Archive for August, 2009


August 29, 2009

I walked into my exam review appointment with a pen, pad of paper & sloping shoulders. Hit me. Tell me what I did wrong & how I did it wrong, & why I did it wrong so I can fix it. Be blunt, brutal & honest.

I had already mentally prepared myself for the possibility that I would fail the supp, then the next exams, therefore the year, & be asked not to return for fear of sullying the name of the university.

I’d already had long discussions into the night with Dutchboy about living on the Gold Coast for another year if I did have to repeat. I’d already had over two weeks of staring into the sky every now & then, thinking “Soooo, self, you really aren’t cut out for this. You probably should have stayed in advertising & moved to Melbourne & be working your way up the agency ladder, made more money so you can eat out more. They have WAY better restaurants in Melbourne. You’ve really botched this up for us (‘us’ being my stomach & I).”

My appt time came, & went, as I waited outside the office. I’d been waiting for 16 days for this interview so what was another half hour? When I did get to go in, my paper wasn’t in the pile so back out I went into the corridor for ten minutes while someone hurried around trying to find it.

Finally, myself, my exam paper & the exam reviewer lady were all in the same room together. It was at this point that the exam reviewer opened up her computer screen.

Exam reviewer lady : Oh

Me: um…?

ERL: That’s strange.

Me: *blinking*

ERL: Sooo…it appears you only failed the exam by 0.4%. So if I was you I wouldn’t bother sitting the supp. You’ll only be able to make up 0.4%** which is really only about half a mark or so…mmmm. So….yeah.

Me: *stunned silence*

ERL: (obviously slightly uncomfortable with strange stunned mullet sitting opposite her) Sooooooo, just do well with your Cardio, Resp & Renal blocks & you’ll be fine.

She then went on to say some stuff, which I’ve heard before but never from someone in her position, about how the non-science students typically perform poorly in the first lot of exams & then make up for it later. How a borderline pass or a 0.4 fail is actually an okay score for a non-sci etc etc. It was surreal.

So, thank you, Lovely Exam Reviewer Lady & the good people at FirstChoice Liquor for making this long weekend unforgettable.

**When sitting a supplementary exam, no matter how well students perform they get given the pass mark.


Time to (briefly) shine

August 24, 2009

If I was to describe this year as a feeling it would be:  inadequacy.  When I read C’s posts I feel slightly better knowing that someone else on the other side of the country feels exactly the same as I do nearly everyday.

But every now + then (extremely rarely) there are some golden moments when I don’t feel inadequate. Moments when I *gasp* actually feel a tiny bit awesome.

These moments generally only ever occur in clinical skills.  These are moments when I’m reminded that my past life, my crazy open family who regularly scream at each other, my x amount of years in crappy jobs, my fiery italian-esque relationship screaming matches, my experiences being abused by the general public and having spittle hurled in the face because the “goddamn coffee isn’t hot and I SPECIFICALLY ASKED FOR A HOT LATTE”…+ my years answering complaint calls from angry mothers whose jumping castles have deflated/not turned up/ruined their hydrangeas…

they were useful.

Because today during our simulated angry patient workshop (actor comes in going off their head + we calm them) today…I killed it. I diffused that anger like a freaking anger…er..diffusing….pro. For the first time ever during med a tutor said to *me* “That was faultless. I don’t have any feedback.”

Today was a bit of a revelation because I realised that something I had considered so normal + natural was actually something a bit special. It may not the the ability to fly or see through attractive mens clothing but…my brilliant superpower is: Other people’s anger doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t paralyse me or silence my thoughts as it seems to do to those less experienced in copping full on verbal abuse. When someone starts screaming, my only thoughts are “why is this person going apeshit and how can I stop them spitting in my face so I can go back to reading my magazine/cup of tea/data spreadsheet?”

I’ve spent the rest of the afternoon feeling quietly chuffed. I’m planning on savouring that feeling for a while…it might be my happy place where I go when I start to think “oh lord, I’m going to be the most irresponsible, horrible clinician because I can’t figure out partial pressures of O2”.

But hey, smart people! If you help me figure out this science crap, when something goes wrong with you, I’ll let you send all your angry patients to me.

Going nuts.

August 11, 2009

Picture 3

Apart from wanting to know where the eff all this paper comes from, the main thing that I find myself asking when I’m organising my notes is why on EARTH I wrote things like:

“Don’t inject nutmeg”

Is that supposed to be a joke? Serious caution? Are there people who inject nutmeg? Is it a street name for something? Have I misheard a hypertension drug name? Why didn’t I write the REASON not to inject nutmeg?


But really. In case you were planning on doing it. Injecting nutmeg, that is. Don’t. Because its bad.



August 11, 2009

Not as in “what’s up?” but rather…I have to SIT a supp. ugh.

I passed everything except Identity, Microbes and Defense. Or is it Immunity, Microbes and D..meh see? This is why I’m sitting the supp. I’m not even sure what the topic is called.

Not sure what the go is with when it is but the thought of studying for it makes me want to lie down and have another long nap. I do get a meeting with the year co-ordinator where we get to chat about my exam results. Perhaps the fact that I wrote that pubic lice were a STD and the cause was ‘lice in your pubes’ may come up…


Rings & Braces

August 7, 2009

A few things have happened since I went on a bit of a blogging hiatus.

1. Dutchboy & I got engaged.

2. I got braces & a palate expander.

3. I got sick.

Suffice to say, I am very happy about one of those developments and not so excited about the others…

Friendly orthodontist did say that I could have them off for the wedding (January) but I neglected to ask if he meant the expander as well. Having wanted braces for years now I didn’t take much notice when he mentioned the expander. “Yeah, yeah, yeah that sounds great – so I can get braces right??”

I’m really happy to be finally fixing my teeth but a little bit of googling may not have gone astray…The expander is shithouse a bit of a pain.

For scharters, I schpeak really schtrangely (juscht like Schelly, Schtan’s older schister in Schouthpark). Secondly, vomiting with a piece of plastic that gets anything caught under it cemented to the roof of your mouth is not something I had considered. Scheriously.  So it makes sense that the day before I got the braces and torture device expander put on I caught a horrid feverish version of something and have spent the last few days lying in bed sucking iceblocks and spewing elegantly.

But enough about that. If you want to take ten years off your life, I highly recommend braces. 14 year old med student, anyone?


August 7, 2009

It’s been a long time since our exams but here I go:

Our first exams were like being told you were going to Disneyland then just being driven to a service station and getting bought a packet of chips with a free toy. A toy that’s not even a Disney character.

Not exactly what we were expeeeeeeeeeeecting.

The exam hadn’t actually been proofread. At all. There were double up questions, jackhammers outside the room (because a construction site is always the first choice for an exam venue), and the two-exam-lady-people who answered their phones every five minutes and stopped us to tell us that “Um, just letting you know that question 29 is actually question 30 and is worth 3 marks not 3 1/2. Okay?”

A few of the correct answers in the multiple choice were printed in bold. BOLD! Nobody pointed this out the the mobile phone wielding ladies, however. But to even out any advantages we gained from being given the right answer there were also huge chunks of detail left out in a short answer question. The question was to the effect of:

Mrs X has heart failure and is experiencing shortness of breath.

What is causing her renal failure?

Um. Is that a typo? Apparently not.  Twenty minutes to go before the end of the exam our lady-exam-person got a mobile call and then relayed to us that there was actually a whole paragraph missing about how Mrs X had surgery and then needed a blood transfusion but it was the wrong blood type which caused haemolysis and she is now experiencing renal failure.

Minor details.

The exam came in three or four separate parts, two which were minicases which lead on from each other where we had to hand one bit in before we were given the last bit. But someone had printed and stapled two of the parts together. Yes. Someone had printed and stapled the second part (which contained the answers to the first part) TO THE FIRST PART. So of course they took all our minicases off us and reprinted them and redistributed them to us while we were doing the exam.

So the first two written exams were write offs. Pretty much anything that a lecturer had said “Remember this, it’s examinable” was not on there. People felt so strongly about it that there was a petition sent around re: the quality and content of the exams. Despite being generally anti any sort of petition I was like GIVE ME THAT THING AND LET ME SIGN IT WITH THIS BIG BLACK WHITEBOARD MARKER AND UNDERLINE IT WITH MY BLOOD.

The anatomy exam (organised and written by different people) was great. Maybe it was just that after the crapness of the written exams anything seemed good, but it was predictable. Everything they said they’d examine, was examined. Anything I didn’t know was my fault because I’d skipped over it during study. Even if I couldn’t name something I recognised everything on the tables, and knew I’d just forgotten the name. It was really nice.

The clinical skills exam (three actors, each having a different problem, we talk to them blah blah blah) was pretty much the same. They told us what it would be like and *shock horror* it was exactly like they’d said.

Now we are waiting for results. That we were told would be out yesterday at 5pm.

Not that anything surprises us anymore.