Update: Phase 3, elective planning, life.


Firstly, apologies! I’ve been neglecting this part of my life, in fact my life consists of mostly medicine and work and trying to get done the copious amounts of study between with the occasional crash and burn, need to lie in bed all day, if I even have a day?! Lol, worst excuse ever.

So my last post was just after finding out I passed exams… that rollercoaster is not one I’m looking forward to in 6 months. The anxiety is here thinking about it! Moving right along. 

I had 5 weeks off following exams which I moved to the other side of the state in, the rest of the time I think I sat at my parents place trying to convince myself that leaving the house would probably be a good idea. Netflix and their fireplace became my best friend! I was exhausted and done. I had no energy. I think the last week of holidays some life came back into me and I rode my bike to get organic doughnuts (nothing like a sweet incentive to do that 15km!). I did an orientation at the job I was in for 5 years prior to medicine (a waste of their money, but hey, I enjoyed the income after not earning anything for over 12 months!). Then I moved into my new place and flew back down to the main campus for a week orientation before flying home to start the next day. 

How this year, i.e. Phase 3, works:

Monday and Tuesday = GP placement where I see my own patients and pretty much get to act as a doctor. 

Wednesday = Teaching day with case based learning, tutorials, lectures and clinical skills

Thursday and Friday = specialty rotations. I started in general medicine in a tiny hospital, then now finishing up emergency in the same hospital this week. Next week I start a geriatrics rotation followed by mental health to finish the year off. Next year I have paediatrics, O&G, anaesthetics/ ICU then renal.

I must say the teaching has been pretty incredible. On ED I have stitched, plastered, reduced fractures, put in nerve blocks, pretty much anything that I can safely do supervised. Loving it! I’m sad to finish up actually. 

The other aspect of phase 3 is the research project. I’m currently waiting for my ethics approval so I can start collecting data. In the meantime I’m trying to write my literature review. Can’t say I’m loving this research process. I think really, we just aren’t given much i.e. Any, time to do it. I’ll be glad when ethics is through and lit review is submitted! Lol..

My life outside of med consists of working most Sat/ sundays. It’s hectic and I don’t think I can maintain it but the money is a little too nice to give up at this point. I enjoy the work most of the time and takes my mind off the stresses of my life and uni. I’m definitely not in the low place that I was for most of the last 18months. I’ve had moments but that’s all they are really and not so scary. I still struggle to put words to how I was feeling for all of phase 2. It was a pretty dark place and not one that I’d like to head back to. 

I’ll have to write a piece on mental health in medicine soon. It’s very topical and well quite close to my heart. I get what it is like and what it is like to ignore for a long time. It took breaking down after exams for me to realize the pent up emotions I was carrying around with me day in and day out. It’s not healthy but I also didn’t know how to reach out for help and was too proud to do so. I am pleased to say I have an awesome GP where I am now who makes a point of asking me how my mental health is. I think that’s important. I’m not good at reaching out so appreciate when people draw me out and encourage me to speak up.

There have been many lessons I’ve learnt over the years. I often reflect on who I was at the begining of my med degree and where I am now and I am amazed. I was doing just that today. I was thinking about how I was in our small case based learning groups (also known as PBLs) back in first year and then now. Then I was shy, timid and hated them with a passion! I dreaded them every single week. I didn’t feel smart enough, good enough, what if I made a fool of myself? Now, I don’t dread them. I have grown to appreciate them. I feel like I have things to share with the group and I’m happy to talk up. 

That’s a win there! 

Oh! I almost forgot my awesome news. That’s if you made it this far!! I’m going to Austria next year for elective!!!!!!! It’s in paediatrics and adolescent surgery 🙂 I’m so happy! Exactly what I wanted. And Europe baby!! Yay!

On that note, until next time!

Advertisements

Passed Exams!!!

Well, you all missed out on quite the rollercoaster ride of my emotions. I almost wrote a blog post last week regarding how I had absolutely just failed my first ever thing in medical school. I was having a complete melt down, catastrophising the worst possible outcome. I cried for a few days about my poor performance in my written exams. Strangely enough it was the OSCEs I was worried about before exams and the written papers after. Turns out I’m a poor predictor of my own performance in that I have managed to pass both with no resit. Apparently, many others weren’t so lucky.

I now have the mammoth task of packing up most my house today as I’m heading home for a few weeks before moving officially. So far, I’ve only left bed to make a cup of tea (and got straight back in!). I just found out I can have my old job back but on a casual basis (no guaranteed work) which is perfect for me. I won’t actually need the work as centrelink will be enough to cover my expenses with the subsidies uni provides us. I just want another outlet this year. I’ve been so insular for the past year particularly, and my mental health has suffered dramatically. I actually couldn’t go on for much longer without change and this move for the next phase of my degree was what I feel I need for my mental health’s sake.

Well should get back to packing and all the fun stuff. Unfortunately it’s raining which makes packing the car kind of hard! Oh well!

Exam Time!


Once again it is that time again.. the dreaded exams… this year it starts off with a 15 station OSCE followed by 2, 3 hour written exams. In 2 weeks time I will be free! I can’t wait, I’m excited and I’m terrified!! This is the biggest hurdle yet and the biggest exam of the degree. If you are going to fail one often it’s this one 😦 that been said I’m feeling ok most of the time. I’ve worked incredibly hard this last year to practice practical skills and learn stacks of theory. I have gotten through Med school without failing anything yet (a rarity) and would love to keep it that way. 

At the same time, I also am trying to organize the big move to the other side of the state for the next phase. I’m currently looking at accommodation options. I think I have found the perfect house and it is cheap too 🙂  I’m also trying to figure out what I want to do for my elective next year. It feels weird to be planning that far ahead but I just have to! It’s complicated with trying to work out people and timing when uni becomes quite restrictive with it all. It’s all exciting nonetheless! 

And one of the most exciting things, weirdly, is that in 2 weeks I can clean out all my stuff, full and pack some boxes. I’m sure I’ll hate it when it happens but for now I’m excited to sort myself out or maybe it’s more to be finished with exams! Who knows, either way I’ve decided that I have too many clothes!!! Haha

Well that’s probably it from me until after exams unless procrastination sets in or the like. Plenty of things to do over the next few weeks but I’m hoping for the best outcome which is to pass exams and get on with packing and moving! 

I leave you with my current mantra (i.e. The above quote! Enjoy

From Struggles to Happiness


If you have been following my blog for any amount of time, you will know that last year was a real struggle for me. I look back and I feel twinges of the deep pain I experienced particularly the second half of last year. It was something I hadn’t truly experienced before and something I probably will again unfortunately. I can look back now and reflect. 

I have to say, happily, that this year just keeps getting better. I’m loving doctoring which is my life now so that is essential. I’ve learnt a lot, I continue to learn every day and I get to meet some exceptional people along the way. My last few rotations have brought life back into my day. I do think that my emotional state really affected my ability to learn last year and just being in a better headspace has helped. 

I’m currently on a paediatrics rotation which I love! I think this is the first rotation which I have actually loved and could see myself doing long term. It has enlightened the flame inside of passion. When I first thought about doing medicine, my dream was to work in paediatrics with a focus on adolescent health. Here I am loving every minute of paediatrics. I have doubts of my ability to get there in the end but I think if we don’t dream and ultimately go after our dreams we can’t succeed. 

I feel that over the last year, I’ve felt tired and inside tried to convince myself that I would be happy doing something with an easier training pathway or something ‘family friendly’. Today I was talking to a friend and he reminded me that I should settle for the easy pathway just because it is easier. We have spent all this time getting to this point why stop now and not go after what we really want. It really spurred me on to aim high and not shy away from what I want just because it might be hard. 

I think the tough road has knocked the wind out the bit and with the mountain to climb right now, another one in the future is just too much but I don’t want to settle for just that reason. Maybe my life will look different in 5 years when I am into training maybe it won’t. 

In the mean time, exams are in 5 weeks and I’m surprisingly not stressed. It’s scary! I’m plodding along studying various things but probably too slowly. There is just such a ridiculous amount of work to cover and I just don’t have time so I’m at peace with that fact. I’ll do my very best and hopefully no result as that would mess my moving plans! Haha.. I can’t remember if I already posted saying I’m moving back ‘home’ for at least a year come June! So excited to be back with all my friends and family and hopefully having a social life outside of medicine 🙂 cheers to that!

That’s my update! Hopefully I’ll get a chance to update before exams again. I’m sure the stress will kick in shortly!! Until then… dream big!

About me.. 2017 edition!

cropped-heart-flowers.jpg

2017… (and 2018 will be here before we know it! eek!)

I’m now a happy 3rd year med student in disbelief that I have made it this far, unscathed without failing a single thing (yet, touch wood)! I’ve made it through the other side of the pre clinical years and swiftly into the clinical years. Clinical medicine and the politics surrounding it have being a challenge combined with the challenge of life outside of medicine!

A few things have changed either for the worst or for the better, I don’t know anymore. Medicine has been all encompassing and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Sometimes, I look back and question whether it is worth it and for the most it has been, although not without huge sacrifices. I now rarely have time to socialise, exercise, or even eat at times it feels, let alone do fun things like see movies and go on holidays. My interests have not changed although my ability to maintain a connection with these things has gradually diminished. My life now consists of spending 8-12 hours a day at the hospital, a few hours of study/ dinner when getting home Monday-Friday, and mostly studying, catching up on chores such as cleaning and washing, a bit of exercise and the occasional outing with my housemates, oh and some sleep, somewhere…

A wonderful weekend is one where I head home or to see the family, although the worry that taking that weekend off sometimes is overpowering.

They say phase 2 is the hardest phase (ie the one I’m currently in and finish up in June) and so I look forward to the next phase where life slows a little. It’s looking forward to things such as nice weekends and moving on to the next phase that motivate me to get to work and study. Plus, a little bit of a fear of failing! Haha..

So as the rest of 2017 progresses, hopefully a few more interesting streams pop up in my life that interest people. I’m sure sick of studying and I’m sure my readers will become sick of hearing about it eventually!

Let’s just say my goal for this blog to be motivational seems like a distant one at present as sometimes just getting through the day or week or month is all I have the energy to do. However, I am hopeful for the future of my life and this blog. Even though me writing these words down is more for me than anyone else, I’m grateful for an outlet for the good, the bad and the ugly (well within reason of what should be put into a blog!

So I say thank you to my readers, and I apologise if I have become boring! I promise my life will one day be filled with fun and interesting things that people want to read about!!! Thank for sicking with me on this journey, and who knows where I might end up and I suppose that mystery is what makes life all the more interesting!

2018 can’t come quick enough (Graduation year, lol! and an income 🙂 )

I’m writing a blog!


A lot has changed since I first started this blog just before I moved to the other side of the state to study medicine. A lot has happened over the past 2 and a half years that I’ve been sharing my thoughts, struggles and joys. There had been some pretty big highs and some pretty low lows. It’s a roller coaster! Right now I’m doing well. Last year as a whole was incredibly hard on so many levels. I struggled with whether studying medicine was really worth it, the stress the constant niggling thoughts that you aren’t doing enough, being enough or that you were going to not only fail exams but just fail at life as well. 

I have saccrificed friendships, a social life outside of medicine, hobbies, time and money to be doing what I’m currently doing. And last year I wasn’t sure it was worth it. I wasn’t sure I was up for it. I was afraid. I was hurting. I was depressed and I didn’t know why. I didn’t know why I reacted the way I did to small little things and why doing the thing I knew I was right felt so wrong. At the end of the day a career as a doctor isn’t worth sacrificing happiness. Not for me.. 

Now, another few months down the track I’m loving life. Not much has changed. I somehow made it to the other side of the dark tunnel I was crawling through. Life is much easier. I’m enjoying placement, I’m enjoying study. I’m managing to fit in some exercise on the side. I’m now 6 weeks into what should be a more stressful few rotations as exams are looming but I generally feel good. I still need heaps of practice of my skills, I’m slowly slogging through ‘learn all of medicine’ (haha).. I covered 10 different diseases this weekend! I’m currently not living at ‘home’ but at an away rotation and loving it. 

I also found out this week that I’m head back home to where I lived prior to Med school for a year of my degree starting in June! I’m so happy. I hopefully can have a social life outside of medical school! Sure I probably won’t be around as much as I was cause medical school is a full time job plus stupid amounts of study! But I’m excited that I’ll get to parallel consult (see my own patients) as well as do a few rotations in areas I’m specifically interested in like child and adolescent health and geriatrics. That is the reason I picked this specific hub besides that it’s not far to drive to my parents/ siblings house for a meal when I’m poor and hungry. The move will be pretty big though with a 12 hour car trip and a house full of crap I’ve accumulated! I’ll be culling/ selling a heap of stuff I think!

So in other not exciting news exams are in 11 weeks. Scary but also plenty of time to sort myself out. We have a practice exam in 4 weeks. I won’t have done my paediatrics rotation yet so need to go through paeds stuff over the next few weeks. At the moment things are smooth. It would be nice if I can just plod along like this for the next few months, pass exams and be able to have a smooth ride into phase 3.. and phase 3 is the last phase with exams so after that is just a few easy assignments and fun electives and less fun (PRINT) pre intern term where we follow an intern and learn how to be a junior Doctor. Scary that I can now talk about it like it’s soon. It is now within reach of a possibility. We are growing up! I can really see the maturity of my peers and myself that has developed especially over the past year. I’m way more chilled out now which has come as a relief as I couldn’t keep up with my stress levels last year! 

So better head to bed, a day of surgery tomorrow.. fingers crossed not all scopes! 

Goodnight

Ps I’ll try and write sooner!

(The cover picture is the sunset out my accommodations bedroom! I don’t think I’m going to want to leave in 4 weeks!)

Dreaming for 2017

good-things-take-time

(I wrote this blog in 2 goes, a few weeks apart)

It’s a strange thing, the beginning of a new year, the end of another. Even though today is just another day, I’m prompted to reflect on the year that has been and dream for the year to come, to set goals for personal growth in various areas of my life. It’s a time of year, that at times I feel discouraged and at others bring great excitement and then others where neither is true. I have realised that I didn’t really dream about the new year last year. I can’t find any evidence of a list of goals which is unusual for me. I normally have something that I want to work on improving.

So I have no idea whether I achieved anything I set out to do in 2016, and honestly overall it was a bit of a blah year. I think perhaps the lack of vision for the future beyond university has held me back in other areas of my life. That’s something I never wanted during my medical degree. I can see how easy it is to just be swept off of your feet and end up just riding the wave of med school without much thought or regard for the rest of your life. I think this year just became about coping, keeping my head above water, not drowning in uni work, my own sorrows and loneliness that I experienced this year like no other in a very long time. I think there were better things I could have done to help myself in these areas that I just didn’t do. I knew I should, but I got to the point where I felt too snowed under to dig myself out again. I sit here now on the first day of 2017 and I don’t regret the decisions I made in the time, but I do look back and hope to learn from some of the so called mistakes that I did make particularly in the tough times.

Some things that I feel held me back in 2016:

  • I isolated myself… a lot. I wasn’t coping, I was depressed, anxious and I hid from the world, my friends and my family. Not once have I voiced how I was actually feeling to anyone close to me except partially my best friend when we were out for coffee the one time I’ve seen her this year where I was so busy trying to hold back tears that I was distracted. Perhaps, reaching out for help sooner would have been ideal. I also accept that this year was particularly challenging on a practical level too and that played a major role in the way of feeling and the coping mechanisms I used
  • I think the above one is the biggest ‘regret’ that completely ties into this one but I think I could have continued on my journey with God a little (ok a lot!) more. I think I only went to church a handful of times. Part of that was the isolation I mentioned above but part of that was fear. My relationship with God has taken a beating over the past few years and that is something I really want to pick up the pieces of and put back together however that looks for me over the next little while. I feel alive when I do connect and yet I still don’t prioritise my time well.
  • I wish I sought out help when I needed. I tried to be strong for way too long. My housemate continues to tell me on occasion, “you seem happier”. I must have seemed unhappy before, and to be honest I was on many occasions and continue to be at times. Seeking help then would have perhaps, shortened the amount of ‘down’ time. Who knows?!

So dreams for 2017:

  • I suppose to change the above things and just do a little better
  • Not only survive med school, but thrive on the learning and discovering
  • Make new friends, strengthen current friendships
  • Be stronger, but also show the weakness when the time calls for it.
  • This is a weird one, but I want to be able to cry tears. There were many last year but only in front of people when I felt I had a valid reason like my pop dying. And then, bam, when I least expected at inappropriate times
  • Be assertive in placement, worry less
  • Learn to deal with anxiety
  • Be ok with not being perfect
  • Find balance in life
  • Study hard, but not too hard
  • Pass phase 2 exams (17 weeks to go)
  • Exercise, to release inner tension, to maintain fitness and as an outlet for everything
  • Be a better person
  • Grow. change. develop.
  • Love.

Halfway Holidays!

32072687-sandy-christmas-snowman-in-red-santa-hat-and-sunglasses-at-sunny-beach-holiday-concept-for-new-years-stock-photo

 

I’m halfway through my degree, eek! Well, I finished 2nd year almost 2 weeks ago now but only have just got around to writing a blog about it all now.

It has been a challenging end to 2016 in my family. My pop passing away and then most my family is currently overseas. Christmas was very quiet, I spent it only with my grandmother. Coming from a family of 6 kids, this was odd and a tad lonely. Especially as I’m still feeling a little fragile from the past few months. But here we are on the other side of it all. Alive, breathing. I’m a bit sad and lonely this holidays and really just want to be spending time with my family but thats not so possible.

That being said, I’ve been trying to make the most of having a break. My Nanna came and stayed for a few days to give her a break from her life (it’s complicated). I’m glad she enjoyed herself, and I enjoyed not paying for and food or petrol for a week! Haha! And having someone around was nice too, even if our lifestyles are very different.

I’ve been keeping up with the exercise while on break. I was a bit prior to as well. I’ve been cycling and running. Unfortunately last week I managed to become super sunburnt so that put me on hold for a few days followed by a very paranoid, suncreaming Lisa since! went out and bought all the sun safe items that would allow me to be in the sun and hopefully not burn again. I have these beautiful tan lines going on thanks to that sunburn. One of my friends thought it hilarious and laughed at me when he saw it. I’m somewhat stoked I’ve managed to get some colour. It’s fairly rare with all the studying and working I do!

Tomorrow, I’m going to try out a local ParkRun. Was googling for a running group or fun run and this came up. Looks like fun and super community which I think I need right now.

Next week I head up to Mount Isa for a placement for 2 weeks, which should be fun. I’m going to do a mine tour and sightseeing and do some placement! Looking forward to it.. And then I’m a 3rd year Med student!!!! Watch out people, I’m on the downhill slide to being a doctor!

Well that’s a quick update from me! Until next time! Bye

When Death Really Hits Home

heart

This past week has been one of the hardest weeks yet. This week I lost my pop (grandfather). This week I watched my pop suffer dying from heart failure (+pneumonia) and not being able to breathe. This week I watched the health system let him down, my nanna down and my whole family. I watched a system that failed Pop. A story for another day.

I also experienced some pretty special moments with a man who was ready to pass on from this world. A man who wanted to make sure we all knew that we were loved and a man that was ready to leave this earth. Spending 2 days by his bed was special and heartbreaking at the same time. He was such a special, brilliant, creative man who touched each of us grandkids lives. I’m sad that he is no longer here but pleased he is no longer in pain and distressed.

I have known that at some point I was going to lose a family member. My grandparents are all getting older. It doesn’t make it easy though. This has been my first experience of losing a close family member that I remember. I just couldn’t prepare myself for the crazy emotional ride that has occurred and still is. The funeral is on Thursday and I know that it will be a hard day and I’m not sure if I’m quite ready for it but thats the reality of the situation. I’m pretty teary and feeling sad but glad there is closure for both Pop and Nanna.

In the meantime, I need to continue doing life. I’m not allowed more than 1 day off uni which will be Thursday. So life continues. I have an assignment that was due on Sunday to complete. Uni has been super helpful and gave me 2 weeks extra to complete it but I don’t really want it hanging over my head anymore. Thankfully, I’m on mental health and things are fairly low key anyways. I’ll be there tomorrow, not Thursday, and back Friday.

RIP Pop

Rotation 3 – Surgery Thoughts

This rotation has really highlighted some issues with the health system in Australia, the impact dysfunctional teams have on patient care, how overworked and under appreciated junior doctors are and how easy it is to fall through the cracks as patients. Keep in mind that most patients are getting good care, not at all negligent but just not as efficient, money saving or rounded as I feel it should be. Coming from an allied health background really makes you appreciate the multidisciplinary team approach and seeing people who could really benefit from a more rounded care approach but isn’t getting it is becoming all too common.

I’ve really come to realise how single focused surgeons can be. Now, I don’t think it is completely a bad thing but it can be. Surgeons need a specific skills set, and the focus for many years is developing those skills. I just wonder at what point some of the other skills to manage complex patient with many issues disappears? When the empathy goes? And when medicine becomes about fixing a problem and not providing care for a patients needs, all of them. In medical school we are taught that empathy is important, that we should always see patients as people and that we should try and treat them as a whole person not as a disease. I’m not sure at what point that changes and why it does? Do we have a training system that wears people down so much that all compassion and empathy is worn away. Where it becomes about getting work done. This last 4 weeks has me questioning whether I want to remain in the hospital system longer than I have to. I definitely have no desire to do surgery!

I then think that I am an individual that would like to change things that aren’t working. I’m someone who would like to not let the pressures of the job interfere with the care for patients. I just hope that I can maintain that for the rest of my career. I don’t want to be so blinkered that I don’t see or hear patient concerns that are unrelated to my specialty or that are ‘too hard’. I hope that in one way or another I can address those issues and make a difference into individuals lives. And that is what I need to remind myself of when I have lost sight of why I am doing this. When I question my choice to study and pursue this crazy career. There is so much that needs changing and that can be changed for the better for patients and for our overall health care system.

And I leave you with this fun little YouTube video which about sums up what I see day in and day out (not quite but it’s more real than I imagined! Haha). Disclaimer: I’m not doing an orthopaedics rotation.. lol