Archive for May 2008

Chin-up progress 4

I am so close to being able to do 3 unassisted chin-ups, I can almost taste it… or at least my sweat. I started the new TT programme on Wednesday (dear dog, the pain from the DOMS this morning) and I started out with the bench press so perhaps lost a bit of energy doing that as I was pushing quite hard, but I’m hoping I may be able to push out 3 in a couple of weeks. You never know, by the end of the year I might be able to get to 5! 😉


The programme itself went well. I had to really grit my teeth and power through in some areas but just seeing the sweat on my face as opposed to a glow was worth it. It’s good to be back in something where I feel motivated enough to really go for it.



2 comments May 30, 2008

In brief

I have 192 friends on f*cebook (how that happened, I don’t know). In reality, I count the number of friends I have on one hand. I have a lot of people I count as close aquaintances, and I like them very much. But I wouldn’t tell them my innermost thoughts and desires. I couldn’t call them at 3am, asking if I could come and stay at their place because I was having an anxiety attack (happened to me once, although I was the recipient of the call). I couldn’t tell them that I love them very much because I don’t, and I love my friends.


My boyfriend wants to try freezing the strawberry coconut puddings we make. This could be interesting.


I start Turbulence Training this week! I’m so excited about starting up a new programme. I’ve heard so many good things about it and I’m itching to get back to the gym.


My body has been craving salt and dried fruit recently. My boyfriend has been craving salt too, which is odd, maybe there’s something up with the water.


I spent most of the afternoon naked. For the first time in my life, I actually like my breasts so I’m overcompensating for the years of self-loathing and numerous consults with plastic surgeons*

*thank fuck for paternalistic style medicine in this instance. Back then, I would have walked the world backwards in high heels through sand if there was a chance to get my breasts reduced.


Everything falling into place, I will be a doctor in 2 years. This scares me in so many ways, I can’t even begin to put it into words. I try to think back on events where I was scared and got over it, like setting up equiptment for deadlifting the first time, but I guess it’s the feeling of responsibility more than anything else. The first time I set up a cannula for a patient I felt a little blown away afterwards.


I could really do with some raspberries right now.

Add comment May 25, 2008

Gone protestin’

I think the highlight of my day had to be the anti-abortion protestor complaining to one of the Abortion Rights organisers that our singing was too loud, and the 1000 pro-choicers were drowning out the 50 or so antis.

I’m taking a bit of an internet diet at the moment as my revision programme is starting to get intense. Long periods in the library are proving difficult in terms of eating. I feel rather odd bringing in a Thermos flask in the summer (or what should be anyway). I keep having horrible visualisations of my muscle wasting away at a rate of knots. I had an interesting conversation with a patient a while ago about visualisation techniques and relaxation; maybe I should visualise ‘the pump’ and muscle being packed on?

Add comment May 20, 2008

Chewing the fat

I was reading the blog on Stumptuous the other day, and I came across this study which claims that an adults number of adipose (fat) cells stays fairly constant throughout adult life.

I found this oddly alarming and reassuring. Alarming in the sense that the mental images of the fat mysteriously vanishing from my body in droves was false, but reassuring that I’m still the same old me, just with smaller cells in some aspects.

2 comments May 16, 2008


Well, it’s tomorrow [24] and I have been counting my blessings. What I have now that I didn’t have last year:

* The ability to do chin-ups

* The ability to deadlift with perfect form

* The ability to interpret basic ECGs; those lines actually mean something now

* More muscle (I hope)

* Less fat (yay! Although I haven’t really reduced the number of adipocytes, that remains fairly constant, they’ve just shrunk a bit)

* A yeast infection 😦

1 comment May 16, 2008

The Shit List: Pink

Many awesome things come in patch form. Nicotine patches, contraceptive patches, patchwork quilts… one thing I shall not be adding to the list, is the Pink Patch. Holy pseudoscientific patronising crapola Batman!

Yes, it’s a ‘weight loss’ patch. Unless that patch has sharp jagged edges and works by cutting off pieces of your body, I remain sceptical.

First, look at the website. It looks like a bottle of Pepto Bismol vomited all over it. Oh charming, there’s lots of PINK, you know – for girls! And the patch is pink too! How cute!

So what are they claiming to do, besides leaving the viewer with repetitive strain injury from all the eyerolling?

Want to lose thoe problem pounds?

Want to make your skinny jeans your regular jeans?

Then get Skinny witt the New Pink Diet Patch! (yes, the text was pink)

Note the capitalisation on the word Skinny. Nice!

Next comes the alliteration. I think someone did GSCE English!

  • FAST — You’ll start to burn more fat instantly! Proven to be the quickest way to infuse your body with all-natural weight loss ingredients for amazing results!
  • FRESH — Revitalise your body with the energy of the Pink Patch! With the weight coming off, you’ll feel recharged not to mention how amazing you’ll look!
  • FREE-SPIRITED — Don’t give up your social life and become a slave to the gym to achieve that perfect body. Simply put on the Pink Patch and take off that stubborn stone – it’s that easy.
  • Ah, we’re in the natural = good realm. Don’t worry, the ingredients are natural! It’s not like you’re one of those fools who takes horrible fake big-pharma evil type yellow suppliments like Spike (erm…), it’s natural! All natural ingredients, bunged together on an adhesive pink patch. How zen, earthy and natural! Fresh? Erm, well, I guess that could work. To be honest, nothing beats the fresh feeling of cool water running down your hot, sweaty body after some fartlek. Nothing beats the horrible feeling of discovering you forgot to bring an additional set of underwear, so on with the sweaty set. My personal favourite comes with the promise of being free spirited. Aren’t we lucky? Remember the last time we were told we could be all free spirited and womanly? Less of the pink and more of the crimson gushing. We get to bung cotton mice-shaped objects into our vaginas when they bleed, but it’s ok because the free-spirit inside you now can go and rollerblade by the beach in white shorts!

    So where’s the science? Well, according to the brain cells (and I use the term loosely) at pinky towers one of the active ingredients is a substance called: Fucus Vesiculosus or Bladder wrack:

    hard to pronounce, but it’s a girl’s best friend!

    Aww, don’t worry your pretty little head about it! Just slap it on and ask no question! Just a little bit of information about Bladderwrack. It should not be taken by people suffering from hyperthyroidism, cardiac problems, pregnancy and lactation. So much for the ‘no side-effects’, not really a girl’s best friend if that girl happens to have endocrine problems or is breastfeeding.

    After trawling through pink hell you get to the bottom where the No Shit element comes into force:

    All successful weight loss programs should include a sensible meal plan and an exercise program to be completely effective.

    Best part of all? The ‘free’ 6 day trial is actually signing you up for a Direct Debit payment of £35 a month. Naughty, naughty.


    3 comments May 15, 2008


    I’m currently training with a friend on my firm: she’s an endurance type and has taken part in Ironman triathlons. We begin together by warming up on the treadmill. 3 minutes later, I jump off to go and stretch. She keeps running. I go into the free weights area and lift heavy crap. I top up my water. She keeps running. I go and do an abdominal workout. She keeps running. I cool down, stretch and mouth/signal to her that I’m going to shower. She keeps running. I shower, change and wait for her in the seating area. STILL RUNNING!!!!111one

    She recently has been making noises about doing some weight lifting. Me = happy bunny.

    Add comment May 15, 2008

    Birth Rape

    In an ethics class I was once in, we were presented with a real-life situation that had happened in the hospital. It went something along the lines of:

    You are a medical student witnessing a colonoscopy. The patient is still in a lot of pain despite the maximum amount of sedation/analgesia given. The patient then starts to shout, “Stop, please stop!” At which time, the surgeon sees the lesion that they want to biopsy. What should be done?

    Our class came to the consensus that the doctor should have stopped what they were doing i.e. not progress with the colonoscopy, and explain to the patient that they have just seen the lesion, and could they have permission to continue and take the biopsy, given that the circumstances had changed. If the patient said no, then they were then to proceed with withdrawing the instruments.

    At the end of the class, the teacher asked us, “Who would have gone in and taken the biopsy anyway?”

    The majority of the class put their hands up.


    There’s a big debate going on at the moment on the subject of Birth Rape. The first time I heard of this term, it was through circles which advocate natural birth (I don’t advocate any sort of birthing process; that’s for the woman to decide provided she has all the facts, risks and benefits presented to her), then I went onto read stories written for the Birth Trauma Association and went to debates surrounding the ‘Too Posh to Push’ myth. The midwives and doctors who spoke at this conference suggested that given the birth trauma a lot of women experience, they are surprised the c-section rate isn’t higher than it is.

    Then an article was written for the F-word entitled, “Not a happy birthday”. To me, it appears that there are two issues: procedures done without consent and the medicalisation of childbirth. Given the amount of money paid out to couples with infants who suffered hypoxia or other injury due to the team or doctor not intervening ‘sooner’, I don’t think medicalisation can be solely blamed on the idea that OBs/midwives want to do nasty things to women out of power/greed/sadism etc. Nor do I think the natural model is going to help matters or is the answer to birth trauma. Presenting the idea of birth to women as a natural, beautiful process doesn’t help those who then require intervention (I think 30% of homebirths in the UK result in a transfer, mainly for analgesia, but don’t quote me on that) and could leave someone with more trauma if they never prepared for the eventuality that they would need help. I see a lot of birth plans which are incredibly rigid and seem to assume that birth is something we have some control over if things were allowed to progress as in nature.

    On the issue of consent, doing things to patients without their consent when they have the capacity to do so is assault and battery. Birth rape seems to have been born of experiences where women have been penetrated with fingers and/or objects and have either refused this or withdrawn consent and the doctor/midwife continued regardless. What whatever reasons I am still trying to work out, using the term birth rape makes me uncomfortable. What makes me even more uncomfortable is questioning this, as I was sexually assaulted when I was 15, so I should at least be gunning up with the Sisterhood. The assault had a lasting impact on me for a long time, in terms of triggering events, feelings of violation (3 years later I had my purse stolen from my handbag, oddly enough the same feelings came flooding back). Luckily it had no effect on the relationships that I made.

    I want to do Obstetrics. I love women, I think the female reproductive system is awesome, and I want to help out those who have had high risk pregnancies or had a change of events in their labour. I don’t want to be perceived as a rapist, or even a potential rapist. But am I stuck between a rock and a hard place? If you refuse my intervention and I carried on, giving you a live healthy baby, will you look to me with contempt and lump me in with the rest of the Bad Doctors out there? If I respect your wishes, and something happens to your baby, will you do everything in your power to ensure I don’t practice medicine again?

    The problem with obstetrics is that things can go very wrong, very quickly. When a friend gave birth, the baby’s head was crowning then suddenly the heart rate crashed. The baby needed to be out now, every second counted, time = brain cells, and there was no time to even ask for consent or discuss what was to be done – an episiotomy was cut, and the baby was resuscitated.

    That case was pretty extreme and luckily doesn’t happen everyday. Slapping patients, humiliating and degrading them by words or force is pretty repulsive, and I question why those individuals entered the profession. But I think there needs to be some dialogue on both sides to find a way to improve outcomes, minimising birth trauma.

    Does the term birth rape help this? I don’t think so. This is only my opinion, and I am not implying that what those women experienced was not rape, I don’t believe it’s anyone’s right to tell someone what they did or didn’t feel they experienced. I think it distracts from the issue of birth trauma, because as a very new term, and what it implies, it’s bound to be controversial.

    What can help to minimise birth trauma? I believe communication, including full debriefings afterwards and opportunities for further meetings. On the patient’s part, considering a birth plan to plan for every eventuality – don’t act as if you are immune from a c-section just because you’ve read Ina May or have a positive mindset and positive affirmations. Face the fear: if you needed a c-section, do you want the operating surgeon to communicate with you with the same detail as they would talk to a medical student? Do you want them to shut up and get on with it? Do you want the screen up, or do you want the chance to see your baby being born? For professionals, don’t demean or ridicule what someone is feeling post-natally, ‘You have a healthy baby’ is all well and fine, but that baby still needs to be raised by a mother, and tends to do better when that mother feels healthy in herself.

    In this case, the dialogue has been broken down. It seems a war of words has been started by the F word and Dr Crippen and no resolution will really occur. The medical professionals don’t want to be thought of as potential rapists, the women affected don’t want to be fobbed off and told they’re being hysterical.

    I can see both sides of the issue. Being a gynaecologist is looking better all the time.

    6 comments May 15, 2008

    Pro-choice butter

    There are generally very few things that really tick me off. I meditate on public transport; the most stressful part of my commute (changing from mainline Victoria to to the underground) is a breeze. Boy likes to drink milk straight from the carton – I let it slide. Boy again, breaks wind on purpose while sitting on my lap – I let it slide, and slap his arse.

    The following things are guaranteed to make my blood pressure go whoooosh!

    * ‘I want to tone up, can you tell me how to tone/sculpt/firm? Weights? I don’t want to look like Arnie! You don’t understand, I’m the sort of person who bulks right up! Would those 0.0002kg pink weights be ok? What about pencils?”

    Normally after a deep intake of breath, I can verbally kick arse just by pointing the poor deluded soul in the direction of Stumptuous. The next is probably the one that really gets my bugbear.

    * “I’m pro-choice!” Awesome, brilliant, let me set up a fondue in your honour. “I’m pro-choice, but I’m against abortion if it’s over x weeks. And if it’s for y reason. And if the person hasn’t been using z contraceptives. And only if the woman feels really bad about it afterwards. And she must never have one again! What, she’s had one before? Disgusting, someone should sterlise her. In fact, no one should get an abortion!”

    I’ve spoken about pro-choice butting before so I don’t really need to rehash that again. One thing I will ask is why Nadine Dorries is claiming to be neither pro-life or pro-choice when she seems to be doing a hell of a lot to convince me it’s the former. Call a spade a spade, if you’re anti, fucking say it.

    The Ministry of Truth after some searching have come up with evidence that shows that:

    “Dorries is just the clean-skin trojan horse for the evangelical Christian right but the problem with lying is that somewhere, somehow, you’re bound to slip up…

    …and Dorries has done just that.”

    More here including a screen-shot from the horse’s mouth regarding the upper limit.

    You are right about one thing, I do want to go lower than 20 weeks – I would settle for the European average of 13 weeks, but would prefer 9.

    It’s clear to see the most recent effort has nothing to do with wanting to reduce the limit to 20 weeks. If you want to chip away at abortion rights, piece by piece, the legal limit is the easiest one to go for, as it’s the one that strikes unease with a lot of people, some pro-choicers included. Throw in some cutesy 4D ultrasound scans, a little pseudoscience (or in Nadine’s case, outright misinformation and lies) and you have a good case for lowering the limit.

    A legal limit of 20 weeks won’t be enough. Soon would start the campaigns for ‘cooling off periods’ – enforcing time limits on women (which is against you in pregnancy) between confirming that she wants an abortion and getting that abortion. Then they might want to suggest women have to look at the ultrasound scan prior to having the termination, just so that they’re ‘informed’. That might be a good time to reduce the legal limit from 20 weeks to 16. Then doing away with ‘social abortions’ – and reducing the legal limit for that to 12 weeks. The possibilities are endless.

    I sincerely hope my IUD is doing its job.

    Add comment May 8, 2008

    “It’s uterUS Marge, not uterYOU!”

    Nadine Dorries (rather like a stubborn turd that won’t flush) yesterday launched the 20 weeks campaign in an effort to reduce the UK’s legal limit of abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. I’m with Zoe Williams in that the 20 reasons read rather like a bit of GSCE coursework.

    What stumps me a bit is that she insists that she supports a woman’s right to choose yet uses rather un-pro-choice sound quips like, there are ‘too many’ abortions, and we need to ‘slow down’ and have a ‘more moderate and common sense approach’ to abortion. Call me old fashioned, but isn’t the whole point of being pro-choice supporting someone to let them make their own decisions about their body, than applying some rather non-women friendly tenets that play right into the antis hands?

    Now I support the legal limit as it stands as I believe women who are terminating at that gestation are among the most vulnerable women who choose to end a pregnancy. That’s not really why I’m writing on the subject, I just want to know how people decide what is ‘too many?’

    It’s no surprise to me that antis take numbers and say that there are too many abortions, but with pro-choicers, that confuses me a bit. It confuses me that we use numbers at all – shouldn’t the focus be on the number of women who have been able to have the opportunity to terminate a pregnancy they didn’t want? Dare I say, isn’t that a good thing?

    I guess the numbers game comes down to this for me. If 200,000 is too many, what’s to say that 100,000 won’t be? What’s to say that 50,000 isn’t to many? Or 10,000, or 5000? Or 50, 20, 10? Because what really seems to be suggested is that 1 abortion is too many.

    Anyway, I hope that the campaign is unsuccessful, because I don’t believe there is a need to lower the time limit yet. I just hope any debate is structured around scientific evidence, and not froo-froo truths. Ben Goldacre wrote brilliantly on the subject.

    2 comments May 7, 2008

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