Self-full and selfcare: how not to suck at it

 

How I keep my cup full, family, holidays with friends, weekends away…

 

We don’t know how to look after ourselves and if we know we don’t do it because we don’t see it as important.

As a doctor and in my private life I see the casualties of this phenomena. The friend engrossed in a new relationship that they forget to look after themselves. The daughter  so caught up with looking after an ill relative they doesn’t eat properly. The newly qualified doctor who never has lunch because they’re too busy doing jobs.

Lots think taking care of themselves is a luxury and pastime for others with little else to do. “When you are busy you don’t have time for that nonsense.” It’s not an uncommon attitude and I have uttered those words myself before. There is also a notion that to look after yourself is selfish. “You should always put others first right. You shouldn’t always think about yourself.” Without qualifying those statements with a healthy dose of boundaries, I can’t express to you how harmful I think this attitude is.

Being busy these days is some sort of status symbol. And being too busy to look after yourself is almost a norm. So we go on in our day to day life and yes we survive. We don’t fall apart. That doctor who missed lunch again to do the 3 discharge letters in under 15 minutes got them done.

But what happens when things go wrong? When that doctor who doesn’t know how to look after themselves makes a mistake at work and has to deal with that, how do cope then? Badly is the answer. Same for the girl in a relationship when there is a rough patch. Same for the relative when their family member gets a terminal diagnosis.

Exactly the point at which the self care elements need to be amped up, you start from ground zero and although not impossible it makes it harder.

I have a simple mind and I like simple concepts. My cup represents me. My job is to keep my cup full. I fill my cup with selfcare and all the things that make me happy. When my cup if overflowing you can have some when that’s not the case though, I have nothing to give without stealing from myself. It’s not selfish it’s self-full.

When your cup is already empty and there is a tragedy in your life no wonder you will struggle. And to be honest it doesn’t even have to be a big thing. When you’re running on empty everything can seem like a challenge.

We often confuse self care and self-full with selfish. Saying no to an evening out because you need to sleep early isn’t selfish when you’re at work the next day and you know you will be tired, it is look after yourself. Yes it’s different if it’s a friend in need calling you who is having a terrible day but generally putting yourself first is just good sense. Saying no isn’t selfish. I think a lot of people have a problem with that word.

I have no shame in saying that I put me first. I’m my number one priority. The truth is if I’m not my own number one priority then who else will priorities me? No one. Of course there are people who care deeply for me and I also care deeply for them but if I fall down and hurt myself, I feel it more than anyone else. My success and failures ultimately affect me the most. I have also seen first hand the affects of living with an empty cup. That Salma isn’t a good doctor, sister or friend. Equally it isn’t anyone else’s responsibility to fill my cup up.

 

The first step to self care and keeping your cup full and being self-full is to change the way you think about it. No it’s not a luxury. Yes we all need to practice it. No it isn’t selfish. Ultimately more people walking around with filled cups have more to give to each other. I for one say cheers to that!

Until the next post,

Salma

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

F1 my two cents’ worth

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 23.47.49.png

 

 

Before I started my first job as a doctor which feels like ages ago (12 months ago), I was terrified. The words “do no harm” were my mantra. Being “good” was icing on the cake I thought. I looked up naturally to people who had been there and got the t-shirt to provide me with some well needed guidance and having just finished F1 I thought it was probably right that I passed the knowledge on whilst it’s still relatively fresh (kinda) in my head.

You can find the generic stuff anywhere but I’m gonna try and tell you the things people don’t tell you.

  1. You are there to do a job and help people and your patient is your first priority but you also matter too! You wouldn’t let your patient starve, ignore a mild hypo and AKI and continue so don’t let yourself get to the same state. I have done that. We all have and some days are crazy busy that you really can’t run and grab lunch but try to. Very few things can’t wait. The hospital won’t fall apart because you have lunch or you go and get some water. I use to feel guilty eating at times, how ridiculous?! Try and have food in your bag (I have multi packs in my bag, always good for a pick me up for you and your colleague) and don’t let missing lunch become a habit.
  2. Working in a hospital is like working anywhere, there are many personalities and viewpoints. You won’t get on with everyone and that’s ok. This might be your first ever job and navigating the complexities of the work dynamics will come to you. Just give it time.
  3. What goes around comes around. We all like to leave on time, but that colleague who is till there at 5pm who you can help may just be the one to help you when you’re equally stuck next time and need to catch a flight. Equally don’t dump jobs on other doctors that you can do or should have done during the day. Think how you would feel being that doctor and if you do hand something over, have a plan,”chase bloods” isn’t a plan…
  4. Playground cattiness is everywhere in the working world so don’t be surprised if it follows you onto the ward. It takes all sorts, just rise above it, focus on your patient and remember what you’re there to do.
  5. You’re “just an F1” until an important blood test isn’t checked! Don’t sell yourself short, you’ve worked hard to be where you are and you may be the most junior doctor in the hospital but you aren’t “just” anything. Equally be humble. If you make a mistake or don’t know something ASK. You do no one any favours by pretending to understand something when you don’t. It makes it unsafe and that pretending is a bigger issue than the not knowing. It’s not an exam any more. You won’t be penalised for not knowing but you will for not asking. I was sick of my own voice with all my questions but it’s what’s expected and it keeps patients safe. It’s also how you learn so ask away.
  6. Speak up. If you aren’t happy about something, feel unsuppourted or have any other concerns tell someone. The foundation team are there to support you and have been doing their job for years. You won’t be the first or the last F1 to feel depressed/tired/wanting to quit medicine. Talking to someone means issues can be adresssed before they build to bigger issues.
  7. When a lot of your friends are doctors meeting up is a logistical challenge (ahem nightmare). Get some dates set ASAP. You will be working with doctors who went to medical schools all over the country, but your uni friends will just understand you on a different level. They know how well or not so well your medical school prepared you for this F1 gig- talking is therapy!
  8. Don’t let work take over your life. I refused to which meant I was exhausted at times, I took the work hard play hard seriously but I don’t have regrets! Just remember to schedule in some actual rest time now and again 😉
  9. F1 flys by. By the end of F1 you will doing things that use to terrify you without thinking. One patient with DKA and another septic, no problem. It’s a steep learning curve, more like a cliff that you are pushed off with your degree…but we all go through it and make it. The chances are, you will too.
  10. Ultimately look after number 1 which is you because no one else will. It’s not selfish it’s self-full. When you have more to give you are a better doctor. That means sleeping, eating and resting and whatever else keeps you full. For me seeing family is a big part of that and they got me through (as always). Being off sick when you are and not feeling guilty about not going into work is also important. You are only human and you can only do your best. And yes that is good enough.

So there you have it boys and girls, my two cents worth of F1 tips.

Hope it helped someone.

Salma xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspirational women: The man version

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 17.46.50.png

As part of my blog I have had a little long running series called inspirational women. Today I am breaking the gender restrictions. But Giles is worth the exception. You will see why if you read to the end.

I met Giles when I started out at medical school. We had tutorials together every week on society health and medicine. I still remember the first piece of work I ever did, reading a paper on the psychosocial impact of a positive diagnosis of chlamydia trachomatis in women!

I was a clueless 18 year old and just about navigating supermarket shopping on my own the washing machine and Giles was worldly. Giles rode a bike. Giles had traveled. Giles know there was more to life than studying and university. As such he was an easy figure for me to look up to. He was also ridiculously nice and had great insights in tutorial.

I intercalated and dropped back to the year below and Giles graduated before me. Recently I saw a status on Facebook that he was tagged in which mentioned a small stroke he had. I had no idea and scrolling though this Facebook feed, the marathons and general awesomeness still continue.

The man came back from a stroke, continues to work as a doctor and has only gone and written a book about his experiences.

You can see why I had to open up the inspirational section to men now can’t you.

Have a read of a little interview I had with Giles. Share his story with people who you think may benefit. We could all do with being a bit more Giles. Oh and do the right thing. Buy his book ( paperback and e-book).

For people who don’t know you, tell us a bit about your self
  
Thanks for that introduction Salma! So I’m 34 and decided to study medicine when I was 27 after various experiences of working and travelling around the world. After leaving school  I did an English Literature degree and then worked for an amazing company helping organise rural volunteering projects in places such as Peru, Ghana and Fiji.  We’d also then take the volunteers trekking to places like Macchu Pichu or on overland road trips to Timbuktu.
 
Prior to medical school I was Project Director of Vorovoro Island in Fiji, an eco tourist resort where we were trying to build an eco-village from scratch whilst living alongside the locals Growing our own food, catching rain water for drinking and living on the beach in huts made of bamboo. It was amazing.
 
Then medical school happened and I got into long distance running and cycling. By the end I had done an Iron Man triathlon and had run 100km in one day. In my early summer holidays I led groups trekking and mountaineering to Peru before taking part in mental health projects in Sierra Leone and with Syrian refuges in Lebanon.
 
Now I‘m living in Hereford as an F2, having recently got married to the amazing Amy last year and start GP training program next year.
 
So.. up until this point in my life, things were going well.
What’s it like suddenly switching roles from doctor to patient?
 
It’s bizarre. As a doctor you walk around hospital with such certainty and sense of direction. You are very much part of the place and have a sense of control about your day. Although you get on well with your patients there seems quite a defined line between them and you. Yes, you know you could get ill and be in their place, but it never seems to happen.
 
Yet crossing over the divide  is a very powerful experience. Suddenly the lines of the corridors become sharper, the echoes from the hard floor louder. Any perceived softness of the place evaporates and it begins to feel cold, functional and like a machine. Even staff having a laugh with each other as you are waiting for important tests begins to feel a little isolating.
 
I’ll never forget waiting for my MRI brain scan, sitting alone in the waiting area. At that point it could have been a brain tumour, MS or a stroke. The hospital seemed such a big, angular and scary place. I felt lonely in a way that I had never experienced before whilst the frantic pace of the department continued around me. I have sent so many patients for scans, even walked past them as they are waiting. I’m not sure I ever realised how terrified they might be.
 
Crucially what defines the change is the loss of control. As a doctor you feel like you have it all, as a patient you must surrender yourself into the hands of those (and there are many) who will then care for you. 
 
One the main things I’ve learnt from all this is actually how much less I truly empathised with my patients than I thought. I don’t mean this in a negative way; more that I was blown to bits by my stroke in a way that I had never even appreciated could be possible. While I still care (perhaps more than ever) about the well-being of my patients, it’s made me realise how hard it is to truly understand what another person goes through when they suffer. With that in mind it has me made want to simply listen more rather than offer any immediate answers. 
 
Illness and its consequences are relative to each patient, what they feel and suffer will be unique to them based on their journey to that point and what their life means to them. I hope I never forget this.
Where do you get your drive to keep pushing through from?
 
Good question! One that probably has many answers to be honest. I have a deep sense of how brief and fleeting life is. Increasingly (and now in my own life) there are just no guarantees.  I suppose in many ways I don’t want to waste a moment.
Not only that but when I was younger I didn’t have much belief or confidence in myself. It is only since my mid-twenties that I have started to believe in myself more. This has led me to state of perpetual curiosity of what life has to offer. What more is there to learn, what more am I capable of, what are the limits of mind and body? 
 
I love a challenge and the exploration and experience that come with that. Life just seems like one long wonderful chance to learn, both about oneself and the world in which we live. I suppose in many ways I fear becoming set in my ways and the inevitable stagnation that will accompany that. Being out of our comfort zones allows us to grow, even though it might not be fun at the time!
 
How did you fall into writing and how did it help you?
I did an English degree first in my early twenties which I loved as it basically involved reading books all day. I never had a passion for writing so much then though. That only started coming as I worked for Travel Company helping with their marketing and I would put together their brochures, websites and blogs. With practice I became more confident and enjoyed it.
A few years ago I started carrying a small book to write down thoughts and observations about life. I’d carry it in my bag either at Uni or travelling. It soon started filling up and I would while away long bus journeys exploring my thoughts. Then one day about 2 years ago while in India I wrote my first poem as an experiment. I really enjoyed it and wrote some more. Over time I became braver and started to send them to people, one thing led to another and I’ve self-published a couple of collections with travel photos to give to friends and family.
So when the stroke happened I found writing to be an extremely cathartic and healing way of exploring the many different facets and moments of it. In the aftermath I wrote quite a few poems as they helped me look deeper into what I was feeling and crucially try and communicate it to others. Being ill can be very lonely, and I found this helped a lot.
Eventually I had over 20 and thought it might be nice to make another collection. However rather than pictures I wondered if written reflections might go better with them. I set myself the task of writing about each poem and before I knew it I had a small 40,000 word book on my hands.
Writing Brushstrokes has been an incredibly healing and useful thing to do. Allowing me to grapple with the pain of the experience and come to terms with what has happened.  Much of how I think about the stroke and came to be at peace with it was formed in the writing of it.
Sitting still (not by choice!) yet creating something from the experience was a large part of helping me recover. It was a very useful way of exploring the muddle in my head that had replaced what was there before!
Hopefully it conveys some of the story and may be of benefit to others who find themselves having their world turned upside down.
Massive thanks to Giles for sharing his story on my blog.

Dear frustrated colleague

Dear Frustrated colleague,

I see you. We all see you. And believe me we have all been there. Even if we pretend like we haven’t. Or like we can’t see the turmoil you are going through.

It was an effort not to look up when we saw you having a fight with your discharge letter. Yes I hate the new computer system too and no I don’t know why we can’t prescribe paracetamol either.

I have been watching you for a while now and I see how you missed lunch today, too busy  dealing with the hypoglycameia of your patient in bed 3. In fact you often miss lunch or any other sort of break. 13 hours is a long time without any break.

I have also noted you always stay late, preferring not to hand anything over.

You don’t smile very much either. Even when you’re praised for picking up subtle signs. Even when the super scary super smart doctor praises you.

You have shared some of your woes with me. I see you aren’t that happy and this isn’t always what you signed up for. Menial ward jobs aren’t always the most stimulating I know.

I have also seen you with sick patients and scared patients.You were brilliant.

What you do does count. Your AMTS didn’t save the patients life but without that we wouldn’t have been able to see just how confused they were the next day and order a CT head and picked up their new bleed. You weren’t there to hear a thank you, and truthfully even if you were you probably would’t have got one. But what you do does matter and it does make a difference.

You’re a good doctor. You just need to look after yourself too with as much vigour as you do for your patients and you will enjoy the whole process more.

If we were better we would say this to your face. But we are all going through our own struggle to and the cape of help doesn’t always extend as far as it should in the NHS. When I just about get time to have my own sandwhich, I don’t always make sure that you have had yours. I will try to be better.

Accept this letter as my apology and advice, for what it’s worth.

See you back on the ward.

Salma

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 04.03.40.png
pictorial representation of doctors writing discharge letters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting into medicine

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 21.01.05.png

 

I often get questions from people about applying to medical school and I though a blog post was in order.

Recently I was contacted by Isha who wrote this blog post. Have a read of the information about her below and some of the questions she asked me. If you’re thinking of applying to medical school (high five my friend) and have any questions, then reach out to me and I will be happy to help. I have spoke to Isha on the phone and can read over personal statements or help with interview practice if you need it.

Over to Isha…

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 21.58.22.png

My name is Isha, and I live on a small (I really mean tiny) island in Northern Scotland. I am currently entering my 4th year of high school and I hope to study medicine in the future, although remaining optimistic, I am working hard to make sure that I make an informed choice – hence why I contacted Salma!

It was quite a journey finding Salma’s blog, but I’m sure glad I did! I was browsing online trying to explore medicine as a career, and this is when I came across a post on Salma’s story on how she got into Medical school (getintomedicine). From reading this, I was eager to ask some questions and I luckily then came across her on Twitter which then lead to me to find her blog.

 

1. What sort of work experience should I do?

Anything that gives you experience of what a doctor does is good work experience. Medicine is a broad field and you have many options. I would say try and get time in a GP practice and a hospital. Having said that I only did work experience in a hospital and that was sufficient. You need to demonstrate that you have experience of what a being a doctor is like so anything that you can use to show that is good. Doing work experience in a hospital shadowing a doctor is the obvious example but doctors also work in labs and you could try and get some experience there.

 

2. When should I start looking into getting work experience?

I would say as soon as you are considering medicine try and get some work experience. The process can be long, with CRB checks and a limited number of places. Also for yourself and not just for your personal experience, it’s a good idea to see practically what it is like being a doctor before you attempt to commit yourself. When I did work experience half of the people hated it and decided medicine wasn’t for them. Better to know early on.

 

3. Is there any summer schools that you would recommend?

Some universities do summer schools which are tailored to people wanting to do medicine. My old flatmate actually did one for medicine at bristol and then went on to study medicine at bristol. These are usually open to student aged 17 and are advertised at the start of the year. Keep an eye out and ask your careers advisor. If there isn’t one local to you, consider traveling. These are a fantastic opportunity.

 

4. What type of volunteering is recommended doing?

I don’t think it really matters which type. Anything that shows that you have interpersonal skills is good. I would add that something done for a longer period of time is better than just a week here and there. I use to volunteer in a mental health unit every week and at an AIDS support services.

 

5. Would it give me an advantage by doing some work experience/charity work in a developing country?

I would say that this is useful but not necessary. You can show a commitment and interest in medicine without leaving the  country by getting some work experience and showing an understanding about what medical school will be like and what being a doctor is all about. Having said that, if you are going abroad anyway, this won’t hurt your application. It can give you something to talk about at interview and it’s always interesting seeing how other health care systems operate. Work experience may also be easier for you to get abroad aswell.

In short, if you can do this, great. If not, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

 

6. How important are extra-curricular activities?

Medical school and then being a doctor is demanding. Extra-curricular activities will SAVE YOU in medicine by keeping you sane and demonstrate to someone reading your personal statement that you can not only get great graded but know how to keep a balanced life. That being said, don’t pick up things for the sake it at the expense of your grades. I did everything at school, drama productions, sports teams, athletics, I was that student volunteering to show parents around during the other years parents evening (judge me). But I enjoyed it.

Anything that can show you are a well rounded individual is good. But you can think outside the box. If you have to look after your younger siblings and don’t have time for much else, you can talk about that at interview. It shows responsibility and that you are able to balance that responsibility with school work.

 

7. Is there anything which I could be doing now that may give me an edge over my application in the future?

Make sure you have as good an idea as possible of what medicine is like. Not just for your application but for yourself. If you really want to do medicine you will make it work.

The thing that will make YOU stand out is being brilliant and being YOU.

When I was at my interview, there was a girl who had a lever arch folder of notes she was revising- all clippings and medicine related stories. I looked at her and thought the only thing that I have over her is that I’m me.

I didn’t go to a fancy school and no one coached me for interviews but I was me and I had confidence in myself that this was the right degree for me. I just had to make the interviewer see that.

I gave it my best shot and got in. Medicine is competitive but so what, you have as good a shot as anyone else so best foot forward and best of luck!

You got this.

Salma xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctors, burnout and the other side

Today is the laziest day I have had in just over 2 weeks. 12 days of acute medicine. 3 days off spend in 5 different cities. 3 nights shifts and the first real day of rest today.

I was just scrolling through my Instagram feed and saw a picture from a fabulous doctor I follow about a conversation she had with one her friends about burn out and almost leaving medicine.

It inspired me to write this blog post.

We all go through so much in medicine and we speak about some of it, but so much happens  in one day it’s impossible to talk through it all. We don’t need to everyday but when you work hard for a long period of time things build up. I truly believe we all need to wind down. Good food, family, friends. There lovely things in life are an essential part of being a half decent doctor, or whatever else makes you happy.

Happy Salma is a much better doctor than overworked tired Salma, I’m very aware of this. But we have all experiences that feeling of burnout. I recently thought I worked so hard so having a brilliant social life for 3 days was necessary. And it was to an extent but I also needed some rest. After my past few days my mind and body NEED a break which I am very conscious of and taking now. Otherwise burnout is too easy. It’s early days with this doctor jig for me and I’m learning the the importance of these things as I muddle through.

Have a read below for some of the stories from doctors about burnout for them and the other side.  Have a great day. Salma xxx

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 01.29.32
Life gives you a choice. Being passionate about ones work and dedicated, its easy to slip into a cocoon. As the NHS demands more, patients want more, it’s not too difficult to move into a mode of doing that “bit more”. However, to do justice to ones role, one needs to also look after oneself- whether it is taking time out with friends, family or even something simple as trashy movies or comic books! No one is indispensable…take your time outs, take your breaks, make time for your family…a burnt out professional is no good to anyone- and if anything, creates more work for others. Vocation is not simply a romantic terminology, it indeed is important- but it never should be a tool used by others to burnout the inner drive of a professional. To quote Jon Acuff “Burn your dream bright. Pursue it with the best of who you are. But don’t confuse hustle with burnout. Hustle fills you up. Burnout empties you. Hustle renews your energy. Burnout drains it”. We would, in our busy lives, do well to remember that.

 

The time that truly comes to mind was when I had qualified as a doctor and started my VTS training for general practice. After a very punishing attachment in Obstetrics and Gynaecology I then did Paediatrics. Being the first time I was around small children I seemed to be on a train of viruses and illnesses yet never took any time away. I lost weight and became exhausted and withdrawn and as the rotation drew to an end I was scheduled to start accident and emergency. I remember feeling so utterly scared and alone that I contemplated an alternative pathway from medicine. I asked if I could do swap into a psychiatry attachment to buy 6 months before the A&e job. Instead my VTS coordinator was very sympathetic and could see that throught medical school and pre reg jobs I'd never really had time out to reflect. She suggested a 6 month Career break and it was a brilliant suggestion. I went back to my family, did a few Locums which interestingly gave me lots of confidence. I also did some online learning and then travelled.  When I returned to my VTS training I was put on an innovative scheme and I found this brilliant because I had some autonomy on which specialities I could do.  Looking back you often feel trapped because no one really talks about burnout and there is a bit of bravado and hierachy especially from the senior doctors.   Recognising that just because you've signed up to a rotation, it doesn't mean you are trapped. It's not healthy to be sleep deprived, ill, and scared. Talking about it is so important and realising you have a long journey ahead so cut yourself some slack and don't feel it's a race to consultancy or GP status.
The time that truly comes to mind was when I had qualified as a doctor and started my VTS training for general practice. After a very punishing attachment in Obstetrics and Gynaecology I then did Paediatrics. Being the first time I was around small children I seemed to be on a train of viruses and illnesses yet never took any time away. I lost weight and became exhausted and withdrawn and as the rotation drew to an end I was scheduled to start accident and emergency. I remember feeling so utterly scared and alone that I contemplated an alternative pathway from medicine. I asked if I could do swap into a psychiatry attachment to buy 6 months before the A&e job.
Instead my VTS coordinator was very sympathetic and could see that throught medical school and pre reg jobs I’d never really had time out to reflect. She suggested a 6 month Career break and it was a brilliant suggestion. I went back to my family, did a few Locums which interestingly gave me lots of confidence. I also did some online learning and then travelled.
When I returned to my VTS training I was put on an innovative scheme and I found this brilliant because I had some autonomy on which specialities I could do.
Looking back you often feel trapped because no one really talks about burnout and there is a bit of bravado and hierachy especially from the senior doctors.
Recognising that just because you’ve signed up to a rotation, it doesn’t mean you are trapped. It’s not healthy to be sleep deprived, ill, and scared. Talking about it is so important and realising you have a long journey ahead so cut yourself some slack and don’t feel it’s a race to consultancy or GP status.

 

my fy1 year was pretty cool. i was working at a big teaching hospital and spent much of the year well and truly wrapped in cotton wool, with lots of senior support. but then, in one of the last weekends of the year, i was covering the surgical wards when i came across a terminal cancer patient with an aggressive family. after spending much of my weekend clamoring to the patient (and family) needs, i got to sunday evening when she further deteriorated. i prescribed a medication on the advice of a senior that she reacted badly to, causing her to die traumatically and violently in front of her family and me. i'd never felt more alone in all my life. in the hours and days that followed, i did much soul searching. i kept telling myself that i'd killed her. in hindsight, this was not only melodramatic - it was also plainly inaccurate. several years later, i'm still here. still a doctor. still love my job. so what got me through? friends, family, talking, listening, reflecting. in medicine, there are always difficult times. what matters is how we prepare and protect ourselves and the people that we surround ourselves with. the most valuable thing any doctor has - the people around them - both medical and non-medical. Embrace them and treasure them.
My fy1 year was pretty cool. I spent much of the year well and truly wrapped in cotton wool, with lots of senior support. Then one day I came across a terminal cancer patient with an aggressive family. One evening, they deteriorated. I prescribed a medication on the advice of a senior that they reacted badly to, causing a traumatic and violently death in front of the family and me. I’d never felt more alone in all my life. In the hours and days that followed, I did much soul searching.
I kept telling myself that I’d killed the patient. In hindsight, this was not only melodramatic – it was also plainly inaccurate. Several years later, I’m still here. Still a doctor. Still love my job. So what got me through? Friends, family, talking, listening, reflecting. in medicine, there are always difficult times. What matters is how we prepare and protect ourselves and the people that we surround ourselves with. The most valuable thing any doctor has – the people around them – both medical and non-medical. Embrace them and treasure them.

 

 

Happy New Year

Last year on New Years I was in London with one of my closest friends Chandni. We planned to go and see the fireworks, but were so tired after our day out, we almost ended up staying in. I’m all about being comfy as soon as you are home but the effort to get up again and go out! Especially if you give me tea. Anyway, I was determined this evening. Who was to say if we would ever be in the same city for new years and get this opportunity. We rushed to get ready and ran across the city in the freezing cold just in time to see the fireworks and count down the new year with everyone else.

Then just as soon as we had left, we were back home in the heat and hungry. We stayed up for hours and dissected the year over veggie burgers and talked about 2015 and what we wanted. Forget resolutions. We had plans. Ridiculous plans. But still. We put it out there. We were brave enough to say what we actually wanted.

We still talk about that night (just yesterday actually). We started something and from now on I will never make a resolution, I will start from “what do I want”.

You don’t need to wait until the 31st December to do that or to give yourself a fresh start. I always give myself a fresh start. I always try my best but my god do I mess up. But it’s never the end of the world.

If I had one wish for you reading this, it’s that you are brave this new years and say what you want and then go for it. You don’t need to share it with the world, but tell yourself at least. It changed my life for the better and I would only want the same for you too.

Have a brilliant new year whatever you are doing and thanks for reading this post and the blog.

If I have it my way I will be at home, comfy drinking tea but I have been told this is unacceptable and I may be dragged out. Pray for me.

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 02.42.10

My ideal new years party for one. Bliss.

See you in the new year xxx