Piping Hot

So it hadn’t been the greatest start to the week. Not particularly because of what happened, but rather that it opened up to some unfortunate realisations.

It all started on the Monday morning. I woke up and did my usual routine. It was when I walked into the living room, that I stumbled upon a freakin’ leaking ceiling!

We switched off the heater and hot water supply, and called our handyman. The problem was that we didn’t know exactly what time he was coming, so realised that someone would either need to wait until he came (in the morning) or come home in the evening. Having rung up work to let them know of the situation, I was advised to come in and carry on as best I can, and then leave if I have to. I thought that was reasonable, and didn’t expect much more.

I carried on with work as normal, with the exception of awful dread that our roof could collapse at any moment. Having spoken to our handyman, I managed to get an estimate of roughly what time he would come. Though it was an awkward time (half way during my afternoon surgery) it wasn’t anything I could change. I updated work but I could tell they were annoyed. I felt completely helpless.

It was around this point that I started to feel the pressure (more so). It was when I was asked to go home, let the handyman in, and then actually come back to work. I think for a brief few seconds I was confused. But at the same time I didn’t want to make matters worse…so I agreed. 

I thought that maybe it was normal to let a stranger into the house and I was just being paranoid…but then again maybe not! Numerous people were entering my room just, many a time saying:

“So you’re coming back right?”

I just nodded.

My time was coming up and having updated my colleagues, I left work and came home to let the handyman in. It was about half an hour when I returned to work, and my colleagues had seen a couple of my patients.

I had two left to see. This was all I had to do, and then I could come home for good and see what was actually happening at home.

It was almost coming up to closing time when I was finishing off with the last patient. There was a knock on my door, followed by another one soon after. I was told that we had to leave. Once the patient left I was gathering my things, when I was approached by a colleague…

“So why were you running late today?”

I wanted to explode. I was fuming inside. Are you for real?!!!

I didn’t want to shout back but I didn’t want to be a pushover either. I found my voice coming and my tone changing, to one of utter disgust…

Do you not know what happened? I left??

Oh yeah I know but….

But ….? You don’t know what happened. (One needed admitting).

And then they were quiet. 

I realised there was no point in wasting my energy in defence. It would never be understood. I don’t quite know what they were saying towards the end, as I was too angry to care and just wanted call it quits. Once I got home my mind was a bit more at peace.

After the handyman left, I sat on the landing floor leaning against the wall, staring at our boiler. I reflected on everything that happened that day. In the end it was just a leaking pipe which caused some damage to the ceiling. That was it. So why did I let it affect me? 

I was not expecting pity or anything like that. But I realised that in the end, all I hoped for was some level of reasonability. I did everything I was told, yet the icing on the cake was still that awful remark. It’s these situations which show you what people are really like. I think that’s what I was most disappointed with. 

In the end though, I decided to rise above it, move on and pretend it never happened. Tomorrow was another day…

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Song Of The Month

I thought long and hard about my song of the month, especially as it was the first one of the year ๐Ÿ™‚

I found myself reflecting from the events of this week, both at home and at work. Coming back into the work environment did expose my vulnerability quite early on. However, having confided in the right people, I was reminded that it was ok.

I have also been following clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson, based at the University of Toronto. Having recently watched some of his YouTube videos, I came across this quotation from him which I wanted to share. I think it’s one which can apply to anybody, if they choose accept it.

“To love someone is to simultaneously accept their vulnerability, as a valid part of their being. Without this, there is no possibility of individual existence.”

Though I am not a Slipknot fan nor a total Stone Sour fan, this song by Corey Taylor has to be my favourite song right now. It’s touching and beautiful- and as always, I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do ๐Ÿ™‚

Business Pleasureย 

As I relax on the couch watching The Simpsons, I reflect on the past few days and more importantly, try to recuperate from the night before. I should probably begin with how the day started…

The morning wasn’t too stressful (compared to the afternoon at least). This was probably because there were no babies for baby clinic, which meant that I could catch up with my paper work. Due to the very chilly weather outside these days, I’ve now stopped opening my window like I used to, just to let some fresh air in. I thought that as my room so happens to be at the end of the corridor, I can keep my door wedged open (usually after the end of a session), while I work. A little sad maybe, but sometimes it’s kinda nice just to hear the voices of colleagues around. It can get a little lonely at times, more so when you’re not feeling so great in yourself.

It just so happened that while I was doing my work, I had the door open as usual when all of a sudden, a baby wondered into my room.

He was a gorgeous little Afro Carribean baby, probably one and half years old as a guesstimate. He walked right into the middle of the room, looked at me, gave me the biggest grin you’d ever seen… and  collapsed to the floor all comfy-like. He had no intention of getting up.

I looked at him completely stunned. I didn’t know what to do! I walked to the door and looked down the corridor, hoping I’d see his mother. It was empty. I then sat back on my chair trying to think…how do I get him back up and out, without making him cry? Not having children put me at a huge disadvantage. All I had under my belt were my baby charms, those I had picked up and started to use in day to day practice. These aren’t foolproof. 

“Where’s your mummy?!”

Was what I asked the baby…hoping to try and sweet talk him. I knew full well that he wouldn’t understand a word I was saying. He just looked at me and kept on smiling. He REALLY didn’t want to leave.

I joined him on the floor, thinking that maybe if I sat next to him, I could try and form a little kinship and win him over. His mother hadn’t come my way yet, so I realised that I’d have to lead him out instead. I held out my hand, in the hopes that he’d hold onto it…

It was a miracle! He thankfully took my hand and picked himself up from the floor. I watched him get up and was feeling really chuffed! We wondered down the corridor together, receiving many looks and laughs from patients and receptionists alike, when we saw the mother at the end of the corridor. Her frightened-looking face immediately turned into one of utter relief. I suppose it was a baby session after all! 

This encounter was definetly something I’d never experienced before. It was later followed by another event that day, and another new experience…the work-do Christmas party. 

I was really apprehensive about this. There have only been a few occasions in my training, where I’ve met with senior work colleagues outside the work place. I’ve been at this surgery for almost four months now, and this was my first time socialising with the team. I was worried that I’d make a fool of myself somehow…and I’ve done that many a time already!

Nonetheless I was grateful for the invite. I decided in the end to put all my nerves aside, let go and go with the flow. Maybe I wasn’t the only one who felt this way? 

I arrived at the hotel an hour later than advertised. This was upon the advice of some of the nurses, although after what looked like a terribly busy afternoon for me, I really didn’t want to rush things. I was dying for a cup of tea and a sit down, so that was my priority when I got home! When I got to the hotel, people from the surgery were still following in after me, so my timing was ok in the end! 

The room we were directed to was huge, filled with many round tables. Two were assigned to our surgery. It was almost like a conference, except there were disco lights and a dance floor at the front! Again, I was updated by the nurses that this was to be expected, but I hadn’t really imagined it so. 

The conversation was good. I was mainly talking to the other new trainees at the surgery, downing my glasses of wine. In the end I had three glasses, and I was feeling the effect of it. I was telling stories of how I’d met Jeremy Corbyn or my motive for eating less and exercising…stuff I’ve never really divulged to the people I work with before! 

I looked around at my other colleagues and wondered what sorts of things they were talking about. They must have known eachother for years, like 20 I think. I mean seriously a long time. To them, I’ll always be just “another trainee”, who will make an appearance in their lifetimes, later to leave and be replaced by another. It is what it is.

By about 10.30-11pm people were already leaving. I suspected it was because they had family commitments, or maybe they were exhausted, I certainly was! All of my work colleagues and seniors, including my mentor went home. In the end it was just me and another trainee, who were the last ones sitting.  I told myself that if I was going to go to the party, I would stay at least beyond midnight. That would be a proper night out for me. 

After all, how often do I get to do this? Rarely if so. When I do go out, I try and make the night memorable as best can be. It’s a night on the town, and nights out make me feel young at heart.

I’ll Be There For You

As part of our training, we are taught that patients often have an agenda when they come to see their doctor. What that basically means is that the reason they say they have attended, isn’t the real reason why they’re there. They’ve come to talk about something else.

In addition to managing the patient’s symptoms and diagnosis, we learn to pick up cues in a patient’s dialogue and offer the listening ear. I learnt this week that you can sometimes pick up an agenda without any cues.

This was a week where I found myself being a part of some eye-opening relationships-both with patients and colleagues alike. In one morning session, I saw two patients in consecutive order, who were both having relationship problems. This included one lady in her 20s who was going through a divorce. Apart from treating her ailment, I didn’t feel like I did anything else. Interestingly however, she ended our consultation by saying:

‘I’m sorry I had to offload on you like that’.

Later on this week, a gentleman came to see me because his wife was worried that he was getting tired more easily. It’s an interesting pattern I’ve seen a few times, when patients will only attend the surgery if a loved one asks them to. He thought he was tired because of his medications, though he had been on these for quite some time.ย  On delving deeper, he eventually admitted that he was stressed with things at home. He was a full time carer for his mother and this would cause anybody stress and fatigue. It was only when he admitted this that he became teary, and I couldn’t help but feel sad.

The last patient who I want to shed a little light on today (there’s obviously more!) is an elderly lady I’ve been following up on for her diabetes. After discussing future treatment, she went on to tell me about her faith in God, how we are all connected, and how she always does her part to keep healthy. This last little bit is something called ‘shared management’. Doctors love this, becaue it encourages patients to take responsibility for their own health.

This lady then shared a story with me (which out of respect I won’t share here, as beautiful to me as it is). Maybe it was the way she told it to me, but it really got to me. It got to me so much that I tried to hold back my emotions. Usually I can do this. However this was the occasion I would do something I’ve never done before-cry in front of the patient. I tried to hastily wipe away my tears through my cardigan sleeve, but it was too late. I thought to myself…great. She has a cry baby for a doctor.

The patient had seen me weep and her smile turned to laughter. My tears later turned into laughter too, but an ugly site I’m sure! I didn’t know what to think of my reaction, so I confided in my mentor about it. We had a lovely heart to heart, which made me feel tonnes better about things.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s the importance of being kind to people. Its a key skill Dale Carnagie talks about in ‘How to win friends and influence people’ and I try to always keep it with me. But I think this comes at a level. Particurlarly when seeing patients, I’ve read how doctors fall into the trap of getting ‘too involved’ in their patient care, to the point that it starts to affect them, and how they are around others. I don’t think that’s very healthy either, and I think it’s all about balance. One day I’ll learn how to do it.

In times like these I learn to find pleasures in simple things. I start to get more appreciative of the times around me. On the Friday evening after work this week, I popped into the supermarket and purchased a range of goodies for Halloween. This was my first time going trick-or-treating shopping ๐Ÿ™‚ We never have sweets when children knock on the door so we thought we’d actually try this year!

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I was drawn by the ‘2 for the price of 1’ offer and didn’t really think about how I was going to give the clusters and brownies…wrap in cling film maybe? I decided that whatever I have left over I’ll leave it in the staffroom at work ๐Ÿ™‚

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

The Growing Up Stage

I feel like a lot of things have happened these past few weeks. But at the same time not that much, isn’t it a little weird?

Work is getting busy. I’m now seeing more patients a day (about 20, which is a lot for me!) and I really felt the pressure this week when my time per patient was cut down. Because of the increasing number of people I’m seeing, I’m definitely learning more things. I just hope that I’ll get used to the time management side of things.

Sometimes I get little highs of actually seeing a difference in people I’ve been following up, such as a woman who is on the way to losing weight (using a technique I learnt called ‘motivational interviewing’), or someone who is recovering from post natal depression. I now find myself seeing individual members of families for different ailments, like a family doctor. I try to maintain that ‘holistic approach’ we get taught about in our training by building real relationships with patients over time. It’s nice to know that they like to see me, or at least that’s how I’m looking at it!

However because of the higher numbers I am seeing at work, it also means that I get my fair share of patients who aren’t quite as appreciative of our services, simply because they don’t know how overstretched we are as a country. Traditionally general practice was provided by small practices, run by just one or maybe two doctors looking after their local community. This model of care survived over 100 years, but is now being radically changed. Primary care has existed in the UK since 1911, and is right now going through a massive transition due to funding cuts by the government, the increased work load being transferred from secondary care to primary care, and the pressures of having to deal with (some unrealistic) patients’ expectations. All in all this is making me feel very exhausted, and I feel this most towards the end of the day.

Though nothing is set in stone, I can’t help but wonder if I should move abroad. I know some others who have done the same and they are much happier now. They get treated with a form of respect from authorities and patients alike, which we don’t always get here. For all the years we spend studying medicine, (6 years at university and 5 years training in total to become a general practitioner), is it all worth it if we’re not content? The other option is to go FastLane. I just wonder.

On another note I turn 30 in November and though I am reminded that I still have at least a couple of weeks in my 20s, I couldn’t help but feel strange about it all. On looking back on the decades maybe things are slowly getting better, but at the same time there’s a lot more I still want to do and I fear I’m not reaching the milestones I want to achieve. Don’t worry I won’t be listing them all here, that’s for another time. In the meantime I will be tucking into a chocolate cookie dough dessert, that’s what grown ups do.

Much Ado About Somethings

Why is blogging good for you? Here are some reasons I found:

  • It reduces stress and blood pressure
  • It improves the immune system (don’t ask me how!), mood and memory

There are few things that I’ve been meaning to write about. They’ve sort of accumulated over the last couple of weeks, but I’ll try my best not to ramble on too much!

I’m starting to look closer at what I eat. I couldn’t help but notice what I found displayed at my new practice. It’s advice advocated by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (The FAO), but I don’t really know what I make of it.

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I agree with some of the portion sizes displayed. But why is the yellow carbohydrate section so big? Shouldn’t the red protein section be a stand out portion too, even more than the carbs? That’s what athletes focus on. I know with most published guidelines you have to tailor them to the individual. As everybody is different, it’s interpretation will also vary. This would be mine.

I showed this above diagram to my boyfriend. He then gave me the idea of creating a list of foods that I could focus my meals on. But the difference is that this list must include food that I actually enjoy eating, not food I should enjoy eating.

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My makeshift list of favourite foods I love to eat. You’ll notice that fish is the only meat I have written. That’s because I’m a pescatarian.ย 

I then tried to think how I could incorporate some of these items into an ideal lunch. One that I can take to work that is filling, and will last until dinner time.

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Oats, chocolate protein powder, milk, yoghurt and banana slices.ย I later added variations such as honey over the bananas. DELISH!

My food musings was the first thing I wanted to talk about. The second thing was work.

I’ve started running my own surgeries, which include the standard morning and afternoon sessions. I’ve done similar surgeries before at a different practice, but for some reason how I look at it all is changing. I think it maybe because of the experience I am accumulating over time, including the increasing number of patients I see. The partners have even got me running the 6-8 week baby check clinics. I do enjoy this added responsibility, because it adds a bit of variety to the day. I think my maturity is also boosted by the added bonus that I can now drive! A particular happy moment I recall was at the end of a busy Thursday this week. I had my raincoat on, my doctor’s bag in one hand and my car keys in the other. I felt so grown up, as I said goodbye to the receptionists at the end of the day.

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My first attempt at reverse parking at work, courtesy of my boyfriend-who taught me how to do it

I’ll admit when I first started working here I was naturally nervous. It had been a while since I was in a general practice setting. I was however, taught another invaluable lesson by my boyfriend…accept that you won’t know everything. It was only once I accepted that, that I found myself letting go of my insecurities. I went with the flow of the surgery and whilst I sought appropriate advice, it went much smoother. Maybe that also applies to life-it can turn out smoother when you learn to let things go.


I thought I’d end this post by uploading a simple photo of how we’re spending our bank holiday weekend…by good eats! Yay! Have a good weekend :))