Don’t tread on me

I’m quite self-conscious concerning personal space at the gym. This is because travelling on the Tube fills my quota of getting pressed up against a variety of odours and also because it’s not exactly safe to be arse-touching someone in the middle of their squat. In the free-weights area, you normally have to weave your way around or wait while someone is doing their thing, but it’s only for a few seconds and not a big deal.

On Friday I was just about to start doing some dumbbell chest presses, when a guy came along and almost knocked a dumbbell out of my hand with his arse. In a gym, I’d expect most mortals with a sense of gym etiquette would be, “I’m really sorry, didn’t see you/I tripped/I thought I saw a ghost,” because had that dumbbell landed anywhere on my face, I would have let rip once I had recovered from the rhinoplasty.

Instead, he just went about his business with his buddy and they did dumbbell flies only throughout their entire workout, grunting in a manner I’ve seen in various flavours on the labour ward. I couldn’t be bothered to say anything, I figured this is the type of guy who won’t eat fruit because, “OMFG, sugar!” But will happily chow down a tub of Superdoopermaxigainermuscle powder with added dextrose. Fairly certain it wouldn’t have happened if I looked like Oscar De La Hoya.

In the same session, I encountered a PT who was training two guys who were new to the gym. I asked how long they were going to be with the stepper: to my delight, unlike some patrons he didn’t snap/scoff/roll eyes and he told one of the guys with him to take the equipment over to me. The latter was a bit excessive, but I was touched all the same.

I’ve told B that once we have our own house complete with garage, that shall be our home gym. The answer is always,  “But where will the car live?”

The car can graduate to the garage once I can lift it.

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I still have a horrendous case of the DOMS from Friday’s session, and it shocked me when I thought about how much strength I had lost. Some friends of mine run a company which offers pole dancing classes, I’m tempted to try something out a little different, and I think pulling yourself upside down and hanging there using your thighs is a neat little party trick.

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1 comment February 22, 2009 rooroo

Poly-gone

Monday sexual health seminars have been interesting to say the least, but not really enjoyable on my part:

Another medic [in the context of finding out if patients are having sex in parts of the world where HIV is highly prevalent]: “So are we meant to ask if couples go on Safari and swing with the African tour guides? Har har!” God, you’re so funny and profoundly insightful, let me go and rip my sides off, they’re splitting already.

Towards the end of the session, the tutors had a list of ‘alternative lifestyles’ listed up on the board as an example of how we as doctors should be aware of and non-judgemental about. I was surprised to see Polygamy on the list, which the registrar addressed: “And some people choose to have more than one relationship, sexual or otherwise at a time.” I wanted to ask whether they meant polyamory rather than polygamy, as the latter is more familiar and controversial among people and tends to be associated with marriage than relationships as a whole.

Instead, I kept schtum. Mainly apathy and tiredness. And partly because I don’t want certain assumptions made about me by the likes of Safari Boy. Then again it might make classes more interesting if he did.

2 comments February 19, 2009 rooroo

C U Next… Wednesday?

Before I started Obs & Gynae I was expecting to be thrown out of the consultation room a lot, or be told in the labour ward that the patient doesn’t want any students. Luckily this didn’t happen and the vast majority of women I saw were happy to have a student present. Come sprog time, I’d definitely consider having a student midwife or doctor present; I’m the type of person that does better with continuity (and lots of attention), and in the last delivery I followed, I was there from the beginning to the end: in that time, there were four midwives handing over.

It was also nice to feel useful for once (Protestant ethic, much?) whether it was helping out the anaesthetist (who very kindly did some one-on-one teaching with me), fetching towels, changing linen, doing basic observations, fanning down the mother (and father) during transition, dressing the baby, getting it latched on and making cups of tea. Some of my collegues were really offended by stuff like this – they wanted to see the labour and deliveries and how dare anyone ask a medical student to make a cup of tea – which I guess is fair enough if this isn’t the speciality you want, and you just want to get to grips with the basics. I like to feel useful, simple. My grandmother constantly told me as a child in Italian, “Do your schoolwork, do your homework, then come and help with the housework.” Maybe it’s less of the Protestant ethic and more of the Italian Catholic grandma factor.

Anyway, the reason I really wanted to post was that seeing a lot of women in that context made me realise that it was about time I stop using every excuse in the book in terms of keeping everything tidy in the vicinity. Before I met B, I used to live about 7 minutes away from Selfridges, and behind the store was a rather awesome beauty salon which did really good waxing. I’d see Otylia, a Polish lady in her 50s who could get me done in about 10 minutes while discussing matters concerning her boyfriend. After meeting B and moving to Sarf London rather quickly, out of sight and out of mind, I forgot about it. It came to August and I decided to venture into Clapham to find somewhere cheaper for the Hollywood treatment.

I found a salon and waited in the rather odd paper pants they had given me. To my naive horror, I then realised that the wax was going to be done with strips and not the hot wax I had been used to. Needless to say that pain was excruciating and the hair wasn’t coming away well enough, cue more wax and more stripping. The woman who was waxing me told me halfway through that she was very inexperienced with Brazilian waxing and that they offered the waxes as they knew they were very popular among women. Probably not the kind of thing you should tell a client. The wax itself took about 40 minutes, half of the hair was still there (putting my narcissistic hat on, after waxing I would always touch myself more, not even for masturbation, it just felt ever so nice.) by which time I resolved not to look at the damage for at least a fortnight. Suffice to say, it was enough to put me off having it done for a good [whisper] 2 years [/whisper]

Recently, I decided to have a little image makeover, starting with my cunt (not the kind of feature you’d see on Phil and Fern). A very lucky find bought me to Holborn where a very cheerful Essex girl defuzzed me in 10 minutes with minimal fuss and pain. I spent the rest of the evening at home with my hands down my pants. In addition to this,  I have been thinking about getting a vertical hood piercing, although I’m still umming and ahhing over it. It’s an area I consider to be pretty and pink – do I want a piece of metal going through there?

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After a very painful recovery from last week’s gym session, I had mustered up the courage to go back to start with Turbulence Training for abs. Cept I had forgotten that my gym was closed this week to install new cardio equipment. Which is fair I guess, they had put in new weight equipment last year. Somehow I can’t see kettlebells on the agenda anytime soon. Think I may as well bite the bullet at and get some of my own.

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Baking my own bread is proving dangerous. I’m making a wholemeal loaf later on, and made a lovely onion and pancetta focaccia on Tuesday. It had disappeared by Wednesday, and I can’t blame B or the flatmate for that.

Add comment February 19, 2009 rooroo

Geekslut

Today I accepted a sweet from a stranger. I figured it would be ok since I’m in my mid-twenties and he said it would stop my cough (it didn’t) but it was a nice gesture.

I feel like I’m continually drawing the short straw where my medical school is concerned. They sending me to the same DGH for paediatrics despite telling us they try to send us to as many places as possible (the hospital no one wants to be at) and today after ringing the family planning clinic where I was due to have my placement in an hour, I was informed that they had been closed for the last month. It’s no biggie in the grand scheme of things, but I had also been in the library earlier today where the first years seem to have absolutely no sense of what it means to be in a library.

I snapped (internally) and walked out. A friend of mine had recommended another library just around the corner and it was like I had entered into something beautiful. Leather chairs, fresh water available, free wifi and being surrounded by an enormous collection of books, all carefully looked after on towering bookshelves. And no pre-clinical medics! The prospect of revision doesn’t seem too taxing now. Although it leaves me with the small dilemma of whether I should tell my friends about it, right now it feels like my naughty little secret.

Add comment February 10, 2009 rooroo

Gynaecology, at your cervix

Up until the shoulder dystocia on Friday morning, I was feeling relatively chilled about the process of childbirth; now I’m shit scared again. I guess that can only be a good thing for now and buys me a couple more years before I decide to procreate. One thing I won’t be doing is making a birth plan as they seem utterly pointless. I don’t drink the natural birth kool-aid so it’s not like I really need to have a 50 point check-list of all the things I’m going to refuse anyway. That’s not to say people shouldn’t write them, I think they can be very useful tools in terms of getting a brief idea of a patient’s expectations.

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What possessed me to make biscuits now, I don’t know. There’s some icing to do. And Riesling to drink.

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Gym, Monday. Bout time too.

Add comment February 7, 2009 rooroo

Nights

I haven’t slept since Wednesday night and I’m kinda enjoying the buzz that’s coming with it. Although the feeling I’m getting could have been due to being utterly floored by witnessing a shoulder dystocia during one of the births I saw in the early hours this morning. The registrar looked so cool and composed, even with the sound of, “Doctor, it has been 2 minutes now.” I on the other hand, felt like a complete tool, the midwives were talking to me but they could have been speaking the language of planet Zog, it wouldn’t have made a difference.

Despite the shock of that, mother & baby (and father) were ok. I think I needed a stiff drink.

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Blood oranges are in season again, yay! Flatmate has recommended a blood orange jelly with orange pieces and a dollop of lemon curd on top.

Add comment February 6, 2009 rooroo

Choose your weapon wisely

A few months ago I decided to stop referring to myself as a feminist. I got the same relief when I stopped convincing myself that I believe in God, and for now I’m happy bouncing along with it. Slightly related, I am currently reading one of the worst critiques of BDSM I’ve ever seen. I’ll probably write more in detail at a later date as I’m having difficulty articulating how far off the mark it is – think 4 year old precious ballerina insisting that their opinion is fact and if you don’t agree they’re going to stamp their foot and sqweeem. Not going to link to it but will be happy to let you know where to find it via email.

Speaking of which, I’m starting to think about exploring some dominant ideas I’ve had floating in my mind. I must admit, I used to be very naive about the whole thing, and I remember going to a fetish club night, wearing a rubber dress, with my hair scraped back feeling very… foolish. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little rubber dress, but I guess I had fallen into someone else’s idea of what a woman with dominant inclinations is supposed to be, and not my own. I saw The Reader the other day so this has some influence (and don’t read on if you don’t want any parts ruined for you) but the idea of wrapping a towel around an individual, lovingly patting the nape of their neck dry, standing there naked while they’re unaware that you are, sounds… shit hot to me. I guess you have to see it in the context of the film. (Just as well I didn’t link to that site, one look at this and I’d be dubbed a paedo-Nazi-pervert).

 Then again, I’m still playing with the idea of lying down on our glass coffee table, in a room full of friends, wearing this and holding a sign that says, “Use me.”

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Only 3 more days at the DGH, hurrah! I miss my little place and the people in it. I don’t know how I’m going to cope come the final year.

1 comment February 3, 2009 rooroo

White powder found in London

Just when I was hoping for a nice and quiet week, a shitload of snow gets dumped in London and across the country. B and I thought it would be a good idea to try snowboarding in the carpark. The slope wasn’t steep enough but it was fun enough trying.

Thought it would be a good idea to make a soup with the cavolo nero I picked up in the market. Must admit I’m a bit skeptical about cabbage based soups; they conjure up images of faddy diets and bad gas. I’ve seen several recipes but I think I’m going to stick with this one from Veg Box Recipes as I have some butter beans bouncing around in the cupboard and I can’t really be bothered going out on the high street looking for pancetta.

Add comment February 2, 2009 rooroo

Every night I toss and I turn and I dream of what I need

It was a pretty and clear day in a drab London teaching hospital, and I was sat in the office of a very nice consultant. He was about to give me some of the best advice to take me through medical school: find a role model in medicine, someone you can look back on in your training process with admiration and use them as a guide.

 Looking back on the years I have been tallying up, I still think fondly of this doctor who gave such good advice. There’s often such a lack of continuity in training – from the quality of teaching (if we get any) to memorising the route from theatre to the changing rooms. Most often, it’s something to deal with, but sometimes it can get you down, especially if the staff members you’re dealing with are not always as professional as they should be.

I keep short vignettes of former lovers so that when I’m old and senile, I can look back fondly on my youth and remember intricate little details that I had forgotten. That is, if I can remember the password that I used to protect those documents. I’ve started to do the same with great doctors (and other health professionals) I’ve encountered as a ‘constant,’ (see Lost season 4) to remind me when times are though that there are decent normal people out there.

I’ll start with Dr H who gave me this initial advice.

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It was my second module and I was really struggling with clinical medicine. At my lowest point, I spent an hour in the evening, crying in the ladies loos. The weather was dark, depressing and cold. I was coming home to a mouldy house which was falling apart, and our landlord had just informed us that he was selling up. The same week, B and I were driving home and we saw a woman being mugged on our street. Company loves misery.  

I had to get a form signed off by Dr H, so I rang his office. He was about to do some teaching on x-rays and invited me up for the session. I had been having a lot of confidence issues, but had really made an effort for the last 3 weeks of MAU hoping that the team would notice. After the session he signed my form off and we had a chat. He told me that from what his staff had told him, they had absolutely no worries about my competence or clinical performance. He told me that if I ever wanted to spend more time in the department, he would happily have me back, and all I had to do was email him – this included if I was in my final year. I spent the afternoon dancing on endorphins.

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It wasn’t necessarily what he said (although I still think it was important) but it was the first time in clinics where I had really felt a bit of human kindness from a superior. When you’re feeling low anyway, the other insignificant snippy stuff gets to you, and up until then I had still felt the sting of the previous module: the eye-rolling registrar who expected me to know as much as he did, getting very little teaching, having a locum hang up on me twice, and no meetings with my mentor as he outrightly said in front of the team he didn’t give a shit about that and the professor I had to meet with several times throughout the year to get a form signed – our first meeting and I was tallying up times he was looking at my breasts. Don’t think we don’t notice.

Having someone to look up to and think back on fondly makes the insignificant stuff so wonderfully insignificant. Of course, medics will all have views on what makes a good role model. One of my pre-requisites is, “Seems relatively normal, wouldn’t expect them to tell me they were a doctor if we met in public.” Maybe that’s a little unfair, dog knows what people think of me!

Add comment February 1, 2009 rooroo

Salsif-eye or salsif-eee?

Reasons to smile:

Big snowflakes at the farmer’s market this morning. Leaving and seeing a random guy out in his boxer shorts giving the weather a raised eyebrow.

The mysterious appearance of a large toy alien in the entrance lobby of our building.

Smugly making our own coffee than popping out to get some.

The feeling of cutting a garlic bulb in half and sticking the whole lot in the oven.

Picking out the perfect bottle of Riesling. (German, I have a sweet tooth when it comes to wine)

Landlord agreeing to rent reduction!

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Salsify is a pain in the arse to wash, peel and prepare. It’s also very sticky, but no one tells you that (rather like the Things That No One Tells You About Childbirth). Luckily it’s a joy to cook and devour. Pan-roasted in olive oil = win.

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Since being in Obs & Gobs, a lot of people have asked me about the numbers of men in the field, and what could possibly attract them to it, revealing the horror that they could possibly be turned on by it? Answer – I’m a bisexual woman – there is nothing to be turned on by in gynaecology. Staring inside someone’s vagina trying to visualise their cervix is as mundane as filling in prescription forms by hand – maybe mundane is the wrong word. It could just be me, but I have a hard time getting aroused by simply staring at someone’s genitalia in the cold harsh light of day.

I remember the sweet irony of reading on a feminist site (from a feminist) that a lot of men are attracted to ob/gyn – not because of teh patriarchy – but because it’s ‘easy’. Here’s a cluepon – think about all of general medicine as applied to women, the diseases, the meds, and throw a pregnancy into the mix. Bet cardiology isn’t looking too bad now, eh?

Add comment February 1, 2009 rooroo

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