Summer breeze makes me feel fine

What better way to spend the hottest day of the year, in a September since 1911, than taking a trip down to central London. Following my last blog post, I decided to take the first step of connecting to my primal part…by going to the British Museum.

In just over one hour (which includes a 20 minute walk to the nearest tube station from home), I arrived at the museum, and almost instantly it took my breath away. Not just because of its beautiful architecture, but because of its abundance in ancient history. I had only been there once before on a school trip, when I was 10, a lot of which I unfortunately don’t remember. Maybe I didn’t appreciate it so much back then. I do however recall one memory, which was when I realised that I didn’t have enough money, to buy a mummy tin pencil case!

Wearing my mother’s summer dress which she had never wore before at my age, I felt like an explorer in the museum,  searching for answers, like Evelyn from the Mummy. I must have read every single description of the Egyptian remains displayed in the museum, taking as many pictures as my phone could hold, of artefacts and texts I want to remember and refer to. After a quick spot of lunch in the museum cafe, I retreated to the gift shops. I bought a Collins Gem book on ancient Egypt which cost less than a fiver, an Egyptian key ring for my keys, a pharaoh fridge magnet for my parents (they love collecting magnets) and a book for my boyfriend on Marcus Aurelius called Meditations…a book on my reading  list also. I even found on display the book I had bought a few weeks ago on Egyptian Hieroglyphs (!). I have now taken this as a sign also, that I must start reading this book, I must learn the language.

Having spent the majority of my afternoon in the museum, I decided to make my way to St James Park, to enjoy the late afternoon/evening sun. I walked across the park to find the perfect spot, to sit on the grass, listen to my music and read my book. I took great pleasure in knowing that this time was my own time, nobody could take it away from me and I could do what I want with it. I didn’t have to think about anything else other than what I was doing at that time. I could enjoy the simple things such as reading a book in the park and sipping on the orange calippo I had in my hand, which made it all the more sweeter!

I don’t really know how long I sat in the park for, and sometimes it’s nice not knowing ‘how much time you have left’. You can just enjoy your surroundings and feel it all around you. As I made my way back across the bridge, I stopped to admire what I saw ahead of me…

In the time I took this photo, I was listening to the song “Only He” a beautiful song by Andrew Lloyd Webber which was playing on my iPod shuffle. Feeling the music, breathing in the clean air and looking out into the river, I realised that I may not get this moment ever again. So I relished it. I stood upon the bridge, looked all around me, smiled to myself and felt the summer breeze.

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Connect with your inner child

What did you want to be as a child? I mean really what were your dreams? Mine definitely wasn’t to be a doctor. Somewhere down the line, I realised that I wanted to live my life by practising medicine and serving others…but my childhood dream was to be an explorer.

I watched Jurassic Park for the first time when I was 6 years old, and I fell in love with dinosaurs. I read the dinosaur magazines that came out, drew pictures from them and collected them in my blue clipboard. I loved the team of paleontologists who went on all fours, digging for remains. I admired Laura Dern’s character as Dr Ellie Sattler. In my mind she was a true explorer…she was courageous, wore awesome adventure clothes and wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty (remember the Triceratops poop?). I wanted to be just like her, and a part of me still does.

6 years later I watched The Mummy and I was obsessed with the film. I loved the idea of discovering another realm, digging for artefacts and relics, reading the Egyptian scriptures. The fantasies of exploring and searching for Egyptian remains continue to thrill me even today. Since watching this movie at the age of 12, I’ve always wanted to learn how to read the Egyptian hieroglyphs. I even bought a book, not too long ago, in a bid to teach myself how to read the scriptures, but I haven’t read one page still.

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These women maybe from movies, but as a child that didn’t stop me from aspiring to them. In my eyes they were the embodiments of exploring. 

So why now have I decided to share with you my childhood dreams? Because they are still relevant.

My boyfriend introduced me to a YouTube interview of the international bestseller Robert Greene, by  Tom Bilyeu on his inside quest channel. If you can find it, I highly recommend you watch it…otherwise here it is in a nutshell:

First know what it is you really love doing, know what you are meant to do with your life.  As a child you would have been passionate about something, but because of the others around you, your parents etc. you found a career in something else.  You had passions at such a young age but you don’t remember them, or don’t think they are relevant. Figure out what you loved as a kid, and then decide how to incorporate this into your life’s work. 

This is my next step, deciding how to incorporate my inner child into my future life. What is your inner child telling you to do with yours?

Answer for yourself

I came across this quote today which I want to share with you, one which I thought was worth remembering…

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As you probably know by now,  I work on the stroke ward. I’m one of TWO doctors on the ward, and this ward has 25 patients. 25 patients who’ve all had strokes. 25 patients who just like that, can become seriously unwell. In addition to these, we have our outliers (patients who are under our care but are on another ward, due to a lack of beds), and we review them also. We have no senior doctor to turn to, other than our consultant who comes on certain days to do ward rounds.Today wasn’t one of those days.

My counterpart colleague was looking after the outliers, and I was looking after this ward. Each patient has jobs that need doing for them, such as doing blood tests, chasing blood tests, putting blood forms out for the next day, doing cannulas, requesting investigations, referring to specialties, speaking to micro, radiology, psychiatry, families, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, dietitians, the list is endless. In addition we have meetings with the therapy teams (exactly the same people I’ve just spoken with…no I don’t ask for these meetings, they are organised at a time most convenient for others, unfortunately not for us).

We also need to have our lunch. Today I finished at 5pm. I had lunch at 3.30pm.

Earlier today I was roped into a ‘not-so-nice’ discussion with a dietitian, regarding a patient who had an unsafe swallow because of his stroke. Unfortunately, the nurses were unsuccessful in getting a nasogastric tube in for his feed (a narrow tube which is passed into the stomach through the nose), and the only way we could get a tube in was with an x-ray. The radiology department only does this on certain days. My consultant knew we were trying to get a tube in, and we were adequately replacing the salts in his body with intravenous fluids.

Dietitian: You know this patient’s potassium is low, don’t you?

Me: Yes I do, it was low yesterday and he’s been getting fluids. I’ve just written up another bag for him.

Dietician: You know he’s at risk of refeeding syndrome.

Me: Yep, he’s still getting the fluids.

Dietician: And we don’t want him to have a cardiac arrest.

Me: Yes I know, we’re checking his bloods.

Dietician: He needs bloods everyday now.

Me: Yes I know, we’re checking his bloods.

Notice how I said the same thing twice. Was I a tad bit annoyed at what I thought was a pointless conversation? Well I’m human, so yes. I have a billion other things to do, I’m still doing my ward round, and I’m now being told stuff which I am fully aware off. In my mind, I knew the patient was getting the right treatment until his tube could be fitted, and we were still keeping any eye on him.

Despite my feelings though, I was acknowledging everything she said. Note I’m saying acknowledging them. I’m not trying to please her, I’m not trying to convince her that what I am doing is correct, and I’m not doing it for her.

I’ve noticed that in the work environment, there will be people who will try and take over, who will want to be the big bosses. Maybe they’re older than you (I think she was), and maybe they’ve had more experience in their field than you have in yours (I think she did), but regardless you don’t change what you already know. You don’t have to do things to please them and you don’t have to answer to them.Don’t lose your focus for who you do things for. Do the best job you can do, be authentic, and answer for yourself only.

The importance of being vulnerable

Over the past couple of weeks, I have constantly come across this term of vulnerability. Why is it important? Why should we be vulnerable in front of others, when we really don’t have to be?

I have seen it a lot at work, where people are certainly not vulnerable. As lovely as they can be, they appear to be the complete opposite of vulnerable. They are almost ‘too cool’ that you don’t get to see this other side, and now they have put themselves under more pressure to be correct. The problem with this is that if you’re always showing this uber cool side, this persona that you’re never wrong, and in fact something does go wrong, who are you going to fall back on? It will still be you.

There is nothing wrong with being cool, calm and collected, which is how I try and be when I manage difficult situations at work. However I’m not afraid to come across as stupid at the same time. If there’s something I don’t know, I’ll ask. This is one example which shows my vulnerability, admitting that I don’t know everything, I will never know everything, but I am always willing to learn.

Tom Bilyeu’s ‘Power up’ on being authentic, an inspiration for this post. Brene Brown, who is mentioned here has done extensive research on vulnerability, which though perceived as a sign of weakness, is the key to an ‘extraordinary life’.

What I love about being vulnerable is that if you apply it correctly (i.e not become a pushover), you’ll find that this persona you’ve been holding onto drops, and you become more authentic. When you’re more authentic, the people around you find you more approachable, they come to you for advice not just because you’re nicer, but because you’re real, you’re not a fake. You start to build trust. Does vulnerability expose you to being harmed? Well possibly yes, but isn’t that what makes you real also, standing up to that?