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Wilkommen to my blog - my name is Karin Purshouse, and I'm a doctor in the UK. If you're looking for ramblings on life as a junior doctor, my attempts to dual-moonlight as a scientist and balancing all that madness with a life, you've come to the right place. I'm currently a doctor/research trainee in oncology after spending a year doing research in the USA. All original content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Long Winter....


Did Christmas happen?  How on earth is it 2013?!

Christmas was a work-filled affair for me, so it genuinely doesn't feel like Christmas happened at all.  I was working 7pm-8am night shifts the whole of Christmas week, and I'm nearly at the end of a week of 7am-7pm shifts all of this New Years week.

My family were all abroad (parents with my 91 year old grandmother in Germany, sister with her in laws in South Africa).  On Christmas day, I spoke to my sister for about 90 seconds when I was at work preparing for handover.  I ate a slightly weird breakfast of chicken wrapped in bacon with a weird carrot mash and potatoes on my tod before sleeping my way through Christmas day.  When I woke in the evening to go to work, I had mushroom risotto.  That was my Christmas day.

But you know what?  We had a mince pie or two, donned our Christmas jumpers and ... carried on as usual.   Perhaps there are romantic visions that we serenade our patients with a carol or two, or give them all Christmas cake.  But the reality is, it is just like any other night shift without a moment's peace. There really is nothing, truly nothing, to smile about when you have to certify a death early on Christmas morning.  But this is what happens on a night shift, any night shift.  For every patient we saw during that week of nights, you felt awful that this was they were spending the season; after all, all I had to do was turn up to work!

And plus I have a substitute family of my fellow on-call buddies when my biological ones are in absentia.  You come to lean so heavily on your colleagues for a brief conversation, consolation, a giggle, advice....

I am absolutely exhausted now, but I am relieved that I did my best over Christmas and New Year to keep a smile on mine and as many other faces as possible.  The post-Christmas phase has been nothing short of manic, but hey, a smile's contagious right?

I have made two New Year's resolutions - both of which I am already actioning!
1) Have at least one regular hobby (in absence of being free any evening of the week each week - this is temporarily being filled by 'Reading' and 'Eating with friends'.  I'm just finishing Operation Mincemeat - incredible. Even post-nights, it kept me glued the whole 4-5 hours on the train to Newcastle between Christmas and NY.  I am also making the reading of a Sunday newspaper a weekly feature. )
2) Make more non-medic friends.  Evidenced by the fact I am going on holiday with a majority of non-medics at the end of Jan.  And I'm having lunch with a non-medic on Saturday.  You think this is extreme and constitutes unnecessary categorisation on the basis of employment?  Listen, I love my friends.  BUT.  You have no IDEA how dull my chat has become.  I need to broaden my horizons.