Monday, 28 August 2017

A life catch up

Soooo... Long time no blog!

I haven't blogged for quite a long time and it's purely because I've been so exhausted and haven't had the motivation to log on here and write. I worked 8 days in a row last week and the thought of getting home and blogging really wasn't very attractive.

Work is still going well and I'm still enjoying it, but I have been really tired recently. I love being part of a team and having responsibilities, and I also enjoy being busy, but there are some more difficult parts of the job, such as losing patients and the long hours. Last weekend I worked 8am-9pm and didn't have a break all day - I didn't even get time to go to the toilet!

I'm still getting into the swing of my new lifestyle and I'm not quite sure where my blog fits into that yet. I feel like I hardly have any time to myself, let alone to sit down and write about how I'm feeling. I do want to continue to blog because I love it and it has helped me out a lot in the past, but I also don't want the pressure of feeling like I have to sit down and write every day like I used to do, because that's when I start to fall out of love with blogging.

Expect more blog posts from me in the future - but just not too frequently!

Oh and if you're wondering where the cute dinosaur planter is from, I got it from Morrisons and it was only £5. You're welcome.
The comeback is always stronger than the setback.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

A much better day

Today has been 2896987587x better than yesterday!

As we had already completed the ward round with our patients yesterday, we were much more aware of their needs and what we needed to provide for them, so that made today's ward round much quicker. We also had completed a lot of tasks for those patients yesterday, especially the more sick ones or those that would be going home soon, so we had less work to do today.

And I managed to take blood from a patient with fairly difficult veins, which made me feel much better about the whole blood taking situation!

We were able to finish the ward round with plenty of time for lunch (and a quick pep talk from the F2 on my team), and I found that my jobs were done and the list was updated by about 3.30pm. Which left me time to be able to help my fellow F1s out with their jobs, and still leave just after 5pm. It was overall a much easier and more satisfying day than yesterday.

But the best part of my day was probably when I was walking out of the hospital to get to my car. An excited/nervous new dad was on the phone shouting "THE BABY IS COMING!!!" and it made me smile so much - it reminded me of the best parts of my job and why I love medicine so much, which is exactly what I needed after yesterday.

Hannah x

Monday, 14 August 2017

Sometimes I question why I chose to become a doctor

On days like today, when I seemed to be working for hours on end and everything went wrong and nothing went right, I question why I chose to become a doctor.

Today both of our seniors were away so myself and another junior doctor had to do a ward round to see all of our patients. Some of these patients were quite unwell, and as we are junior we didn't feel comfortable managing them by ourselves. Everything took that little bit longer because we were checking and double-checking everything, as we didn't have our seniors to rely on. Then I had to go and take blood and I missed three times, which was so frustrating. By this point it was 3pm and I hadn't had chance to even think about lunch - by the time I was able to grab a sandwich I had to sit at a computer to write a discharge letter while I was eating it. Everything just seemed to take a long amount of time, and I felt like I didn't even get a minute to go to the loo or have a drink (until my pounding headache reminded me that I had a bottle of squash in my bag). I ended up finishing about 6.15pm, which wasn't as bad as it could have been, but I still ended up doing a 10 and a half hour day. To sum it all up, it was a very long, difficult day that I don't wish to repeat any time soon!

Sometimes I think about quitting and getting a normal 9-5 job, where I know I could leave at 5pm on the dot and not have to worry about work afterwards. Sometimes I am really envious of my friends and family that have 'normal' office jobs and are able to lead a separate personal and professional life. Medicine becomes a lifestyle that you cannot easily escape when you are a doctor, and sometimes I resent that.

It's days like today that I have to reflect on the positive aspects of my job. The reason I'm a doctor is because I wanted to help people, I love learning, and it just seems to fit to my personality and who I am. When I started medical school everything just seemed to fall into place, and I knew it was the right career for me. And I do love it. Most days the job satisfaction is incredible, especially when I feel like I've really made a difference to a patient or their family. Even if that's just being able to get them home quickly or sort out their first meal after an operation.

I always knew that being a doctor would bring really difficult days, but I guess I could never prepare myself for how hard it could sometimes get - and I bet today wasn't half as bad as some of the days I will face in the future. Today I felt like I was letting the patients and my team down, even though I was working to the best of my abilities. I did feel like having a little cry when I was in the treatment room gathering all of the equipment together to try and take blood yet again!

But I got through it, and I know that tomorrow will probably be a better day. After all, I am still learning a lot of things, and skills like blood taking will just come with practice.

Hannah x

Friday, 11 August 2017

How I'm coping with my new doctor lifestyle

If you are a regular reader of my blog you may know that I started my first job as a doctor a couple of weeks ago. As you can imagine, it has been quite exhausting. But I have really enjoyed it so far and haven't found it too difficult - although I think that's partly due to a few adjustments to my lifestyle. I thought I would share them with you, as they are probably applicable to most people that work full-time!

The biggest coping strategy for me has been getting plenty of sleep. Some days I have been going to bed as early as 8.30pm as I have been getting up around 6.30am to be in the hospital for 8am. I think my optimum sleeping time is probably 10 hours, but obviously that's not feasible most nights as I would hardly have any time after work in the evenings, so I try and get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. I really notice it the next day if I don't and find it really hard to get up. This is a big lifestyle change for me as I am such a night owl and usually stay up until 2 in the morning if I don't have to be up the next day, so I've had to get myself into a proper sleeping routine. I have been so exhausted after work that I've actually found it easier than I thought I would!

Whilst at work I am sometimes so overwhelmed by the amount of jobs I have to do that I'm tempted to work through my lunch break, and often don't even make time to have a drink or go to the loo. The past few days I have realised that this isn't good for me and I can't let my health suffer, so I have made sure that I have taken breaks and listened to what my body needs. One of my colleagues can cover for me for a few minutes, and I need food whilst I'm working long days.

Following on from the point above, I have also realised that I need to eat a decent amount of food to keep me going throughout the day. I make sure that I get up early enough to have breakfast (otherwise I really suffer during the morning), and I always have something with carbs in it at lunch to keep me going through the afternoon. As a junior doctor we are on our feet a fair amount, and I have found myself frequently rushing between wards and up and down stairs, so I need decent nutrition to fuel all of that energy. Not to mention the fuel to keep my brain working all day!

Another thing that keeps me going through the week is having things to look forward to. I have got a fair few things planned over the next few weeks and that really helps me to push through when I'm really tired and feel like I need a day off. Sometimes I also just look forward to a day of doing nothing! My consultant told me that I should have something exciting planned every 6-8 weeks, and use my annual leave wisely, as this will really help me to get through the long weeks at work.

Another thing I have felt that has really helped is planning my outfit the night before, so that I have an extra 5 minutes in the morning to sleep or relax. I have also really enjoyed dressing professionally for work, so planning my outfit for the next day actually becomes quite an enjoyable thing to do each evening.

I am now living on my own in my flat, so it's really important for me to see my friends and family in my spare time (and not become a hermit like I'm sometimes tempted to do when I'm so tired!). I have made sure that I have seen a couple of friends each week, and I have also had phone calls with some of my friends and family too. I find that it really helps to talk to them about my day at work and have a bit of company - and also someone to talk about non-work things with. Sometimes, as much as I love it, I just need to escape medicine for a few hours!
Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

You've got to do what makes you happy

I have always been a people pleaser and worried about what other people think about me. That has sometimes come in the way of my happiness, as in the past I have done things that I didn't necessarily want to do, just to make others happy. Even if that was just going out when I needed a night in, or bigger life-changing decisions that brought about a change that I wasn't happy with.

More recently I have started to realise that I need to do what makes me happy. Happiness gurus are constantly preaching about being more selfish and making more time for number one - and it's so true, as I don't think you will ever truly be happy unless your own wants and needs are satisfied. I've started to turn down more social invitations, as sometimes I just simply need a night in by myself. But I've also found myself feeling less awkward about asking people to spend time with me, as I am not so worried about them turning me down. I also think that I value myself more since I have started to put myself first in more situations, so I realise that people probably do actually want to spend time with me and be my friend (rather than me being insecure about friendships when I was going through depression).

I also feel like I have really got to know myself more since I have allowed myself to do things that truly make me happy. I know what I want and need from life, and the sort of people that I want to surround myself with. I have also been more adventurous as I have allowed myself to explore more things in life - such as skydiving, long travelling trips away from home, and even just simple things like trying new foods.

I've found that turning down social invitations hasn't affected my friendships - in fact I've realised that it's a totally normal and often necessary thing to do. Everyone gets unwell, everyone gets tired, everyone has problems, and everyone needs their own space from time to time. Life gets in the way sometimes, and most people are understanding of that - if they're not I guess are they really a great friend to have around? Surround yourself with those that are supportive of you and your choices, and who love you just the way you are. And if they cancel on you, remember that they most likely have a perfectly valid excuse and it doesn't mean that they don't care about you.

And I guess the most obvious effect of this new-found life motto is that I really do feel happier. I'm more comfortable in my own skin, able to say 'no' easier, and I have more to talk about. I like myself more and I like the person that I am becoming each time I make a decision, whether it's about what to eat tonight or where in the world to visit next.

Take time to get to know what you want from life and what makes you happy - and respect yourself enough to be able to go after that. I promise you that you'll be so much more content for it.
What if I told you that everything is meant to shatter first -
And that your best life begins when you stop worrying about picking up the pieces,
And start building something new instead.
Would you continue staring at broken glass?
Learn to recycle.
                                 - Wine and Words

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Grandma's 80th birthday

Over the weekend it was my Grandma's 80th birthday so all of my family got together to celebrate. She is such an incredible woman and someone that I have always looked up to, and we all have so many amazing memories together. Their house is one of the main places that I grew up in. As children we spent summers in the train shed watching Grandad build tracks and run mini trains around them. We spent breakfasts chatting over toast, cereal and orange juice, and had many a day out with the reward of sweets at the end. I remember trying to help Grandma finish a crossword in the paper, and we had so many holidays away in our caravans that were the highlight of my childhood.

 We spent the weekend eating lots of food and drinking wine together, and it was so lovely to have all of my family together, as it's not very often that that happens - usually someone is off on holiday or working. I caught up with all of my cousins, aunts and uncles, and generally had a really great weekend. I feel so lucky to have such a supportive and loving family, and I really cherish the time I get to spend as a group of all of us.

Happy birthday Grandma, I can't wait to celebrate many more with you!
Everything happens for a reason.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Friday Favourite: The cutest Asda duvet cover

Biscuit Printed Duvet Cover - Asda

As I have just been at work today, I thought I would share with you this adorable biscuit printed duvet cover from Asda. It reminds me of when I was a child and makes me smile every time I enter my bedroom! It's also double-sided and has mini gems on the other side which is so cute. I love Primark's bedding section but I think Asda's just beats it at the moment - plus it's actually sometimes cheaper.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend :)

Thursday, 3 August 2017

My first official day as a doctor

Today was my first official day as an FY1 (Foundation Year 1) doctor, which means that I now actually have major responsibilities and my own patients to look after as part of a team!

I thought I'd be quite nervous to be let loose on the wards, but I actually felt really calm this morning. I think I just felt like this would be another shadowing day. I am working in a team with 2 other FY1 doctors so we were able to help and support each other throughout the day, and pick up jobs that needed doing if someone else was unable to complete them. We arrived at 8am and did a ward round with two senior members of the team, and then had to complete the jobs that needed doing afterwards - such as taking bloods, ordering scans, writing discharge letters, prescribing drugs, chasing up results, and referring patients to other teams.

My first job is on general surgery for 4 months, before I swap onto a medical ward. I'm quite glad I am starting on surgery first as it seems to be a slower pace than medicine for FY1s, and there is a lot of support from senior members of the team.

Today was quite a normal day for a junior doctor, and nothing particularly exciting happened, but I found that I really enjoyed it! It felt great to be able to actually help patients and my colleagues out, and I loved feeling like an important part of the team. I really felt ready for the responsibility after 5 years at medical school and I am always up for a challenge and new things to learn. One especially exciting part of the day was being able to wear my stethoscope around my neck (we were never supposed to do this as medical students as we could have been mistaken for doctors), and picking up my bleep (or pager, if you're American) as I felt quite official and professional with it clipped to my trousers - although I might find it very annoying when I'm on call and I get bleeped every second minute...

I guess the excitement of the more mundane days will probably eventually wear off, as with any job, but for now I am really looking forward to the days ahead and seeing what life as a doctor will bring to me. I'm even going to bed now for an early night as I'm excited for my shift tomorrow!
You are the only one who can limit your greatness. Remember that you are enough.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Adulting is hard

When I first considered moving into a flat by myself I didn't really consider the mundane chores that would come with it - setting up council tax, sorting out gas and electricity bills, finding time to be home so that the WiFi could be installed, etc. I knew that I would have bills to pay, but I didn't have much of an idea how much they would cost or when I would need to pay them.

Today I have spent the majority of the day sorting out typical 'adult' things. I put a wash on and changed my bed sheets, then spent the rest of the afternoon putting away my clothes in my wardrobe. Then I had to check my gas and electricity meters and ring British Gas to sort my bill and direct debit out. After all that I felt quite exhausted, but I still had to cook my dinner and wash and dry up. And I couldn't even consider a nap because I know I need to be up early tomorrow for work, and I won't get to sleep tonight if I had slept in the day.

None of the tasks were particularly difficult, but when they are all added up they become quite tiring (and boring!), and they take quite a while to complete. With starting work I now feel like I have much less time to myself, and on days when I would normally spend hours sleeping or watching Netflix, I now have jobs to do around the flat.

I guess I'm just going to have to get used to being a 'proper' adult, but people definitely underestimate how hard it is at first! I think they should teach us about bills and taxes in school, as I had no idea about any of it until it came to actually paying them.

Anyway, I'm off to bed (it's 8.30pm) - I'm not sure whether that makes me a responsible adult or more of a child than I have ever been...
Be the reason someone smiles today.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

A quick life catch up

Taco Sweater - Forever 21
Gingham Trousers - New Look

I've been a bit AWOL on my blog recently and it's purely because I've been so busy and tired. Last week I started induction for work, and I start properly as a doctor on the wards tomorrow (although I've got a day off according to my rota so I actually start Thursday!). Over the weekend my friend Roxy came up to Liverpool from home, and life just generally got in the way so my blog took a bit of a back seat. We went out on Friday night and danced the night away in Pop World, and spent Saturday shopping, eating and watching girly films.

The past couple of days I've also been on induction, shadowing doctors on the ward that I will be replacing this week, and I've really enjoyed it so far. I feel like shadowing has shown me that the job won't be as scary as I thought it would, but I am still worried about being really tired and coping with the hours. I start on a surgical ward so will work less weekends and evenings than I will do when I move onto medicine, as junior doctors have less responsibility in surgery, but I still think it's going to be hard to adjust. But I'm hoping it will be enjoyable and rewarding, and I will come home feeling like I've achieved something. I'm looking forward to getting to know the fellow doctors and hopefully being able to make a difference to my patients.

In other news, I am so happy with my new flat and feel really at home here. I have enjoyed spending the last couple of evenings on my own, cooking dinner and watching Netflix, but it's nice that I can also invite my friends over whenever I feel like I want some company. It's a lovely peaceful sanctuary after a long day at home, and it feels so cosy as it's now filled with all of my candles, cushions and blankets. I'm definitely going to enjoy living here!

With regards to this outfit - I wore it last week to visit Bridgnorth in Shropshire with my sister. The sweatshirt was a present for my birthday and I love how it looks like it could be vintage. I haven't really seen a sweater like it before, with these particular colours. And someone tried to buy the trousers off me whilst I was wearing them, so they were obviously a hit!
There is no shame in being honest. There is no shame in being vulnerable. It's the beauty of being human.