About me
About me



Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 16 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 16 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 16 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

Scrubs is undeniably one of the best comedies on TV. Whilst there are many good things about it (It was Scrubs that introduced me to the dulcet tones of Lazlo Bane, for example) it has also brought with it a whole new level of medical politics.

In the blissful, but less amusing, pre-scrubs era, British doctors had a choice of stethoscope colours: Black or grey. In the post-scrubs era, thanks to Scrubs’s popularity and use of multi-coloured stethoscopes, there is now a much wider choice. This places the first-year medical student in something of a dilemma, as the stethoscope colour you choose inevitably says a lot about you.

Obviously, you can’t go with black or grey because they’re boring. Green is unlucky (or so I’m told ), and red looks, well, blood-like. Pink would be a bold statement, but unfortunately isn’t yet available – the closest is burgundy. Therefore, I chose the wonders of Caribbean Blue. I’m not entirely sure of the connotations associated with this particular colour; after all I’m not a large black woman with big breasts dancing round in a grass skirt (at least not around patients). As such, I thought it was a pretty safe choice. But JRC seemed to disagree, as his initial reaction was “You are joking?”. Well I’m not.

I have a book which includes a section on rectal examinations. Mainly because I’m cruel and like to scare people, I chose to read this section on the train at the weekend. It’s amazing how indiscrete some people are when reading over your shoulder. Since I know you want the highlights…

“Reassure the patient and explain that the examination may be uncomfortable…”
“If anal spasm is encountered, ask the patient to breathe out and relax”
– “Ask the patient to squeeze the examining forefinger with the anal sphincter”
– “After withdrawal, examine the finger for stool colour…”

On the return train journey, I was reading a journal article entitled “Time, Hope and HIV”. I was surprised how few people asked to sit next to me when I was reading it. It seems a good tactic. I’m off on the train again next weekend, so I’ll have to find “Living with Herpes” or “Coming to terms with Leprosy” in the library to make the journey more comfortable.

Someone in my flat has bought one of these . Fantastic fun.

My headphones are dead. This is another thing I discovered on the train. And so I surfed (don’t you just love that metaphor) for a new pair, and ended up ordering an mp3 player – and not a particularly good one at that. I’m not entirely sure exactly how it happened, but it seemed a good idea at the time, and it does come with headphones included.

The staff here at Durham have come up with the single most fantastic way of defining where you can and can’t wear your labcoat, after queries of whether you have to take it off when moving between labs, or if you can keep it on during breaks etc. Instead of creating some beaurocratic and impossible to follow set of rules, they’ve come up with this: You are not allowed to wear your labcoat in carpeted areas. Short, simple and to-the-point. I like it.

Michael (I know far too many Michael’s – half of them should change their name or something), a medical student here, is absolutely fantastic at impressions. I don’t mean he’s good, I mean that he’s better than people you would go and pay to watch doing impressions. He had me in stitches (an unfortunate expression, considering the course) all the way through histology today, doing impressions of the world’s most boring woman, my MiC lecturer, and Scandinavia’s finest export, my biochemistry lecturer.

For the first (and last) time this term, I have no lectures tomorrow. A whole day off. I demand a big shiny medal. And a blowjob. Which apparently is a drink (I discovered this after being sent an email from the MedSoc committee offering me a free blowjob. Imagine my disappointment. Though I did get free pizza, and 12 of the second year lasses are doing a full monty strip for charity at Christmas, so I don’t think my MedSoc membership money was wasted. They also gave me a condom and a lollipop – personally, I would have thought one or the other would have sufficed, but clearly there are some people who are heavily into sucking. But I digress…)

As for the whole Paul Burrell thing , I have one comment to make: “Go Girl!”. He’s written a book, and that’s fine. People write books that are deeply upsetting to people constantly, why should anyone give a toss if his book upsets the royal family? Just because Diana died in a nasty accident six years ago doesn’t mean that somebody’s opinions about her cannot be aired. Get over it. If you don’t want to read it then don’t, but don’t stop the poor bloke publishing it in the first place – I don’t like Star Trek, so I don’t watch it – I don’t try and ban it! If Diana had died six months ago, then I could see that it would be disrespectful, but we’re talking six YEARS here.

I have to interview my Family Project pregnant woman next week. Whilst I’m very grateful, I never understand why these people take part – they don’t get paid, they just have two medical students turning up on their doorstep wanting to ask them personal questions. And on a similar note, I have found a new way of annoying cold-calling sales people: Ask them a completely unrelated question. Wait until they’re in the flow of their spiel, and say something like “Sorry, can I just ask you, do you like doughnuts?”. It throws them completely. Tee hee. Alternatively, you could try asking the Homebase Checkout Girls the same question. Particularly if you’re in the Sotuhport branch between 2 and 6 on a Saturday or a Sunday.

Frankly, I bored now, so I’m going to go and do something else.

Yours truly,

That Weird Medical Student with the Blue Stethoscope

Originally posted on The LBSC

This 37th post was filed under: News and Comment, University.

Some recently published posts

What I’ve been reading this month / January 2020, 7 minutes long

Faber Stories / December 2019, 4 minutes long

My favourite books of 2016 / December 2019, 26 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / December 2019, 12 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / November 2019, 5 minutes long

Some random old posts

Chicken / May 2004, Less than a minute long

Fraser Brown diagnosed with cystic fibrosis / November 2006, 3 minutes long

How Britain fell in love with Krispy Kreme / October 2012, Less than a minute long

Ronnie Barker has died / October 2005, 5 minutes long

Pepsi delays TV ad after tsunamis / January 2005, Less than a minute long

Puns, as only the Sun can do them… / July 2005, 1 minute long

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