A Waste Of Time

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Fake, Fraud or Fishicidal Maniac?

I sometimes think that medical students have the worst of both worlds: working a full week on wards and in clinics, and yet getting paid nothing. My term only finished two weeks ago. If I wasn't doing an intercalated BSc next year, I would have to go back in a week. As it is, I get six whole weeks of summer holidays, like the nippers at primary and secondary schools. So musn't grumble about the full-time-no-wage-abused-by-consultants-unfairness-of-it-all.

So for a year I'm studying genetics and being a proper student again. T-shirts and jeans! Getting up at 11am! Falling asleep in lectures! Getting wasted mid-week without vague sense of guilt at being hungover and useless in front of patients the next day! Hurrah! Must apologise for overuse of the exclamation mark - I've always mistrusted people who use it excessively. They always tend to be of the "I'm crazy me! Must use !!!! all the time!!! Because my life is just so mad and people need to know just how MAD IT IS!!!!!!!!!" type. Anyway, I digress.

This year was my first year in the clinics and wards. Actual proper doctor stuff. Obviously we have little authority, responsibility, or indeed knowledge, but it makes you feel slightly important as you wander around, stethoscope slung around neck. Sometimes you can daydream that you're Dr. Carter and that you have a job to do and those pen-pushers and bureaucrats can stuff it where the sun don't shine. Then you're brought back to reality when one of the consultants on a teaching ward round decides to ask you something about mitral valve prolapse or colorectal cancer. You try to blag some answer, only realising you're talking utter tripe when you finish some lame sentence and the consultant rolls his eyes/calls you stupid/laughs/walks off. Or all of the above.

Passed the year though. My results ranged from average, to somewhere near the top of the class. Feel somewhat like a fraud though in that I knew what was in one of the exams. You may feel that I should feel like a complete fraud, or no less than an inexcusable cheat, but believe me when I say that 90% of the year knew what was in that exam. It was the practical part, things like putting in cannulas, examining the cardiovascular system, communication skills. Having prior knowledge is only slightly useful - by the end of the year, you either know how to do these things with proficiency or you don't. You simply can't cram these things in the hour I had for the first half, or the 15 minutes I had for the second half. Indeed, in some ways it makes you lose some marks. "What!" I hear you cry, but it's true. In the history taking for example, because I knew the diagnosis, I jumped straight in, and didn't exclude the other possibilities.

Still, feel bit of a fraud as a certificate for merit came throught the letterbox the other day.

On a different subject: the pond's coming on nicely. Finished fishing out the fish crap from the bottom, and laid the new black lining over the top of the old. Started filling the pond with fresh new water, and probably in the process have inflicted a hosepipe ban on the whole of south Bucks. Ah well. My dad woke me at 11:30 am with requests to finish the job, but I wanted to snooze. In the words of Garfield: I am allergic to mornings. Additionally, I had got to bed really late/really early as I was reading till 3 am. Finally finished Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Small Island", which I was alternatively thoroughly impressed, and then thoroughly bored by.

So I sought two further hours refuge in bed. As a result six more fish died in their temporary home: an old bathtub. I think they died due to lack of oxygen and an excess of heat. So I am an incidental fish murderer.

To be honest, it's not something that will lay heavily on my conscience.


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