Thursday, September 28, 2006

It's not my fault I'm fat, doctor, it's my heritage.

Did anyone see David Tennant on that researching your ancestors programme? Being from Northern Ireland I found the whole thing quite moving really. Mr. Tennant was obviously disconcerted by his heritage, the trouble is around here heritage is likely to jump up and bite you on the bum.

In Northern Ireland you have to be one thing or the other, a neutral position is not accepted. Having lived in England for 17 years I found it all very depressing to come back to, the fact that attitudes haven't changed at all. The Good Friday agreement has reduced the violence but hearts and minds have not changed one iota.

Just to give an illustration, there is a big problem with obesity around here, and being Northern Ireland there is a sectarian aspect to this problem. The theory I have heard proposed by a (protestant) consultant physician is that protestants have a race memory that starvation was a catholic problem from the famine days and that therefore being fat just confirms your protestantism to the world. Sort of floored me, that one.

In our house we stick our heads in the sand and avoid the 'little local difficulty' by making sure we studiously avoid local TV, radio and news media. Like many other middle-class people here we have completely disengaged from the political process and left the loonies to run the asylum. Makes me feel guilty that. Anyway I would be interested in your views on this one and I, ahem, refute the charge that the whole post was just an excuse to post a picture of Mr. Tennant, oh no.

PS To the Whales...Whalster, you sounded very down on your last couple of blogs and now you've gone!!!! Hope you're OK. Post and let us know, please.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Too old?

So, on Saturday night I headed out to a social event organised by the kids' school which featured what is known as a 'Dad band'.
Basically this was a group of dads from the school who had played in bands in their youth and were prepared, for the entertainment of the rest of us, to relive their youth in public.
Most were over-endowed in the belly department and under-endowed in the hair department but the delight on their faces more than made up for those deficiencies.
They were surprisingly good and played a decent set with 'Back in the USSR', 'Werewolves of London' and 'Teenage Kicks' standing out.

So why did the whole thing make me so depressed? Maybe I'm just a miserable sod but the palpable feeling that they were all too old for this now, despite the fact that they all obviously enjoyed themselves, was just too painful. Too many memories, too many regrets, too many opportunities lost.

God, it made me feel so old.
I hate being old.
I bloody,bloody, shitting bloody well hate it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Which famous person do you look like?

Well, I told you I was bored. So I went on here and apparently (and amazingly) I look like this person

and this person...

but also (unfortunately and somewhat less amazingly) these people

So there you go, you can now imagine me as a rather bizarre combination of Famke Janssen, Selma Blair, Kevin Smith and Pete Doherty.
***Just for your information I don't have a beard****

Ho hum

Bored, bored, bored today. Well at least there's a Green Wing book coming out soon.

I may have mentioned before that Mr. Realdoc is a radiologist. He was at a conference recently and was given a little dolls' house CT scanner, so thanks to him and to littlest realdoc (who did the sets) here is Green Wing in Sylvania.

I have also been developing an editorial policy along the lines of the very yummers billy.

Realdoc's editorial policy

1. No real names

2. No real point

3. No reality at all really

4. Shameless plugging encouraged

5. Free medical advice for all those suffering from bizarre and embarrassing conditions

6. Whinging and ranting almost invariable

7.If losing readers post a picture of a sylvanian

8. Absolutely no shame about plagiarising other bloggers good ideas*

9. um

10. is a nice round number

* bugger forgot an apostrophe here it is then ' (Bad grammar gets you into trouble around here you know)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'm Bob Swipe! No I'm Bob Swipe etc etc ad nauseum

*See Mr. Swipe's blog for clarification

Well Swipsters Bobcast 3,856,721 is up and features many wonderful works from Twickenham's finest bands and some Roxy Music B sides.
So get over there now and subscribe today and you can have my soothing tones ease you through every minute of your day.
Meanwhile, to my female readers, I definately would! Especially Spins and Heather.

Now open your books at page 87 and lets get our heads around Camus shall we.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bazooka Story? You decide.

So anyway, a while back I did a post about stories. I have subsequently read some absolute stonkers from Molly and Spinsterella. Here is one of my medical school stories....

Picture the scene:
Histology laboratory 9am, about 50 med students slumped over their microscopes.
The elderly, boring lecturer informs us that this morning we were going to take swabs of the cells in our cheeks, stain the cells with various chemicals to see the cellular components and look at them under the microscope.
So we all got on with rubbing the inside of our mouths with cotton buds staining the cells and examining them. Meanwhile the lecturer drew a representation of what we should be seeing on the board. One girl sticks her hand up, 'sir there's a cell here that doesn't look like that.'
The lecturer strolls over and peers down her microscope....
'That, my dear, is a sperm!'
Cue sympathetic noises from her fellows....
Not sniggering, oh no, I'm mature , me.

This is what she saw......

Friday, September 15, 2006

At last...

a completely accurate medical show on telly. If anyone saw That Mitchell and Webb Look last night they will have seen a sketch in which someone 'gets a bit poorly as a result of too much electric'.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

The schizophrenia inherent in blogging and other unrelated topics

I was reading a most excellent post from Mr. Swipe which set me musing on the split personalities that result from blogging.

I try to be truthful in my posts but I acknowledge that a certain amount of 'buffing up' goes on. My virtual readers do not get to see me blowing a gasket at work or standing on a table treating everyone (well, no-one actually) to the rude version of 'Yesterday' after a few too many gin and gins. ('Thank the crucified Christ for that!' you all chorus.* )

Which is the 'real' me? Work me? Home me? Realdoc? I suppose all of them if I were truthful. I tend to be quite selective in who I tell about my blog but I have noticed that I tend to tell people who know me very well and who have known me for a long time.

The other funny thing is my mental image of various bloggers based on their cyberspace persona. Mr. Swipe, for example, I picture as an interesting but rather rebellious English teacher. The Mollster I imagine lying on a chaise-longue in a large white room with blowy net curtains. Billy, in my head, is always wearing a linen suit and a boater. (I think it's the 'yummers' that did it).

I will sign off as I have just realised that this post is just incoherent wittering. You can all imagine me pacing around my book-lined study musing on a diagnostic dilemma if you like.

(Slopes off to cook the fish fingers and slump in front of the telly.)

*'chorus'... who am I kidding.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bloody hell, a medical post.

For some reason medicine is second only to crime as a setting for TV programmes. There have been hundreds of medical dramas and comedies. Some of these have even been quite good but nearly all have been completely unrealistic.
For some reason the media want to portray doctors a some sort of superheroes, curing the incurable, righting wrongs and spending every waking minute agonising about their patients. This is not only irritating for those of us in the profession but also raises the expectations of the public to a completely unrealistic level. Even Hawkeye , for all his wise-cracking, had the air of the superman about him when it came to his operative skills. Doctors loved Green Wing because the doctors featured were all flawed (some were psychotic) and the action concerned everything but the patients.

'Bugger me, doctors are just like the rest of us.' Well... duh.

At best, doctors can give some sensible health promotion advice, provide a listening ear and may even delay the inevitable slightly but as for curing, that doesn't happen very often. Most disease that we 'cure' would go away its own if we did nothing. Often the 'cure' turns out to be much worse than the disease. Most of the treatments and investigations we foist on an eager public we wouldn't dream of having ourselves.

There are exceptions to this rather cynical rant and I am aware that there may be readers facing illness in themselves and their families who may find all this depressing and upsetting. If this is the case I urge you not to lose your common sense when you interact with doctors. Demand the full facts before embarking on anything. The most important question to ask is 'What would you do if it was you?' *
Most doctors avoid the medical profession like the plague.
If you want to be healthy eat well, exercise, don't smoke, don't drink to excess and have good genes. Above all avoid hospitals. The chance of dying in hospital is 1 in 100 admissions. That's slightly more risky than manned space flight.

There was one medical drama which struck a chord with the profession. Cardiac Arrest by Jed Mercurio (a lapsed doctor) which aired in the mid-nineties and featured the much-admired Helen Baxendale as Dr. Claire Maitland. At the moment over at the online forum (no link, you have to have a GMC number to get on there) they have started a petition to get it released on DVD. The Royal College of Nurses hated it, Virginia Bottomley who was the health minister at the time said it was 'propaganda' running down the NHS. What it did was show a system that turned idealistic youngsters into callous, cynical old trouts like me. I had just escaped after 4 years as a junior hospital doctor at the time and I have to say it often reduced me to tears it was such an accurate portrayal of what I had just survived. So if the petition succeeds I urge you to watch. In the meantime just be aware that Green Wing is a hell of a lot more realistic than Casualty.

* I agonised about this post in case I may upset someone who is ill, let down the profession etc etc but I really feel this is a subject that ought to be debated with a bit more honesty than has previously been the case.

a flawed but honest doctor

Saturday, September 09, 2006

My strange attraction to a particular sort of facial hair

I have never been a fan of facial hair on men, but I have recently developed a strange fascination for a particular type of moustache. It is all this man's fault...

At first I thought, ''that man would be quite attractive without that moustache.'

Now I think, 'that man is really very attractive because of his moustache.'

It has to be a very full moustache which curves around the mouth. Here are some other examples.

and even, though I am ashamed to admit it...

I wonder if this is yet another symptom of becoming middle aged, along with having horrible things happen to my feet and talking to myself.

Perhaps I am turning into a gay man at this late stage in the day.

Does anyone else have this problem? Let me know.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Quiz Results

You all did much better in the quiz than I expected. I thought that post would last me a few more days at least. Anyway the final results were:

1. Tedward's missing ear 12 points
2. Billy 10 points
3. Annie 6 points
3. Anon 6 points
5. Chatterbox 4 points
5. The whales 4 points
7. Vicus scurra 2 points
7. herschelian 2 points
7. ziggi 2 points

However as the winner is actually my sister and has seen my book shelf I feel that Billy should get the prize. Here for you Billy is some soda bread...enjoy.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Literary Quiz (well it's about books anyway)

Several people did a quiz of first lines of random songs taken from their ipods which was good apart from the fact I didn't know any answers cos I'm old and there was a lot of death metal involved.
Anyway, back to the point, I thought I would do a first sentence of books quiz. This may turn out to be virtually impossible as there are a lot of books in the world so I have confined myself to fiction, some classics and some modern but reasonably well known. I need title and author's name, 1 point for each. Winner to get something if I can think of anything.(See my profile for the sort of stuff that may be on my shelves.)

1.On they went, singing 'Eternal Memory', and whenever they stopped, the sound of their feet, the horses and the gusts of wind seemed to carry on their singing.
Dr Zhivago Boris Pasternak Tedward's missing ear
2.Call me Ishmael.
Moby Dick Hermann Melville Billy
3. I am a citizen of the United States of America.
Stupid White Men Michael Moore Vicus Scurra
4. Imagine! November the 15th, 1973.
The Rotter's Club Jonathan Coe Chatterbox
5. London. Michaelmas term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln's Inn Hall.
Bleak House Charles Dickens Tedward's missing ear
6. The summer she was fifteen, Melanie discovered she was made of flesh and blood.
The Magic Toyshop Angela Carter Annie
7. I was twelve tears old the first time I walked on water.
Mr. Vertigo Paul Auster The Whales
8. The education bestowed on Flora Poste by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged;
Cold Comfort Farm Stella Gibbons Annie
9. Early in the morning, late in the century, Cricklewood Broadway.
White Teeth Zadie Smith ziggi
10. When in April the sweet showers fall
And pierce the drought of March to the root
The Canterbury tales Geoffery Chaucer Billy
11. It was a bright, cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
1984 George Orwell Billy
12. Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
100 Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez Billy
13. I believe that what separates humanity from everything else in this world - spaghetti, binder paper, deep-sea creatures, edelweiss and Mount McKinley - is that humanity alone has the capacity at any given moment to committ all possible sins.
Hey Nostradamus Douglas Coupland Anonymous
14. That was when I saw the Pendulum.
Foucault's Pendulum Umberto Eco Tedward's missing ear
15. I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy in an emergency room near Petosky, Michigan, in August of 1974.
Middlesex Jeffrey Eugenides herschelian
16. 'Eh bien, mon prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now no more than private estates of the Bonaparte family.'
War and peace Leo Tolstoy Tedward's missing ear
17. The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.
The Secret History Donna Tartt Annie
18. The schoolmaster was leaving the village, and everybody seemed sorry.
Jude The Obscure Thomas Hardy Tedward's missing ear
19. I was captured by the Fascist Militia on 13 December 1943
If This is A Man Primo Levi Nobody
20. He was tall, about fifty, with darkly handsome, almost sinister features: a neatly trimmed mustache, hair turning silver at the temples, and eyes so black they were like the tinted windows of a sleek limousine - he could see out, but you couldn't see in.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil John Berendt Anonymous
21. Though brilliantly sunny, Saturday morning was overcoat weather again, not just topcoat weather, as it had been all week and as everyone had hoped it would stay for the big weekend - the weekend of the Yale game.
Franny and Zooey J.D. Salinger Anonymous
22. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald Billy
23. When he was nearly thirteen my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.
To Kill A Mocking Bird Harper Lee Tedward's missing ear
24. When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.
Day of the Triffids John Wyndham Chatterbox
25. There was no hope for him this time: it was the third stroke.
Dubliners James Joyce The Whales
So there you go, enjoy. I'll start to give clues after a bit if no-one gets any answers.

**Update still some to go you're all doing very well.**

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Love and truth

After all the fuss about the Independent saying that female bloggers only ever write about childcare and gynaecology I have been very wary of straying into those subjects on my blog but after reading this beautiful, heartfelt piece of writing I am no longer letting that bloody Dejevesky woman dictate what I should and should not write about. I think I'll give the gynaecology a miss though.

Rock on Mollster!!

It's funny the way the blogosphere restores your faith in human nature. It's truth you see, it always gets you and people seem to be able to be really truthful on here. Strange, when I have had patients who have been prepared to be so truthful with me and it always hits you straight between the eyes. You never forget those people.

One day I was griping and shouting at the kids and realdoc minimus, she was about 4 at the time, just put her arms up and said, 'Love me, mummy'.
How could I not?
I do and I will and I will never forget.