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Sunday, June 22, 2003

Getting perspective and priorities right

I seem to have not written here for an extremely long time. Apparently, my sis has changed the layout for me, and there have been messages left on my icq for me to update my blog or FOD. Could say I've been busy. Doing what? Hmm... I have absolutely no idea! Then again... let me go through the fortnight which have just passed. Firstly, a short piece on the previous entry - Guess what... I had just read it in the book which I borrowed from the school library - Textbook of Psychiatry. Just in case anyone's wondering why in the world would I be reading this book instead of the new Harry Potter novel or just any story book, I shall just say that I am currently on my Neurology/Psychiatry rotation, and am catching up with reading as well as doing the preparatory work for exams, and my 3000-5000 word essay on some psychiatric condition. It's an interesting article, esp since I have always been a fan of Greek legends and myths ever since I discovered the library. I think the word 'psych' has been distorted to have a negative connotation over the years. In fact, it's suppose to mean soul or mind in Greek, and is in fact the name of a legendary person who later became suicidal because of a lost love. But it was a happy ending after she was made immortal and reunited with her lover. =)

Anyway, since my last coherent entry on 'motivation', I haven't been to this site for a while, although I come online everyday to check my mail and read the newspaper. I had just started my 5-week long Psychiatry firm at Springfield Hospital (think Institute of Mental Health in Singapore). Found out who I was partnered with, someone whom really tries my patience, and wears it extremely thin. Am hanging in there though. Those of you who know how 'tolerant' I can be of nonsense and irritation and pure mindlessness without common sense, should be able to imagine what it's been like. I've been partnered with a male, and he's a total wimp. Can soooo kick his ass. But that's only in my dreams. My threshold level, I would assume, is pretty high, especially with people I do not know well. However, he draws the limit. I'm so very near my threshold level, I just hope that it can go higher, or he just doesn't tip it, though that seems more likely.

Anyway, I'm trying to practice good sleep hygiene now, which means whatever time I sleep (though I try to sleep before 1am), I wake up at the same time every day (which is around 7am). The horrible thing is that I just find a knack for sleeping in the day, taking an afternoon nap after I come back from the hospital, for 2-3 hrs! Without fail. That is worrying. Either my health is going, my sleeping habits are going awry, or I'm suffering from narcolepsy = ability to sleep 'extremely long'. And I take a 30 min walk from my house to Springfield hospital. The weather is now fantastic for walking, as it is now summer, and the temperatures are in the 20plus range! The walk serves as a good wake-up from any lingering sleepiness that I may have. Also gives me a chance to listen to news in the morning. =)

I'm based at the Eating Disorders Unit, and I have seen so many anorexic patients now that I myself feel paranoid at eating, for fear of putting on too much weight. =p Most of these patients are multi-impulsive, meaning that in addition to restricting the intake of food, there is also deliberate self-harm, in other words, failed suicides. It's scary, esp when you do the history and mental state examination and ask them about suicidality, and they can tell you of their detailed plans of ending their lives. Pretty tragic. I've done alcohol and drug abuse/misuse patients, so now I've to concentrate on personality disorders, mood disorders and those with learning disability. I've finally clerked a schizophrenic patient as well, and that experience was.... intriguing. Only when the patient closed the door to the interview room did I suddenly feel terrified and scared out of my wits! That was also the day which a death occurred at Springfield - apparently a schizophrenic patient in the 'dangerous ward' killed a nurse, and injured a couple of other people. He has since been convicted at the Old Bailey.

From the week of 9/6-13/6, I went down almost everyday, except Wednesday and Friday. Wednesday, we went to see a couple of houses, through housing agencies as well as the ads which we called up, and found one really suitable one, except that the landlord is a 2nd year, who is having her exams at the moment, and therefore will only settle after her exams. So that will have to wait. Friday was a full day with lectures and psychotherapy tutorial and sleep PBL tutorial.

On Saturday, surprisingly, Jeff called to ask me to go to a movie screening of Ocean Eleven at Clapham Common. He had mentioned it on Friday, and said that he will let me know the details that night, but since he didn't call that night, I assumed that he wasn't serious about it. Surprise, surprise, he called K and asked to speak to me. Apparently, he didn't have my number (?). This is pretty strange, as although we are Singaporeans in the same firms, we seldom, if never, talk to each other, simply becoz we just didn't? He was previously in the year above me, but becoz he did a BSc, he's now in my year. He was from RJC as well, and when I first came in, there was this friendly rivalry/teasing between RJ and HC, as well as rowing (as he was in rowing then), while I am an ex-canoeist, and he was trying to persuade me to join the team and row for George's (but I was simply not interested). Going back, it was extremely weird that out of the blue, he invited me for an open-air movie screening, and not K (my housemate and fellow Singaporean), and yet called K to get to me, as apparently he didn't have my number. Hmm... Strange fellow. Nice gesture on his part though. Anyway, I declined. Spent the next day, Sunday, going out with K and her mum and sis, who had just flown from Singapore to London to see K. Had dimsum for lunch, and trooped down to the British Museum to see the Egyptian mummies. Huge place.. must go there again someday. =)

This week, went down to Springfield to watch an ECT session. It's where an electrical signal is passed through your brain for the management of severe depression or schizophrenia. Learnt a lot from the anaesthetist about pre-oxygenation and the significance of certain waves in the ECG. So really helpful, even though it wasn't his job to teach us, and we didn't ask him either. =D Had ward round on Tuesday, and presented my patient. First time presenting a psychiatric patient. Not too bad, considering I think I clerked her pretty well, and she was very cooperative. =) Was supposed to go down on Thursday to clerk a patient with my partner, but gave an excuse not to, and stayed home instead, talking to P, K's sis who is about the same age as me, and was from RJC. It was nice talking to her. After that, also tried homemade laksa which K's mother made for us. =)

Stayed home on Thursday. Friday, packed up half of my clothes into the small handcarry. Ooh... went to see another house, but that isn't going to pan out. Met the O&B pple on the way out, so went to the pub and sat there talking and drinking.... make a guess - Coke! Well, it's the afternoon what.... Think I was in a hugging frenzy that day. Or maybe it's because I haven't seen Vipul, Stan, Agatha and Michelle for an extremely long time, and so gave all of them hugs. Really good to see them again, esp Vipul. We really click, and it's so like brother-sister. He's already a dentist, and this is his second degree (coz he wants to do Maxfac), and he's married! And yet, both of us click so much like 2 peas in a pod'!! Don't think I have clicked like that with anyone in George's apart from him. =)

Today, I didn't take an afternoon nap! I woke up at 5am, and decided it was too early to start work, and went back to sleep till 9am. Prepared my chicken for dinner and cooked it, then settled down in the dining room to finish reading my Year 2 Neuroscience notes. On the way, I got sidetracked, and ended up starting and finishing 'Chosen Prey' by John Sandford instead. =p Nevertheless, I managed to finish the whole neuroscience handbook, and can still remember bits and pieces of it. Tomorrow is Psychiatry day.
1) Do up clerking notes that Matt clerked on Thursday.
2) Sort out my notes for my Neuro and Psych lectures.
3) Read my Psych handbook.
4) Have an outline for my in-course assessment.
5) Try and do up a bloody timetable for studying for my exams!

On another note, my ankle still hurts, though not as much. I've also sorted out lots of SMSL com stuff during these 2 weeks for the summer, and sorted out my SSM. Yay! Now, all I need is to sort out my house and my exams!!

| Zena caught a falling star on 12:12 am.