Out of Focus - the diary of a student radiographer.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Just a little update

Thanks for the kind words on my last post guys - it really was appreciated.

Had my study day yesterday, still felt very miserable, brain in a total fog meant I did very little actual study. Only two weeks to go before my exam and essay hand-in so weekends and evenings are going to have to be utilised in getting my revision and essay writing done. Felt very guilty about feeling so sorry for myself after yesterdays two minute silence reminded me my problems are tiny compared to many people's.

Today my head has cleared sufficiently for me to have a good day at placement which has gone some way to restoring my confidence in my own abilities. I have given myself permission to sod study tomorrow and get some therapeutic fresh air and exercise at the Kent Show which is always a fab day out.

As an interesting aside, I found this on the Oxford English Dictionary's website. I was especially interested to see that they can't find a reference in print to bouncy castles before 1986. I'm sure I played on bouncy castles in my childhood and, as I was 15 in 1986, I'm sure they existed before then. At least, I'm fairly sure I didn't play on a bouncy castle after the age of 15. Next time I'm at my parent's house I'm going to see if they have any old village fete programmes knocking about.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Hell, I started this blog thinking it would be good therapy but I haven't really used it as such. I'm going to today. I'll warn you now - this blog is going to be long and waffly, most probably a little incoherent and definitely gloomy - so if you have a problem with that go and read someone else's blog. It's not like I'm writing this specifically for someone else to read, I just need to get some things out of my head.

I really hate the black dog. You think you have successfully kicked it out then, when you least expect it, it sneaks back and bites you on the arse. I don't want it to stop me from successfully completing this course - I know I have the ability to be a radiographer and I want to be a radiographer, and besides if I run away from this I don't know where I can go next.

Sometimes I feel like there are two of me living inside my head. There is the rational one, that thinks logically. My rational self knows what is going on and is sensible and realistic. The other one is my emotional self that lives on feelings and can't think rationally. Sometimes my rational self is stronger and can tell my emotional self not to be so silly and that is good. Sometimes my emotional self is stronger and won't listen to my rational self no matter how loud it shouts and that is generally bad. I've just read that back to myself and it sounds so screwed up, but that is how I am.

I'm not a very confident person. Often I can pretend fairly convincingly that I am confident, but I'm not. My lack of confidence can lead to me getting stressed. When I get stressed, I often take an ostrich approach - I try to ignore the stressed stuff in my head by distracting myself, usually by spending too long on the internet or by watching any old crap on the television. The reason I left my IT job in London 5 years ago was I was badly managed, I was expected to get on with stuff I didn't have the ability and confidence to do and I was too nervous and silly to do anything to improve my situation. So I did a poor job, used the internet too much at work and got badly told off for both when all I was doing was the best I could. Consequently I now take criticism, even the most friendly and constructive criticism, very, very personally and get all upset.

I have several stressors at the moment on my placement. One is the aforementioned criticism. My rational self tells me this criticism is good, it is vital to my learning, it's not at all personal, but my emotional self goes to pieces when I am criticised. My emotional side is also convinced I am not progressing nearly as fast as I should be, and it won't listen at all to my rational side which says this is nonsense as I am only on my eighth placement week. I also feel I have so much to learn and remember and so much coursework to do at the moment and this is only the first semester - if I can't cope now, how am I going to manage when the amount of coursework I have to do increases?

Anyway, I had a long sob over all this on Adam's shoulder last night and today, when Rebecca, my personal tutor, came to the hospital to see me I was still feeling emotionally raw and, to my horror, I couldn't stop myself bursting into tears in front of her. Luckily, she was wonderful about it, I was able to tell her all about how I was feeling and what was worrying me and she was able to reassure me that I was progressing well, no one she had spoken to at the hospital had a bad word to say about me (or any of the other students) and the next few semesters shouldn't be as hard as the learning curve wouldn't be so steep. She also let me go home for the afternoon which was good as I could go have a good bawl in private which I really needed to do.

Tomorrow is my study day so hopefully I'll have got myself together again for Friday. I'd just like to find myself a very large metaphorical gun so I can blow that bloody black dog's head off.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


I don't need to tell you what the main news of the day is. Although Adam works in central London, thankfully he wasn't affected. It's always there at the back of my mind, a concern about his welfare when he is at work, even though he works on the opposite side of the river to the most likely terrorist targets in London. I'm very angry at the sort of moral-less, cowardly scum that make me worry about him, and I can't even begin to imagine how awful it must be for the relatives of the people that are actually affected. I hope the people that did this burn in hell.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Mmm.. doughnuts

I haven't blogged much about my studies recently. Things are going OK - I completed two of my essays in good time and I managed to get them both just over the minimum number of words. I just have two more short essays to do, plus revise for my exam in August. I'm back at placement again and seeing some new stuff - barium enemas last week (aka 'bum shandies') and CT this week.

I was prompted to blog today because of the last chap we wheeled into the metal doughnut today. His scan showed a huge dark area on his brain - likely a large bleed. He had been having some severe headaches and was clearly worried. As I got him off the table he was clearly angling for some information about what the scan had shown. It was so difficult trying to be professional, yet friendly, whilst knowing something that he didn't yet know. I'd not had a problem with this before - so far the conditions I had come across were things like broken bones which aren't really serious in the way that brain problems can be. I really hope I didn't let my concern show on my face.

There was no way I could say anything to him about what we had seen. Even though the radiographer I was with was very experienced, like most radiographers she doesn't have the clinical training to diagnose anything. That is the job of a qualified doctor. That might sound a bit jobsworth-ish but its very sensible - the patient really needs to hear the diagnosis from someone who can then go on to tell him about his prognosis and treatment options, and answer his questions.

One of the first things I'll do when I'm back in on Thursday will be to look him up on the computer and find out whether the radiographer was right. Pity I'll never know what happens to him.