Monday, 20 December 2010
Sunday, 14 November 2010
Stay with me here.
Me: Ok, so funny noises. Anything else?
Housemates: The roof is still leaking.
Me: Oh joy. Anything else?
(There probably was something else but it was over a week ago and I can't remember :P )
Me: Right. Ok. I'm going to put my bags down. See you later.
I go into my room. And my fire alarm sounded like a sparkler. An actual sparkler.
*Shouts for help*
Turns out that when you turned the light off the fire alarm looked like a sparkler too.
There was a fire in my fire alarm.
How? Well, the water from the leaky roof (which has now been finally, properly fixed) leaked through the floor in the attic bedroom into my ceiling where it followed the wires and shorted my fire alarm.
Thus followed mild panic and a phone call to the landlord who was somewhere north of Wolverhampton and heading towards Stoke so couldn't come round. He sent his trusty electrician who is the sweetest old guy ever - he even offered to hoover the plaster off my carpet once he was done, but I wouldn't let him :)
I'm still missing a fire alarm. Instead I have wires hanging from my ceiling. I'm not planning on starting any fires, or lighting candles any time soon, and I've promised to be extra careful with my straighteners.
In other news:
I tried to give blood and they wouldn’t let me. Just take my stupid blood. I’m here, offering you a plump vein and you’re turning me down. A vampire would take it but no! What’s even more annoying is that once I’d convinced the nurses I was well enough I failed the haemoglobin test and a blood sample showed that even though I was above normal levels I wasn’t high enough to actually donate. Bet I would have been if I’d taken my iron tablet that morning.
I got four books for less than £10 and found the nicest Waterstones ever in the process!!! It has three floors and ballroom stairs and ... sigh...can you be in love with a building?
One of my housemates had a pregnancy scare. That was fun. But thankfully it was only a scare. I don't think she's ever been so happy that she started her period.
Leicester is no longer an option. Turns out the course I wanted to do is an MA which means it’s a postgrad degree which means I won’t get funding from student finance which means I can’t afford it L Oh well, maybe once I’ve qualified. However the courses Birmingham offers are looking increasingly more attractive and I’m seriously considering it – I could use the break.
We’ve decided to sign for the house again next year, despite all the problems. Just hope we can all be a little more civilised about the heating. The point of my nose is like an iceberg.
I had three meetings with three different people and I cried in all of them. In two of them we discussed mitigation for the January exams. In one of them we discussed anti-depressants.
I also had a bit of a breakdown. But I missed a few days, went home and now I’m back. Am I ready for life at the medschool again? Ummm, no, but I can certainly try. Just trying to ignore the fact I have a test tomorrow. I’ve told myself that I’m allowed to flunk one test in fifteen years of A* worthy education – I thought that test would be the last IIH ICA (Infection, Immunology and Haematology In Course Assessment for all non-bham medics out there) but as I didn’t do too badly on that one I still have the flunk-test wildcard available J What’s two percent in the grand scheme of things anyway?
I’ve eaten copious amounts of junk food and still seemed to have lost weight. But the junk food eating continues, as does a bad diet consisting of not enough veg and too many Oreos (the best biscuit ever!). This makes me a hypocrite as I told my medic kid to eat better.
Peppermint Mochas from Starbucks are like sips of a minty heaven. And I’ve upgraded myself to grande!
I’ve listened to soooo much music. And as I’m not entirely certain of the Islamic viewpoint on this I’ve also convinced myself I’m going to hell. (NB. If you’re going to leave a rude comment (you know who you are) about this don’t bother cause I’m not going to publish it). But it’s been useful and has given me many opportunities to scream and cry – I now have playlists for most occasions.
I’ve rambled for a bit so I really should go. Another update soon, hopefully. Sorry this has been so...weird. It's been a weird few weeks. Emotionally draining and weird. Sorry.
Reading: Jingo by Terry Pratchett. I love him, and I love any book that can make me laugh out load in the quiet zone of a packed train.
Monday, 1 November 2010
It's SSA (Student Selected Activity) week this week. Thank goodness. Any more of the days I've been having and I would have fainted. At least I made it through to Friday night before crashing! Now I have a week to catch up on sleep, catch up on revision notes and to do my project. Also to write my novel, but more of that in a sec.
Speaking of Friday night - Stranger's Tour. Fantastic. Made me cry a little though, felt guilty for being an "inshallah Muslim" but it also made me smile, and laugh. There was that sense of not belonging again, although I'm getting used to it now.
I still haven't blogged about Feel Bright. I'm not going to promise you a post in the next week because chances are I won't follow through. But I will try.
This weekend I did nothing. Absolutely nothing. And it was bliss.
National Novel Writing Month started today. 50,000 words in 30 days? Sounds scary and it probably won't happen. Current word count: 535. I am going to try and write some more before bed though.
What else has happened lately?
I've had some very mean comments, and I responded.
I've also had blog readers from Denmark, Singapore, Mexico, UAE and South Korea :D
I've been made to feel (slightly) guilty about having a reading week.
I told my housemate she didn't have a heart because she laughed at the ending of Single Father (amazing) and then felt insanely guilty about it.
I made piri piri chicken using Quorn pieces - probably the most cooking I've done in the past 6 weeks.
I've thought about intercalating in Leicester.
That's right Humaira - Leicester.
Leicester offer a MA in Medical Humanities. It's an 11 month full time course - not sure how that would fit in with Birmingham but I'm sure I could make it work. Bham offer Medical Humanity intercalations but they're in things like History of Medicine (I keep thinking History of Magic) and Psychiatry. Psych actually sounds really interesting but Medical Humanities sounds better. And it's an MA.
But it's in Leicester. That's a long way from Birmingham. It would mean leaving everyone behind, paying a whole year's extra tuition and graduating with the year below. But if friends are true friends they'd stay in touch. And it sounds so good.
I've sent off for a prospectus. And I think I'll mention it to my tutor later this week.
I'll try to blog more coherently later on. Try to, not promise too.
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
I was reading a fanfic online (laugh all you want, I don't care!) when I saw an author profile where he talked about taking part in the NaNoWriMo. So I googled it. Turns out there's this site where you aim to write a whole 50,000 word novel in a month. November. Ten days from now. You have from 12:01 on the 1st to 23:59 on the 30th. Apparently it's "thirty days and nights of literary abandon".
And I couldn't stop smiling. So I signed up and filled in my "Author Profile" (hehe, I'm an author :) ) and somehow committed myself to at least attempting to write a novel in a month. I'm trying to ignore the fact that I have two tests and a visit home during November. I'm also ignoring the fact that I don't have a novel plan. I have an idea, one that's been stewing since April last year when I was meant to be revising for my exams. Actually, thinking about it, I have three ideas. Now all I have to do is pick one, write a rough outline and try and find time to write a novel whilst trying to get through my medical degree. But hey, it's only a month. And I don't seem to sleep anymore anyway. And I need this. Need this. I need some creativity in my science-full life.
And it doesn't matter if I don't do it. If you write over 50,000 words you "win" ie you get a certificate and the joy of knowing that you did it. But I don't need to do it. I just need something to concentrate on. Something to try. Something literary. Something that can make me smile and fill me with the kind of joy I experienced when I saw the website. So let's go for it and see how far I can get.
(There's also a ScriptFrenzy in April but I need to revise during April so maybe I'll wait till I've qualified for that one).
And now I really have to go write up histology notes for tomorrow. Wish me luck (for both things :D )
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
So I was going to come home from my very long day and blog about the Feel Bright campaign which is running at the medical school. I was going to tell you how brilliant and worthwhile it is and about how I had an amazing day and met loads of new people and about how things are finally starting to look up.
Then I came home, watched Waterloo Road, got very teary (because everything is making me teary at the moment) and then realised that someone had broken the flush in the downstairs toilet and hadn't bothered to phone the landlord about it. The same flush I broke this morning, got really upset about breaking, then fixed and got ridiculously excited about how I had done some plumbing and fixed the toilet. Sometime between me fixing it and 9 o'clock tonight someone else broke it to an extent that I can no longer fix it and nobody told the landlord. Now I'm peeved. And really, really upset. I don't see why I should be so concerned about fixing the plumbing just for someone else to break it and not inform anyone. And it definitely wasn’t my fault – there was still toilet roll left when I broke (and fixed) it. When I went back there was no toilet roll. Ergo, someone else broke it (the repetition is mainly to reassure myself that it isn’t my fault.)
Now I'm too annoyed and too depressed and too sad to write, because the incident with the bathroom has pushed me over the edge.
My Quote of the Day was going to be from one of our Immunology profs about Schistosomiasis, which are these small snail things that go up the waterstream and infect you (I think, I had given up any hope of following this lecture without a handout by this point):
"Then they go and have sex in your liver, which is outrageous"
At the time I thought that was hilarious and worth sharing. My apologises.
Instead my Quote of the Day comes from our Year Tutor who, when talking about helping fellow students who we think might not be coping well or have depression, said : "Start as you mean to go on". It seems more fitting here - the day started with a broken toilet and ended with a broken toilet. Just about sums up my life.
More about the Feel Bright campaign when I'm feeling more bright. Promise.
Friday, 8 October 2010
Saturday, 25 September 2010
Not so much this morning though. I really didn't want to leave. All summer, up until we turned off the M6 and I saw Birmingham again, I haven't felt like I'd be coming back. In my head the summer just stretched on indefinately. I think that's why I haven't been feeling nervous or excited or anything really, because I couldn't/wouldn't acknowledge the fact that I'd be in this position again. The psychological reasons for that can be left to another time. But then I saw the slip road into Birmingham that, for some obscure reason, doesn't have a central reservation and it hit me. That's when the stomach started with the flip flops.
Then we got here. And the house wasn't as bad as Mum expected it to be. It was also a lot cleaner than I remembered, which is definately a positive. Every room has been painted, the carpets have either been changed or cleaned really, really well and I haven't seen a single bug (yet). My room, however, is about a third of the size it used to be. And my wardrobe hasn't got a door. And there are no curtains at the window (which is right at my head) only a blind. And it's cold, but that's a given. But we're focussing on the positives, at least for now.
In other news: I am a single (medic's) mum. My wife/sister is no longer in the Mums/Dads scheme for "personal reasons". I think she's having to externally resit, because she's still living in Birmingham, but I'm not certain. If she is then she's the 5th person I've heard of who's having to do that. One girl from my M-group failed an essay so she has to wait a whole year, and pay full fees, just to re-write it. But I'm still here and, in addition to being a second year medic, I am now also a single mum to three (first year) girls.
Told you life was complicated.
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
List of things I still need to buy:
- a mirror
- a bin (my landlord doesn't seem to provide anything)
- a draft excluder
- Redbush tea bags
- extra socks (learning from last year - it snows way more in Brum than it does where I live)
Because of the list I need to go into town. But I can't. Because the Brother ordered a new XBox game that comes out today but won't be here until at least Wednesday and he needs me to sign for it. Do you know what this means? - he's going to be uber miserable until it comes and somehow - not sure how but just somehow - it's all going to be my fault. The joys of home life. Still, it doesn't make me want to leave, especially when he told me last week that he'll miss me. :)
P.S. A very belated EID MUBARIK to everyone!!!!
Friday, 3 September 2010
Every time I've said that to someone, especially non-medics, they've looked at me like I've had a boil the size of Canada on my nose. It makes me laugh. Don't worry, I'm not pregnant. Nor have I ever been pregnant. The kids I'm referring to are my first years - Birmingham runs a Mums and Dads mentoring scheme.
Every medic is in a Personal Mentor (PM) group with one or two others from their year - your siblings. The second years are your parents, third year are your grandparents etc etc. It's your medic family. When you get to second year you become parents yourselves, in what has to be one of the most incestuous relationships of all time - my sister is now also my wife. We're a lesbian couple; we have lesbian parents as well. I suppose that says something about the male:female ratio at medical school.
It's funny because you'll be talking to someone and they'll mention their Mum and you have to clarify which Mum they mean - medic or real.
Anyway I have to be at the medical school between 8 and 8.30 on the morning of Tuesday 28th September. Monday will be the first Gatecrasher night of the new academic year - it'll be interesting to see who turns up still drunk :D
Reading: the Harry Potter books. Again. The film comes out in November :)
Monday, 30 August 2010
Not feeling it this year.
I mean, I am looking forward to going back. I've been off for ten weeks now and I haven't really done anything interesting. I have, however, watched so much television that I know what they're going to say on the advert before they say it. I got excited when the new BT adverts come out. I voted on whether or not Jane should be pregnant (yes, obviously). I have reached ultimate sadness levels, according to the brother. So yes, I want to go back, if only so I have something to do.
Yesterday saw the start of the annual stationary shop, in time for the new year. I bought twenty black ball point pens for £1.49. Once upon a time such a small detail would make me smile because it was linked to uni. Yesterday - nothing. I also bought new trousers for GP days. Again, nothing.
I don't know if it's because I'm a "veteran" now but I'm really not feeling it this year. Maybe, in a week or so, something will click and I'll get all excited. Until then, more television, less eating and idealistic dreams that I'm going to be thin before I go back.
Just read: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Amazing - heartwarming, elegant, poignant. Just ignore the fact it's aimed at children.
Reading: Left Hand of God by Phillip Hoffman. Terrible, despite The Times calling it "well told" and Eoin Colfer saying it was "Magnificent". It isn't. Don't read it.
Thursday, 26 August 2010
Monday, 23 August 2010
I also got a new camera. It's a Fujifilm JX530 and is very nice. Black, sleek, thin enough to fit into my pocket, takes photos nice and quick unlike my last camera which would jutter, sigh, then pull itself together whilst moaning about it's arthritic knees before clicking. I'm going to do the 365 day challenge. You take a photo every day to sum it up. Or I will do, if I can decide on a photo for today. I'll try to post some up here. The one's that are as unpersonal as possible.
So it's resit week this week. At least, it is at Birmingham. There are quite a few medics with resits, about 10% somebody said. Good luck to everyone who has resits. One of my best friends has quite a few, so she's been pretty much non-existant during the summer because she's been revising so much. If I had gotten resits I would have taken it as a sign that I wasn't meant to do medicine and dropped out, because there honestly wasn't any more revision I could have done. Well, there was, but I wouldn't have slept. I'm sure that says something about my revision strategy.
I'm sure that paragraph was going to go somewhere better.......ummm.......
Update on the house: we're now sorting out TV and broadband. Turns out we're going to pay more for high speed broadband than it would have cost for the joint broadband, TV and phone package. That having been decided, quite undemocratically I have to add, we're now buying a freeview box and arguing over whether or not you need an ariel or a dish.
Just finished reading Neil Gaiman's Nevewhere. He now holds the position of "Favourite Author" alongside Steven Moffat who it "Favourite Screenwrite". Amazing book, by the way. He writes fantasy without creating whole new worlds (like Terry Pratchett, who I still like). Instead he takes the real world and alters it and adds to it to make it fantastical. Sigh, I wish I could write like that. At the moment I'm toying with shifting dimensions that slip in and out of focus like 3D pictures. And I had a great idea about dreamwalking but Inception came along and stole the patent rights to that novel. Oh well. Let's just see how it goes.
Wednesday, 18 August 2010
I think it’s sufficient to say that I will never cook Asian food like my Mum does. Actually, I think that I’ll never be able to cook Asian food. Ever. Ever, ever, ever. Unless my Mum is standing over me the entire time. We made butternut squash curry (with mushrooms and chickpeas) together at the beginning of the summer. It was so good I’m salivating just thinking about it. Yesterday I tried to make it on my lonesome. First I put the garlic and ginger in at the wrong time. There wasn’t enough oil. There wasn’t enough salt. And then it burnt. There was a layer of...stuff at least a centimetre thick coating the bottom of the pan. It was depressing. I cried (I’m blaming lack of food for that momentary lapse of composure). Mum drained off the veg and made it again from scratch in what seemed like half the time it took for me to fry my onions.
This does not bode well for the future. No prospective suitor (and I am talking waaaay in the future here) wants a wife who can’t cook. And makes chapattis that look like different continents.
Actually I lie. I can cook. I cook great when there’s a recipe to follow and, in the case of yesterday, the squash is peeled and chopped before anything goes on the heat. But Mum, like most other Asians, doesn’t do exact quantities. Instead it’s “a bit of curry powder, a bit of garam masaala” or “put some oil in the pan and fry some onions”. Well, how much is a bit? Some oil? How much oil? Hence why I need parental supervision.
But I bake a treat. (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.) I make the nicest chocolate fudge brownies and apparently really nice Millionaire’s Shortbread. But you can’t live off confectionary at uni. Well, you could, but you would be huge. And that isn’t a good thing. Can you imagine telling a patient that they need to be healthy and lose weight when your office chair has to be custom made? However, I did enjoy watching “The Great British Bake-Off” yesterday, even though I was fasting and it was Hour Fourteen. Some of those chocolate celebration cakes looked yum. I really hope the recipes are on-line. I see a giant bake day in the very near future.
Ah yes, cooking next year. You see, last year when I lived on the Vale, I was in catered accommodation. Mum said it would help with the transition to Uni and it did. I have huge respect for my fellow medics who had the same 25-27 hour week as me and cooked as well. Next year I’ll be one of them. Part of me is really looking forward to it – I’ve ripped out loads of recipes from the Asda magazine and spend the first day of Ramadan fantasising about all the lovely risottos and leek tarts I was going to make. Part of me is dreading it. I can see myself living off gypsy bread and beans. Or takeout. All this Ramzaan weight loss is going to be for nothing.
But moving into the house in Birmingham is still a month off. I’ve got packing to do before then, text books to buy, long facebook conversations with the housemates about who’s going to bring the bleach and who’s bringing the iron. They want to buy bread and milk as a house by having a tub in the kitchen for us to put money in. I can’t see it happening, least of all because I’m drinking lactose free milk at the moment. But we can dream. Arguments within the first month? Yes, I think so too.
I’m off to watch Richard Dawkin’s “Faith School Menace” on More Four. Boy I hate that guy. Sorry, dislike him immensely.
Sunday, 15 August 2010
Last year I started my medical degree at the University of Birmingham and decided to blog about my experiences. I had loads of fun writing the blog but at the end of the year decided I needed to make some changes in order to make it better. And, because I like to do things the long, complicated way, I didn’t just change the title of the old blog, I made a brand new one. Voila.
It’s Complicated is my attempt to make sense and write about my complicated world. Things aren’t just straightforward with me. During fresher’s last year I realised that when people would ask me questions, especially about my family, I would reply by saying “it’s complicated” (where the blog title comes from). It’s not actually that complicated but compared to some, and especially when you start trying to explain things to total strangers, it can seem that way.
So, the succinct version. I’m a second year medic (or at least, soon to be) at Birmingham Uni who hates science with a passion. Especially physiology. I don’t mind the clinical stuff, I love doing the practical stuff but, although I find it kinda interesting, I can’t stand pure science. I did medicine for the people. But when you’re in the pre-clinical years the people seem a long way off and you spend most of your time learning pathways and molecule names and the answers to every single “why” question you can think of. I don’t ask why. I just accept.
But I love English. Favourite subject at A-level: English Lit. Favourite hobby: Reading. I write. Or at least I did write until my creative spark decided to evade me during this stupidly long summer. If you could do joint honours in English and Medicine I would. So I spend most of my time wishing I was in English lectures and trying to find a way to balance both halves of my life.
Not your typical medical student.
Then there’s the family. My parents are divorced. My dad got remarried without telling me. I have a love-hate relationship with my younger brother. I didn’t really deal with everything that well the first time round and I’m now having lots of déjà vu moments/episodes.
It’s not all that bad. At times I love my life. And then, like most people, there are times when I hate it. It’s Complicated is so I can have somewhere to write about it – medicine, English, the family. Kind of like a journal, but people read it (and hopefully comment on it). There will be posts about medicine and the medical degree here. There will hopefully be bits and bobs about books I’ve read. There will be rants about the family. And, if I get any followers, there will be a Twitter page too. Sound like something you’d like reading? Follow me. Tell your friends. See if you can work out who I am.
And thank you, for reading this far at least.
I’ll blog again next week, probably something about moving out of halls and into a house, or something about resists (which start soon).
Until then, toodles :D