Sunday, January 27, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

Two simple books about Shakespeare

Out of boredom I've recently read two books about Shakespeare, neither of which were exactly heavyweight material. They were both mildly entertaining.

The first was 'Shakespeare' by Bill Bryson. It's a very short autobiography that basically details how little we actually know about Shakespeare. The plays and sonnets that we have were, for the most part, published after he died. Many people think Shakespeare didn't really exist and was only a pen-name for someone like Francis Bacon. I was aware of all this stuff but Bryson has combined it into a nice easy read that you can manage in an afternoon.

The second book was a Da Vinci Code style throwaway called 'The Shakespeare Secret' by J L Carrell. It reads like a Famous Five novel and it has a ridiculous Scooby Doo ending where the mask is pulled off the bad guy about 20 times. It deals with the possible discovery of a manuscript of Cardinio, a lost Shakespeare play and the mystery of who Shakespeare was. Again it was an easy read that did not make me too angry. Good for a flight or a beach but little more.

Notice that I've not read any actual Shakespeare. That would do my box in.

Aliens vs Predator 2 - Requiem

I went to see this last week and it is, of course, pure pish. It is also mildly entertaining, especially if you were ever a teenage boy. It has big guns, explosions and scary monsters. You don't have to see any of the other related films and it is never made clear who is an alien and who is a predator.

The director has tried to stretch the franchise even further by adding a sort of 'Scream' teen-horror flick sub-plot to the film and including jocks, nerds and attactive blondes to the mix. There is even a romantic sub-plot.

I did enjoy the film. Not the worst 90 minutes of my life.

7 out of ten

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I now have my dream job so today was a good day

Despite the sheer hell and emotional turmoil of the past week or so today was a brilliant day. I had an interview for my perfect job and I was offered it a couple of hours later. This is the sort of job that I wanted to do when I applied to medical school. I'm gonna do research, teaching and interesting clinical work in a good unit. I feel like I'm walking on air.

On top of that I've finished paying the deposit on my yuppie flat. It should be built by the end of the year.

Best of all I get to stay in Glasgow for another couple of years.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

At times being a doctor is the worst job in the world.

Further to my previous posts I have just worked a week of nights as a medical SHO (or should I say a 'speciality registrar'). A week of nights is bad enough but I was working over the new year period which transforms bad into hell on earth.

I had been off for four days over christmas before starting my nights but I was unwell with a bad viral upper respiratory tract infection. I never miss work through illness unless it is unavoidable but I was strongly considering calling in sick on the first day of my week. I couldn't bring myself to do this because it would look bad over the festive season and it would have left the hospital uncovered. It would have been difficult to get a locum at short notice.

I went into work on the first day propped up with paracetamol and ibuprofen. I somehow managed to survive that night and as far as I know I didn't make any mistakes. I was not working as quickly as usual but I was being extra careful.

On the second night I was stuck with a very unwell lady with multiple rare medical problems for around eight hours. I was helped a great deal by the on-call anaesthetist but I still had to spend several hours staring at her heart monitor and hoping that her heart rate would not drop. Luckily she survived the night and she is still alive today although she continues to have serious on-going health problems.

I am starting to think that the festive season should be banned because it makes people miserable. I think that christmas just highlights the things that people believe have gone wrong in their lives. People feel more alone, more depressed and more hopeless over the festive season and they try to kill themselves. We admitted about 20 people every night and a large proportion of them had attempted to commit suicide. We did our best to 'save' them and fix them as much as we could but one or two were very creative and actually managed to kill themselves. When they die you do not feel too good.

The atmosphere in the hospital on these nights was not great. The team of doctors that I was working with were excellent although the nursing staff often do not seem to understand that you have multiple demands on your time. They also often seem to try to undermine the clinical decisions of other doctors by asking me to become involved in the management of particular patients. I tried to avoid being drawn into this and I called the doctor who had been looking after the case to disuss the patient and help with the management. I think it is important to maintain continuity of care for patients in emergencies.

Ultimately we were understaffed and very busy but we worked had and did our best. Even your best may not be good enough in some situations.

My nights finished on Friday and I was exhausted. We work seven 12 and a bit hour shifts in a row. On many nights I did not sit down before 6AM. My body clock was totally reversed and I was near physical collapse all weekend. I was quite nauseated towards the end of my last shift and I had to take an anti-emetic because I was worried that I was developing the viral winter vomiting infection that had been moving around the hospital. Thankfully I did not develop full-blown d&v.

I lost the entire weekend to broken sleep. My sleep-cycle is still disrupted and I woke up at 2AM on Monday morning, unable to sleep again before starting work at 9AM. The icing on the cake was an email that arrived on Monday evening from a girl that I really liked telling me that I had been binned. Two days before an interview for my dream job.


Monday, January 07, 2008

why life sucks

Do you ever get times when things go wrong just when you don't want them to? Things just go bad at the wrong time. Things go bad two days before an important interview.

Life is not fair.

Happy new year by the way