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Destination Procrastination

May 28, 2010

The last two weeks leading up to the big exams make a wonderful opportunity to avoid doing some much-needed revision. The extent of this lead up to me having my coil removed and replaced yesterday. I was expecting an afternoon of horrendous cramping, instead I went to the library. Damn.

Let rip-ple

So I have a handy piece of plastic ensuring that I stay baby-free for up to 5 years. I am at the stage where I know I definitely want to sprog in about 2 to 3 years so hopefully it won’t stay in there for the full amount of time. That said, when I imagine myself as a pregnant person, I worry that I am not patient enough to make it through the uncomfortable third trimester and sometimes I literally shudder internally at the thought.

Onto the blanket for the non-existant offspring and I haven’t been giving it too much attention as the weather suddenly became awesome and I didn’t fancy doing any crochet, but I am getting a better idea of how the finished product will look and every time I see it, I’m reminded of the spring colours outside, and I wish I had more time to devote to it.

I managed to rustle up a quick project in the form of a laptop case using some nice acrylic yarn. It isn’t finished yet, but I’m really pleased with the colour, pattern and the fact that it took no time at all to complete. I just have to line it, make a flap, add buttons et voilà. Pictures to follow.

Book-wise, I was less than impressed with “This is not the story you think it is” by Laura Munson. I really wanted to like this book. I really tried. The story in brief: husband tells wife he no longer loves her and wasn’t sure he ever did. Instead of flying off the handle heartbroken and defiant, wife remains calm and gives husband space to sort himself out, thus making him responsible for his emotions. Her essay in the NY Times attracted such a response that they closed off comments, and after reading the article I ordered the book.

After only 67 pages, I gave up and I don’t know if I could go back to it, I just found the prose so difficult to engage with, partly because the author spends so much time (and pages) in making a single point, I didn’t really want to ride out the long, meandering narrative. I was massively intrigued with the original essay, but it just didn’t suit me as a book.

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Back to work. After I’ve stirred some onions which I have left to caramelise.

In red

May 27, 2010

Writing is proving quite therapeutic for me at the moment, the only problem is that I relatively little time to do it. In brief, the ladybirds in the back garden have been at it like… ladybirds? I was pleased to read they’re very slutty insects.

Voyerism lite

To continue with the red theme, I have a ball of Debbie Bliss 4-ply in the most beautiful vibrant red colour. I have racked my brain over what to do with it and then I found a quick tutorial on YouTube to make little hearts.

Who doesn’t love little crocheted hearts? Think of the possibilities! I found a little heart-shaped candy jar which would happily house a bunch of crocheted beauties, they would look good sewn on blankets or placed in cards for friends. And nipple tassels. The latter idea was mentioned by a friend of mine and I am determined to rustle up a bunch and see if there are any takers (or shimmying?)

My first attempt was ok. I think the colour helps to trick the viewer into believing it’s heart-shaped; forgive the medicine buzzing around my head at the moment but to me it looked more like a spleen with its characteristic notch (which I couldn’t remember as a feature of splenomegaly until I had done the crochet – so hurray, crochet helps to educate!)

Other features of splenomegaly can be found in most textbooks

Other than that, I have got over my fear of public crochet and continued to work on my laptop case this evening. A rather wired looking city boy was sat next to me and asked me what I was working on. We had a small chat about our days jobs and it helped the journey to fly by.

Every time I tell myself I’m ready to leave London, I’m left with small glimmers of why it’s such a great place and how much I’m going to miss it and the people who have carved little emotional holes in me.

Always in my heart(s), I guess.

On the job

May 21, 2010

Medical students have a unique ability to flow through hospitals as if we are invisible. There are no staff members or relatives to chase after you, no one is really going to notice if you’re missing from a ward round or clinic, yet the ID badge and purposeful walk gets you around most places without being questioned. That’s why the stethoscope comes in handy – at least there’s an identifying marker that this person is either a doctor or another healthcare professional.

I used to wear the tubes around my neck, but not anymore. It isn’t a self-loathing thing, it’s partly for hygiene reasons; I doubt the patient wants whatever is lingering around the nape of my neck and hair rubbing against their chest and vice versa. The other half of me feels that they weigh me down – not that I hold the weight of the world against my shoulders, although pre-finals, it feels that way.

(Un)fortunately, I cannot hide my emotions and tears are a good means to make myself oh so less invisible. There were many of those after the mock exam on Wednesday. I was expecting to be signed off yesterday so I could go home, but he didn’t get the chance, and by this morning, I couldn’t keep a face without weeping. In the end, the lovely administrator told me to go home and she would sort the forms out.

I was worried about how the medical school would react to this, I’m normally conscientious about paperwork and I had a horrible gut feeling that I was going to get a number of emails, and I decided to call the medical school’s office to pre-empt any communication. Instead, I had a voice message from the medical school gently saying they’re worried about me and could I call them. A weepy but reassuring phone-call later and I discovered I wasn’t as invisible as I thought.

26

May 14, 2010

It’s my birthday this Monday and I’ll confess, I used to have an issue about turning 26. It’s nothing to do with being closer to 30 – though I admit it used to – it’s the age my father was when he died. If I spend long enough thinking about it, I freak out a little ever so slightly; I have been alive for the same chunk of time that he was (I once did a morbid calculation to match up the exact time period in months and days) and because I was too young to have any memories of him, I used to fall into a trap of comparing my life so far to his, and then beating myself up for not achieving the same things he did.

I’m much more relaxed about it now and I don’t have a burning desire to commemorate the year ahead as I used to. It took me a long time to realise that I can’t live a life to silently honour someone who is gone, it somehow shifts the emphasis from your own life and death is usually a good lesson in knowing that life is important.

So instead, my only aim for the coming year is to enjoy it as much as possible. So far, so good.

What is a year?

May 10, 2010

No-fail whale

The night I booked my first ever one-way ticket, I think I must have had about 4 hours sleep. After the initial excitement wore off, the stresses started to kick in: ‘WTF am I doing, where will I live, will I have a medical job, what if I hate it? ‘ It would then evolve into, ‘Why am I worrying about this, I should be concentrating on my finals,’ and once settled at my desk, thoughts of emigrating would pop up again.

I certainly have done myself no favours in deciding to take on some life experiences akin to hitting myself in the face with a skillet (a friend of mine has the edge – he’s getting married the week finals finish) but what is a year? And why should I continue burying myself in a cocoon – despite the financial security and career progression I would get by staying – I know it would be wrong. I could be unemployed, but I could have some short-term adventures and see what I’m capable of by throwing myself into a different part of the world with very little comfort and protection. This is where I could type a description with light masochism thrown in, but in truth, while I’m scared, I know deep down there’s a tiny portion in me where I know I am capable of this.

And I have many good friends on speed-dial in the wrong time-zones to help me through the inevitable freak outs. Until then, I will continue to look at one of my snaps from the south island.

Legacy

May 3, 2010

Along with scuba diving and corsets, I can add yarn to the expensive hobbies list. Unlike the others though, I am planning on doing something very special with my crochet: I am going to make my first epic blanket. I’m going to use a ripple pattern and I hope to pass it on to my babies if I ever have any. I still have the baby yellow blanket that my grandmother made for me when I was born and I hope my project will be the start of many. If I fail to procreate, then it will make a lovely bed cover.

Bunny mug optional

I already had the blues, I bought the other colours today. I’m really pleased with the combination, especially with the deep pink and dark brown. They might look very different once I start the blanket but I am looking forward to seeing how it pans out. I didn’t realise my mug of tea was right there, but it’s in keeping with spring.

I wish someone had warned me about how addictive this all is. I remember the long talk an orthopaedic registrar gave me about how I should think really hard about going into medicine but like most medics, I didn’t listen. Almost 8 years after that, I was manning reception during my last GP placement for an hour, and a couple of schoolgirls came in asking if the surgery offered work experience.

I asked them if they wanted to be doctors and they smiled and nodded. I looked at them, threw my head back and said, “DON’T! Save yourselves!” I didn’t think I was being that serious, but had you looked back on the moment in slow motion, you can see the point at which they looked at each other and started backing away slowly.

Speaking of colour, the azalea’s outside have come out in full bloom and I love pushing back the curtain to take them in, it always astounds me how such beautiful colours can exist naturally.

I have a pair of fishnet stockings in this colour

Anyway, enough procrastination, I have some revision to catch up with. 5 weeks and a day to go.

Existentialism sponsored by Florence and the Machine

April 28, 2010

I am going to attempt to articulate something which has quivered under the surface for a while. My blog is primarily a place to get all my random thoughts down, but having looked back on a couple of entries, I think my narrative is getting caught up in the fantasy of what is a huge life change and learning curve. Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited by all this, but I don’t really want to be swept away and romanticise everything that comes by; this isn’t a variant of Eat Pray Love.

I am trying to come to terms with the myth that I have had little control over my life in the last 6 years. I often think of medicine as a pair of shackles, tying me down and preventing me from doing what I really want to do. I am choosing to go abroad at this stage, and if I was looking at it through rose-tinted lenses then I guess it would be a wonderful plot for an afternoon TV movie – girl decides that life > medicine and gallops off in search of a different life, but I have to accept one thing: I fell into the trap of thinking that I was being dragged along with few opportunities to make decisions for myself.

The truth is, somewhere between adolescence and adulthood, I started medical school with clinical depression and both worked well together in indulging me. I had depression: there was a grey haze over everything and for 2 years, I just existed. I was at medical school: a big chunk of my life bitten into and there’s no way off the conveyor belt. It can take a while for the reality of a situation to flick you on the forehead, but I used both as excuses to conduct the way I lived my life for a long time; relationships, restaurants, consumerism, the lot. And when you reach the question: ‘Did I really allow circumstances to dictate so much?’ then the answer can make you feel a bit gloomy.

Not to be too hard on myself, it’s a very human trait not to want to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions. It’s always going to be easier saying, ‘How can YOU do this to ME?’ I just wish that when I was reading all of this in The Ethical Slut, I had taken a step back and realised that I was doing ok relationship-wise (yes darling, I don’t mind you fucking other people) but I was happy to throw my Cheese and Onion across the room and wallow in the idea that medicine was this big bad monster making me sacrifice so many things, oh the hilarity.

Bali Beachin'

What does this mean now? Well, my flight (yes, singular) is booked and there is no turning back. If my narrative is changing then I need to figure out what it is. Paradoxically, if I am taking three years off to do what I actually want, then maybe I have to become grounded and take more responsibility for it. Self-awareness can be a bitch in that respect.

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Eat Pray Love: I won’t lie, I absolutely loved this book. There is no doubt that there are some huge gaps which the author has left out, but we take our pain and shape it as we see fit, so I’m not going to berate her for that. It was one of the first books I read after my breakup – any other time in my life, and perhaps I would cast a more cynical eye on it but it bought me a great deal of comfort during some lonely evenings in Bangkok. The fact that I went to Bali a few months later was a coincidence.

Re: this post’s title: Dog Days are Over seems to be the soundtrack for every TV/movie trailer. Maybe it’s more to do with what I’m watching?