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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.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Twas five nights before Christmas...

The last time I had a really vicious bout of the sniffles was this summer.  It's funny how well I remember it.  I was doing locum night shifts and had been burning the candle majorly in the run up, and personally and professionally I really wished I didn't need a steady supply of tissues and paracetamol on hand.  Now I feel much the same, having just had the most jet-set week of my life so far.

SWIMS 2014
So, with my herbal tea in hand, it's time for the Christmas edition of my scribbles.  Bless my blog, it's had a good year.  As has become my blog tradition, with Christmas upon us it is time to look back at the general mayhem and madness that was 2014 and 'learn' something from it.

This year:
January - SWIMS (That's 'Sensible Women in Medicine and Medicopolitics Society') held its inaugural conference in the Peak District, celebrating being normal ladies, basically.  January was the Month Of The North, and it was jolly wonderful.

February - I was up to my eyeballs in pipettes and petri dishes, trying to Do Science - and then remembering that being rubbish at something for a while is pretty damn healthy.
Tignes looking all lovely and white in Spring

March - I spent a lot of March revising for my MRCP part two exam.  I love this funny job I have called 'Doctoring' but it isn't half exhausting doing a full time job and then cracking out a nine hour exam between night shifts.  Lesson learned - this too shall pass.

April - I left the lab and went head first into night shifts as the Medical SHO; but actually through some of my own health strife I realised what life was like on the other side of the patient/doctor divide.  Puts things into perspective, that.

May - By this point I was well and truly medicine-d.  Breaking bad news and other such difficult conversations made me see, though, that this is totally the job for me.

June - ... on a similar theme, discussing end of life decisions - another one of those 'wait just a second there, I'm only in my twenties, how can I be ok discussing this' type moments.  And then realising it doesn't matter, because you're actually ok having this sort of chat and really it's a privilege to be the one doing it.

Wedding goofing around with my other bestie Matty
July - Apparently I didn't post anything in July, but I'll tell you for free that I was saying goodbye to a lot of excellent friends from the last two years as we finished our first official posts as doctors.  I'd argue these have been amongst the biggest in terms of friends, family and self, so it was a pretty big thing to say goodbye to.  Also - weddings.  So many weddings.  Marvellous!

August - I became a part-timer!  Oh it was wonderful.  Being a self-confessed work-a-holic, I became a work-and-life-a-holic.  This is when I got my cold, by the way.  I don't think Black Wednesday really had anything to do with it...

September - What a month.  Tears a-plenty, and that's from me, the ice queen.  Although I'd say what I learned from September that going and exploring pastures new doesn't mean what it did when you were 18.  Life really will still be there when you get back; it's more like 'adieu' than 'goodbye'.  That doesn't mean I didn't bawl like a baby when I gave my final wave to my friends, of course.

Claire and kickball in Baltimore
October - I moved to America!  What DIDN'T I learn, is probably a better question.  I learned that emigrating is the only way to really check if you're ready to be a grown up.  I learned that I am a lot more accepting of who I am than I thought.  I learned that making friends is still one of life's great joys.  I learned that I love my jobs, both of them, and that I am learning more about them all the time.   And I learned that alas, for me, there is nothing to equal the British ability to make a truly excellent cup of tea.

November - OpenCon.  'nuff said.

Oh to wander the streets of Oxford in December...
December - I can't lie - December has been flipping' hard work. I submitted another job application, various lab things went all 'science' on me (read: not working), my best friend went to Sierra Leone like the hero she is and amidst all of that... I got a job interview in the UK.  So back I flew, landing back in the USA two days ago.  Which was a lot more emotionally draining than one might think.  What did I learn from this?  Stop thinking, focus, and just go with it.  (But look after yourself.  As I've said many times on this blog before, no man is an island...)

New Haven's Christmas tree.  Subtle, huh?
So I really have no clue what 2015 will bring, apart from hopefully a renewed closeness with my stethoscope.  2014 had more twists and turns than I could ever have predicted.  Which goes to show, you really do never know what is around the corner.  Although I've had moments of doubt and fear, if 2014 has taught me anything, it's that you should never stop adventuring, whatever your definition of that is.  And with that - Merry Christmas, dear blog reader!

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