Anonymity and Social Media
Apr 1, 2013
I'm going to have to wave good bye to this account.
The GMC recently introduced new guidelines that means doctors can't use social media anonymously.
We can use social media, and not say we are doctors, or we can use social media, say we are doctors and give our full name and GMC number!
I don't really want this to be the first thing that comes up when people google my name, so I'm going to have to stop using this account. I will shortly get another account in which I do not mention that I am a doctor.
213 days to write a Thesis.
Nov 29, 2012
Today I found out the start date for my new job. This is a good thing, the downside is that means I only have 213 days of my current job to finish this little PhD thing.I am planning on getting a celebratory tattoo on the day I get my PhD. I haven't decided what yet, , but it has to be scientifically accurate. On bad days I fantasie about getting my letters tattooed on my arm... You may not see me much about these parts. (Obviously if I hadn't spent so much time on saving h2g2 I wouldn't be panicking so much, but then there might not be these parts to see me around)...
The Supervisors, aka Prof Bosses are experienced supervisors, they have made it clear that not getting a PhD is not an option. It would reflect badly on their department. Prof B is the national Stroke Tsar, sadly Prof A is not the national stroke Tsarina and they are not opening nominations for a rasputin. They have told me the thing to do is to write about 8 papers, get them published, and then cut and paste them into a thesis. The advantage of this i that the reviewers will ask the questions that are likely to be asked in the viva. So far I've written 1, there is another one on my desktop, which is on version 2. All the other supervisors get their students to write a thesis and then work on the papers. When I feel nervous I think how many other students they've supervised...
Today I was working on a lecture I am giving on Wednesday, for the lecture I needed information that will be part of Chapter 4, so I wrote three tables that will be in Chapter 4. This will be the next paper.
A Challenge for you: can you create your own conspiracy theory..
Nov 23, 2012
Inspired by this I'm wondering if we can create our own conspiracy theory..
We just need to start a semi-plausible rumor that appeals to someone's intrinsic prejudice and spread it around the internet.
We can get started here:
Z'sNaJoPoMo - NaJoMoRoundUP
Nov 12, 2012
So my NaJoPoMo for the 12th is a Round up of some of the most amusing bits of NaJoPoMo.
Today has been of limited interest. I am writing up my PhD. I drove to work. I wrote on a computer. I spoke to Prof 2 briefly. I wrote more on a computer P=0.0001 I was happy. I wrote some more. I came home...I took a young person out with the befriending scheme, which I can't post about on the internet.
This year NaJoPoMo has been more adventurous, intrepid posters have experimented with different forms, and there has been some great reads. Of course there are the lovely slice of life journals. The ones that give you such an insight into the life of the fellow h2g2ers and helps you feel you really know them better. But this month people are being more experiment.
Minor Vogon Poet has been posting a Haiku a day F3509477?thread=8297640&latest=1
Beatrice has also been posting in verse F84431?thread=8297624
The Perils of Paulh have me sniggering almost every day... can you catch the literary references? U176638
Whilst we're talking about sniggering read the exciting adventures of a litter bin on twitter brought to you by Icy North. F131941?thread=8297973&latest=1
Dmitri's been bringing us film clips on a daily basis: F2130683?thread=8297635&latest=1
Then Sol has been bringing us a todder's guide to the sights of London: U138596
Z's NaJoPoMo 'Random Rambles'
Nov 7, 2012
I soon realised that I don't have enough to write about academia, culture, and the country.
Whilst listening to the radio this a few weeks ago I was struck by the fact that so much of the media about about brining me opinions from uninformed people. As I had to drive somewhere during the day I found that I was listening to a phone in where people who didn't know anything about current events got airtime to talk about them. All linked together by a presenter who didn't know anything about the event in question.
When will this all end?
Is the next step film reviews by people who have never seen the film? Restaurant reviews by people who haven't visited the establishment in question?
Ahh yes, we have thoughts on the care of the dying by someone who knows sod all about it:
I could give my personal opinions about the liverpool care pathway. But I haven't practiced clinical medicine since 2010, (other than the odd locum shift) so I am in fact uninformed as well.
I suggest you do read the opinions of someone who is a) a doctor who works in the field of palliative medicine, and b) not expected to live more than a year. An informed opinion:
Z's NaJoPoMo "Country Life"
Nov 3, 2012
This is the final theme for NaJoPoMo, so you'll only have three threads to keep up with .
We live on an estate in the Lothians, that's South East Scotland. I grew up on a certain sort of estate, a housing estate where the children hung around outside and sometimes burnt things. Cars. That sort of thing.
This is an entirely different sort of estate. It's a country estate. There's a large house (The Big House) owned by The LandLord, the landlord is an actual Lord. The house is a large stately home and we live in one of the cottages in the grounds. Originally it would be an estate workers cottage. We have one neighbour, and then it's the Big House which is about a mile away. A lot of our neighbours are still estate workers, and one of them who is in her 90s has lived on the estate all her life and worked there since she was 14. I am a bit socialist, so I have to think of it as a reserve for aristocrats to practice their ancient customs for the benefit of tourists.
I never want to go back to the City, and I find the idea of living with so many people around me quite intimidating. Though living someone a bit more remote means less privacy, not more. Although we only have one neighbour we are always aware of whether she is out or in, and if she wasn't around for a few days we'd wonder why. We tell each other if we are going away. We take care of each others pets, and have keys to each others houses.
Tonight was the firework party at The Big House. As tenants of The Estate we got free tickets, though most people had to pay to come in. It's quiet an event. Our house is behind the cordon so we had to take our residents pass to get out at lunchtime. It's quite an event with a bonfire, some rides for the children and a DJ playing bad pop music. We'd invited a friend to come over and join us for a meal after the fireworks. It was a big enough event to be worth the drive over from Glasgow.
J is a consultant now. She has been for a few years. I find the idea of having friends who are consultants a bit intimidating. To me consultants are god-like creatures with higher powers. Although I only have four more years of training before I am one myself. If I hadn't ed about doing research I would have been one in 2014. Now it's going to be 2017, which seems far further away. Thankfully. Having a chat with a human who not only is a consultant, but refers to other consultants as girls ("Yeah there's this girl who does our interventional cardiology, she's very good, does aortic valve replacements without surgery!") We met her outside The House and watched the fireworks. They were excellent! Ooh Purple, Ooh pink, and so on. Some which seemed to send Catherine wheels into the sky, some of them exploded into smiley faces in the sky. I love fireworks, I always have done.
Afterwards she came back to ours for a meal and a long gossip about who was doing what, with whom, and who knows about it. The usual sort of conversation. I had made some scones and Ben had made baked potato and veg chilli.
Now to polish table 1 of my paper from hell a bit...
Z's NaJoPoMo 'Notes from the Ivory Tower'
Nov 2, 2012
This PhD has been the hardest thing I have ever done. Although I wasn't top of the class in university I certainly never felt particularly challenged by medschool and the post graduate exams. There was a lot to learn and it took a lot of time, but all I had to do was to actually put the time in. The results were directly proportional to the amount of effort I put in. More effort and I got a better result, less effort and I got a poorer result.
There was always a nagging doubt that I might be dyslexic, but it didn't seem to matter too much. My teachers had raised it as a possibility when I was 17. I looked at the other dyslexic pupils at school, they were either completely stupid, or pretty normal with bizarre pushy parents that couldn't accept that their darling offspring weren't wonderfully intelligent. I refused to go and get diagnosed. My parents thought that dyslexia was a modern word for stupid. At university I decided not to tell anyone I might dyslexic and I never, ever, needed the extra time. On h2g2 people assumed I may be dyslexic from the way I wrote, but that gradually improved. Then when I started work things feel apart a bit when I just couldn't organize myself, but after a few months I was ok. I was also really good at some things, staying calm and thinking clearly in a crises, and talking to the relatives afterwards. I decided that I couldn't be dyslexic, after all I had got through all of this ok.
All along there were things I really struggled to do, things that everyone else could do. Things such as keeping my house tidy, having clean clothes every day, driving a car. Again this was stupid incompetence. I thought. I pretended everything was ok. Passed my driving test on the third attempt, even tried to learn to fly. I was a competent doctor, I had references and exams to say I was. I couldn't understand why I couldn't manage to have clean ironed clothes every day or keep my house tidy. I blamed the hours. And I could always wear scrubs which were washed by the hospital.
I've forgotten why i decided to do research. I think that it was partly because I thought that it was be a neat idea to discover something new, and partly because it seemed interesting. And it is interesting. I'm eternally grateful to Prof A and Prof B for giving me the chance. At first it was ok. Everyone was cleverer than me here. But after a while I struggled to keep up. It wasn't just that my written work wasn't very good. It was that I could barely organise myself I struggled to keep up with the admin. I worried a lot that I wasn't making a mistake, kept checking things again and again.
It was the left/right business that finally caught me. I had been asked to help out with clinic one morning. It was busier than usual and I wrote a referral letter in which I confused left and write. No harm was done, but the boss was Very Worried. The other Prof was also very worried, why wasn't I coping, why was my written work a mess. I muttered about maybe being dyslexic, took myself off to the student support service and they did a long and complex assessment and pronounced that I was indeed mild to moderately dyslexic. Actually I was moderately dyslexic, but I was compensating to mild. A few months a friend who is a teacher suggested that I may have elements of dyspraxia because I struggled with sentence structure, clumsiness and organisation. I read a book about living with dyspraxic and it all fitted a lot more closely that dyslexia. It would certainly explain why I can't look after a house properly, why driving a car took longer to learn, and so on.
But once you know you are dyslexic, what do you do about it? Checking the left/right in clinic is the easy bit. I draw myself a stick man in the notes, with an arrow pointing at the limb affected by the stroke. Then I check my requests against that stick man.
People initially said 'don't worry you can get someone to proof read your papers, lots of people do that'. But it's more than proof reading. If I can't copy down the results of the experiment properly then it's a problem. I've spent all week correcting some screw ups I made a year ago. I wrote a review which went to a Peer Reviewed journal, two reviewers liked it, and the other thought it was 'sloppy' because it was full of simple errors. The editor asked if I could revise and re-submit maybe if I read between the lines he implied that he would be keen to publish it. But the reviewer was right it was full of errors. It was sloppy. So I'm busy correcting the errors to re-submit it.
The Prof is getting exasperated with me, 'But I told you about this spelling and punctuation months ago, and you still can't do it!', and 'I can't proof read everything you do'. It all gets worse if I accidentally mislabel the version of the document I'm working on, and the errors she's carefully corrected go back in. I don't blame her for getting exasperated. I'm getting exasperated with myself. Because I've hit my limit. I'm trying as hard as I can and it isn't good enough. This is unusual for me. In the past I've just had to work harder and then I've achieved what I wanted.
Just trying harder doesn't help. I have to try different strategies, some of those strategies work and some don't. But I'm still not as good as the other students. I'm still failing. And there's times when I want to cry with frustration. These usually happen right after a meeting the Prof. The really annoying thing is that I love research and I want to do more of it. But at times I also want to walk out the door and never come back.
I've got new strategies, and things are starting to get better. It's not an overnight thing though, it's a bit, by bit thing. And god it's difficult.
NaJoPoMo 2012 In which Z is cultured
Nov 1, 2012
*looks at clock*
I'm going to have two of three 'NaJoPoMo' threads, each on a particular theme. I think it'll be 'Culture', 'Country life', and 'Ivory Tower'.
This is the culture thread.
We went to the theatre tonight. We saw a play called "shattered" which was directed and created by a friend of ours. It was a series of monologues on the subject of mental illness. It was at what is often called an intimate venue, as the audience was around the sides of the room and the cast was in the middle.
As you walked in the cast was each crouched on the floor and you had to edge around the side. Then once the music started they jumped into life, each talking at once. Gradually it sank into one monologue at a time. A young mother with post natal depression, anxious about harming her baby, a woman in a job interview trying to explain her shaky employment history because of mental illness, a student who knew he was in the process of failing his degree because of depression but couldn't bring himself to seek help.
One of the most powerful ended with the line 'it's not up to us to be 'brave' it's up to you to be understanding'.
One of the most interesting things about it was that many of the narratives were tales of people who had benefited from medication. It was firmly in the biological model of mental illness. When seeing work about mental illness, you often find that the art around mental illness is created by people who are more comfortable with the psychological or sociological models. The thoughts that mental illness is caused by childhood trauma, or by the social situation of helplessness such as in a bad job. It was interesting to see it from a different point of view.
It was a truely excellent piece of work, and I would never have believed it was a student production. I would at this point urge you all to go and see it, but it's only for one night only.
I'll be NaJoPoMoing, would my friends prefer all journals in one thread or a new thread every day?
Oct 28, 2012
Dear Ladies, Gentlemen and assorted entities who have been kind enough to friend me. I'm going to be partaking in the NaJoPoMo 2012, which means I'll be updating my journal every day during the month of November. I suspect it will be a case of whinging about writing a thesis and other such things.
Now dear friends, what would you like me to do? Would you like me to keep it to one journal which I update regularly? Or would you rather I made a new post every day.
The last thing I want is to loose friends, so if anyone would rather I kept it to one thread I will do.
Trimmings from The Cutting Edge of Science.
Oct 21, 2012
Today (Sunday) I have gone to work, finished proof reading a paper and e mailed it to the first author for comments.
Been asked to Peer Review a paper (yahay!). Come home and attempted to do the data-extraction for a systematic review I am working one. Despite four coffee's the brain doesn't work so I may give up.
Sep 30, 2012
It's been just over two months since I handed over to Pastey. It felt strange at first, like something was missing in my life, but within a few minutes it was filled.
Since then I have spoken at a conference in Syndey, which was not as scary as I thought it would be, travelled with Ben in New South Wales and Queensland, gone snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. That was every bit as amazing as you would think, ( ). I got back and rolled straight into going back to work. I've recruited all the patients I need for my study and I'm busy seeing how they all did at a year. The big big thing that is taking up all of my spare time is writing a thesis which is a really big job, I'm going to spend the next few months coming home from work, turning on my computer and typing. Or just staying at work late. I should get a few papers out of it as well.
Just last week I got a job in Edinburgh, back in the real world of hospitals, for when I've finished my PhD, so I've got until July to finish writing the back to the wards.
No longer herding cats.
Aug 20, 2012
So as of today I am handing over the cat herding to Pastey.
Thank you everyone for all your support, and thanks Pastey for taking over.. F21546918/T8295952
Feeling a bit emotional, but delighted its going into good hands.
Jun 27, 2012
Just submitted my first article for Peer Review, as in for a scientific journal, not for h2g2.
Jun 18, 2012
The Now Show had it right. It's a chat show for political geeks.
Finally I am among my people.
Calf slaughter on TV : shooting the messenger? (rant).
Jun 11, 2012
I am a little annoyed at the moment, because I read this http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukn...r-on-television-upsets-viewers.html
At the moment there is no market for male calves in the UK, so they are being killed at a day old. Since I realised that killing male calves was a by product of the dairy industry I became vegan. It was a bit tough for the first week but I'm ok.
Anyway, recently a TV programme showed the male day-old calves being killed. Some people didn't like seeing this. Now if you don't like that you really ought to take no part in funding it and become vegan. But some people decided to complain to the TV station instead because it was upsetting. And I bet then then went back to drinking tea with milk! Like hell it's upsetting, but it happens. And if you don't like the then do something to change it. If you don't have a problem with day-old calves being killed then go on and carry on eating dairy, you might even want to eat meat whilst you're at it. (I personally think you are a murderer, but then I've performed an abortion, so lots of people think I'm a murderer, so we'll have to agree to differ.)
But don't complain about the person who put it in your living room, and then go on eating animal products.
The other thing that is annoying me at the moment is meat eaters who have never been in a lab who are opposed to animal testing. In the labs I've been in the animals suffer considerably less than mice and rats who are poisoned or killed by my cat. And as a result we save lives of humans and animals. This is far more morally justifiable than killing animals so we can have their mothers; milk to make cheese.
Create - lets do it again (this time it's music)...
Jun 3, 2012
I really enjoyed hosting last month's create challenge. I love writing for h2g2, and I love the way that the entry will grow and change in peer review. I've really enjoyed writing for h2g2, and I hope to do more of it.
The problem is that what tends to stop me writing for h2g2 is, well h2g2. I would love to write an entry, but I end up discussing something on h2g2 itself, or getting involved in cat hearding. But sometimes I just need a bit of a prod, a hook and an idea. That was why the Create challenge of 'Hobbies' worked really well for me, I already know about my hobby, so all I needed to do was write it down.
I loved seeing how other people's entries on hobby's came together, it was amazing to see all the different hobbies, from Hoovooloo's entry on flying to Deke's wonderful on flying models. Not to mention 2legs on 'Zen and Baguettes'.
A few of the entries were last minute jobs for the deadline, you'd think that the quality would be poorer, but it certainly wasn't, the entries were excellent. When I took on the May challenge I was struggling to think of one entry I could write, but now I'm back in love with writing for h2g2, and I'm fizzing with ideas.
So now we're in June, and the challenge is to write about our favourite music, or even the music we hate. This is also a pretty wide ranging challenge. I'm going to write a review of the first Opera I went to, but we've all got a first record, and a favourite band, and only some of them have been covered as extensively as Billy Joel....
What are you going to be writing about?
Going on Strike
May 30, 2012
I just got an e mail calling me out on strike. I never thought that would happen. I can see the reasons for the strike (the NHS pension scheme makes money, the contributions cover the costs, the extra contributions and raise in pension age wouldn't go into the pension scheme anyway) and I don't think patients will be harmed, because we're being told to go to work anyway, and attend to any duties that can't be postponed. My feelings are a bit mixed though, it all feels rather selfish.
The impact on patients will be less than the impact of a bank holiday, there will be more staff available than on a Saturday or Sunday, and we have an extra one of those for the Jubulee so I guess it isn't that bad.
I wouldn't have minded striking against the NHS reforms or the privatization, in fact I'd have been on the picket line. But I'm aware that the patients who will suffer are worse off than we are. Also I think it will just make us look bad in the eyes of the public.
I don't think it will affect me because I'm not paid by the NHS, I'm paid by a university. I do have £0/0 hours NHS contract so I can do clinical NHS work for free should I want to. I do wish we'd taken strike action against the NHS bill and not this.
The Parents Flip Point
May 15, 2012
The world according to my office....
Our parents : until we were about 30 or so: 'Please don't have children, think of your career, get qualifications'
From the age of about 30 onwards : 'What do you mean you're getting *more* qualifications! where are my grandchildren!'
My Brain Arrived!!!
May 9, 2012
No not my Brain, but my Brian Jelly Mould. I've finished recruiting for my study and I am providing a celebratory cake tomorrow to.
My aim is that the taste won't matter - as it's far to anatomically accurate to want to eat.
Can you write an entry on your hobby?
May 1, 2012
I'm running the May create challenge : which is to write a guide entry on your hobby.
Would you like to join in? A87756475
Z to 5K
Feb 23, 2012
Time for another sponsored challenge. I have an app on my iPhone that promises to get me to run 5K in 9 weeks, if I just stick to it. The problem is I've never got past three before...
So what can possibly motivate me to keep training?
Why a sponsored 5K in a mere 14 weeks time?
Yes I'm doing the Challenge Scotland
Running is difficult, I have to go out after dark at about 11pm to actually get it done! I have a torch and I can run on private land so I should be ok. I'll probably do it in aid of Chest Heart Stroke Scotland..
Now this is a bigger challenge for me because I'm not a very fit person. I'm actually quite fat! My current BMI is 32, which is less than it's peak of 38 but not much less.
So two training sessions done so far.
Create's Feb Challenge : Z's taking photos of the Forth Briges
Feb 1, 2012
For create's February Challenge I'm showing you the insiders guide to what it's like to live in the Shadow of the Forth Bridges, and I'm taking a photo every morning on my way to work. Or later in the day if it's the weekend.
To keep up to day with this : keep checking :
My Life in Songs
Jan 19, 2012
Free electric band : Albert Hammond
I Want That Man : Blondie
Smokers outside the Hospital Doors : The Editors.
27th Dec 2012 - Z's Journal : Books I have Read.
Dec 27, 2011
I would like to read more books. So I thought it would be nice to keep track of the books I have read this year.
I have just finished 'The Silent Traveller in Edinburgh' by Chiang Yee
(Synopsis on Amazon).
Chiang Yee was an exhile from Mao's China, a poet and an artist, who living in England during the second world war. He wrote a number of travel books about his impressions of the UK and elsewhere, and this is his account of wartime Edinburgh.
He also illustrated the books with Chinese Style illustrations, and wrote poems about the places he visited. It was a charming and evocative account of wartime Edinburgh, I was throughly enchanted.
I found that I need to learn more about Chinese art and poetry, and also that I would learn more about Scotland if I read the words of Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott.
Z's journal 22/12/11 Asking for Evidence
Dec 22, 2011
If you want to write to someone to challenge their claims this might be useful...
Older Entries >>
Back to Researcher's Personal Space