Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Best Advice For Medical Students Ever

Medical Student: We have our final exams next month! Do you have any last-minute advice for us? Anything you wish you could tell yourself just before you sat YOUR final exams?

Me: ...Sure. Gather round and come close, because I'm going to give you the best advice anyone will ever give you throughout your careers, and possibly your lives.

The students all gather together around me, their eager faces full of hope, their hungry eyes staring wide at me.

I lean forward and whisper softly, just loud enough for them to hear over the noise of the ward:

"Go to business school instead."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Why I Stopped Blogging

Okay. So I haven't exactly been blogging as frequently as I promised. (Understatement of the Year Award. --Editor) I've tried coming back here and there, and I've tried writing shorter posts instead, but the real reason I stopped blogging is a lot simpler. In fact, it's five words.

I became a real doctor.

Yes, after years of pretending to be a doctor in medical school, years of looking forward to finally putting "Dr" in front of my name and not being a piece of unwanted furniture on ward rounds, I actually graduated and got a real job. (If you hear a distant "thump", don't worry. It's just the sound of all my medical school professors fainting in shock. -- Ed.) I finally got my orientation, joined the workforce, and became responsible for  the lives of hundreds of patients who rely on me as their first line of defense against every illness known to mankind.

It scared the shit out of me.

How I feel every day. You may think I'm joking. I'm not.

To be honest, it completely overwhelmed me. For my entire first year, life was little more than work, eat and sleep. My already ridiculously poor time management skills withered to nothingness, I lost touch with friends and family, and I sometimes slept in the hospital to save travel time. (Yes kids! All the horror stories you heard when you first decided to do medicine? Totally true. MWAHAHA! Seriously, go to law school instead. --Ed.)

But the reason I started this blog is because I thought since my life is so full of misery, I might as well share that misery with other people and entertain them a little. So even while I was suffering, all these stories built up in the back of my mind, and it wasn't long before I felt the urge to write again. But then I remembered the second reason I stopped blogging:

I was scared of being discovered.

Anybody who's read this blog for a few years (that's like, three people now, I'm sure --Ed.) knows that I've lost fellow bloggers and friends who shut down their blogs because of pressure from work. And every doctor owes confidentiality to their patients. Even though I change details of all my patient stories on this blog so that none of them can be identified, I am not anonymous. I know patients' relatives who've googled my name and found this blog. And I'll admit it. I'm scared the same pressure that shut down other blogs might force me to close shop too.

But in the end the reason I'm writing this is the same reason I started this blog; the same reason anyone starts a blog or a Twitter account or even a Facebook note. I love to write. And working as a doctor gives you PLENTY of things to write about, even if they're just bad jokes about patients throwing up repeatedly all over their doctors' brand new Padini shirts. (Not that I'd know anything about that. Cough. --Ed.)

It's been over two years since I've been a real doctor. And how do I feel about it now?

It's still terrifying every day.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Heard Around The Hospital - Comeback Edition

I'm baaaack! Not that it matters much, to the three people left still reading this blog regularly. I had to stop blogging due to this minor annoyance called work (yes, I actually became a real doctor! Aren't you proud of me? Yes? Hello? Hi Mom! -- Ed.) but I'm finally done with being a junior doctor, and the writing bug is starting to bite me again. Not because I actually have anything worth writing about, mind you, but because my patients give me so much crap I have to vent it somewhere.

A few samples of stuff I hear around the hospital in my daily routine of being your bitc-- uh, your doctor:

* * *

In medical school they teach us to end our clinic consultations by asking the patient "Do you have any other questions for me?"


Among the questions I got today:
Doctor, why can't I urinate in a straight line?
Can you prescribe me some Viagra?
Do you know anything about Microsoft PowerPoint?
Can my cat give me the flu?
Is the new Godzilla movie any good?

Dammit I'm a doctor, not a search engine!

* * *

I run a HEART CLINIC. It is for HEART PROBLEMS. Among the problems I saw in clinic today:

Butt ache
Boyfriend dumped my daughter 
Rash from shaving chest hair 
Dog ate my prescription 
Can't remember what I came to clinic for

Become a doctor, they said. It'll be fun, they said.

* * *

Patient's relative: Doctor, I was wondering if I could ask you something.

Me: Why of course. I'm here to help.

Relative: Oh but, I'm a little shy to ask. Sorry for the trouble.

Me: It's okay. Whatever you ask me is completely confidential. Feel free to speak. That's what doctors are for.

Relative: Oh, okay then. My mother's diaper is full of shit and the nurses aren't free. Would you mind changing her diaper?

Become a doctor, they said. It'll be fun, they said.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Heard Around The Hospital

This is part of a series of posts on funny things I hear around the hospital. For previous posts, click here.

Medical student quote of the day:

"So, what did you learn today?"

"I never knew that so much blood could come out of one patient's arm."

"Oh? What were you doing to the patient?"

"Taking blood."


In clinic, from one of my fellow doctors:

"Hey Angry. You think if I put up a sign outside my door saying 'CRAP YOU GIVE ME WILL END UP ON MY BLOG' patients would give me less crap?"*


"Mrs Smith, I'm here to give you your injection."

"What was that?"

"Mrs Smith, I'm HERE to give you YOUR INJECTION".

"I can't hear you boy, speak up."


"Quiet boy! What do you think I am, deaf?"


Sorry for the long absence, folks. I've had multiple family illnesses, a major move, and a runaway cousin to contend with. I know my readers have desperately missed me (all three of you) so I'll try to be less naughty and post more (as if the Internet needed any more bad humour).

*If you recognised that joke from my Facebook and Twitter accounts, then 1. OMG you actually pay attention to my crap? and 2. Correct. It was a colleague who also reads my Facebook quoting me to, well, me. Cheeky bugger.

Monday, July 09, 2012

So You Want To Be A Twitter Celebrity

I've just crossed 1000 Twitter followers! What does that get me in real life?

Absolutely nothing.



In other news, I haven't been blogging due to a series of unfortunate events including a death in the family, a big fat wedding, and travelling very far for an interview. I've also probably been spending far too much time on Twitter than is healthy, which explains the bloodshot eyes and the throbbing pain in my temples (that I'm sure has nothing to do with my recently acquired nickname of Dr Vampire*).

The good news? I've got a lot of stories to tell? The bad news? You're gonna have to hear me tell 'em. BWAHAHA.

Be back soon, and thanks for the comments. Yes, even my trolls.

*if that nickname ever changes to Dr Edward Cullen, somebody drive a stake through my heart. You may think I'm joking. I'm not.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I'll Be Right Back (Again)

Yes folks, your prayers are answered! I AM NOT DEAD! (What's that you say? That's not what you prayed for? Well then if you DID think I was dead, why are you in the middle of celebrati-- *gets it* OHHHHH. Shaddap. --Editor)

Posts have been slow here, because I'm in the middle of preparing for a really big interview really soon. but I've queued up posts on my Facebook and Twitter feeds for the next 2 days. Some of my new material is actually funny (shocking right. --Ed.) and has gotten me more than the 2 likes I make my mom and my best friend put on all my posts! (Only kidding. My mom doesn't have Facebook. --Ed.)

So! For your usual dose of seizure-inducing Angry Medic humour, do go to my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter at @theangrymedic - I'm fast approaching 500 followers, and I promise I'll make you laugh. No really. Look at the jokes I came up with recently all by myself:

(Okay so I lied, I didn't come up with all that myself. I had a couple of extremely irritating patients who helped me out. --Ed.)

Have a couple of thought-provoking posts lined up so stick around. I'll be back Thursday - try not to miss me! (Oh who am I kidding, nobody misses me except my dog. And then only because she won't get her favourite dog biscuits without me around. She's such an ungrateful bitch. AHAHA see what I did there? Yes? No? Hi mom! --Editor)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A Death In The Family, Part Two

Stairway to Heaven

For the first part of this post, about the ultimate lesson that death teaches us, including some truly inspiring comments, click here.

It's done. I'm back.

Three quotes that, in my opinion, sum up the ultimate lesson that death teaches us:

“The great tragedy of the average man is that he goes to his grave with his music still in him.” 
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet

"One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon--instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today." 
-- Dale Carnegie, author, How To Win Friends and Influence People

"I would rather be ashes than dust. I would rather that my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than be stfled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.

The proper function of man is to live, not to exist." 
-- Jack London, author and journalist

So go. Live your life; I mean really live it. Seize your day today.

For more inspirational quotes, you can follow me on Twitter or like my Facebook page.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Schizophrenia Jokes (Also It's Not Multiple Personality Disorder)

Let me preface this post with this warning: My life sucks nowadays. I wake up in the morning thinking "oh God not another new day". I go to sleep thinking "Yay, six whole hours of no one screwing with me". But I put on a happy face for my patients and a snarky face for my Twitter followers. Which leaves this blog as pretty much the only place I can really be myself. And today's one of those days when the whole weight of how much my life sucks is really pounding me in the face. 

So the last thing I need today is to see ONE smartass comment that totally pushes me over. To put it in context, here's the joke on my post I Haz A New Banner (Part Two) (in the italics under the photo):

Yes, I made a schizophrenia joke. Yes, it's a bad one. And YES, I FREAKING KNOW THAT SCHIZOPHRENIA IS NOT THE SAME AS MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER, OKAY? But it's a longstanding common misperception that it is, and in everyday humour, the two are taken to be the same. THIS IS NOT JUST ME; check out these jokes:
I'm schizophrenic and so am I.

National Schizophrenic's Convention: Anybody who's everybody will be there!

If a schizophrenic threatens suicide, is it declared a hostage situation?

I may be schizophrenic but at least I have each other.

Paranoid schizophrenic: Are you staring at us?

(all from Joke Buddha: Schizophrenic Jokes)

Hell, one blogger even started a collection of schizophrenic jokes. Here's a sample:
I've half a mind to go to that meeting on schizophrenia tonight.

Did you hear about the panto that was held in aid of the Schizophrenia Association? It descended into chaos when someone shouted "He's behind you!"

When is a man two men? When he is beside himself.

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.

So schizophrenia has always been portrayed as multiple personality disorder in the mass media, even though every medical student in diapers knows that's not the case. And I certainly am not above cracking the same jokes to make people smile.

Then this high-and-mighty Lord Psychiatrist dude comes and puts this comment on my above post:
Psychiatrist said...
As a supposed Cambridge Medical Graduate you should know better than thinking schizophrenia refers to split personalities that talk to one another.

Schizophrenia translates as "splintered mind" which unfortunately has meant that the whole world believes that it refers to people with multiple personalities. A more accurate interpretation of the nomenclature would be that individuals are splintered from reality, with manifestations of psychosis, delusional thought, neologisms, thought withdrawal/insertion/broadcasting and passivity. They do often get auditory hallucinations, sometimes even coming from a part of their body, but schizophrenics never believe that those voices are another personality within them.

Oh man. Oh MAN.

I realise I may have overreacted, but like I said, I'm having a very bad day. Just like everybody else. So this was my reply:
Psychiatrist: Bitch please. I have a MA from Cambridge in Experimental Psychology. My Psych supervisor was Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, BAFTA-nominated father of modern autism and cousin to actor Sacha Baron-Cohen, and he described my dissertation on 'The Magnocellular Theory of Autism and Dyslexia' as "excellent". I could reel off the Schneiderian first-rank symptoms like a well-oiled engine after my first week of psych. So YES, I THINK I KNOW WHAT SCHIZOPHRENIA FREAKING IS.

However, as a supposed psychiatrist YOU should know that it is a common misconception that schizophrenia and MPD are the same thing, and jokes to that effect are so common they have become part of popular culture. So if you want to correct me, go shove your judgment up the arse of every single clown out there who has ever made the joke. Start by Googling 'schizophrenia jokes'. The first page itself will give YOU voices in your head.

If you need more proof, here is me correcting Adam Kay of physician musical duo Amateur Transplants on the same mistake over two weeks ago. I regret it now. He must have had the same resignation in his head at being shot down by a fellow physician WHO FREAKING WELL KNOWS that he suffered just as much as I did to pass his finals and he's making the joke for comedy value AND NOTHING ELSE. 

I hate, HATE it when people play the Cambridge card on me. Do you know what most doctors' reactions are when they find out I'm from Cambridge? Do you think they are filled with admiration and fall at my feet? No. Most of them immediately hate me, or think I'm an arrogant twat who thinks I'm God's gift to medicine and descended to Earth in a beam of light from Heaven with a Russian church choir singing freaking Carmina Burana in the background.  

Me Descending From Heaven

Every time I make a mistake it's Cambridge this, Cambridge that.

"What do you mean, you couldn't take blood from her? Didn't they teach you that at Cambridge?"

"You've never done this procedure before? But I thought you went to Cambridge?"

"You can't handle this surgery by yourself? Are you sure you went to Cambridge?"

So if you think I walk around all day with a massive neon sign above my head saying "LOL I WENT TO CAMBRIDGE LOL" expecting people to fall at my feet and nurses to rip off their clothing at the very sight of me, think again. I never, EVER tell anyone I work with. I just say I went to Imperial College London and leave it at that.

What do you think? Was I too harsh, or am I justified? I've had a bad day.