Saturday, 3 January 2015

2014 to 2015

This blog was started as a way to catalogue all my crafty things I've seen and created, share my creations with friends and family and I would like to think that perhaps it can help the most "un-creative" person find a simple way to make the things they like.

A side benefit it was a way to practise my writing as I found that my vocabulary and writing skills were becoming atrocious. There are so many words in the English language and I find it sad that many people have difficulty in expressing themselves. It has become arduous to say and share what we truly feel and think. There was a beautiful quote from a book I once read that struck me about this, but for the life of me I cannot recall. I will add it whenever I remember.

Somewhere I ended up moving on to Tumblr because I enjoyed the ease of the platform and also my focus became more on medical things. I made a more medical themed Tumblr which proved useful as I met lots of cool and talented people. However it became difficult to keep up two blogging sites as I entered more demanding rotations and while I have numerous half written posts in drafts, I thought it best to take a break from all distractions and eventually stopped using either blogging platforms and went back to the traditional pen and paper if needed and linking my Instagram account to my Tumblr instead. A picture paints a thousand words and I had no time to write a thousand words.

"I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.”- C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis summed it up right about my motivations. Whenever I feel my brain being cluttered and confused, I write. I find I quite like making lists as much as the smooth feel of paper under my palms and how the ink flows from the pen. (If you were a follower of this blog, I am quite sure I must have mentioned my ?obsessions about thick white paper. lol)

I digress. These last few days understandably, I have been reflecting on my 2014 year and what 2015 means for me and my loved ones. Over the year friends have been asking about this blog so I thought I would do my retrospection here.

School Highlights

2014 I finished my fourth year at medical school, did an elective in Interventional Cardiology/ Internal Medicine, and began my final year, covering Orthopaedics, Anaesthetics, Surgery, Internal Medicine, Paediatrics and part of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 

Elective was wonderful and I found that I enjoyed Cardiology. My consultant & registrar inspired me to learn and when my Internal Medicine rotation came around in year 5, I found myself pulling from my knowledge gained through that experience. I learnt my murmurs, how to interpret ECGs and I spent time in the Cath Lab seeing angiograms and angioplasties. It came in handy as my year 5 rotation, I ended up with more Cardiology units. I enjoyed as I got to learn how to perform and interpret ECHOs and exercise stress testing, temporary pacing wires and learnt about patient management which was appealing to me as I know Cardiovascular disease is a huge burden on the population and a lot of what I will be doing as a doctor when graduating will be managing those cases. The coolest experience for Medicine was attending the Cardiac Pacemaker Device Clinic and seeing how the devices were calibrated and adjusted based on patient's needs/ conditions. While it may not have been as relevant in a final exam setting, knowledge gained is never wasted according to my year 4 Gen Surg registrar and it was something that always fascinated me.  

Notable highlight- Hand-tying for the insertion of a temporary pacing wire. I have a sneaking suspicion that the senior was having some difficulty in doing it but glad for the opportunity to put skills learnt to use. Could not let Mr. Pierre down! My consultant in Orthopaedics was a polite fun grandfather sort of fellow, and once during a lull in cases and figuring that we were perhaps bored out of our minds, sat us down in the Ortho theatre room and spent the entire afternoon teaching us how to hand-tie. #MemoriesOfALifetime 

I spent 2 months in General Surgery in South on a Vascular/ Gen Surg Unit as subgroup leader. Before starting, I recalled my time in surgery as a year 4. I felt that I was extremely weak in it as I didn't have as much practical exposure as the other students seemed to have gotten. Sure, my results were fine but I knew there was so much that I did not not know practically. I also heard much talk about the how difficult the rotation is in South but the immense amount of teaching/ practical experience that could be gained. As such when I was placed there, I told myself from the start that this rotation would be different. I was weak in year 4 so I had to catch up soon and quickly. I accepted that it was a tough rotation but sacrifices were to be made as this was the only time I would have before final exams to study Surgery to its fullest. 

Being group leader meant more responsibility and pressure to balance everything, but I found I work best under pressure and used it to motivate me to study and give my best. At the end, I knew that I worked hard. Perhaps the hardest I ever worked. My Surgery consultant was demanding of us in that sense that he always expected our best, and I found myself learning far beyond surgery on a ward rounds. I appreciated the changes to the format of the rotation in South as I was able to see/ learn more. I saw Vascular and  Gen Surg with my team, endoscopy in between cases, the more unusual cases (or as we sometimes called it- the "high-draft" (teaching) cases) with the other teaching consultant whose ward rounds we began to attend, and teaching in Urology and Paediatric Surgery.

The Vascular aspect was most appealing to me especially because of the occasional Cardiology and Haematology overlap. I liked the meticulous approach taken during the surgery. The hands-on aspect of surgery was wonderful and the idea that you can offer a definite solution to an ailment, thereby fixing/ curing a patient. The rotation itself was in fact tough but I had an awesome buddy who was writing exams in November who was fantastic to work with. I would not have gotten through it in such a sane manner if she was not around. Similarly in Medicine, another friend sitting in exams in November who I was able to work with practising exams, etc. Both helped me with my weak areas and vice versa (I hope) and I am so glad that I can call them both Drs now. 

All in all I was happy with my academic performance over the year, except for Orthopaedics which wasn't bad but I should have done better! But I studied with the aim of passing final exams, doing all the past papers and not the rotation exam so that was my problem. I guess I know where my focus was. LOL

Am I closer to figuring out what field I would like to specialise in the future? Perhaps. I still like everything! But I've ruled out a pure General Surgery field. I cannot see myself giving up more time to being a General Surgery House Officer. Not 100 % about Internal Medicine. However Paediatrics and Family Medicine are still contenders as well as Emergency Medicine. 

While there were some not so great times like stressful rotations, getting Chik-V/ Chik- V- like virus, wondering about the health of my uncle or coming to terms with almost losing the life of a dear friend and our own mortality in this world, there were amazing moments as well.

  • I got to spend more time with my Naps girls. Friends like that are golden and with Vikki getting married we made more of an effort to see each other to plan her Bachelorette/ sleepover and then the actual bachelorette and bridal shower parties/limes as well as wedding.
  • Vikki got married! My best friend/ sister tied the knot with her love and I could not be happier. Plus I was a bridesmaid. 
  • Family and friends are all in good health and we can make plans for 2015 to be together again. 
  • With Chik-V like virus, I got to take a well needed rest for a week. (Yay for a week off from school) No residual joint pains and most importantly no more itchy skin. That was the worst part.
  • Art took a back seat, but I still made time to do little crafting projects. I made the effort to exhibit some artwork in Mt Hope's 2nd Art Gala. I regretted not doing the same for the exhibition in Art Attack for POSGH. I was able to experiment with new media- glass painting, using mod podge. 
  •  Room makeover. My mom completely transformed my bedroom at home while I was up north in rotations. She is extremely talented. 
  •  Helped my boyfriend with organizing a charity football match and was glad to see the support that came in for the event. Funds raised were beyond what was expected and hopefully next year a similar event could be done. 
  • 4 year Anniversary with boyfriend. Words can't express how lucky I feel when I think about him. Time is flying by and it still feels the same as when we first met.
  • Did not fail any rotations as yet so I write exams in May/ June. Thank goodness!
  • Cooked more and ate healthier in 2014. 
  • Played more football. Played a few matches with year group and we made it to the top 4 of our league.

I don't make new years resolutions but I have been making some goals for 2015.

For the first half of the year I want to focus and study hard for final exams and become a Doctor in May/ June 2015. I will be Dr Shazanna Khan at the end of this year. No ifs ands or buts about it.

I want to improve my level of fitness and start back running. I want to go about studying in a healthy fashion and I know exercise would be a healthy de-stressor. I play football but that's not really helpful in improving fitness. 

After exams, I want to go on a vacation. Do more artwork. Finally paint something for Vikki's new home. Re-join Art Society. Read more books on my Goodreads list. Be more creative. Blog more. Have a charitable endeavour. Be healthier. Eat healthier. Exercise more. Plan future with loved ones. Spend more time with family, friends and boyfriend. Figure out what field I want to work in. Take more photos. 

2015 most importantly I want to stay happy and stress-free and be successful in my all endeavours with the same being wished upon my family and friends. 

Cheers to new experiences and great success in 2015!
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