Thursday, November 29, 2007

Clinical Medicine Module: Cardiology

So, today was the second clinical attachment for me, the Cardiology attachment (I got to pick this one, and since I quite like Cardiology/Cardiovascular system, I picked it). I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was in Kirckaldy instead of Dunfermline, as the latter is an extra 20 minutes out. On arrival we went up the Education Centre, and then were forwarded on to the Cardiac Care Unit. 6 of us went with each Consultant (and switched halfway through). It was in the same general format of the Surgery Rotation, except more about heart failure and acute MIs. It was pretty interesting, and since I've always tried to be on top of my game on cardiac issues (since we see so many flowing through the ER), I was pretty on my game. At one point (after I answered that the treatment for a axillary vein blood clot s/p pacemaker placement would be a LMWH e.g. enoxaparin), the Consultant joked about "when I could start". It kinda made me feel like all those [unpaid] hours at the hospital really paid off. Bit of a confidence booster, if you will. The first consultant mainly dealt with cardiac causes of dsypnea as well as heart failure. He then showed us echocardiograms from the patients we had seen - I had never actually been taught what to look for, but he did a very good job at giving us a brief intro.
The second consultant took us to see a patient who had had an acute MI, was stented (I believe), and due to a bradyarrhythmia had a temporary pacer placed. Then after a bit of ECG review, we were let go.

Overall, I enjoyed it a lot more than the Surgery one, maybe because I've always leant toward Cardiology as a possible career choice...who knows?

In other news (one of which is semi-related to today):
Over the past few days i've seemed to develop a URTI. Most probably viral, and I'm trying to get through it. Got myself some Halls cough drops and some dextromethorphan/pseudoephedrine cough syrup, and it seems to be working pretty well. Also, today I decided that since I always get so nauseous on the bus to our attachments, that I would try one of the hyoscine(/scopolamine) tablets that I have. Now, I've never needed to take this kind of thing before - usually I just deal with the nausea - but I figure hey, why not? The whole bus ride went fine - we got to the hospital, and I figured everything was gonna be good.
Then I stepped off the bus. Immediately I could tell something was wrong. I didn't seem to be able to walk straight, my eyes were...funny. They weren't blurred, everything was just so...different. Not really sure how to explain it (well actually I do, we'll get to that later). However, I continued on and we all headed to the Education centre, Cardio floor, etc. The whole first hour or so, not only was I coughing up a storm, but I was having trouble speaking (bit of dry mouth?) and just coordinating in general. Things got better, over time though. So, hyoscine is an anticholergic - loss of pupillary constriction due to imbalance between para&sympathetic systems lead to the weird vision (must've had huge pupils - letting in a lot of light). Dry mouth is an anticholinergic side effect as well. I was trying to remember the rhymes for anticholinergic overdose, but all that came to mind was "Mad as a Hatter", and I sure as hell wasn't seeing things or grasping in the air - so I figured I'd be ok. It slowly drifted away, but I still feel kinda funny...hopfully it'll wear off by tomorrow.

And, in OTHER other news, I got a 17 (on the 1-20 scale that our Uni uses) on my midsemester assessment! (that's the lowest mark of a 1st class). Seeing as how I've never been able to get higher than a 15, I was quite happy. Except I know it was only because I did well on 2 questions that most others were fairly unprepared for...just means I'll hope to keep it up in the end of semester exam!!

p.s. it still freaks me out every time my sitemeter shows someone from within the University viewing my

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Raisin Sunday, 2007!

Happy Raisin Sunday!

Raisin Sunday is a tradition here at St. Andrews that has evolved over the years...
Rather than type out the traditions, etc, I am stealing the article from The Sinner:

Raisin Weekend is centered around the unique St Andrews tradition of the "academic family".

Each first year (or at least those who choose to take part - it is not compulsory) is adopted by an academic mother and academic father - who are usually, but not always, in their third or fourth year. In one form or another, Raisin Weekend has been around since the very earliest days of the university. It was, and still is, a "rite of passage" for new students.

On Raisin Sunday, first years spend the day with their academic parents. First of all, they attend a tea party with their mother at which, traditionally, not much tea but a great deal of alcohol is consumed. Later, the children are collected by their fathers and the evening is spent in the drinking of yet more alcohol.

In return for their parents' kindnesses, the first year is expected to give them each a bottle of wine. This is deemed the modern equivalent of a pound of raisins (actually, the modern equivalent of a pound of raisins IS a pound of raisins) which was the usual gift way back in the mists of time when students had a bland diet (has this changed much?)

On the following day (handily called Raisin Monday) and after being woken up, sobered up, cleaned up, and dressed up in outlandish clothes, freshers are presented with their Raisin Receipts. These are written in Latin and is a way of acknowledging the gift of raisins. They always used to be on parchment. Nowadays, almost certainly, the receipt will be something large, embarrassing and cumbersome which has to be carried around.

The gift-giving does not end here. Academic mothers give each of their children "Raisin Strings" with a small gift attached. The gift or "favour" is supposed to reflect the personality of the child. The number of Raisin Strings depends on the status of the mother. It is one string per year of matriculation - blue for first year, crimson for second, gold for third and black for fourth. These strings, with gift still attached, will eventually be tied to the child's gown hooks.

After all this largesse, children are paraded through the town until they arrive at Sallies Quad. En route, third years, fourth years and graduates of the university (if they are wearing their gowns) can stop any fresher and examine their Raisin Receipt. If they find a mistake in it then they can demand that the Gaudeamus be sung as punishment. Once at Sallies Quad, between 11 and 12 o'clock, a foam fight nearly always breaks out - it's almost traditional. The striking of 12 o'clock means the end of the fun for another year, and sees students slowly drifting off. Parents perhaps to have photos developed. Freshers, almost certainly, to sleep.

So, there you have it. Last year I had 20 children, 10 sons, and 10 daughters (no I did not pair them up, although Academic Incest is widespread within the University) - this is allowed since Medics are technically one year ahead - we do a 4-year degree in 3 years, so in first year we are taking 2nd year class, in second year we're in 2rd year, etc...

It was a lot of fun, but this year as Big Grandpappy AMiB, I will be party-hopping, trying to enjoy myself while making sure no one dies from alcohol poisoning.


Friday, November 9, 2007

Happy Diwali!

Happy Diwali, everyone!

It's pretty hard for me to celebrate by going to a mandir, since the nearest ones are in Dundee (which seems to always be closed) and Edinburgh, and since this coming week is Reading Week and all, I'll be pretty busy preparing for my Mid-Semester Assessment (which counts for 25% of my module mark - the other 75% being from my End of Semester Assessment).

Oh yeah, and I also got allocated to Preston, which I have a lot to write about, when/if I have time.