The Hills Are Alive…

…with the sound of hiker steps!

Two weeks ago, we decided to take a hike across the Peak District. We last made a trip there 3 years ago but due to the dismal rainy weather, it wasn’t the most suited for hours of walking. This year we were very fortunate.

The weather was sunny and beautiful and there weren’t too many people around. The drive up to the main peaks itself were magnificent. We drove down winding valleys and narrow roads…completely surrounded by hills, lakes and mountains. 

I did try to take more photos, but these two came out the best! 

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After about a one and a half hour drive, we parked the car in Bowden Bridge car park and decided which route to take from there. After popping into the library in the village, we looked through some maps, bought some water in the campers circle and commenced the hike! 

A pretty lake flowing down the village, just before we’re about to set off!

It turned out that we were taking a route that the majority of the hikers were not taking, and that worked out very well for us! It was so quiet, peaceful and almost isolated, that we could just admire the scenery and its nature, so much more. 

These photos simply don’t do justice for what we were seeing before us! 

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and that’s where for me, I was coming up to the challenging bit-rocks on heights!

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Yep, we climbed up that mountain! I’m not really sure how long it took, but I hadn’t counted on the winds higher up, and the small rocks to step upon! Having said that, it was totally worth it, just for the view…

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Perched up for a quick break on the mountain…

…before gazing upon the beautiful breathtaking views.

After a few more hours of hiking, it was coming to around 5pm when we decided to finish off. We made our way to complete the hike…but not before completing our victory selfies… 

and making our way down some (more!) steps…

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to eventually grabbing a bite to eat!

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This was a brilliant way to spend the day-beautiful weather, scenic views enough for a picture postcard, and a good workout for the glutes! I hope that we’d be able to do this again, with more people, more photos and more heights for me to tackle…! Until next time 🙂

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A Most Grateful Thank You

This week was a special one for me. Having completed my training, it was the first time I began working for myself, as an independent doctor.

I was asked to come back to my training surgery to run some locum sessions, as most of the GPs were on holiday. I was happy to do these, as I knew it’d give me a taste of what it’d be like to work on my own. And what better place to ease me into it, than a place I’d been before. In the back of my mind I was expecting to be treated like a trainee-but the experience was actually very different! It was almost like I was left to my own devices, a sense of freedom I’d never experienced before. And in addition to providing the patient care which I relish, it was a blissful experience.

A lot of patients were surprised to see me. Before I left, I informed my regular patients that I was leaving but for those I hadn’t, word had already got around- either through the receptionists or through patients’ friends or family. They were so delighted to see me, and it felt so nice to be welcomed back by them. Nobody had ever addressed me on the streets-that took some getting used to!

‘Oh hi Dr Raj! It’s so nice to see you again!’

‘I thought you left!’

The last day of the week was not only the best day of the week, but probably one of the best days of my career.

It involved one of my regular patients, an elderly lady who attended the surgery with her husband. Earlier in the year I diagnosed her with lung cancer, and I regularly followed her up for this. She underwent a biopsy to determine the type of cancer she had, but this occurred just before I left the surgery. I therefore couldn’t follow her up, to find out what happened to her. I was naturally very curious when I saw her name on my list.

Both her and her husband took their seats. Before I could say anything, she straightaway said…

‘I just wanted to let you know that I had my surgery a few days ago’.

She told me that the surgeons removed the tumour and the operation went so well, that she was sent home that week. It appeared that it was found in time, and she was very lucky to be alive. When she told me the good news I just looked at them both. Astonished and in awe, it took me a few seconds to sink it all in.

‘We just wanted to thank you. You were so prompt. Thank you for saving my life’.

Her husband was also constantly thanking me, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Not only was she going to be OK, but I was humbled that they made time out of their busy schedule, to come and personally inform me of the good news and thank me. I couldn’t help but cry a little, I was so happy for them. It was also the most heartfelt and genuine speech of gratitude I’ve ever received.

After further updates, we ended the consultation by exchanging hugs. I think our last words to each other were when I said to them…‘Look after eachother’. They replied…‘You take care sweet heart’.

Moments like that are a rarity, and it’s something that will stick with me forever. It was the reminder that hard work, whether it be during university or the trainee years, was always going to be worth it. It was also a reminder of compassion and humanity that exists in the world, and the importance of cherishing it in our day to day lives.

Have a wonderful bank holiday weekend 🙂

How are you?

Following on from my last post, I continue to take improver swimming lessons and very proudly baked a cake for the first time. I used a recipe from Julia Child’s cookery book, a Birthday gift I received last year. Though we’ve referred to it for mains courses, this is the first time I used it to make a French desert. So I went for it, I made a butter sponge cake with an apricot glaze. I think it was well received 🙂

Oh I forgot to say, this was also the day I wanted to test out the Instax camera…what do you think? 

In addition to the above, I also want to read more books again. I want to try and apply Dale Carnegie’s principles to practice. I think I may have used one a few days ago.

We’ve recently started to do our grocery shopping online, which involves one of us taking a 2 minute drive to the outdoor collection kiosk. Last week I had some free time, so I went. Having made a few trips to the kiosk, we’ve all had light chat with the regular guy who brings out the food to the car. Usually it’s like “oh how are you? I’m okie thanks, and you?”  And so forth.

However on this occasion, it didn’t take quite the same turn. I asked the usual “And how are you?”. But this time I think I asked an additional question, something along the lines of…

“Has it been busy today?”

Then he went on the say…

“It hasn’t actually been that bad, but I’m going through a lot at the moment” 

“Oh really?”

“Yeah it’s my grandma, she’s been unwell”.

He went on to tell me that she had a fall and was found on the floor four days later. She was a hospital inpatient but he couldn’t visit her, as the family were worried that she’d get confused and distressed.

Would he have explained his family situation if I hadn’t asked the extra question? Maybe. But then again maybe not. I realised that by applying a little curiosity and, as Dale Carnegie mentions, “an interest in fellow humans”, you can not only express well wishes for grandma, but also empathy, care and compassion for others. Important human qualities.

Summertime Reflections

A lot of things have been happening since I last posted, that I hadn’t had a chance to fathom everything. I thought this would be a good time to reflect. A brief overview if you will. I won’t make it long or boring.

So let’s begin. From around the end of June, I had two weeks holiday which I still had left to take. I spent most of the first week babysitting my baby nephew, who was 7 weeks old at the time. This was a new skill for me! From the bonding and cuddles, to all the baby responsibilities-feeding, nappy changing, giving a bath, attending the health visitor’s appointment and staying at home whilst mummy could sleep. The time I also had provided me with a good opportunity, to catch up with childhood friends and family.

The second week was somewhat different. OK very different…we took a trip to France 🙂 Believe it or not, this was my first time I’d ever been! I’ll be writing about this trip at some point, with a bonus video if I can! I do want to try harder to document holidays with loved ones, one of those ‘challenges’ I’ve decided to take upon. I think I was inspired by the movie ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’. I mean, who isn’t?

Unfortunately upon returning, I became unwell. I managed to acquire gastroenteritis and lost 2kg in the process. After two weeks of holiday, this wasn’t the best of times! Having called in sick for one week, I eventually felt well enough to return to work. Time flew of what remained the rest of the weeks I had left to work…and now I’ve completed my training.

The summer is looking good. I’ve already made good use of my time by spending quality time with loved ones, and doing something I’ve been advised to do for once in my life. Nothing. Relax. Just for a little while.

In spite of doing the above, I have also partaken in what most people do in celebration-shop a little. Be it a good pair of heels, some ‘new work cloathes’ and an instax camera I’m excited to use. 

My time at work, particularly at the last surgery I worked at, made me realise that I’ve been an employee for so long, it’s finally time to work for myself, pursue things I’ve never tried before. At the moment I’ve started swimming (I want to do it properly) and am learning the works of being a pastry chef.

I hope you are all having a lovely summer 🙂

If it makes you happy 

This training year is coming to an end. But I’ve forgotten how to relax, how to be happy. With the loom of exams finally over, I still think that something will crop up. If I’m occupied with something, then I usually don’t think about it. But if I’m not, or even during any “myself moments”, my mind starts to wonder. 

It particularly dawned upon me when someone told me that if I didn’t know how to be happy now, then I never will be. I realised that I needed to remind myself how to be ok again, how to stop overthinking and how to let go.

Now it’s usually train journeys that I get quite reflective on. But when I came back to London this time, it was on the underground that I was listening to this song. It was one I hadn’t heard in a long time, until the day of my resit exam. It was playing in the hotel as I was getting ready to check out, where I stayed there the night before my exam. So as I listened to this song it wasn’t just that event that was playing in my head, but also the thoughts I was realising about me. I listened to the lyrics (probably more intently than normal, against the background tube noises), and for some reason one tear came to my right eye. It really shocked me but I shook it off before anyone noticed. I realised there that I had to change.

The Little People

Since coming back to work, I feel like I’ve been getting more frustrated with things, situations if you will. I think it all kicked off the day after I came back. I was pretty home sick with missing my baby nephew (and still am) and getting back into the work force was no treat. As everyone’s deadline for finishing off assessments was coming up, it didn’t surprise me how angry I was at the outcome a trainer gave me for one assessment. I didn’t know where it came from or the reasoning behind it, but being my nice little self I didn’t retaliate. I just did something way more productive instead-stayed in a bad mood all day.

I came home and it was still bothering me, and then it dawned upon me. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in this job, it was that it’s ok to be nice, but it’s not ok to be a pushover. So I wrote back, explaining why I wasn’t happy with my grade. I didn’t expect anything from it, but I just couldn’t keep quiet.

The next day I clearly bit off more than I could chew. Not only had I arranged my meeting with my main supervisor, but I also decided to do a compulsory out of hours shift that evening, which finished quite late. Coming home I was naturally exhausted, but I felt that I couldn’t take any time off-it was my fault I had arranged things in the last minute. But it was the next day that I was really hit hard.

After somebody declined to do an assessment with me, despite initially agreeing to do so, I was distraught.  Petty really, it was something so simple. But I realised that if you’re overworked and underappreciated, it can take just one little thing to tip the balance. It really upset me how there were just two of us that day including myself, who’d worked the evening before… yet I was previously declined time off.  I also did another late shift that day…like I said, I bit off more than I could chew.

I thought things were looking up by the end of the week. I suddenly received apologies that day for getting incorrect outcomes on assessments. I mean, I had to stand up for myself, otherwise who else will? It was at that time, when I thought that I may have finally earned a degree of respect. I didn’t think it was too much to ask for.

However, I realised that no matter how long you work in a place, some things just don’t change, and I think that got to me today. Things will be thrown at you, really some time- consuming things you don’t always have time for, but the man power is there so it’s used up. I hate being used. You know the system isn’t right, but you can’t change anything. You’re a junior doctor. It is how it is.

Yes this post is a bit of a rant, but I thought I needed to write it all down pen to paper to try and figure out exactly why I was feeling this way. I learnt that you can have certain expectations of people, and one of them is expecting them to care. Only then can things maybe change. However this isn’t always the case. It may have taken me some time to realise but now I know, even after all this time. I have to constantly keep telling myself that as Seth Godin has said, ‘no one’s coming’. Now I don’t expect anything.

Baby on Board

These past few days back at home have been simply delightful-because not only did I get to see my family, but I had the pleasure of meeting my baby nephew for the first time! 

The day I arrived in London was the first time I met him. I didn’t really do too much as soon as I got home-it was more about grocery shopping with my dad, unpacking the suitcase and relaxing from the journey. However later that afternoon when my sister was a little more free (as can be) and my brother-in-law returned from work, we headed over and I gleaned over the little bundle of joy for the first time-he was just over two weeks old! 

I’m not all for putting up baby pictures on the Internet, but seeing as this photo shows the first time I ever met my only nephew, I couldn’t help it :p My sister may not be the best photographer (see how bits of our heads are missing?) but it’s still as special to me 🙂

The rest of the bank holiday weekend was filled with good eats and baby feels, whether it was hitting the high street and IKEA with my parents (standard) or hanging out at my sisters on baby duty (there were many :D). It was a very productive and happy few days, and I’m so chuffed that I’m now officially an aunty. Have a good bank holiday weekend! 

As usual, a little snapshot of the things I purchased this weekend. Every time I see a nice photo frame I like, I buy it. It’s not too fancy but it grabbed my attention compared to some of the others…I may even put the above photo in it. PS guess which item came from IKEA? :p