Saturday, September 22, 2012

Kena Jumpa Dekan


Here comes the hangat post. I've been wondering if I should write this post in Bahasa so that some unwanted ppl will not be able to understand what I wrote. Who knows, I might get into trouble for expressing what I really feel.
So I've decided, let's do it the Malaysian style; a total rojak!

Short Summer Break

Okay, summer break is known to be the longest break any student can get, 3 whole months at least. This is the time where Malaysian students start to fill their FB albums with pics of them in various parts of the world.
But that does not apply to medical students doing their clinical years, that is year 3 to year 5 and perhaps some other courses.
We get only 5 weeks off.

And the worst part is, my year 4 starts on the second day of Raya.
Raya hari Ahad, if I want to go back to attend the first day of year 4, I would have to depart from Malaysia latest by Saturday, that is on the malam raya.

Gler x? Sape nk tinggalkan family and terbang beribu batu sehari seblm raya weyh?
Nangis2 kt KLIA instead of main bunga api "Yeay yeay, esok raya!".

Ok, imaginasi je tu. My malam raya was full of rendang, ketupat and domestic cleaning, xde smell of fireworks langsung. But that's my point. I'm not going to spend £500+ on airfare and NOT BE ABLE to spend raya with family.

Dah Request Leave Pun

Well before year 3 ends, I wrote an email requesting for leave approval from the Dean. She turned it down.
Tapi sebenarnye, saya dah beli tiket dah pun. Wahahaha.. Nakal gler.
And then, I scored quite badly in my OSCE that I needed to see the Dean.

Haish... Don't worry, I am doing good in OSCE now. So, during the meeting, again I verbally requested the leave.
This is a different dean from last time.
And he turned it down too.
He said he tried to do his best to ask from the University but the University is strict and won't let us take our leaves.
The UK is a Christian country, and there are some religious festivals observed by the country, but not Eid.

How ridiculous is that?
I don't know how many Jewish is here since I can't differentiate them from Christians but I can clearly see many many many Muslims around. Why not give a day or two off?
Malaysia dok gaduh nak Chinese Malay and Indian dapat treatment yang adil bagai...

Leave Rejected

But anyway, since he said the University does not allow it, although he would very much like to help us get the leave, I can't really say anything.
To my surprise, my Malaysian friends from other teaching hospitals (but still under Univ of Manchester) got one week off, provided they replace the hours that they missed.

Mind you, even non-Muslim friend got a week off.
So I was outraged.
Then it all falls back to the place, Preston is known to be a bit more strict with its students bcos it is a smaller hospital in a much smaller town.

The other 3 hospitals are in Manchester thus they are very busy that they do not manage their students well. Words are, Preston has the lowest failure rates.
Well, something to be proud of but it comes with a big price. So if I said in my last post that Blackburn is even more efficient in managing the students timetable compared to Preston, imagine what it will be like in another hospital.

Kwn2 lain pun tau abt students from other hospitals dapat cuti seminggu.
So anyway, walaupun kitorg xde la discuss and plan btul2 but we roughly know sape balik bila, sape balik lmbt and sape blk awal etc.

And senior 5th year pun ckp yg diorg ponteng seminggu and diorg kna jumpa dekan, and talk like 10mins dgn dia. So, di saat sy beli tiket tu, sy dh ready to face whatever might come.

Then, 2 weeks before the term starts, I emailed the dean's secretary informing them of my one-week absence. Masuk2 4th-year kt Blackburn mmg la ssh, with no internet and missed the whole week and moving to a new house, and being ill (since I was still in Msia). I started to hate it here because they kept track of us and I felt they are keeping track of me even more so, treating me like a criminal, like an immature girl whose aim is just to identify any possible session that I can skip. Maybe it's my personal feeling, or it may be my guilt for missing one week, but I felt so bad about the place that I hated it. Things were so bad that I anticipated weekends and dreaded weekdays like nvr before.

The Weird Arrangement

2 weeks later, comes the appointment with the deanS.
Mind you, yes the deanS. I'm meeting both the Academic and the Professional Conduct deans.

Ridiculously, my appointment was set at 10 in the morning in Preston, and I have to travel from Blackburn.
After the appt, I was supposed to return to Blackburn, and travel to Burnley for my GP posting. And later in the afternoon, travel back to Blackburn because a taxi provided by the school will be fetching us at 4.30pm to go to Preston for another compulsory briefing.

What a "funny" arrangement! So I swapped my GP day with my ward day and decided to stay in Preston the whole day. And then.....the meeting came around.

I'll talk abt the meeting later but, after the meeting I got a bit intimidated that I decided to return to Blackburn to attend the ward. Imagine the rush and travel and anxiety and exhaustion.
A journey by public transports between Preston and Blackburn takes 1.5hrs on a good day. The earliest I'll be able to reach Blackburn will be 2pm and the taxi that's gonna fetch us will be at 4.30 so in effect, I'll be spending less than 2.5 hrs in a quiet Paeds ward. A total waste of my time. I was even comparing myself to a local. Will a local British student follow the rule and come back to the quiet ward for 2 hrs? There is nothing much that we can do. The benefit we'll get is much less than the effor we're gonna hv to out in to travel back there. Since westerners are known to be more aware of their "rights", I am quite positive that they will not make the futile journey. But having just seen the deanS for absences in the morning, lowered my threshold.

The Meeting

The meeting with the deans itself was not something pleasant, tp blh la bangga jgk. Haha...
I think I was very tenang and santai throughout.
Sy dh ready utk kna marah. Diorg tnya knp sy x dtg, sy ckp sbb raya.
Then diorg asked how will this affect my professional life later.

Most of the talk went about being a doctor is not equal to being a hairdresser. Will I be missing for a whole week when I started working later on.

I said no, and when asked why, I told them that by that time I am responsible for people's lives.
No one is going to die when medical students esp me do not turn up.
But ppl may die if doctors do not turn up. Agree?

So diorg marah.
And they went on abt the difference btw a med school and any other school.
Then diorg kata knp x minta kebenaran, then I said I did, and when they knew my request was turned down yet sy masih x dtg, lagi kna marah. Haha...

Tp siyesly, marah la mcm mana pun, sy dh ready nk face. At last diorg kata they will send me down to Manchester for a meeting with the people there.
Takut la jgk but then, byk je lagi org lain yg kna hantar. Bukan sy sorg yg skip.

Before I left the room, my last question to them was "So now I just have to wait for an appointment in Manchester?" - "YES"
But oh no, sy x gaduh ngn diorg or bt mcm x ckup di ajar. Sy tenang and santai and snyum je byk2... Btul ni.... :)

So, it is a lesson for me but, also a lesson to them.
The first day of the term on 2nd day of Eid, with us students having to fly across the ocean for 13 hrs, mesti la u'll get bad attendance. Apparently, 17 of us Msian students were missing on the induction day.

In a way, padan muka diorg. Degil sgt xnk bg some allowance for us.
Klo lah diorg took this into account, this wont hv happened.
Lenkali if the sem starts coincides with Eid again, sy maybe x skip 5 hari, most prob 3 hari je kot?
Oh jahat...

But anyway, I am doing fine now. Doing lots of hours to make up my absences.
Xpe la, rasa la mcm doctor skit, weekends pun kna masuk keje, shift evening hari2 smpai 9pm.
Padan la muka sy dpt raya! Anda bagaimana? :p

-Because life is a test-

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

From Preston to Blackburn


I've come to terms that all medical students will have to travel to a lot of places, not for a day or two but for a week at least, being posted to different places and hospitals and clinics etc. When I was in year 2, I had to travel to Damansara every day for 3 weeks to do my electives. Later that year, I was sent to Hospital Orang Asli Gombak for 3 days. During early year 3, I had to go for Selectives in a private clinic for a week.

Now in year 4 when I am in England, from Royal Preston Hospital I've been transferred to Royal Blackburn Hospital, for 3 months. Fortunately, I've been given room to stay in, for free.

Blackburn and Preston are about 30 mins apart by car and 18mins by direct train.
Preston is in central Lancashire while Blackburn is in the east, that's like traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Semenyih in Selangor. And yes, the facilities are almost like that as well. Preston is a bigger town compared to Blackburn. So if I feel "a bit bored" in Preston, I feel "a lot bored" in Blackburn. Not only that, but I am also occasionally sent to Burnley General Hospital, which is even smaller than Blackburn.

So yes, even though I study in England (everyone knows it), and I am a student of the Univ of Manchester, I am rarely in Manchester. I think when I say "I am studying in England", people imagine London; the vibrant, noisy, busy city.

Truth is, I stay in a quiet decent town, 6 hours away from London, and are sent to even smaller towns. I sarcastically feel quite in a "Stone Age".

My tertiary educational life has been very funny and odd. When I started in INTEC, batchmates asked where did I go for my high school. I answered "SMK Cheras Jaya", and they went "Ohh... okay.. Where is that?". If my answer was Muar Science School, or MRSM Alor Gajah, or Sekolah Tunku Kurshiah, or any boarding school for that matter, I am sure they will give a totally different response, "Oouuhh...THAT school. My friend or cousin or whoever was also from there, do you know her?". When people ask me where do I go for college, they do not know INTEC. Had I answered Segi College, UM, UPM, Taylor's, I'll definitely get a different response.

The same goes for when people ask which medical school am I studying in. When I say IMU, most people do not know about it. UM, UPM, USM etc are more well known.

And now, when I say I study in the Univ of Manchester, and they were like "Ooohh...that's good". But the moment I say I stay in Preston, one of their eyebrows will start to rise. NB: Most Malaysian students do not know where Preston is, or the fact that it even exists. They know Lancaster, Manchester, Leeds, and all the big cities which have universities named after them but not Preston. Hmmm..nevermind. I am pretty sure I will work in a hospital where people know EXACTLY where is it. Hospital Serdang, or Hospital Putrajaya, or Hospital Melaka, or Hospital Tunku Ampuan Rahimah, etc.

Ok, back to Blackburn story.

In Preston, there were almost 90 of us in a year.

So the admin is not that efficient in managing us, unlike in Blackburn where there are only approx 20 of us, divided into 4 smaller groups. They manage us like crazy. They know exactly where we are, where we are supposed to be, what we are supposed to do and they informed the wards, the clinics, and any other units about us being there so that people LOOK FOR us. Almost nothing can be done outside their radars. There is a good and bad side for this. Good is, we become more hardworking because we know people are expecting us and we have our own logbooks to be signed off as proofs. The bad side is, we HAVE TO BE hardworking and cannot play truant because ppl are expecting us and they'll catch us in no time. *heavy sigh*

Not that I'm used to playing truant but don't you think there are those times that you just find the session not-so-useful that you decided that you'll do more by staying at home? I demand you to AGREE WITH ME. So I felt very restricted here. Fortunately, there are not many of those not-so-useful sessions over here. We are kept busy by running around the units, chasing after shuttle buses between Burnley and Blackburn and consultants and foundation doctors that are ever ready to teach us.

The fact that I skipped the first week of my 4th year made matters worse. I think I shall write my encounter with the deans and the horrible experience in another post since this is long enough.

Thank you for reading!

And oh, Blackburn Hospital does not have a wifi connection. Needless to say, so thus the free hostel building.

So the first week of my stay here, I was completely detached from THE world. I didn't even have my smartphone with me because I sent it in for repair, what bad timing. I felt so helpless, annoyed and cross. And the computers in the library take ages to load, I can even brew a cup of coffee by the time it finished loading. But things got a lot better now, I subscribed to an unlimited internet phone line, and I created a hotspot through my phone and I can connect my laptop to the internet :) *smiles*

-Because life is a test-


Friday, September 7, 2012

Coming Back to UK


This is my first time coming BACK to the UK.
Someone asked me to compare the feelings of setting my foot in the UK for the first time and my arrival this time. It is totally totally different.
When I first arrive in the UK a year ago, I was excited and exhilirated but also nervous. When I saw the Msian High Commission officer waiting for us right after we stepped out of the airplane (she got a special permission), I was very relieved. At least there is someone that will help us go thru the procedures of going thru the immigration. Ppl say that that is the scariest part, if the UK Border does not allow u entrance, that's it. I wasnt really scared though, I was going in under the name of the Msian Govt, complete with a formal 3 piece suit.
The 13 hours of flight was not tiring, it was a little fun instead since they were many of us flying together (almost 20!) and I was sitting with my friends.

However, the 13 hrs flight this time was a lot more tiring. Perhaps it can be partly attributed to the fact that I left Msia with a heavy heart, and I was also feeling ill the whole journey.
This time also, I felt wiser.
I knew exactly where to head to; the connecting flight counter so that I can get my passport stamped and get the next boarding pass to Manchester.
I wasn't as excited. I was not wondering how will I cope with studies, how will the weather be, how will I cook and things like that. I knew all that. I'll be busy, that's a norm for 4th years. And the weather will be so unpredictable and varied that it can be 8C on one day and 20C on the next day. It will rain almost evry day, my shoes and socks will be wet and I will be longing for a good hot home-cooked soup.

Bad enough,I arrived home finding that I do not have a room because the girl who was supposed to vacate her room while summer did not. So she was still staying in the room, eventhough I paid for the rental. I had to crash my stuff into Kiew's room and slept in another room, since the owner of the room was still in Msia. However, everything was sorted very quickly, thank God. The girl finally got her long awaited new hse key and moved out.

2 days after my arrival, I had to pack my stuff to move to another hospital. I have been posted to Royal Blakburn Hospital for this semester. Blackburn is in east Lancashire while Preston is central. Thank God I am moving there with my clinical partner who is also my hsemate, Syahidah. Both of us got each a room in the staff accommodation, Alhamdulillah.

I will talk more about Blackburn in another post.

-Because life is a test-

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

From KL to UK

Below is the piece that I wrote in the plane while on my way back to UK from KL.
This is already my 2nd week here, and now only I get the opportunity to post this.
Imagine how busy/internet-deprived I was for the past 2 weeks! :(

There might be bits of typos here and there with some grammatical errors. Forgive me but I was writing on font size 6 on Word because I became so self-conscious, imagining the people next to me were trying to read my writing.


Okay,let’s make it a tradition. To write on the airplane, whether going home to or away from Malaysia.
This time, I’m flying to London Heathrow form Kuala Lumpur, as the marking of the end of my summer break
Actually my class startsed5 days ago but I requested for an extended leave, and will have it to make it up during weekends. I have no problem with that.
Eid was on the 19th and my class starts on the 20th. If I were to join the class, I ave to leave Msia on the 18th. After paying £500+ for my airfare, I refused to miss Eid.
I flew one week b4 Eid last year.

The aeroplane I am on now is flying above Romania, travelled 9584km and has 1861km more to travel, in abt 2hrs 22mins time.
It is now 8.37pm in Malaysia that means 1.37pm in London, and I am expected to reach Heathrow at 3.59pm. Hmmm, nice. Earlier than what is said on the ticket. But it also mean I have to be stranded in London for a longer time because my flight to Manchester does not depart until 2200 tonight UK time.

My Summer Break

It was hectic. If I am asked to describe how I spent my 6 weeks in Malaysia, that will be my answer. But it was also worth it.
It started with me fell ill due to dehydration and change of weather. And then I rose to entertain my cousin and her parents for 10 days, almost all across Malaysia.
Then I fell ill again.
By then Raamadhan has started, and during the 2nd week of Ramadhan, I started baking kuih raya. One type in a day.
In the mean time, I ran errands for my mum, and siblings.

Then I helped in some family matters, but those are not to be complained about. I enjoyed it.

How I Ended My Summer Break

Surpirisingly, I got so ill that my mother contemplated asking me not to go back in the arranged date. She wanted me to return later, when I am better and was even willing to foot the bill. Of course, I did not take the offer. It was a crazy one. I was havng bad cough, cold and flu. Can’t sleep at night because I cant breathe and worse, vomited occasionally. I topk paracetamol as if they were sweets. But all along, there was no temperature. Went to the doctos, and was prescribed some antibiotics, steroid and anti histamine. The steroid, I cant figure out wy was I given the steroid. The doctor said it was to reduce my thorat inflammation but I’ve nvr known ppl are given steroid for sore throat. I thought strepsils or any other lozengeswill do. Perhaps the doctor wanted me to get better faster, since I’ll be flying off soon.

I brought the cough with me onto the plane. As soon as I lived my family, I walked alone thru all the airport security checkpoints and custom checks. By the time I board te plane, I was breathless and coughing badly. I can’t even talk properly when one of my friend called me on the phone to bid a final goodbye.

On the plane, I sat in the middle of a Caucasian lady and a Msian Chinese man. The chinese man saw and heard my terrible cough while I speak on the phone while waiting for other passengers to board. The next I thing I knew, he was already wearing a face mask. He must have gotten it from the air stewardess. I didn’t feel insulted, I respect his right for wanting to avoid me. But it was a funny sight, haha… He kept that face mask on him all the time. Isn’t he suffocated? I pity him, heh…

I got extremely nauseous and dizzy on the flight, aunable to sleep properly so I asked for paracetoamol. Then he told me about my obvious cold and said he didn’t want to get infected so he wore the mask. I chuckled and said it’s alright. And he still is. Sometimes he did not put it on properly, he used his hand to place it against his mouth but sometimes he put it properly with the band across his head.

-Because life is a test-