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Halfway Through Medical School

I’m about two and half years away from officially being a doctor (by God’s grace!), and that is absolutely terrifying.

(Well technically I’m two thirds of my way through medical school because I did a foundation year, but halfway sounds better so let’s go with that).

Last Saturday was my medical school half way ball, and it was such a fun night! Everyone looked amazing, and it was just great to have the majority of our year together for the first time since freshers’ week back in 2014. As corny as it sounds, we are the “doctors of tomorrow,” and I feel so honoured to be part of this wonderful cohort. Excited to see what the future will bring for each of us!

Cliché again, but it really feels like just yesterday that I started university, scared because I was on my own for the first time in my life, and determined to pass my foundation year to become a “proper” medical student.

That was nearly four years ago, and I’m grateful to God for seemingly little things like how I can answer questions in lectures without fear because I know more now, how speaking to patients and placements have become less overwhelming, how I’m starting to have an idea of what I want to specialise in, and how most of my foundation year pals are still part of my life.

Finally, I’d just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has been reading this blog. I’ve come a long way from my 18 year old self, who initially started this blog to record her gap year adventures because she didn’t get any medicine offers, and now I’m halfway through year 3. And what a journey it’s been!

Okay, enough of the sentimental stuff. Here are some pictures from the ball:

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Special mention to the Keen One a.k.a. Kenny for coming down to celebrate with me. Here is a picture that I wasn’t aware was being taken, but is one of my faves from the ball because SO MUCH LOVE.
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I’m The Worst Person To Go Dress Shopping With

But I really like dresses. You see my dilemma?

I’m a “dress person,” which means that they’re my favourite item of clothing, and quite high on my list of favourite things in general to be honest. I’m that person who swoons when passing wedding dress shops, and will stop a stranger in the street to tell them I like their dress. I own quite a few dresses- from casual ones to smart ones, to evening dresses, ball gowns and bespoke ones I’ve had tailor made, my dress collection grows with every excuse I have to get a new one. And our medical school half way ball is in exactly two weeks, the perfect excuse for dress shopping!

Which brings me to the title of this post: I really am the worst person to go dress shopping with.

Why, you ask? Because I’m really indecisive, meaning that it can take me hours to pick one. Abs (my mother) is such a babe for putting up with it, because she’s always on the receiving end of my dress sulks. I always go dress shopping for big events with Abs and the Keen One a.k.a. Kenny, and this is probably why I sulk more. Ken, being the Keen One that she is, usually manages to find a dress she likes in the first shop that we go into, but it’s never that easy for me.

So I get sulky and annoyed, start giving monosyllabic responses when asked what I think of the dresses I’m trying on, which makes the whole process longer for everyone. The worst thing is that I’m aware of the fact that I’m being a pain, but I can’t stop being in a foul mood, and it’s really frustrating. This goes on until I eventually find a dress after hours of acting like a child, and then I’m all good again!

This is a process that has been going on for years, but today, I was determined to change things; new year, better Tai!

I met Abs in London with a plan- I wanted either a green or purple dress that was either a mermaid cut, empire line style, or a sheath gown. With this in mind, we went shopping, and I was determined not to go into one of my signature dress sulks.

So how did it go? Well after just under an hour, and three shops later, I have a dress!!! It’s very pretty, and has lace in it, which is what I wanted. The style is kind of empire line meets sheath gown, and after having the tailor make some adjustments so that it fit me perfectly, I’m really happy with it! This is a new record for me, and even Abs was surprised at the more mature, decisive me. YAY.

You probably want to see what the dress looks like after I’ve hyped it up so much, but of course I’m not posting pictures till halfway ball, it has to be kept a secret 😉 I’ll say that it’s not green or purple though…

Shoutout to Abs for her never ending patience, and to Ken for providing support and comments via WhatsApp Video. Such a good day!

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New Year, Better Me?

HELLO, and happy new year!

I am back in uni land for the new semester, and I am absolutely BUZZING, because there are so many great things to look forward to. Halfway ball, the annual charity fashion show, visits from friends, and open mic nights put on by the new Healthcare Arts and Performance Society that I’m part of, are just a few of the things coming up this semester. It’s going to be a busy one, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t keep busy amirite?

Ofcourse, I’m still here to get my degree, so I’m also looking forward to learning about the Gastrointestinal System. We’ve been told that it’s not as intense as ENT, Ophthalmology and Neuro, so hopefully that’ll give me more time to keep on top of things. I want to be better at keeping up with my notes this semester, and if that means learning to say ‘No’ more, then so be it. While it’s good to not just be about medicine all the time, I mustn’t forget that this degree should be higher up on the list of my priorities.

I also want to be better at my challenges of the month. I’ve been slacking lately, and I feel bad because I used to do something new every month, but now I’m not going out of my comfort zone as much as I used to. So due to this, I’ve decided that this month’s challenge of the month will be Tinder. That’s right, you read right – The Ice Queen is going to go on a Tinder date at some point this month. Stay tuned for updates.

Another thing I want to better at is cooking Nigerian food while I’m at uni. I’ve enjoyed teaching my housemates more about Nigerian culture, so I want to carry on with it this year. Armed with a list (and pictures) of spices and ingredients from Abs (my mother), I plan to go to the African food shop and buy a ton of stuff to cook with. Exciting times ahead!

Finally, I want to be better at reading in my free time. I don’t read much during term time, (probably because I don’t have much free time), but after getting through Purple Hibiscus and A Monster Calls in a couple of hours during the Christmas break, I realised how much I miss it. So every night, I’m going to try and read before bed. Book suggestions are very welcome 🙂

And those are some of “resolutions” for the new year! Will I manage to accomplish them? I guess time will tell…

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Lessons From Term One of 3rd Year of Medical School

It’s been quite the semester- third year at my medical school is known as the hardest year. Only one term in, and I agree with that completely. On reflection, it’s been challenging, with many ups and downs, so without further ado, here are some lessons I’ve learnt so far:

  • STAY ON TOP OF ANATOMY. This is something I always keep coming back to, and I need to learn from this, because I started off the term well, but ended up slacking after a few weeks. You can make life so much easier for yourself if you dedicate time to going through anatomy. A new year’s resolution for me, maybe?
  • Getting my first student job in third year probably wasn’t one of my best ideas, so I’d say don’t do this unless it’s a job with flexible hours. Working as a student caller was only for a couple of weeks, and I only had to do three shifts a week so it wasn’t too bad. I made quite a bit of money too, so I guess #noregrets
  • Leading on from my last point, time management is very important. This term I had to balance staying on top of PBL/lectures, netball commitments, student caller work, volunteering on Saturdays, and church commitments, so it was quite a lot to handle. But I got through it through the grace of God, and my trusty calendar, ofcourse. So sticking to a strict-ish schedule really helped. Before I go to bed every night, I make a ‘To Do List’ for the next day, and that helps me keep on top of things. It also helps me get to sleep easier, because I sleep quicker with my head cleared of what needs to be done.
  • As important as it is to stay on top of work and various commitments, don’t forget that saying no sometimes is okay too. Looking after yourself is important, and I learnt this a lot this term, because there were quite a few times that I had take time off to be alone, and watch TV, and sleep, and eat, and just have some ‘Tai Time,’ AND IT WAS OKAY.
  • In the words of John Donne, “No man is an island,” and this is so SO true in medical school. I would like to give a very special mention to Alice, who has been such a blessing to me. From practising examinations together, to grilling me on logbooks, to patiently teaching me anatomy, and just listening to me when I was sad/feeling sorry for myself, I would definitely not have gotten through this term without her. It’s very important not to isolate yourself as a medical student, because things can get very overwhelming if you do. So make sure you surround yourself with people who you can count on to be there for you.

I got the results of the OSCE a few days ago, and I passed, yay! So so relieved and grateful to God, praying that next term will be even better! It’s so great to be home and to relax though; coming home for Christmas is the best.

Finally, merry Christmas! To everyone reading this, I hope you have lovely festive season with friends and family wherever you are. As always, I leave you with my favourite hymn:

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Module 7 Placement: Neurology

NEURO IS VERY HARD.

You know what makes it even harder? Spraining your knee during placement so you’re walking with a limp around the wards. Not fun. Neurology placement was just a bit peak for me health wise to be honest- numerous headaches and waking up with a nosebleed weren’t fun, but I’m fine and got through it, so I thank God!

As someone who struggles with anatomy in general, neuro anatomy has been quite the challenge. To prepare for teaching sessions and clinics, I did pre-reading like I’ve never done before, because I was so scared of being picked on to answer a question and not knowing the answer.

I watched YouTube videos to revise/learn anatomy and physiology, and I highly recommend Handwritten Tutorials and Armando Hasudungan, because they break things down really well. Khan Academy is brilliant as well- forever in awe of people who got through medical school before the internet was a thing, because I would definitely not have made it this far without it.

What got me through the two weeks of neurology placement was the fact that I find it all so interesting. The brain is really amazing, and when you have a basic understanding of the different parts of it, you can start to understand the pathology behind the conditions that affect it. The same thing applies to radiology of the brain; familiarising yourself with normal anatomy is important because it makes it so much easier to pick out abnormalities. Radiology Masterclass is great for easy to follow tutorials and scans.

I had more free time during neuro, as I was back in our main hospital, which gave me more time to catch up on my logbooks and practise examinations. Cranial nerves, upper limb and lower limb; I went through them so many times and it got a bit repetitive, but that’s the best way to get good at them, in order to be able to do them quicker in OSCEs.

One of the best parts of neuro placement was a retired consultant who we had some teaching sessions with. He taught us without using PowerPoint slides or notes, and he’s one of the best lecturers I’ve ever had- engaging, knowledgeable, and just a really nice man! He retired many years ago, but still likes to come in to teach because he enjoys it so much. Not going to lie, I may have cried a bit when he gave us his phone number after our final session, and asked us to let him know how the OSCE goes. What a cutie!

The highlight of neurology was definitely my time on the ward. I got to speak to many lovely patients with a wide range of conditions such as epilepsy, Guillian Barre Syndrome, Myasthenia Gravis, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Parkinson’s Disease, and even meningitis! It makes such a different seeing these conditions in real life, and I learnt a lot from the patients.

I’m home for Christmas now, and what a term it’s been! I think I’ll do another post summarising the ups and downs of the first term of third year, as this one has gotten a bit long haha, so if you’ve managed to get to the end of this post, I appreciate the read!  😀

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Module 7 Placement: Ophthalmology

A summary of ophthalmology in three words? Death by clinic.

So. Many. Clinics.

I had no idea that ophthalmology had so many sub-specialties within it, as a lot of our teaching sessions were in different clinics. From eyelid disorders, to corneal disease, to glaucoma and strabismus (squints), we saw a wide range of patients, so that was really good.

My favourite clinic was the paediatric one, where I was with a consultant that specialises in squints seen in children, and this is when the eyes point in different directions. The consultant really grilled me, but he wasn’t mean about it, so I learned quite a lot in his clinic. The best part was he asked me to help distract the children, so I had to keep them focused by playing games that ensured they were looking behind the consultant, in order for him to examine their eyes properly. Such fun! It made me even more determined to go into paeds when I qualify.

Anyway, you know how I said otoscopy was hard when I did ENT? Yeah, it’s a walk in the park compared to fundoscopy. FUNDOSCOPY IS SO HARD.

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It involves the use of an ophthalmoscope to look into the back of eyes, and I really struggled with it. The hardest thing about it is that when you’re looking into someone’s left eye, you have to use your own left eye, and that’s difficult for me because I struggle with closing just my right eye. So I’ve been practising winking with that eye, and it’s helped, sort of? I guess this is another one of those things that will get better with time, I hope!

Examining the eyes is very #longforman in general to be honest; there are so many steps to remember! I was taught ‘AFRO’ as a good way to ensure you don’t miss things out, and it’s been really helpful:

A – acuity (Snellen chart, Ishihara plates)
F – fields (as well as inattention and blindspot)
R – reflexes (direct, consensual, RAPD, and accommodation)
O – ophthalmoscopy

So good! Again, practise practise PRACTISE.

Finally, the week in ophthalmology taught me that I’m really not my best when I haven’t had much sleep. As it was our final week at this hospital, we still had to get the 8am bus from campus, so it was early starts all week. The smart thing to do would have been to go to bed early to ensure proper rest, but I’m more productive at night, you see, and that’s why I end up going to bed late.

The lack of sleep definitely showed every day, because I was crankier, more impatient, and got irritated more easily. Apologies to anyone I was snappy with- it’s not you, it’s me. I really need to start sleeping earlier because the more sleep you get, the more energy you have for the next day. Who knew?

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Module 7 Placement: ENT

For anyone who doesn’t know, ENT stands for ‘Ears, Nose and Throat,’ and my first week of secondary care was a very intense week spent trying to fit everything in. For module 7 I’m back in my favourite hospital, which has the best teaching in my opinion, but the down side to that is early starts in the morning, as our bus leaves at 8am from campus. I can’t really complain though, because as medical students, we get free transport to and from placement. This is something other healthcare students don’t get, so we’re quite spoilt to be honest.

As we only had one week in ENT, our timetables were very busy, meaning that apart from our hour lunch break, we had something on from half 9 till 5. I really enjoyed it though- the consultants and registrars were really nice, even though they were disappointed that none of us were interested in ENT…

My days consisted of teaching sessions, clinics, structured patient teaching (where patients with certain conditions are brought in for us to practise our history and examination skills), and theatre.

We had a clinic with my favourite ENT lecturer, the one who broke his nose and is a P&P fan too. He really grilled us, so when he said one of my patient presentations was perfect, it was such a proud moment for me. YAY.

I’m slowly getting there with otoscopy, which is the use of an otoscope to examine the ears.

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The correct way is to hold it like a pen, but for some reason I keep overthinking it, so when I hold an otoscope, I sometimes forget how to hold a pen? It’s so frustrating, but I guess all I can do is keep practising.

I really enjoyed my time in theatre too- I got to watch the insertion of grommets, as well as a few tonsillectomies. The anaesthetic team were so brill with the younger patients- they told them stories as they were put to sleep for surgery, and it was all very cute.  I think some of the parents were more nervous than their children; one mother was literally sobbing, even though her son’s procedure (a nose fracture reduction) took less than five minutes!

Another great moment during my week in ENT was when I jokingly suggested for music to be played in theatre, to lighten the mood during a tonsillectomy, and they listened to me! So we had a little singalong to bangers like All I Want for Christmas and Wham’s Last Christmas. So much fun!

Anyways, what are my take home lessons from ENT?

1) Surgery isn’t as bad as I thought it’d be, 2) I’m considering taking a year out after F2 to do a Masters, 3) You can be a registrar and still nice to students- shout out to Mr A for his advice on intercalating and how to get involved with research.

And finally, NEVER clean your ears with cotton buds!