A long year.

Standard

Hello all,

True to its title, this blog has indeed had a rocky few months. My posts have been sporadic at best, but with Summer in full swing, if only in name and not in terms of glorious sunshine, it is high time to coax this blog into some semblance of order.

So, where to begin?

My time has been consumed rather callously by those pesky exams over the last few months, along with all the other crucial aspects of my life that will eventually form the basis of my application. It has been without doubt, hectic, challenging and not a small bit terrifying, but the end is nigh. Well, sort of.

The seemingly insurmountable hurdles that take the forms of aptitude tests and personal statements are still looming, however, as I said, the end is nigh. I have, of course, undertaken the customary race across the country to open days near and far, and all of these abstract longings for a career in medicine are seeming to become tangible.

In short, and to make sense of my ramblings, I shall be continuing this blog, and I will try to keep my posts fairly regular, in-between the arduous UKCAT revision.

Ben.

Advertisements

Sad Tidings.

Standard

Hello once again,

as many of you who have followed me from the beginning of this journey know, my Grandfather has been something of a medical enigma, battling heroically through many an illness, and flourishing under conditions where many would have succumbed to the fatigue of many hard years. Yet he continued to fight, and to win. He has suffered strokes a plenty, infections and falls, operations from heart to hip, and has taken enough bad news to turn the most hardened soldier’s hair white, yet still he stoically stood against the rising tide.

I ¬†don’t think I am able to describe his character with the justice that he deserves. The entire time I knew my Grandfather, I saw an exceedingly kind and generous soul, never bitter about the hardships he had suffered in his own life. He never focussed on the bad aspects of his life, only the good, and the memories he cherished always meant that, as a man, he rose above the petty gripes that befall others like him. He always loved to tell stories of his days as a Whaler, and his passion for the sea, even though we knew he despised the whaling itself. I think that until the end of my days, I will still be able to recount those stories, those stories that became his talisman, his little bit of the better times.

While I am sad that he is gone for now, I feel that it is only right that he finally left the battlefield of his own accord, in his own way, victorious.

I have news!

Standard

Hello everyone.

As I venture further into my AS year, I find that all of my previously unoccupied time has been taken up by the fiend of all students. Homework. It is a massive task to fit in my skiing and surfing, whilst juggling my work, volunteering and vast amounts of homework. Some aspects of my life were bound to be found lacking, and I’m afraid to say this is one of those areas. However my life is progressing, and there have been developments.

In school, I am undertaking the task of writing a mini-dissertation, outlining the effects of alcoholism on young people, how it affects them into later life and the impact this has upon the NHS. Regarding this, I am making some progress. I think. I spent my parents evening giving out surveys on the topic of alcohol and young people. Suffice to say, the looks I received, when I asked about people’s first time drinking, were satisfying enough to render the whole endeavour worthwhile, even if I received a collection of lies back from my unwitting sample pool. I have also interviewed many different people, from professors, to the health minister for Wales. It is very interesting work, and I am really happy that it has provided an opportunity, to find out more about afflictions that I see in people my age, as-well as identifying who needs help, and how it could be delivered.

I have one Red Cross session left before I am a fully fledged red cross volunteer! I feel as though, due to the vast amount of time it has taken me to get to this point, it will be a rewarding and worthwhile post. Hopefully.

My teaching is still one of the most rewarding things I do. It is the best job I could have at the moment; the opportunity to build a connection with these children, as-well as teaching them to swim, is one that I value very highly. I find that my communication skills are becoming more flexible as I become more experienced, and dealing with both parents and children of different abilities and capacities for learning, while still trying to act professionally, is something that I have had to master. In short, I think I’m getting better at building trust much more quickly with those I teach, however I’m not sure if this is due to my improving social skills, or my worryingly in-depth knowledge of “Frozen.”

To conclude my ramblings, although my work load is growing rapidly, I think I am learning to manage my time and adapt to my busier schedule, more out of necessity than anything else. I’m sorry for massive gap in posts, but as I’ve said, recently I have been drowning in biology handouts. Don’t worry though, it’s all fine. I am a lifeguard, after all.

Ben.

No rest for the workers.

Standard

Hello all,

I imagine some of you are wondering what odd and alternate subject I could have possibly plucked out of the proverbial hat, to dazzle my readers with this week. The actual answer is rather mundane.

I have grasped and held aloft the mantle of David Hasslehoff.

To clarify, for any of you who are utterly bemused at my eccentric wordplay, I am now a lifeguard.

Over this week, it being half term at the moment, I have completed my NPLQ pool lifeguarding course. It consisted of three parts: training in pool rescue, CPR and first aid and dealing with pool emergencies. As you can imagine, I voraciously lapped up the first aid section, and thoroughly enjoyed healing mock injuries, while grimacing as I readied myself to play “casualty.” I felt in my element, internally shining with self-satisfaction when I discovered that I could best the calamities thrown at me.

It was also exceedingly interesting and very good fun in the water. Learning the different tows and turns, lifts and rescues, that could one day save a life with my input, was both self-gratifying and humbling at the same time. It showed me the seriousness of the position I may eventually undertake, and highlighted the dangers that are ever-present both in and out of the pool. I can only imagine that, as I progress further into the business of saving lives, these feelings will become more pronounced.

After a fairly easy written exam, and a much more rigorous practical exam, I am now a pool lifeguard. This also means when working ( as a swimming teacher) I shall also be one of the only qualified lifeguards for the pool and therefore responsible for all safety within the pool. Brilliant.

Another shocking development that is soon to begin; I shall officially begin my training with the Red Cross on Monday! Things are looking up my friends, unless one is referring to my declining social life as my friends and I slowly accept the inevitable trudge through the muddy path that is the road to our AS exams.

All the best my staunch readers,

Ben.

As a favour, if any of you decide to frequent the Rhoose area, about 30 minutes outside of Cardiff, please try to avoid drowning.

Osteomyelitis

Standard

Hello to my wonderful readership,
It is once again time to explore my family’s various ailments; in this case the affliction is my Grandad’s. After a hip replacement, while he was resting In a post op recovery centre, he gained several bed sores. The most notable of these was upon his heel, where, due to the days spent abed, the sore appeared. This was by all accounts, a minor issue. He had survived much more serious problems than this in the past; why would the stalwart, if somewhat crusty seaman fall to a mere flesh wound. The quote “tis but a scratch… Just a flesh wound” from the brilliant Monty Python sketch embodied my Grandfather’s opinion perfectly. He shrugged it off without so much as a thought.
This was of course, a mistake. The sore preceded to worsen, and got to such an extent that he was unable to walk. The sore grew larger and deeper, and the wound festered. It was attended to by nurses, yet there was little improvement. When he suddenly took a turn in the wrong direction, all thoughts naturally gravitated to the foul-smelling pit that resided upon what was formerly his heel.
He was brought into hospital, and the fears we had harboured were confirmed; the source of the problems originated within the sore. It turns out, my grandfather had contracted osteomyelitis, an infection within the bone and marrow, which was, in his case, born from an infection of the ulcer tissue. It burrowed deeper and deeper until the bone became infected. Once this infection took root in my grandfather’s heel, it slowly extended up his foot and into his leg. He was already weak from his hip replacement, and any white blood cells available to fight the infection most probably did more harm than good. The enzymes they secrete to remove the pathogen instead begins to break down the bone, both infected and not, creating further issues.
The form my grandfather contracted, chronic osteomyelitis, is specifically when the bacteria responsible inhabit the bone cells, and are able to burst forth from these cells, and extend their reach to other, untainted bone cells. This form of virus is, as one can imagine, fairly serious. The general treatment for such a predicament, is a long course of antibiotics, which the pathogen may or may not be susceptible to, and in some serious cases, amputation. This option was discussed extensively in my grandfather’s case. However it was decided the operation would be one step too far for my grandfather to make, so they persisted with antibiotics. It worked! He eventually recovered from the infection, and returned home.
The infection has since returned and the same course is being taken.
However he is happy, all be it rather “hacked off” at being re-admitted into hospital.
The story of the heel is at an end my readers, yet there are definitely more interesting and amusing stories than this one yet to come.
I apologise for my lack in content last week, I was at a ski competition. Hopefully I will not be so rude as to miss a weeks blogging for some time!
Also, a small request on my behalf for anyone who fancies responding. Just wanted to ask, what is the situation with excessive underage drinking in your area’s? I will explain my reasoning behind this question next time.
All the best,
Ben.

A voracious virus- Is Ebola the route to ruin?

Standard

The word “Ebola” has been thrown through news stories for weeks, gathering speed within the international community, yet not instigating any real action. Is now the time for action?

The Ebola epidemic that has formed in west Africa, began it’s journey as an isolated case within Guinea, in 2013. This isolated incident should have been stopped; the lifeline of this abhorrent affliction should have been severed. Immediately. And yet, now, in 2014, the “isolated incident” has spread it’s claws throughout western Africa, inhabiting it’s usually doomed hosts across Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal.
The virus itself first begins to show symptoms within it’s hosts between 2 days and three weeks after contraction. Symptoms first appear as headaches, a fever, sore throat and pain within the muscles. As the virus develops, the symptoms become both more pronounced and difficult. The liver and kidney function within the body decreases fairly severely, in conjunction with vomiting, diarrhoea and a rash. This eventually progresses to internal and external h√¶morrhaging and if untreated, death. The Ebola virus is passed through the body fluids; there has been no evidence found to suggest that the virus can be transmitted via the air. The virus is thought to have originated within bats, yet unlike in humans, it has no detrimental affects upon its host.
I think it is high time to brush the cobwebs from my unloved comments section, and get some of your views.
So I ask you this: do you think the Western powers responded to the outbreak in the right way? Do you think more money should be given to foreign health care systems to combat the viruses of the future? Please share your views, as they are more than welcome!
All the best,
Ben.
P.S. I apologise for any typos, this has been written primarily via a phone.

The beginning of the struggle.

Standard

My devoted, and terribly underfed readers.
I have been an abhorrent host to this not-so brilliantly attended party. You have stuck by me through these troubled times, and here we are, at the other side. Yes, that is correct, we made it to the end of the summer holidays! This means, as I’m sure you have guessed, that I am once again in school. Yet not just school, but sixth form!
This means that my life has suddenly been thrust into a new, organised era, meaning the blog I so carefully nurtured shall flourish (hopefully) once again! That is the plan, at least.
I shall continue as before, listing my families ailments, describing and detailing them for your reading pleasure.
On the note of family, I feel that I am somewhat obliged to tell you that my Grandfather, who has so often been the topic of medical scrutiny, is fading. He is in hospital, with no actual diagnosis, struggling to eat, and is feeling weak in all aspects. This is one of the reasons of my summer long absence. It didn’t seem right to discuss my Grandad’s previous near death experiences, especially when he had a front row seat to the brink of death from his hospital bed. However, he seems to be turning a corner, whether for good or ill, so it is therefore time to return.
In my time away, I have become a fully qualified STA swimming teacher, and teach three times per week. It is without doubt one of my favourite parts of my week and definitely the most rewarding. It is brilliant to see fear turn to joy with the addition of favourite colour woggle, and it heartens me to know that I have given a child a truly useful skill that will last their entire lives. The challenges that come with teaching hyperactive and shy, disabled and fully fit children, of all different ages, in one lesson and keeping them all happy, is one I relish.
I shall continue the update next week, as my posts should be up every Sunday from now on.
I hope you are looking forward to the journey as much as I am.
Ben.