so many people "dressed as 70's porn stars" in the hospital... The same lady came in on 31/10 (Halloween) from a nursing home with her carer from the nursing home and her sister, both dressed as witches. I thought it was a bit strange at the time, trying to take blood from this poor old lady as two witches watched on and cackled, but forgot it until a few days ago when two people were trying to talk to me about this patient. I was pretty elusive (patient confidentiality and all) until they asked why I didn't want to talk to them now, as I was much more forthcoming when she was admitted. It was the same two people, but they just looked very different without all of their witch garb on! 


When you are in the hospital, you carry a little black box of evil, which bleeps at you telling you who wants to talk to you (a pager). When you get a bleep, you get a 5 number code to dial, which then lets you call someone at their extension and learn what 'lovely' job they want you to stay extra late to do. Since I started I have wondered how long it will be until I end up receiving a bleep, going to a phone to answer it, but then calling the phone I have just called off (if you follow me - they bleeped me from the phone I answered from). This seemed very unlikely, as you would be in the vicinity, but I am just such an interesting person I like to wonder about fascinating things such as this. Well, this week this happened, I was around the corner, was bleeped then the nurse was rushed off to do something else and I called myself (engaged of course). There is no real reason for me to write it here, so I won't say any more, but it was one of my 'hospital wonderings' at the start...

In pre-op assessment (The last one I did this rotation, and possibly the last one I will ever do, depending on rotations next year and my chosen speciality) I was assessing women coming in for breast surgery. This is almost entirely people with breast cancer who are having the tumour removed, or the entire breast removed, called a mastectomy. One of the women was 70 years old or so, in a wheelchair and from Moldova. She looked like a 'Babushka', and spoke only Moldovan. I tried to use the telephone translation service, but they told me that she was speaking gibberish to them, so I asked her grandson, who was about my age, if he could translate. He readily agreed, but then told me that she was mad and he wouldn't translate what I was saying to her as she wouldn't understand. What then followed was a very difficult pre-op assessment clinic where I tried to get history from the grandson, and examine this lady, while she shouted garbled Moldovan at me and kept flopping her breast out of her top to wave at me (I guess to show me where the cancer was). The only key information I could get from her grandson was that he told me that she "Had experienced clinical death when having eye surgery in the USSR". When I asked what he meant what he meant by clinical death he told me "it means she died, where did you do your training", and refused to say any more. Such a difficult conversation - I am glad I am rotation onto respiratory medicine now, so won't have to try and communicate with them on the ward!


 A little like this, but a little more smiley

Now for the headline piece. The sandwich wars. I big it up because it is a big deal to me, though probably of little to no interest to anyone outside of my hospital. There is a very fought over sandwich in the league of friends shop that everyone in the hospital wants. I normally pack my own lunch, but when I forget/am too sleepy/forget to buy bread, this is the sandwich that I want. There is only one a day, it gets put out at a random time before lunch, and it seems the whole hospital wants it for their own. It doesn't sound anything special, but it tastes like heaven. And I managed to get it! As you join the queue with it, people you have never met before plead to exchange it, it gives you such a sense of power. If I set up a shop selling these sandwiches in the hospital I wonder if I would be rich, but I think the scarcity is what attracts people the most. Like diamonds. If anyone was wondering, the delicious fellow is below:

Never has one sandwich had so much power over so many

Sadly it has been my last day on vascular surgery today. I am in the same hospital for the year (so I can continue fighting for the important things in life like the above) but I am moving onto respiratory medicine from tomorrow for 4 months. I am really going to miss all of my crazy patients. When I was going around to see them and say goodbye this evening one of them, a lady who used to belong to the TA and drive Bedford Mk. 4 Tonne Trucks was crying and had tears pouring down her face when I said goodbye. She is normally very stoic and even though we had to remove one of her legs due to a nasty bone infection, and operate on the foot of the other, I have never seen her upset before. It has been a very touching final day, with the nurses saying lovely things about me, and I hope that my new ward is as nice to me as this one has been!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Poo volcanos, crazy patients and narrow misses


Hi,



Another long delay between posts, following another long period spent in the hospital. The times where I do a week, a weekend and then another week in the hospital mean I am working 12 days in a row, and I get really tired! This leads to me almost making mistakes - not dangerous patient care mistakes but awkward never-return-to-the-hospital mistakes. One of two of which I will cover below. This has been the weekend following one of those sets, and I have really enjoyed being able to have massive lie ins and do very little. I will post some bullet points below from things which have happened during the last couple of weeks, hopefully making it easier for me to write than having continuous prose. The most 'exciting' of which is my own lovely poo volcano which I will finish with. Make sure you are not eating.

- My consultant was called a 'nasty, spiteful little man' (he is very short) by one of my patients, who is now refusing to see him and has told me that if I bring him to see her again she will write to the board of governors of the hospital as a complaint. As my registrar hasn't been around much lately and my SHO has been on nights, as a result she has been receiving 'F1 lead care'... He is a very straight talking typical surgeon, but I think that her reaction is a little extreme. How am I meant to know if her wound looks as though it needs the types of dressings used changed, or further debridement? It is worth mentioning that on a ward round with my registrar (who is bald) the same patient told me that I had to be nicer to her, or all my hair would fall out and I would end up 'like baldy over there' - cue awkward silence while nurse is in uncontrolled giggles! 

- Talking to the family of one patient who I thought were really racist as they were talking about how 'The Blacks' did things very differently, and how it wasn't really what we were used to in this country. I was on the verge of rebuking them for being so racist and telling them that the nursing staff were all very well trained, and cared a great deal, regardless of the colour of their skin, before I realised that their surname was Black and they were talking about members of their own family. Disaster narrowly averted!

- I influence decision making for one of the first times since I started here. F1 is mostly about chatting with patients, filling in forms and running around the hospital after seniors; you rarely get to decide anything more important than whether to treat a UTI with trimethoprim or nutrofuratoin. This time I was sitting in the 'diabetic foot MDT' where vascular surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, microbiologists and other specialities meet to decide what to do with - you guessed it- patients with diabetic feet who are in the hospital. Usually this involves deciding whether to operate on different people in the hospital, or which antibiotics to use to treat a case of osteomyelitis. This time they were discussing a patient who had a fixed flexion deformity of his knee, meaning it was stuck bent; this meant that his bent leg was developing a pressure ulcer and an infection due to always being pressed into the bed. There is very little point me coming to these meetings, as I have very little to add as an F1, but I have to anyway. This time the surgeons were deciding to perform a below knee amputation on this man for this ulcer and infection, but I chimed in and pointed out that he would still have this flexion deformity in his knee, and it might press the surgical wound onto the bed. "Good point IO, lets do an above knee amputation instead" and he went on to have the operation, and is doing well. I contributed something!

- One of my patients keeps trying to persuade me to get ant farms. He is sure that they will be much better than all the 'boring, plain pictures' that hospitals have on the wards. After all, "they change all the time, and you can bank on the glass if you are bored". I tried pointing out that the ants would, undoubtedly, end up getting out amd "into your food, in your bed, in your stump wound", but he is sure that no-one would mind, as they are only common British ants, found all over the country (though I hastened to point out, not in hospitals!). I would like to point out here, that according to the all-knowing wikipedia "
Often, containing ants inside a formicarium can be a challenge."  I don't think I will be suggesting the idea to the chief exec any time soon!

- As for the poo volcano, one of the patients in the hospital over the weekend had a blocked colostomy, where she had a large fecolith (stone made out of really hard poo) at the entrance blocking any poo from coming out. This patient had been admitted under the GI surgeons, and they had been performing enemas on her stoma twice a day to try and soften up this rock of poo, which was bigger than the entrance to the stoma, and was blocking it. Sadly, over the weekend, this job fell to the on call F1 (me) as they had gone home, and the nurses were not permitted to do it due to the danger of perforating the thin stoma tissue. I had never done an enema before, let alone some dangerous-type of one where there was a risk of perforating the bowel and letting poo inside the abdomen! Regardless, I had to do this over the weekend, and the experience was awful. The patient was lovely, but I am sure you can imagine what the experience was like. I was warned that this was quite a messy task so covered the patient and the bed with opened out adult disposable nappies. Usually there are a special sort of incontinence pad which are very absorbent and are used for messy tasks like this, but the ward seemed to have run out of them, so nappies seemed like the next best thing. I had to work this thin tube (usually used to catheterise patients) down into the stoma with my fingers (and hand) very carefully, trying to get it past the large rock of poo which was about the size of a kiwi fruit. This took some time, and was quite messy work, but nothing like what was about to come. After I had finished forcing my fist into this poor person's stoma to get the catheter around this solid lump of poo, I had to squeeze two 500ml bottles of fluid down the tube, one was an oil used to loosen up the mass, the other a phosphate solution to help make the bowel more mobile and expel this rock. I am not sure if it was this phosphate solution or the fact that I had just squeezed a litre of fluid into this ladies already-overfilled bowel, but as I was squeezing the fluid down into this stoma, the liquid poo that was stored behind the fecolith was blossoming out. As she was lying down it was going everywhere. Fortunately I had covered the patient and bed in these nappies, but it was running all over the place, finding gaps in the nappies and dripping off the bed onto the floor. I cleaned up after this as best I could, but it felt as though that smell followed me around for the rest of the day. Why do some people think medicine is a sexy profession? Don't get me wrong, stomas are not bad in themselves (the daily heil even states that they can be sexy), i was just not at all prepared for this process, having never even done a 'normal' enema before, after a long week running around.


Picture of a stoma from the internet

- The rest of last week was mostly taken up with the emotional version of the poo volcano above. A consultant from another hospital had transferred a patient to ours for a pre-operation work up for a relatively major operation (no beds at his hospital, supposedly . Only this patient was 102, and after she was admitted he refused to talk to me, and relayed to me through his secretary that the patient was now our responsibility as they were in our hospital. He told me that he had OK'd this with one of my consultants, who was out of the country for a month, so that didn't really help. The family were (rightfully) distressed and angry about this, and the patient stayed in hospital for a week before I could get another vascular consultant to see her and decide what to do with her. He decided that the first consultant had been out of line, trying to get her out of his care, and wanted to send her home. Trying to tell this to her family, however, was not easy at all. Her grand-daughter really wanted her to have the operation. I couldn't tell if she secretly wanted something bad to happen, as the consultant had been very clear about the risks of this major operation, but it was a very uphill battle trying to get them out of hospital. I think that because of the very strong beliefs of this family (who were rightfully distressed by this poor treatment), this could be why the original consultant tried to get them into another hospital - so he didn't have to deal with them anymore. Either way; its not fair on the people whose hospital he sent them to, as they then have to deal with explaining that this isn't the correct procedure for her, and definitely not right for the patient and family, who are sent out of their area and into hospital for a week for no good reason at all.




Sunday, 13 October 2013

Luck of the Irish


Hi,


So much time between posts - time is flying at the moment! So much for my decision to do little and often, I will just have to work with what I can do I guess!

The last few weeks have been pretty hectic, some F1s were off on holiday/sick and I had to cover for them. Really not an ideal system as I already spend the day working, so I am not sure how I am meant to do two jobs at once! Fortunately I just about survived that staying a bit late and getting others to help out. As I said before, having helpful colleges makes so much difference! This week just gone I have been on call, and it is absurdly busy. The on call team consists of - F1 (me), SHO (few years more experience) Registrar (surgeon) and consultant (on for whole week, 24/7, but somehow at home all week at the same time). These 4 people (realistically two, as the consultant is at home waiting for some kind of emergency he will need to do, and the registrar in theatre doing the operations) have to see all new people who come in under surgery for that week. The start of the week was really good, as we started with no patients, as the team on call last week had taken those who had come in under their care for their normal day-to-day work. I got to spend the the first few days clerking in new patients, working out management plans and diagnoses- all very interesting and the side of medicine that I think I enjoy the most. As the week progressed, however, we ended up with dozens of patients under our care; the SHO was having to clerk in all the new patients on her own. This is any patient referred to the surgical team at all, from patients coming in through A&E with appendicitis, to patients who GPs send in due to problems they have presented with, and referrals from district nurses. Could be 10-20 people a day. I couldn't help her with this, as I was trying to sort out all of the patients who we had admitted on the ward, with all of their various problems. Very hectic, and I am glad it is over and I can go back to my day job next week.

The highlight of the last week was the mess social. The mess presidents organised for us to go to laserquest, which I won convincingly. Success! There were also a number of other bonuses over the last few weeks, including the hand over I got from the night team when I was on call which stated, in all serious "The patient was Irish, but denied any excessive alcohol intake". Sadly for the stereotype police, he had alcohol induced acute pancreatitis... 



Monday, 16 September 2013

The people you work with...


Hi,


I have been thinking a lot about how the people you work with influence how much you enjoy your job. I work with some real characters, for better and worse, and I think that the people who you work with are the main factor which affects whether you enjoy going into work in the morning.

For example, there is the nurse in the pre-op assessment unit who calls me 'Mr Vascularity". I am pretty sure that this isn't something to be proud of, but it always makes me feel noticed (and certainly puts a smile on my patient's faces). It is nice to feel as though you are not just another person wandering around the hospital, but people notice and remember you, and enjoy chatting with you. Especially friendly motherly nurses who help look out for me!

My consultant is pretty much the opposite. He is the 'typical' surgical consultant, very blunt and brief with patients, and difficult to approach. My favourite quote from him this week (and keep in mind I only see him once a week, for his weekly ward round, the rest of the time he spends in theatre, clinic or in other hospitals) was while he was on the phone to a member of office staff. I think someone had had to move his list around to a different theatre which he was less happy with, and this poor office worker had to tell him. I caught the consultant telling the person that.


"I am going to show you what happens when a consultant throws his considerable weight around"

Needless to say, I don't get on very well with my consultant, but fortunately rarely see him. As long as I have my pockets full of gloves and pairs of scissors for him to look at the post-surgical wounds of the patients on the ward, he seems to tolerate me...

So moving onto the other most important group of people I work with. Seniors are obviously important, as are nurses and other clinical staff. The third group is my peers; other junior doctors. On the whole, the juniors at this hospital have all been so supportive of one another. It quickly became apparent who was quite highly strung and got stressed about most things, and who was lazy and would try and avoid as much work as possible, but on the whole I have been very lucky with this bunch of people. The surgical jobs come in waves, with certain firms being much  busier than other firms at any one point. People from the less busy firms seem very happy to come and help those who are much busier. I have been helping others for a few weeks but have been very busy recently, and very glad of the help coming my way when it seems like I will have to stay past 8PM to get things done. One of the other F1s even bought me a pack of Maltesers as I looked tired out from all the running around hospital. How lovely; it is those little things that make the day easier! 

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Corridor collapse


Hi,


Again, I start with an apology for the time since the last post - I will try and remedy this by posting little and often in future. The past few weeks have been very busy - the senior house officer (an F2) in my vascular surgery rotation was off, leaving me to deal with basically everything, and then the breast surgery F1 was off, meaning we had to cross cover breast surgery as there are no other juniors on that rotation, leading to another week of heavy work. All in all, I think that next week, now that everyone is back, things will be a lot easier!

Things have been getting easier as the weeks go by and I get used to things a bit more. I have been working as an F1 for about a month now, and I am getting much more used to not only how the job works but (supposedly more importantly) how my consultants like things done. I can have lists prepared at the correct moment, make sure that surgical lists are in the order that each consultant prefers and try not to get in anyone's way so they trip over me...


A couple of exciting/stressful (they often seem to be both...) things happened to me this week. One of my patients became very sick whilst I was trying to run my pre-op assessment clinic. I was meant to be spending all afternoon assessing a stream of patients to try and tell if they were well enough for surgery or not, but had the surgical 'advanced care' unit calling me telling me one of my patients had a heard rate of 30 beats per minute (very low) and a very low blood pressure. My registrar had gone home for a half day off, and my vascular SHO (year on from me) was stuck looking after a breast based MDT which is a big meeting, so I couldn't contact him. The decision to go to the patient and see what I could do was clearly more sensible than staying in clinic, but once I went to the sick patient, people started queueing up in clinic waiting to see me. I ended up being with the sick patient for about 1 1/2 hours so built up a number of patients waiting for me (who were very understanding, the worst being someone grumbling about the car parking fee after waiting so long). The patient had fluid in his lungs (pulmonary oedema) which meant that giving lots of fluids to try and bring up the blood pressure wasn't such an easy choice to make. In the end I gave him 250ml of fluid over 30 minutes to see the effect on his blood pressure/heart rate/urine output (urine output was basically 0 for the last 6 hours), asked for a bladder scan in case his catheter had become obstructed leading to the poor output, and called the critical care outreach team to help me. Sadly, they took some time arriving (hence why I had to stay there for so long) and my interventions didn't do very much. In the end, when they did arrive, the ended up giving atropine and glycopyrrolate (drugs I wouldn't have dared to give on my own). He ended up going to HDU (a ward which is one step down from ITU) but from there improved and seems well now.

The cause of this profound bradycardia (slow heart rate) isn't really known. At first, the critical care team though that, as this sick patient had been on digoxin then received a spinal anaesthetic, it could be these two interacting to block the sympathetic nervous system and slow the heart. I thought it could be digoxin toxicity. We took the blood to test for dogoxin levels, but the lab only does these once a week (strange and unhelpful).

Later on this week, a person collapsed in front of me while I was hurrying through one of the corridors to request an MRA scan for one of our in patients. I was in a real rush as it was almost 5, and I needed to catch the radiologist before he left the hospital (and my consultant had specifically said it needed to be requested today, so it could be done early tomorrow so she could then leave for dialysis). Obviously, I had to stop and try and help out. This lady was in her 80s, and wasn't a patient at the hospital, but was just visiting a friend. She had started walking down the corridor but had found herself very short of breath. I asked a few library staff who were walking down the corridor to get me a wheelchair, and call the medical emergency team while I took her pulse and tried to talk to her. Being in a corridor was very awkward as people were all walking by next to us and staring. Taking the pulse was much less invasive than trying to listen to her heart in this situation, so that was all I could do, and she was very tachycardic (fast heart rate) with a heart rate near 150. She was also very breathless and seemed hot and sweaty. Added onto the fact that she had had a lot of heart problems in the past, I was very worried! By the time the medical emergency team arrived, she seemed a lot better, her heart rate was more normal, and she wasn't breathless or sweaty anymore. They seemed a bit confused as to why I had got them to run all the way out here to this corridor! In the end, they said that she should probably go to A&E to get checked out, so I wheeled her there in the wheelchair. I wish I knew what had happened after that, but sadly I had lots more to do that day and ended up staying quite late in the hospital, so I didn't get to follow up what had happened. I did feel a bit of a wally after calling the medical emergency team, but I know that it was the right thing to do after she had presented in such an alarming way...

Friday, 23 August 2013

Long weeks


Hi,


So I have been working as a 'Junior Doctor' for about 2 1/2 weeks now, and it has been really busy. For the last 2 weeks I have been in the hospital every day, as I was on call over the weekend. All of these long days, added to the fact that I have only just got internet in my new house have lead to this relative silence on the blogging front, but hopefully this won't be too common (though I have no idea how things will go for the rest of the year busy-ness-wise!)

I am on a vascular surgery rotation for the next four months, and on normal week days my job isn't too hard. I have to stay relatively late sometimes (I am meant to work 7.30/8 til 5, but sometimes need to stay til 8 or 9) but during the day the things that need to be done are not too challenging. Most of the other surgical teams at the hospital consist of an F1 doctor (or several if busy teams), an SHO or two (a doctor who has a year or a few worth of experience), a registrar or two (a relatively experienced surgeon) and a number of consultants (who are the most experienced surgeons and run the theatres and patients in the hospital). Sadly, my team is much smaller, as I am currently at a smaller district general hospital, and most of the vascular surgery is done at the nearby(ish) large teaching hospital. There is myself and an SHO who is a year ahead of me in terms of exprerience (he has done an F1 job already), but other than that we have very little. There is no assigned registrar for vascular surgery (we have to steal another
teams one if we have problems) and the vascular surgery consultants work most of the time at the large teaching hospital, meaning we see one of them once a week for a ward round. All of last week my SHO was on nights, meaning I was left alone to try and organise the ward patients.

While this is a little scary, it isn't as bad as it sounds. Most of my patients are relatively well, and are in the hospital for rehabilitation. This is because most of the seriously ill patients are sent to the teaching hospital for their surgeries (cases like major amputations and ruptured AAA), while my hospital does small, more simple procedures like removing varicose veins, and accepts patients once they are medically well from the large teaching hospital for rehabilitation. This means that I don't usually need to worry about really sick people, and instead need to fuss over blood sugar control in diabetics, and warfarin doses controlling INR. Good practice to start off my F1 job, as it lets me get used to how all these things work, but not too exciting as what I really enjoy is the challenge of diagnosing and treating sick patients. When something does go wrong, though, I am left floundering a little - as there is no-one around to help (for example when I was asked to come and remove a stuck PICC line as an 'expert' [turned out it just fell out])

Despite this, my patients (and I do love saying 'my patients' now, still feels unreal) do tend to stay in the hospital for some time while we treat infections or help them get used to walking again, so I have plenty of time to build up relationships with them. This is something that I have been doing well at, and have had lots of lovely things said to me about my bedside manner by patients and nurses. Always nice to have compliments when you are having to stay 3 or 4 hours past your normal home time to clerk in a patient who was meant to arrive in the morning, but came into the hospital in the evening and needs to be seen.

My on call weekend was very different to my normal day job. Here, there are two F1 doctors (myself and another), who work under an SHO and a registrar to try and run the hospital over the weekend. This is crazy busy, as people get sick at the sme rate, but instead of the normal teams which is probably about 30-40 surgical doctors during the week, there are about 4 of you. The registrar has to spend most of their time in the operating theatre doing procedures, and the jobs come thick and fast. Prioritising is very important, but some wards seem to want to badger you for relatively unimportant jobs while you have more going on. Through a large chunk of Sunday I had to go to theatre to assist the surgeon by providing another pair of hands to hold some of the instruments, meaning the ward jobs built up even further. All you could do was try your best to do the most important jobs, it seems like a very silly system.



After on call and this double week I was feeling very tyre'd...

All in all, I have been happy this week go go back to a more normal job with patients I know, but I am really looking forward to the coming weekend and having some time off! Very thankful that I am not in for the bank holiday Monday though - that is going to be hectic!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Trepidation


Hi,


Here I am, sitting at home, getting ready for an early nights sleep, but anxious about tomorrow. I have completed a few shadowing days working with the F1 who currently does the job that I will be doing from tomorrow onwards as Dr Internal Optimist.

The shadowing days have been a mixed bag. There were a few boring days of lectures, then a big night out with the other incoming F1s on Friday to 'get to know' each other. A good start! This week we have had a couple of days on the ward, following the current doctor doing our jobs - mine was very good - very well organised and had loads of time for the patients. I have to remind myself that he has a years worth of experience on me, and is effectively now an 'SHO'. I hope that I am not expected to be quite as efficient when I start, but I will definitely try!

In the past few days, I have been quite effective, spending a lot of time trying to get patients with problems home from hospital, the most difficult one being someone who is a drug user, has no home, no GP, but we need to discharge while keeping his medications going (so he doesn't turn back to heroin again) and keep his wound dressed. Trying to get a hostel or home to take him was difficult, but he couldn't live in hospital for the rest of his life. He is meant to be going home tonight, hopefully when I go in tomorrow for 'Black Wednesday' he will not be there.

I think it is the things like that where you can make a huge difference by pushing a bit and making an effort, rather than just leaving things to sort themselves out over weeks. I hope I can keep up the good work over the next few months.

Wish me luck, I will keep you updated!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Graduation


Hi,


Firstly, thank you very much for all of the lovely messages on my previous posts - it is nice to feel appreciated. I will keep writing while being a junior doctor, but may take a different format. This weekly format was quite clunky, as some weeks I had loads to say, and some weeks I didn't have very much - perhaps I will change to a 'regular blog' instead, meaning I can update on days when exciting things happen, with shorter posts which are easier to fit into (what is going to be) my busy working life!

I have now graduated, and am due to start work next week. A very scary thought indeed! Graduation was lovely, we had the normal ceremony in the morning, where we came up on stage one by one to be presented with a certificate as part of the main university ceremony, and then in the afternoon we had our own medical students ceremony where we said the (revised) Hippocratic oath (old one not really fit for modern medicine/surgery) and we had our own prizes, speakers and so on. The main event in the morning was a lot more interesting than the one at the university I intercalated at two years ago; it was a lot more relaxed, a lot more fun and a lot less pompous. The event in the afternoon was very informal as well, and much more personalised as it was just for my year. All in all a really enjoyable day, and having this certificate in my hand, and being Dr Internal Optimist is just crazy. When people ask me what I do, I still say that I have just graduated and try and steer the conversation away from that topic. I feel a bit uncomfortable about it, almost as though it isn't right - something that I hope will pass.





Current impression I am likely to make as I start my vascular rotation next week

And it is important that that feeling passes - 'Black Wednesday' is next Wednesday - I start work in less than a week, and have shadowing before that. I am going to have to introduce myself to all of 'my' patients! I have decided on a compromise, which makes it seem less strange. I am going to indroduce myself as "Internal Optimist, one of the doctors looking after your care" rather than "Dr Internal Optimist" as it seems less... strange to me. I don't know why it is - I suppose I have always held those who teach us in quite high regard (yeah, I am a bit of a goody-two-shoes ... or sometimes at least). Having looked up to some very inspirational doctors during my 6 years at medical school, it is very strange having crossed that student-brain-barrier and having entered a position where I could well be the 'inspirational' doctor that medical students see. Sadly it is much more likely that I am the poorly-organised-and-rushing-around-doctor who medical students will not get much help from, but I will try my best.

Anyway, I am looking forward to everything ahead, and while it feels very strange, I think that is a good thing. I will keep posting and keep you all updated. Thank you for being so lovely to me throughout my time posting as a student - writing a blog is good I think. It encourages reflection (and god knows we are told to do enough of that at medical school) and is cathartic to talk about what happened, and look back on how things made me feel. I just wish I had the time (and knowledge) to organise all my old posts in some way to make them more easily findable, and separate them from the 'Dr posts' that will come.

If anyone has any good ideas for a blog title change, please let me know!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Final week as a medical student


Hi,


I would like to apologise for this post being really late, I wrote it over a week ago, then pressed save rather than publish, and went on holiday. The holiday was lovely, but I realise that I need to actually press the right button!

Despite having found out I had passed my finals almost 2 months ago, I have been working as a medical student in the hospital, getting ready for the job of 'doctor' come August. The idea still makes me feel excited and/or scared. However, the gruelling life of a medical student has come to an end for me. This was the last week I am going to spend in hospital as a medical student, and was topped off with my graduation ball. This week I introduced myself as a medical student for the very last time, I did my last referral as a medical student (where, ironically, I got a grumpy doctor who refused to talk to medical students as it was 'inappropriate') and signed myself off as "Internal Optimist, Medical Student" at the bottom of the notes for the last ever time. It is so exciting to think that, after a months holiday, I will be writing "Dr Internal Optimist, GMC *******" at the bottom of the notes instead. 6 years of hard work, not including all of the school work and preparation before university, have gone into this end point. 

But I am not really sure how to feel.

The ending has been a bit spread out; I was really happy to finish my finals, and overjoyed to have passed them, but then I have been working as a medical student for the last 1-2 months. I haven't really had any real 'you are finished forever' moment, which is arguably a good thing. I am so glad after each 'hurdle' that I manage to make it over, I am not sure I would be able to handle all of it at once. Although I will never be introducing myself as a medical student again, I still have one 'hurdle' left - graduation. After graduation, when I have that certificate in my hand, I will feel as though it is well and truly over. It will probably be quite an emotional day, not just for me, but for most of my year.


So I am slightly confused about how to feel at the moment. I am very relieved that I have made it despite friends who were just as able as me dropping out of the course throughout the last 6 years. I am really happy to have made my main 'life goal' over the last 7 years or so. Most of the last 7 years have been aimed at getting into and passing this course, then getting a good set of rotations afterwards, all of which I have managed to achieve. 

But I still feel a bit uneasy. Perhaps it is a sense of 'what now' - having such a long term goal fulfilled leaves me wondering what I should be aiming at now. Perhaps it is the fear of working as a doctor next year; a job where patients put a huge amount of trust in you, and where a simple mistake can have disastrous consequences.

Don't get me wrong though, I really am happy to finish this course and graduate, it is just there is a slight grey lining to my radiant silver cloud. After graduation, I think the only way that I am going to feel more relaxed about this is by starting work in August, and proving to myself that I can do this job. After all, I have spent 6 years preparing for it, I should be ready by now!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Ambulances


Hi,


An interesting week in A&E, the most exciting part being a few days with the ambulance service with the paramedics. 

A&E had some interesting cases, some sad cases and some relatively dull cases. The interesting included someone whose pacemaker was giving the wrong signals, a road traffic accident where a cyclist had been hit by a car, who had then run off (leading to us trying to balance the clinical needs of the patient with the police wanting to question them ASAP to catch the car driver), and someone who had dislocated their shoulder (which I got to put back in, something I hadn't done before). Several of the sad cases involved people coming into A&E and dying of problems like cardiac arrests, and one was a patient who liked to 'fake' seizures to get her into hospital. There are always lots of less interesting cases, and people who come into A&E who should have gone to their GP instead, but I am still really enjoying this placement.

The most exciting part of the week, as I said before, was a few days on am ambulance with a paramedic and a technician. Driving around on blue lights and everyone getting out of your way is very exciting! The saddest case that we saw was a man who had started feeling really breathless and confused while in a supermarket, and the cashier had called 999. He has a strange heart rhythm, which we initially thought was SVT, but was actually fast AF. He was very worried about his car parking ticket running out as we took him on blue lights to the hospital, and I spent the time reassuring him. We arrived, and 10 minutes later he arrested and, despite 40 minutes of resuscitation being attempted, he died. Despite him appearing relatively well in the ambulance, where his main worry was his car, he just died - and we still have no idea why. He didn't seem to have any signs of a heart attack, so we were wondering if it could be a PE. I found it quite upsetting, and I don't think that feeling a bit travel sick from bouncing around in the back of the ambulance at high speed with no windows helped things. We saw a number of other patients including a man who had been found in a very 'compromising' position, who tried to tell us that he had been attacked in his home, though it looked as though the problem had been caused by some kind of strange sex game. 









SVT: regular, fast 






AF can be fast and look similar to SVT, but will be irregular rather than regular in rhythm





While on call with the ambulance guys, I also went into a school full of primary school children and spent some time showing them around the ambulance with the paramedic, letting them turn on the lights and sirens etc. We were still 'on call' whilst doing that, but didn't have any interruptions. I think the point of it was to try and make sure kids are not scared of ambulances if they need to come into hospital, and think they look 'cool' instead! After some of the sadder patients before the school, I didn't really feel in the mood to be very cheerful and upbeat (which you need when talking to children), but it was a nice distraction. 

Seeing a few days in the life of a paramedic was interesting though, as despite there being some interesting things, there is also a lot of calls that they attend that they certainly shouldn't need to; a lot of people misusing the 999 number.

Quite an emotional week, but busy and interesting. My last week next week, then graduation, a little holiday and I start working as a doctor!



Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Spot diagnosis


Hi,


A week in the emergency department for me, where I get to assess and treat lots of patients, see a large overdose, and make a 'spot diagnosis' on a receptionist who is quizzing me on her disease.

One of the best bits about A&E is patients are meant to be in and out in under 4 hours, meaning that you can see, examine, investigate and treat a lot of patients in each day. I am getting better at writing management plans that are actually accurate now; something I found difficult. I find diagnosing patients and writing management plans very rewarding (if you get it right). For example, last week a 40 year old lady came into the A&E department who
 thought she had a pneumothorax. This is a problem where air gets outside of the actual lungs, but is trapped inside the thorax which surrounds them. This can deflate the lungs and make you breathless. I have put a picture of a chest X-ray below:

This is a chest X ray showing a fully inflated left lung (right of the picture) and a partially deflated right lung. You can see the loss of the normal lung markings, showing that it is just air and not lung across most of the right side. This is a large pneumothorax.

The 40 year old lady was scared that this had recurred, as she had chest pain and felt breathless. As the first person to see her, I started off with observations to make sure she was stable, took a history and did an examination. A pneumothorax will have reduced air sounds over it if listened to with a stethoscope, as there is no lung there. From the history and examination (which showed she was tender over a few ribs too) I guessed that this was 'musculoskeletal pain' - i.e. she had pulled some muscle in her chest, rather than a pneumothorax. To make sure, I ordered a chest X-ray, which I then had to interpret. I thought she was fine, so went to talk to one of the doctors in the emergency department. He listened to the history, had a look at the chest X-ray and just agreed with me, and told me that I should discharge her. Very rewarding to have your opinions 'validated' by someone- hopefully something I can get right more and more often as time goes on!

Other patients who I saw this week included someone who had taken nearly 200 tablets of a mixed variety, mostly diazepam, and had come in after being found unconscious on a park bench (he was quite sick, and my job involved the exciting task of looking through all the empty pill packets, working out what he had taken, how much, and finding out how dangerous each one was on toxbase). Another patient was a 98 year old gentleman who had severe dementia, and had been bought in by the nursing home as he had become 'increasingly confused'. This is called delerium, and there are hundreds of causes for it. As the patient couldn't say anything to me, it was very difficult to work out what it was that was causing it, and I had to order loads of investigations. I don't feel I really got to the bottom of it, as everything I did was negative, but my senior decided that it was probably a pneumonia and discharged on amoxicillin. Not too sure how happy I was with that, as I couldn't see any signs on the chest X-ray, and there was no suggestion of infection from the blood markers, but I couldn't really argue...

Early in one of the mornings, when things tend to be a bit quieter, I was chatting with a receptionist, who asked me if I could diagnose her condition. I asked her for some clues, so she told me to treat her as if she had been bought into A&E unconscious on a stretcher with a low blood pressure, but no other obvious problems. She had a good tan going, so I ventured that "perhaps, because you have this bronze looking skin, you have Addison's disease?". I was right, and she was really impressed. It is mainly because 'hyperpigmented skin' is a typical multiple choice question option for Addison's - and I have just done finals. I felt very smart for the rest of the day, after she had heaped congratulations on me, but also a little smarmy. It is good to get things right, especially for the patients, but if you show off about them you just look like a nob! Fortunately this blog is anonymous, so I can get away with showing off a little bit ;)

Friday, 7 June 2013

Referrals


Hi,


First, very sorry for the really late post. Things are getting out hand. I always tried to post on Sundays, but then with busy weekends this started shifting to Monday/Tuesday and now it seems to have shifted all the way to Friday. Hopefully I can catch up. The problem is, things re really busy and, while I enjoy sitting down to write a post, it takes time which I don't really have! Perhaps, come August, I will try and keep it regular but remove the 'weekly' from the title to take away that expectation (which I am struggling to meet!) What do you think?

Anyway, moving on to what I have been up to this week (by which I mean last week), it was a bit more empty than the week before. A bank holiday when I didn't need to go in, and a day of lectures meant I only spent a few days in the hospital. I am still on an acute medicine rotation for this week, before moving onto emergency medicine for the next few weeks. 


The day in the acute medical unit consists of a consultant lead ward round at 8AM, seeing most patients. Patients are normally only admitted to this ward for a day or two, so each patient is an interesting case, needing diagnosis and management plans, which keeps things interesting. There are two consultants who split up and see the patients who have been admitted in the last 24 hours, and a registrar (slightly less experienced) who sees the patients who have been in for over 24 hours, and adjusts their management plans. There are about 30 beds in total. After all patients have been seen by one of these three groups (each consultant has junior doctors with them to help things along) everyone goes into a meeting room, and all patients and plans are discussed. All the plans are put onto a big spreadsheet, which is printed off and pasted on the wall. The rest of the day consists of the consultants going somewhere (still not sure where, perhaps there is a secret bar out back?) while the juniors carry out the 'jobs' on the list. These could be things like taking blood, asking specialists for referrals, or inserting a chest drain. This is the most useful part for me, as I can just grab jobs off of this list and do them, meaning I am helping the team out, while learning myself.

One of the most useful things I was trying to practice this week was referrals to other specialities. This is where a patient needs a more specialist opinion for a complex disease, and you try and persuade a specialist to come and see them. As a regular reader might know, I have had bad experiences in referring to specialists before (like this), so I thought it would be a good idea to get used to how to do it. Different specialists want different information; a cardiologist will want to know about previous heart attacks or angina, and cardiac risk factors (like smoking, family history of heart disease, high cholesterol etc) while an endocrinologist might quiz you on the exact insulin regime the patient has, how closely they stick to it, and their blood glucose highs and lows. Being prepared for what they ask you is very important, as they won't hang around if you need to pop off and ask the patient! This week I referred patients to the dermatologists (one for a very interesting rash that looked vasculitic (is it lupus!?)) and I took a patient over to vascular surgery myself to try and squeeze him into the radiographer's  list of vascular imaging, where they use an ultrasound machine to view the vessels in the legs, and try and work out what the blood flow is like. This sort of negotiation should be really useful come next year when I need to get patients treated and out of hospital as quickly as possible. By taking this patient to the radiographer myself (rather than leaving him to a hospital porter, who may take ages to get there) and negotiating slotting him in between two patients I got him the imaging a day earlier, meaning he could be seen by the vascular surgeons a day earlier, and out of hospital a day earlier (just a bed for a day is about £400 according to the department of health). 

A typical looking vasculitic rash

 As well as trying to do my part to save the NHS money, I also got to participate in draining fluid out of several abdomens due to liver disease. This involved sticking a needle and syringe into the belly to suck out fluid to analyse, and while exciting for me, may not be the sort of thing that people really want to read about!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Night shift and possible perforation


Hi,


A week in the acute medical unit this week, in the hospital that I will be working at next year. This week, and the next 6 or so, are part of the last section of my course as a medical student, aimed at teaching me to carry out the job of a junior doctor next year. Fortunately I have been placed on the acute medical unit, where patients tend to be quite sick, decisions are made daily as there is a high patient turn over (people only usually stay for a day or two) and lots of bloods, cannulas and so on need to be done. This is perfect for me, as I want as much experience as possible in doing these sort of things, as well as ordering scans, making general requests and general dogs-body work around the hospital. I certainly don't have any glamorous expectations of what next year will involve!

My 'non-glamorous' expectations were proved right on Friday when I did my first proper night shift. Previously I had only stayed in the hospital til about 10/11PM, but this week I came in at 9PM and stayed until morning. This night shift was actually a lot of fun, and I got to clerk in several patients who had come into the hospital at night, and carry out lots of procedures including the ever glamorous 'PR' exam

Glamorous medicine... Who said being a doctor isn't an attractive profession? Between these and being vomited on there is so much to choose from...



On the night shift I was admitting patients, taking their history, examining them and then planning initial management and investigations. The registrar was a really nice cardiologist, who talked at length about how upset he was about the events in Woolwich (him being a Muslim  and how it was creating so many more problems... Anyway, this blog isn't meant to be a political statement. The problem with this registrar was that he had decided that, as I had passed finals, I was just an 'unemployed doctor' rather than the medical student I still introduce myself as (until August). This meant that, after clerking a patient who had presented with upper tummy pain, and bloody vomit (haematemesis) - I had taken bloods, ordered an erect chest X-ray (to check for perforation) and all those sort of things, he was asking me to look the results and write down what they said, and plan management. This was pretty scary. He was quite stable, so if he hadn't had a perforation into his abdomen from his stomach he could be left  until morning, whereas if he had, he needed much more urgent assessment. In order to be able to tell this, an erect chest x-ray is done, as it will show air under the left diaphragm, showing air has escaped the stomach and is now outside within the abdomen (where it shouldn't normally be). 

See the arrow on the left of the picture (right side of the patient). This points to air which is under the diaphragm, therefore not in the lungs but in the abdomen, which suggests a problem such as perforation. There is air on the other side (the left of the patient) but this is probably just in the stomach and does not suggest a perforation.

Anyway, this is quite an easy diagnosis to make (as they go) as it is either there or not. But it was a very scary idea putting my pen to paper and saying it was there or not, and having his management depend on what I thought. If I was wrong, he could go all night without the proper treatment and be very sick, dangerously ill, by the morning. The 'lovely' registrar was refusing to help me decide what it was until I had sorted out my own plan, as 'I had to work out how to do it at some point'. Good to have practice in this sort of thing, but not now! Anyway, I thought he was fine, had an 'upper GI bleed' and hadn't perforated, and he agreed, so it all worked out in the end.

The rest of the night shift was pretty hectic, clerking in a man with blood clots in his lungs (pulmonary embolism), someone who was a chronic alcohol abuser who couldn't even tell me why he was in hospital, and a patient who was very depressed and was trying to persuade me to kill him. I have a lot of time as a medical student when things are busy, which was really useful for the latter patient. This is all ignoring everything else that happened this week. Needless to say, things are busy, and I am really loving it!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Drugs smuggler


Hi,


Back working on the wards, sadly. We are meant to be preparing for next year when we work as doctors by getting used to the F1 job, but it also seems like a cheeky way to get people to work in areas of the hospital for free! Either way, I have had a pretty good week, so I don't have anything to complain about. I had some lectures and courses at the start of the week, getting my ILS certificate, then spent some time in the emergency department (where I think I may want to work later in life) and in anaesthetics.

The time in the emergency department was fun, and I spent most of it clerking in patients, which  involves taking a structured history and examination, and planning what initially needs to be done for them. I have forgotten a remarkable amount already since my exams, it is very embarrassing! The most interesting cases I saw were someone who had come in with a police escort after eating a lot of heroin to try and smuggle it into the country (but it had ended up in his bloodstream instead) and a Lady (as in Lords and Ladies) who used to be famous for her organised charity work, but had succumbed to advanced Alzheimer's disease (very sad). I hate diseases like dementia. As well as making you ill, the take away who you are/were, making it really difficult for the family as well. Who knows what will happen in my (and your) lifetime to change how these diseases effect us, perhaps removing them all together. Well, we can hope!

Other than working in A&E, I also spent some time in anaesthetics this week, and observed the anaesthetics for several different types of surgery. I saw breast surgery including removal of tumours, and someone having a breast reduction on one side to balance their breasts which were asymmetrical. This was all pretty 'normal' and I got to practice putting in certain airways and inserting cannulas. The most interesting case here was a patient who had received a blue dye during surgery to locate the lymph nodes draining from a breast cancer so these could be removed as well. This dye had spread throughout her body and she looked very blue and cyanosed, looking very ill despite being well. A good thing to remember in case it leads to panic on the wards when you think someone is becoming very ill, whereas their 'smurf-y' appearance (technical words...) should only last about 24 hours before fading away.

The other procedures I saw in anaesthetics were based around operations on the throat and airway (trachea). These are complex, as the airway needs to be used to breath for the patient, while it is being operated on. Some of the operations involved using a high pressure of gas, like a tyre pump, to inflate the lungs by blowing it down at high pressure from above the level of the operation. Exciting! One of the others was very interesting as it involved an operation to fix the vocal chords in a certain position and the patient had to be asleep for the operation (from outside the neck inwards) but woken up at intervals to check his voice. Very complicated for the anaesthetist, who had to control the level of conciousness with drugs into the blood stream (as couldn't use the airway to get any drugs in), and didn't want the patient to wake up at the wrong time. Something called a BIS monitor is used in this case to tell how 'awake' or asleep the patient is. This gives a score of 1-100 based on how 'awake' you are, and is shown on the image below. I tried it out and it told me I was unconscious. It had been a long day, but I think it was because it wasn't attached properly. Either that or all those finals exams have broken my brain! 


A BIS monitor showing 97 (awake and alert)

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

PASSED!


I passed!


Woooo!

Fantastic news! Since the news I have been so happy; it comes in waves, where I seem to forget for a bit, then the thought comes back that I will be a doctor from this August and I am really happy again. I am still finding it difficult to believe, that I am finally going to become a doctor, but it is all very exciting. Over the weeks before results I have wanted nothing more than to pass, and to have that worry lifted is so relieving. I would hate to be resitting the exams I just did again, or having to do that year again!

Anyway, now I have to go back into the hospital for a bit, then have a summer holiday, then get to work, as Dr Internal Optimist. Amazing!

So amazing, I am really looking forward to working in August (combined with a high degree of trepidation/fear!) If you can have a job that you look forward to going to, then I am not sure you can ask for much more. I hope that I still feel this way after working as an F1 for a few weeks!

Either way, there is not much more to say. I passed my exams, I get to be a doctor, I got my first choice of hospitals for first and second year, and I am more than happy. It certainly pays to be an optimist!

I will keep my blog title as 'medical student' for the moment, as I am still going to be working in the hospital for a bit, and can keep you updated about that, and then can update it come my graduation ceremony (when I post as an actual paid doctor)


Thanks so much to all of you for your words of encouragement and luck - they clearly worked out!

I passed guys!

So happy :)

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Waiting game


Hi,


So my exams are finished, I got into the F1 and F2 placements I wanted in my top choices of hospital and I am sitting around waiting for my exam results. I think the exams went OK, there were some hard questions and some easy questions, but the most important question is whether there were enough easy questions / I did well enough in the hard questions / I messed up too many of the easy questions. I just want to know if I have managed to pass and can be Dr Internal Optimist!

There is nothing I want more at the moment than to be able to change the title of this blog to '

A WEEKLY BLOG FROM A UK JUNIOR DOCTOR


but before that happens I have to have passed my exams! Lots of nervous energy at the moment as I try and waste away the days before results day. It seems so unreal that I am (hopefully) almost at the end of the journey. I have wanted to be a doctor since I was in 6th form - around 16 years old - so this is about 8 years worth of ambition  and work. All of my A levels, exams and so on just lead up to this point, so very nervous indeed!

Either way, I will continue trying to use up the huge 'hole' left in my life where revision used to be by enjoying myself (so many hours in the day!) and I will keep you posted.

Wish me luck!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Ooooh, I'm half way there


But I am still, living on a prayer!


Sorry for the cheesy start... I am half way through my final examinations and the 'revision madness', combined with the relatively small revision play list has got to my head. I though I would 'give it a shot' at putting song lyrics as an introduction. Don't worry; it won't happen again ;)

Anyway, trying to work hard at the moment to finish off the final exams, but I am finding it tough to keep focussed (but not as tough as 'working the diner all day'...) It seems as though I have been working hard for far too long, and the poor brain is getting fatigued! Just need to keep focussed, will all be over by next Wednesday... 'one way or another'...

Exams so far have gone OK. There have been some hard questions and some difficult moments in clinical examinations, but there have also been stations/questions which I have done really well in. I just hope that the goods outweigh the bads! I have one more knowledge (written) test and one more clinical examination (where you are assessed on taking histories/performing examinations) left, so I am actually over half way there, but then that isn't nearly as catchy as a song...


Most of this month has involved me holing myself up in my room (or my ivory tower if you prefer), avoiding having any fun with my flat mates and working at cramming as many facts into my brain as possible, so I can regurgitate them on demand. Not living with other medical students this year is both a blessing and a curse. It makes it a lot harder to practice clinical examinations and histories, as they don't really want to/know how to pretend to have certain conditions for me to practice on. On the positive side, it leads to a much more relaxed atmosphere as around exam time, if the whole house is medical students worrying about the same exams, it feels much more stressful, and people mentioning some condition you cannot remember off the cuff while cooking dinner (those delta waves in Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome) leads to more stress when you feel as though you don't know as much as your compatriots. This year I have been pretty removed from all that stress, but conversely I don't know if I am learning enough/too much! My thought process has always been that you don't (usually) regret working too much for an exam, but you are far more likely to wish you had worked harder, so I may as well work hard and hope for the best!

As for exams, things are going OK. I have had a few mistakes, most embarrassingly being very sure about a diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in one of my clinical exams, after taking a history from, and examining, a patient with a prosthetic lesion. It had been created by some kind of skin putty moulage technique, and looked (very similar to) the picture below, but with a darker centre. I described it as below, with the central ulceration, and assured the examiner the most likely diagnosis was SCC

A 'classic' SCC lesion - and I swear the moulage looked just like this!

At the end I formulated my management plan, referral to dermatologist, etc and then for the further questions I was told that the dermatologist thought it was a melanoma, and I had to talk about the management of that condition instead. Below is a picture of a melanoma:



Melanoma from good ol' Wikipedia 

They don't really look very similar at all. I am not too sure what they were hoping for with the moulage, but I hope I wasn't penalised. I think that the paint that I identified as the 'central ulcer' was in fact the melanoma, and the raised edge around it must have been some kind of irregular border. Other people seemed to get it right, though, so perhaps it is just me! Perhaps the lesson here is not to be too certain about anything :P

Hopefully small mistakes like this will not lead to me failing the station, as you can only fail a few stations before failing the exam! I did pretty well across the rest of the examination, so hopefully  I will still pass. I finish my exams next Wednesday, AND find out my job allocation for next year on the same day. Hopefully it is going to be a really good day!

Just need to focus on doing well in the next two exams, so I can pass my exams, and be a (hopefully) brilliant doctor next year!

 
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