Tuesday, 30 September 2008


I've always had a strong respect for authority and figures of said thing. I was brought up by a strict patriarch which I'm sure has contributed to this, but society in general ("back in my day" etc. Ha) is approving of structure and the like. That's fine. When I was younger my respect perhaps bordered on the unhealthy, but only for a little while. As I've grown up and gained a massive sense of self-awareness this respect has been altered. Figures of authority can still gain a large amount of reverence and respect from me, if there is some shown in return. Maybe I've been listening to too much Rage Against the Machine, but I don't follow authority blindly anymore.

Whereas there are currently subjects and lecturers I enjoy, engage with and certainly respect, there are definite bits I do not. One of the male lecturers at my University is highly approachable, likeable, professional and academic. This is the sort of nurse I want to be in the future hence: respect. He speaks about physiology with a level of expertise I haven't seen in other lecturers, but still reminds us that the patient is key. Other lecturers are less engaging in this sense, and so my respect ebbs away.

This can land me in hot water.

I am a doodler, and a multi-tasker. I can read or draw and listen at the same time. Especially like, as in the lecture this morning, the same basic information was being used as a 4x2 to smash us over the head with. If I hear the words Immunisation and Primary Prevention reminded to me one more time I may scream. Anyway, after this quite brutal piece of non-independent learning, the lecturer gave us a 35 minutes break (we'd been in for 45 so far). Then we came back to do the old presentation-lather-rinse-repeat. Not interesting, and not innovative. To me, anyway.

To cut a long story short, I was asked for the inevitable 'word after class'. I was told that reading during a seminar and presentations was rude. For once, I backed down and emulated apology, saying I'd try to pay more attention next time. Invigorated by such victory, the lecturer asked me how I would've felt if they read a newspaper during my presentation. The truth is: I'd be pretty nonplussed (in fact, the lecturer said they would've read the Daily Mail which would've been rude but for several other reasons), but I couldn't be arsed with an arguement. The lecturer argued the book I was reading (Essential Endocrinology) wasn't even relevant. I was tempted to retort that endocrinology is vital in the areas of diabetes and reproduction we were discussing from a Health Promotion point of view, but felt pretty hungry. Happy with perceived victory, the lecturer left and I realised I've made one more antagonist. Amusingly so.

Sadly, I don't really care. I'm a damn good student nurse. My essays are passable even when I put in little effort, my presentation skills are second-to-none and - to put an utterly self-indulgent point on it - I'm only doing this diploma for the free money.

These acts keep me amused, which in itself is pathetic. Like I told the lecturer about something completely different: "I'm trying to cut down, honest,".

But I'm intellectually unstimulated. And have to tow the line of looking interested in students who have previously asked, despite supposedly having done a week's research about Coronary Heart Disease: "What's ischemia?" So I modify my behaviour, bit by bit. I know now that sitting in front at a seminar, especially with this particular lecturer, I will now feign interest whilst secretly playing Empire Strikes Back in my mind, akin to Homer Simpson. I can live with it.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008


I think this would be a good idea. If there's one thing that annoys me, it's overmedication of the population propped up with a lack of proper education. Why am I on these pills? What good and bad things do they do? When are they not working? These are questions people should have answers to, about themselves or their offspring.

Of course, this costs more money than simply packaging and distributing the pills does. So it's not taken up. Shocking, I know.

I'm fine, by the way. The first week is a bit hectic. Expect a larger post about the start of the second year soon.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Health and Gender, Inflexibility

Stories like this one are now, thankfully (in a roundabout way), quite common in the media. This overriding idea that conditions of ill health, and more importantly the people suffering from them, do not always conform to the written symptoms and law.

There is an arguement that parts of medicine are stuck in quite rigid 20th century thinking. The recent advent of circadian theory in relation to drug administration, especially chemotherapy for cancer patients, highlighted the fact that different individuals will feel the effects of certain medication better at specific times of day. Conversely, they will weather side effects with less stress. As the link above points out, there is this idea that young women may not exhibit the usual symptoms of Autism the books harp on about and therefore might slip under the radar. Harking back to a previous article, older books and sources on eating disorders may place little importance on the possibility of male sufferers.

The overall point is: people should be treated as individuals within the discipline of medicine. Which is kinda what modern nursing has been harping on about for a good while now, and rightly so. Obviously, there is little chance each patient (especially within the NHS) could have a personal retinue of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals studying their case 24/7, at the patient's beck and call. That's just silly. There has to be a middle ground somewhere between the two ideas, and in my experience there are some healthcare professionals who would rather tick boxes than open their minds. This idea of uniform treatment sometimes drives me crazy. Doctors who, despite the fact a patient might not be scheduled for surgery until 4pm on the next days list, don't think to alter a patient's Nil By Mouth setup and starve them from 6pm the day before like everyone else. Little things like that get to me, sometimes. On the other hand, I love it when I see some eyes open, questions asked and even far off possibilities explored. More of that, please.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Watered Down Megan's Law

I don't like it. One bit.

I am now old enough to count myself amongst the people who remember paedo-steria of the late '90s and early '00s. Many things came out of it, but the Brass Eye special was the only good one.

The new idea, if you haven't read the story yet, involves giving people the ability to find out if anyone (for anyone, read: men) in their lives have any history of child abuse/domestic abuse which would endanger children.

Why don't I agree? I could trot out the old arguement of how these kind of laws drive people with a history of child abuse underground. I could, and it does. But that's done. It gets to me because it goes against the idea of Justice in this country. The whole idea of going to prison and the like is based around the idea of rehabilitation. Rehabilitation links in to giving people a second chance, a chance to change. In this new pilot scheme, anyone who thinks a man might be a bit of a wrong 'un can check up on them and their past. And if there is anything there and this information comes out, their second chance of a life could be ruined. Again and again, in fact. I am in no way apologising for paedophiles, child abusers or any kind of criminals for that matter. However, this idea of possible persecution stinks of mob rule, and frankly makes me sick to my stomach.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Male Health Issues

Times are a'changin'. As this article shows. This article (and the issues therein) is not a shot out of the blue. Eating disorders have been on the rise in British men for years now, throwing into confusion some of the reasoning behind some psychological explanations behind bulimia and anorexia nervosa. It's the 21st century, for better or worse, and despite how I personally often feel that the link between men and their body images is often giggled at, ignored or even dismissed by society at large, it is becoming more important.

As I've also previously discussed, I think any cynicism towards John Prescott's admission of suffering from some form of bulimia was in poor taste (no pun intended. It's a minefield, this satire malarkey...) Seriously, though, eating disorders in men should not be snickered at like poor jokes in a poorer sitcom. I, personally, am sometimes unhappy with my own body image and so I'm pretty confident I could relate and care for a man suffering from similar anxiety and upset. I wonder if other student nurses, outside of my demographic, could say the same..

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

You can put lipstick on a pig...

... but it's still an anti-abortion, ignorant, nepotist and dishonest pig.

Haha. Seriously, though. I love this new Palin debate. She's an idiot and yet a brilliant idea. Anything said by anyone against her or the right-wing of the Republicans automatically gets lumped in with the rest of the 'left wing conspiracy' that has apparently been dragged out of some dusty wardrobe to be targeted against poor Governor Palin. And Americans will fall for it, as they typically do. Two terms of George Bush speak volumes of how a large section of Americans like tough-talking, somewhat bellicose leaders.

It's a sex debate, it's a race debate, however you like to spin it. And boy do those right-wingers like their spin, as evidenced by the adverts and supposed outrage of today. But the prejudice angle is something of a phoney war, since both candidates don't really push the interests of their demographic groups, per se. It helps, for example, that unlike Hilary Clinton (to a point) Palin stands for policies and ideas traditionally backed by men and patriarchy. That is to say - guns, anti-abortion, pride in the army, against sex education, etc. The fact that white women are apparently flocking to back her and the Republicans is quite pitiful. These are the issues that the Democrats are trying to tackle the Republicans on, and yet the messages are being twisted by the Repubs. They know very well that the comment was about financial policy, and yet use it to their advantage. All's fair in love and war? Unfortunately, this platitude isn't black and white. Whilst the right-wingers use quite open comments to their own advantage, the issues of racism go under the radar, implicit even.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008


I'm slightly upset, on a quick note, that Goldie did not win the recent BBC2 series of Maestro. Although both finalists had music in their backgrounds, Sue Perkins (talented as she certainly was) had been lucky enough to be taught Piano to some Grade level when she was younger. This, unfortunately, costs money which some people don't have and stinks, debatably, of possible classism. Shame, really, since conducting and classical music is quite fun.

Anyway, where's all the nursing, you ask? I've been reading on and off all summer and will review the books and material soon. Especially when University starts again in two weeks time.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008


I like freerunning. Bunch of guys got together, started fucking around and jumping off of walls. It soon evolved into racing around big cities, using functional environments designed by other people for fun. With tonnes of risk, for fun. Excellent.

So tonight there is a freerunning tournament in London. Someone has built a cushioned course within a big warehouse and people are going to watch. I'm not a freerunner, but as an admirer I'm quite upset. No longer are these people invading and gloriously misusing cityscapes at great risk, but are coming together like competitive but performing monkeys. The warehouse is owned by someone else, rented out. The equipment is also owned by someone else and must be paid for by someone. It's selling out, plain and simple. Wait until Nike start sponsoring the special shoes. And when the stars, who started off their own backs, have to turn to the camera and say "Don't do this at home, kids," even though it's how they started.

I am a somewhat prolific graffiti artist, and this happens within the street art community. It's annoying and against some of the founding principles. Perhaps this is just another stage of the evolution of both forms, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Fiona's Story

In a move to annoy Male Rights Activists everywhere (like they need more excuses) the BBC have made and broadcast a drama programme about the story of a woman (Fiona, obviously) whose husband is discovered to be guilty of accessing child pornography. It's an interesting, if a little overdone, angle - the suffering female one, I mean.

From an actor's point of view (me being a red brick, classically trained actor and all. Heh) the role of Fiona is a doozy. Challenging, deep, limelight. Some people like that sorta thing. The whole idea is that Fiona is the greater, deeper victim and is being punished for essentially being good. Well, that's how I read it, anyways.

Being the protagonist, the story is obviously told from Fiona's point of view and it revels in the upsides and fails to avoid the associated pitfalls. Whereas the actress is more than capable, the directing falls a bit short. There are too many string quartet rising and falling in the quiet bits, were actors just look at each other/out into space and little else.

The story is a hybrid of standard slow-paced Brit thriller and American twist-drama. It's done well, but the process gets a bit old. Let me set the typical scene: Fiona thinks she knows something, and makes this assumption known. Suddenly someone or something comes down from the heavens to affect a big change and she is both shocked and saddened at the new turn of events. These events generally rely on her husband or someone else close to the plot revealing something. The shocks all lead to Fiona feeling more and more isolated. From her friends, children and obviously her husband. The crux of the drama is the family, and therefore Fiona-the-Mother plays a massive role. Again, I can't help but feel this idea, no matter how well performed, has been done. Not to death, perhaps, but done all the same.

But this leaves one big problem for me, personally. In the recent (and most excellent) BBC Drama Criminal Justice the protagonist was essentially painted as an innocent victim - like Fiona, in this case. But he was still a bit of a cunt. And you felt that. All the characters - none of them were particularly nice. And yet in Fiona's Story, she is righteous and everyone else is wrong, basically.

This unfortunately leads to the supporting cast being made up of two-dimensional characters. The actor who plays the husband is superb, but the character is a walking stereotype. Two-faced bastard, charmer one second, monster the next, all in all. And this process goes for the majority of the supporting cast, unfortunately. They trot out the generally heard of opinions of paedophilia, as if almost attempting to convey a balanced view.

The issue of paedophilia is tackled very well, it should be said. It is often the elephant in the living room, literally, being such a taboo subject. The 90 minutes does not draw too much on the controversial background, or too little, in fact.

All in all, for a one-off feature it is quite passable. I compare it to Criminal Justice, which had five episodes to tackle it's plot so this comparison is perhaps unfavourable. Regardless, I can't help but feel some of the ideas and themes have been done before and will be again. The forlorn female lead is by not means original, but Fiona's Story was never advertised as revolutionary.