Posts Tagged ‘medics’


How to Date a Med Student

In Funny,General,Medicine on April 11, 2011 by Lujayn Ali Tagged: ,

Great article a friend found on FoxNews. Be warned!


No. 11. They’re expected to know everything. Everything! The name of the 8 billion-lettered, German sounding cell that lives in the depths of your inner ear, the technical term for the “no one’s ever heard of this disease” disease that exists only on one foot of the Southern tip of the African continent. But ask them if your knee is swollen, or what you should do to tame your mucous-filled cough, or why the heck your head feels like someone’s been drilling through it for oil for two weeks straight, and they won’t have a clue. -So true!

Read the full version here



Comic Strip

In Comic,Medicine on March 28, 2011 by Lujayn Ali Tagged: , , ,

Working on new comic strip starring Yours Truly and clinical partner, Zooz. Watch this space.


Elective Plans (interlude)

In Electives on March 27, 2011 by Lujayn Ali Tagged: , , , ,

Am I allowed to just say “I’m planning to do as little work as possible and spend the rest of the time travelling” ?  No? Thought not. Damn, gotta think of something then…


Elective Planning Part 1

In Electives on March 13, 2011 by Lujayn Ali Tagged: , , ,

By most students’ accounts, an elective placement is an experience that will never be forgotten and a memory to be treasured. There is therefore a huge amount of pressure on the next batch of students to make the most of an elective placement and to live up to the dreamlike expectations painted by previous students.

Hyped up and looking forward to the placement, I threw myself into the first part of the planning stage; gathering ideas, discussions with friends and research on the Elective Abstract Record System (EARS) where I was met with an overwhelming amount of information. Probably too much information. At this point I will admit to feeling a little bit disheartened and lost in the mass of information.

Perhaps a little naively, I had carried the expectation that I would be travelling with my clinical partner for my elective and that we would have an amazing time where we would do our clinical work together and then use the rest of the time travelling and seeing the sights, taking part in the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. To the uninitiated, our relationship sounds a little strange, maybe crossing the border from purely platonic to something a bit more. In fact, our third year neurology firm head looked us up and down and asked, “Are you partners then?” At which point we caught each other’s eyes and said, “Clinical partners, yes.” Emphasis on clinical. But no, we’re just very good friends. We’ve known each other since childhood and I’m sure she can dig up some embarrassing photos of me just as I have some of her buried somewhere.

It turned out however that we were not on the same page. I wanted to go somewhere hot whereas she wanted to go somewhere cold. I was absolutely not going to budge on that one issue and neither was she, so we’ve had to split up and thus I was back at square one, canvassing different countries and finding someone(s) to go with.

I went ahead and sent out an email to my friends who were on other rotations to meet up and discuss plans and ideas. Unfortunately that plan failed. Miserably. There was too many of us to have a single time in common and the response rate was fairly low. I like to think it was because they too were feeling just as lost as I was. Although it could have just been a general lack of proactiveness and a can’t-be-bothered type syndrome which at times I’ve been guilty of myself.

Now well into the first rotation of our fourth year of medicine, sporadic meetings with friends, a few moments caught between lectures or tutorials, running from one ward to another between one pregnant woman in labour and an RTA in A&E became the norm. A quick “So where are you going for electives?” and a few moments of snatched conversation between hurried bites was the most conversation any of us had with each other. I’ve probably asked the same person that same question about five times. Eventually we were able to find a time in common and to discuss ideas. Many of them, like me, had the idea of going to two different countries. Between us, based on recommendations from previous students, EARS and google images we came to an agreement that Malaysia would be acceptable for us all and there were no major objections.  We sent out emails separately and applied to Hospital Kuala Lumpur for the second half of the elective period. We would be doing different things for the first half.

A conversation with my family and it was decided that I would be heading to the UAE for the first half where my aunt lives. Being fluent in Arabic and with Ramadan falling in August it would be nice to be with family where support and company would be present plus free board and meals – very important considering I had decided that I wanted to make the most of this opportunity to do something exciting and not worry too much about budgeting and being frugal (that’s what the pre elective making-my-own-lunch is all about).  I got into contact with her and procured the names of two hospitals close to where she lives. I emailed them explaining the situation and now the waiting game has begun.

It is now February and I have had confirmation from Hospital Kuala Lumpur to do general medicine for four weeks. I have heard absolutely nothing from the UAE and I am starting to get worried. I have sent out repeat emails and will be ringing them soon. It doesn’t seem to be happening so I have started to think about back up plans which don’t seem to be working either. Once I emailed the London Air Ambulance, I realised that I really wanted to do it. Embarrassingly, I even dreamed about it. However they have replied to tell me that their elective places have been filled up and so I am back to finding somewhere or something to do.

I’ve just sent out a second batch of emails to the UAE and one to the London Ambulance Service. I don’t really want to stay in London but I may have to reconcile with the idea. It does have its pros, I won’t have to worry about little Ali missing me. He’s my younger brother (only 4y/o). When I went to Ashford earlier this year for four days at a time, he was asking after me everyday, I don’t know if I want to put him through that again but I also know that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I guess if I had to choose I’d probably choose to go away. I wonder, does that make me a selfish person?


Defying Fate

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2011 by Lujayn Ali Tagged: , ,

You know when you have one of those days when it seems that you just can’t defy fate. Like when you try your best to be on time but it just doesn’t happen. I’m not talking about just being on time but actually making an effort to leave extra  early and with plenty of time to spare. Yeah. Happens to me all the time, especially when I make an extra effort to get in on time because if I’m not on time, it will be either extremely obvious or I will have missed something important.

Today I had a community paediatrics session at Sunshine House in Peckham, a large very colourful building visible from about a mile away. Only an idiot would miss it. Yes, I missed it. That would have been bad enough in and of itself but I had already been running late – through no fault of my own- because of delays on both the Picadilly and District lines that run through Victoria, which meant that I’d missed the train from Victoria and hence was late already. The clinic I was headed to was a developmental clinic, concerned with looking at children who were not developing according to the milestones. I hadnt done any prep so I had a bright idea develop in my desparation; I’d copy the milestones into my book, labelled clearly with the ages in red,  so that I could check them on the sly and I wouldn’t be late as well as stupid.

The train arrived just as I finished copying the final milestone. According to Googlemaps, walking distance form Peckham Rye station to Sunshine House is only 14 minutes. It took me more than half an hour. I got lost, asked for directions and was pointed back the way I came. Which was the wrong way and so I spent more than half an hour combing the same stretch of road for a colourful building which clearly did not exist.

My breakthrough came when I finally asked a lady with a pram. She pointed me back the way I came and said it was three bus stops away. I nearly cried, I’d just come from there. Twice! But I had to get on with it. I hopped onto the first bus and looked out for a colourful building which was just as obvious as it had been described. Not a building easily missed and so decided to keep the bit about getting lost to myself.

I ran in, almost an hour late, out of breath only to be told that the patient hadn’t arrived and they didn’t think they would be coming. Which was a relief on one hand but also slightly frustrating as it meant I wouldn’t have anything to do which would have been particularly annoying after the drama of the morning.

I was taken upstairs to the doctors office with Dr S who said we’d just go through development instead. We were about to start when we recieved word that the patient had arrived. Smiling, I went down to greet this mysterious patient with developmental problems. I stepped into the waiting room only to stop short. My developmental milestones only went up to 14months. Facing me was a 14 year old boy who had been referred because of behavioural issues. My notes were absolutely useless. I had to make it up as I went along. I blundered through the interview umming and erring and finally got through the whole thing. Perhaps the only consolation is that he had a great story, one that sparked off my creative instincts and gave me an excellent idea for my next novel.

The take-home message for me is to stop trying to be on time and go with the flow. The world conspires against me when I break my rushing-in-at-the-minute-and-hope-no-one-notices routine. I guess I’m just one of those people fated to be late and there’s nothing I can do to change that.