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the

Black Bag

The University of Bristol Medical Students’ Magazine


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The University of Bristol Medical Students’ Magazine VOL. I

SPRING TERM, 2010

NO. 2

EDITORS: R. A. F. Pellatt & D. R. A. Cox CONTRIBUTORS: George Brand, Andrew Cummings, Eoin Dinneen, Harriet O’Neill, Piers Osborne, Adam Stoneham, Greer Stuart, Dr Trevor Thompson, Miranda Thorne

‘Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they

know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing.’ — VOLTAIRE


Black Bag the

Spring 2010

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‘COMP 3’ Exam Leak

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How to Win Your Very Own F1 Job .

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‘Cold and Efficient’

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Noveltea .

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Bristol Medical School

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The Medics’ Ball

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A Day in the Life

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The Sick Rose .

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Social Stereotypes

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Let the Healing Begin

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Educational Crypticities .

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Always a Pleasure, Never a Chore

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Neighbours

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Coffee Break

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Editorial

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he snows of winter are clearing: the coldest weather for thirty years makes one think our old friend Global Warming might not quite be operating at full capacity. Now, as sprouting buds push at the icy earth, spring draws near, and likewise the new edition of The Black Bag blossoms from the dirt of Bristol Medical School. For this, our difficult second album, we ran a competition asking students to ‘Capture Bristol Medical School’. We have been inundated with several articles, from a cutting take on the ‘actors’ we hone communication skills with to an analysis of the social stereotypes found on our course. The topics range near and narrow, never straying far from the sexual forum of Lizard Lounge. Elsewhere, there is incriminating evidence from the Medics’ Ball, an inspiring victory against the Cardiff Medic Rugby Team, as well as how to avoid hospital work on a hangover. On a serious note, our feature article contains important details about the recent restructuring of year four. Enjoy! And please don’t take things too seriously if your name appears on the following pages. If it does, chances are we think you’re pretty cool anyway (except Eoin Dinneen).

R. A. F. Pellatt & D. R. A. Cox


‘COMP 3’ Exam Leak A medical curriculum exclusive. The following is applicable to years three and below.

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s many of you may be aware, the fourth year medical curriculum is being revised. Current third years might well be anxious as to what this could mean. Hearsay has led much of the student population to believe that ACS, COMP 1, RHCN and COMP 2 will now be sat at the end of the year in a one week period. The Black Bag can confirm that this is true. However, we can report exclusively that the eventual restructuring of the year will be much more drastic than this. As valued members of the Galenicals Committee we have attended student-staff liaison meetings with the Directors of Medical Education, Dr. David Cahill & Dr. Tim Lovell. Some of the information that we have become privy to regarding the fourth year course will be of interest to all medical students. In addition to sitting all unit examinations at the end of the year, we feel it is our duty to reveal that an additional exam has been developed and will be in place from September 2010. The exam has been provisionally entitled ‘COMP 3’ (Community Orientated Medical Practice 3). This assessment will test core knowledge that students will be expected to have assimilated during their time at medical school and will therefore not be formally taught. The exam will form a ‘no pass, no progression’ hurdle for all fourth year students. We imagine that many will be outraged and anxious to hear this news. For clearness of conscience, we could not allow this state of affairs to continue without doing something to, at the

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very least, prepare the current third year for this demanding new assessment. At risk of our own professional compromise we have printed the example questions for the new COMP 3 exam (given to us as Galenicals Committee members) over the following pages. We hope they give an idea of the tone and difficulty of this test.

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CENSORED


HOW TO WIN

YOUR VERY OWN F1 JOB

Publication Intercalation International Presentation

Take your ranking in the year very seriously. This is a crucial figure which has been shown to be the single most reliable predictor of future success, affluence and longevity.

Apply carefully for your F1 jobs. Aim at one you know you have a good chance of getting, and know who your rivals are for the post.

‘Who is this little snovveller?’

Appear on as many ward rounds as possible, considering all potential scenarios which could be repeated in the MTAS questions. This will benefit you in all sorts of ways, especially with regard to the idiosyncrasies of the consultant.

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Support your application by indulging in multiple extra-curricular activities.

‘I know it’s not your birthday, but…’

Get a good reference. This may be aided by certain influential tools such as flattery and chocolate cakes.

Do the admissions officer.

Work very hard. Are you really sure you want to do medicine?

ADVICE BY

H. O’NEILL

An ode to Ben Droppings, The Black Bag, Spring 1965.

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1st

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hese are good characteristics for a Nazi soldier, not so good for a doctor. Yet this was the feedback I received after an OSCE station last year. I’m used to being treated like crap by Bristol University, being told to drive 50 miles to a clinic then back again to attend an important ‘seminar’ on hand hygiene. However, one thing I am not used to is criticism. This is not just because I’m pretty good at what I do, but because being taught in the NHS nowadays is like being in a nursery school (obviously one without the paedophiles, hopefully). The problem is people just don’t have the balls to say someone was so shit at being a pretend doctor they failed to diagnose a myocardial infarction from said infarctions symptom list in the Oxford Handbook. Oh, how I long for a feared consultant to rip into a medical student so incompetent they

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couldn’t graduate from Peninsular. I want to be taught by someone who scares me into reading. Hell, I must have read about two chapters since being at medical school, and they were from Confessions of a Call Girl. Even with no prep work I turn up to tutorials and get away with knowing a lethally small amount of medicine. Even the orthopaedic surgeons are pussy’oles nowadays. So, after four years have I finally received the hard love I crave? Has a doctor finally stepped up and filled the hole? A maverick willing to call the crap? A dick - a prick? A doctor with balls big enough to stand up and say: ‘This person does not deserve to pass because he is useless.’ A doctor who has ignored all of the emails from Bristol asking him to attend positive reinforcement workshops? A doctor brave enough to risk

ag ck B n Bla petitio Com

‘Cold and Efficient’


the wrath of Tim Lovell? No. Let me first attend to the criticism levelled at the start of this piece. I wouldn’t have said ‘efficient’. A more appropriate word would have in fact been inefficient, or maybe even incompetent. Or a combination: ‘I felt in this station you were cold, inefficient and incompetent’. That would have been justified. Next, we come onto the person who produced this partially correct criticism. Who could it be? Maybe a surgeon, one with three nineteen year-old secretaries? No. What about a cardiologist who slaps nurses on the arse as they walk by? No. An anaesthetist with three memory sticks? Definitely not. This was an ‘actor’. Please do not get these ‘actors’ confused with real actors like Ed Norton, Vinnie Jones, Steven Segal or me from the clinical revue last year. The ‘actors’ I’m talking about can be seen on whatever night Holby City is on.

Having trouble finding them? I’ll help you: the cadaver in the corner that keeps fidgeting. I have a few problems with the med school’s use of these ‘actors’. I don’t know how much they get paid and I fear it would make me an even bitterer person if I could be bothered to find out, but I guarantee it’s too much. This is at a time when we are lead to believe that the university has no money. Well here’s some money saving advice: stop wasting it. The list of things that I consider to be a waste of money is endless, but includes: 1. The new library. Everything about it: the inflatable, the three printers that don’t work, the fancy chairs, the designer walls, the books, the librarians. It’s all a load of crap; what should happen is for it to be turned into a giant coffee shop; it’s all every other bloody medic seems to use it for.

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2. Tim Lovell. 3. Rules and regulations handbooks that no-one ever reads. 4. The electric gates to get into the medical school, absolutely and utterly pointless. But most of all the biggest waste of money is the ‘actors’. The point of them as far as I can work out is to practise talking to patients. Surely this is a good idea? Yes it is, but why do we need the ‘actors’, can’t we just cut out the middle man (or middle woman, you know the one with the funny boots) and go and speak to patients? Other than the wasted money, the arrogance of these actors especially riles me. This comes out in the feedback sessions, after the doctor has spoken in a loveydovey way about what went well, and what went not so well. The ‘actor’ then pipes up about what he thought. Saying how we didn’t give

them enough information or it didn’t flow very naturally, or something like that. What would happen if we started giving our views on the ‘actors’ performance, because I tell you something, there would be a lot of ‘I have never seen such an over-reaction to the word diabetes.’ I could go on (and on) but I can’t be bothered. To bring it back to the start now (in a COMP 2 / GP style circle of crap thingy), what happened about my dire performance in the OSCE? Well the feedback I received from the doctor at the station was of course good, he something about good introduction blah de blah, the same worthless feedback that has riddled all my education. And of course I passed the OSCE... just have to wait and see how my professional behaviour forms come back this year… G. Brand

DISCLAIMER: Everything in this article is probably fabricated. Tim Lovell was not and still is not a waste of money. I am not gay. This isn’t directly related to the story but a lot of people think it, so I thought I’d clarify things.


We welcome comments on any of the articles published (excluding complaints). Please address correspondence, including submissions, to The Editors at: blackbag2009@googlemail.com

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γνῶθι σεαυτόν πιείτε το τσάι

‘Know thyself, drink tea’ Inscribed upon the Temple of Apollo the Healer in Delphi

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s the country’s foremost authorities on the subject of afternoon tea, we are frequently asked to recommend our 5 o’clock hotspots in and around the city of Bristol. A few years ago we’d have been falling over ourselves to recommend places: joints like Cerise in Clifton (where you sat astride pommel horses and drank from flagons), or Cake on Cotham Hill (where a single slice of triple Belgian chocolate roulade could stop your heart in a beat). Personally we held a torch for Toby of Toby’s Diner fame, without whom (in our minds at least) the Bristol tea scene will always be a saucer short of a full set.

‘What is an ideal tea room?’ you may ask. Indeed at www.noveltea.co.uk we’ve been asking ourselves the same question for nearly 3 years now, in which time we’ve visited and reviewed over 150 of them, consumed our bodyweight in scones and clotted cream and drunk (even by conservative estimates) over 600 litres of tea. And what conclusions have we drawn? Tea, we believe, is a great leveller. It’s drunk by rich and poor, young and old, morning and night. It’s not sexist or racist, or classist (this reminds us of one of our favourite jokes: Q: ‘why don’t Commu-

nists drink Earl Grey?’ A: ‘Because all proper tea is

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theft.’) and it doesn’t make you fat (indeed we hear drinking four cups a day increases your sperm count and improves hand-eye coordination). There are few cultures who don’t engage in some sort of tea ritual and to share tea with friends or strangers is a unifying, edifying, enlightening experience. The ideal tea room then should be a haven. Somewhere one can retreat from the ills of our world to find solace in the Englishman’s last bastion of civility. It’s not enough to rely on fresh produce, good service and a digestible bill at the other end, although of course those are all pre-requisites. We’re looking for personality, identity and above all soul. Such places do exist but you have to know where to look: Sketch on Regent Street; St Tudno’s Hotel, Llandudno, Wales; Yauatcha in Soho or the Grand Cafe, Oxford are all examples. All very different in appearances of course, but unified nonetheless by the spirit of tea. Alas, this is

actually very hard to find in Bristol it seems. We abhor snooty Boston Tea Party they’ve sold out to frappachinos and the casual coffeeshop approach. Patisserie Valerie: too posh. Browns: too boring. From Horfiled to Henleaze, from Cabot to Cotham there’s not so much as the chink of a teacup which doesn’t get back to us. So what’s the solution? There are only two players left in town now we’d recommend: The Attic (All The Tea In China – clever, eh?) on Coldharbour Road and Papajis on Whiteladies. Both establishments have a wide selection of teas and friendly, knowledgeable staff with whom to discuss them. If you’re happy to head further afield on your quest, you could do worse than a little daytrip into Gloucestershire, Buckinghamshire or Wiltshire where there are a handful of real gems. Probably our best advice though, in these days of student loans and irate landlords is a good bit of old fashioned DIY. Life is far too

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short for bad tea so go out and buy a pot, a strainer and discover the world of loose leaf tea and freshly-baked scones at home. Our website is packed full of reviews, and has all you need to know about how to make a killer cup. It even has novel and exciting recipes for you to try for yourself. Happy brewing! L. Pemberton and A. J. Harris

P.S. Our journey has taken us all over the UK and we’ve been privileged to meet a great number of fellow tea enthusiasts and share their stories. It’s been an incredible journey, but one not without sadness. At time of writing, Noveltea is raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care, who provided specially trained nursing care and hospice respite for one of our parents as they were treated, palliatively, for cancer. To this end we’re holding two events in Bristol which you would do well to put in your diary: 1. The Big Pour on the 3rd of April when we attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the longest distance over which a cup of tea has been poured (275 off the suspension bridge, Clifton); 2. and our 1st annual Noveltea Tea Party, to be held on observatory hill, Clifton, on the 1st May. Details of both events can be found on Facebook, or at:

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Bristol Medical School B

ristol Medical School is losing your accent. Meeting Welshfolk who sound more English than the English themselves, and Northerners claiming to be Southerners with Northern accents. Bristol is a severe lack of Scottish people Bristol is expressing your ‘unique’ self through the mediums of plimsolls, black tights, floozy dresses, large belts and woofed hair like Cher on crack. Bristol is not caring that you didn’t get into Oxford; it’s just they didn’t understand you. Bristol is a creative Big Issue salesman from the Caribbean, and that crap guy with the tin whistle. Bristol is trying to forget Lizard Lounge exists. Bristol Medical School is My gap year, My trip to China and getting My guns ready for Clicendales. Bristol is My charity running, My boyfriend from London and My family’s second home in Devon. Bristol is being cool by saying ‘I’m going to the ASS’ in stead of ‘I’m going to the Arts and Social Sciences library.’ Bristol is our meat market of a gym. Bristol is a never ending parade of Café Gustos. Bristol is never ever going south of the river… or to Easton.


Bristol is showing the Wills building to your parents to prove you go to a good university. Bristol Medical School is filling in feedback forms on everything aside from how shit feedback forms are themselves. Bristol is revising and reformatting everything as often as possible to meet with GMC guidelines. Bristol is being sent to Yeovil… and loving it! Bristol is finding out many interesting things to do in a halls corridor that involve bouncy balls and saucepans. Bristol Medical School is the inevitable failure of trying to drink more than four exhibition ciders. Bristol is finding out that lager is a bit rubbish really and that ales are actually pretty good. Bristol is playing hopscotch with last night’s piss and puke stains when walking down Park Street on a Sunday morning. Bristol Medical School is going for ‘supper’, boshing out essays, rocking up late to clinics and being quietly disappointed with Cabot Circus. It’s psychopathic cyclists and wearing ear muffler hats from Nepal. But most of all, Bristol Medical School is claiming that you hate Rahs whilst happily becoming one yourself. A. Cummings

Runner Up in the ‘Capture Bristol Medical School’ Competition, Spring 2010.


THE MEDICS’ BALL

‘You can check out any time you like, but, you can NEVER leave’ (Bristol Medical School)

?

This girl did not want to appear in the magazine. One can only presume why...

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‘Let me give you some Whole Person Care!’


Knew I shouldn’t have come out on my period!

‘There’s bacon in the sauce!’

Swansea Dave: as usual

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A Day in the Life of a Slacker

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ave you ever looked at your timetable and thought: ‘Tomorrow is really busy but I really want to go out tonight because through Facebook stalking I know that the guy/ girl I really fancy will be in Lounge’? Thought you couldn’t do both? Think again. This is the ultimate guide to surviving a busy day in hospital while hungover, tired, and disappointed that your amorous attempts last night were entirely rejected.

8am 45 minutes earlier for girls, the time you should have woken up.

8.50am The time you actually wake up. Immediately grab your phone and text the most reliable person in your firm, a combination of someone who will do you a favour and will probably turn up. These cannot be mutually exclusive. Text exactly this: ‘Hey, hungover, won’t make the 9 o’clock tutorial. Could you say that I’ve got a dentist appointment but only if someone asks where I am or if there is a sign-in sheet. Cheers, owe you x’ Doctor and optician appointments are good substitutes, consider rotating these. If you’re a real pro, you’ll teach a good friend to sign your name. They should only sign at the end of the tutorial as everyone is leaving. Discrepancies between the number of signatures and attendees will cause as much trouble as Ash Kumar used to on a night out.

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9am Eat something, breakfast is for champions, not pussies. You will definitely need some energy today. Go for a Mars Bar and Coke. Piers’ Top Tips: Hangover cure. Ensure you always have a plentiful supply of all these at home or on your person: Paracetamol x 2, Ibuprofen x 2, Pro Plus x 2, Alka Seltzer x 1.

9.45am You arrive in hospital. Keep a very low profile, turn up at the clinic you were meant to be in. Opening line: ‘Sorry I’m late, I had teaching’ suffices. Sit there quietly, make notes or at least pretend to. Also look really keen and interested. This is not hard and will make things go much smoother. If you feel it’s appropriate, make a small joke to distract attention away from your hangover. Finally, pray that flirting with the HCAs pays off and they make you a hot drink. Always go for black coffee.

12pm Leave the clinic. The immortal words ‘Thanks for letting me sit in. It was really interesting/useful, unfortunately I have to go to my next teaching’ are the slacker’s equivalent of the safety net. Of course your next teaching isn’t until 2pm. If questioned about the teaching always be vague and non-committal. Something like ‘I’ve got radiology but I think they’ve moved it to another seminar room’ or ‘I’ve got ward teaching with Dr y on ward x’. Piers’ Top Tips: Always memorize a few consultant names to throw out. Even better say ‘the Reg’. Pick a ward that is far away. Your motto is ‘Lie hard, live easy’. Also, never leave a clinic without a signature if you need one. It’s like bringing a girl home

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and realising you don’t have a condom, a complete waste of time.

12.05pm Lunch. This should always be hearty and leisurely. If you’re still hungover always go stodgy. Caffeine is your best friend. By this point you will certainly look like you’ve just gone cold turkey. In these venues you also have the luxury of television. Avoid depressing things like the news or Loose Women. Go for sunny and cheerful Australian soaps, Neighbours will do the job.

2pm Your next tutorial. You’ve got to go to this one to help the stats for the placement. Naturally you’ve done no reading and will probably look like a moron. These gems will help you survive. Always sit at the back, preferably next to someone clever. Always answer an early question. Choose an easy one that you can elaborate on or even overcomplicate. This will tell the tutor that you’re one of the big boys. Spend as much time as possible scribbling away. Not only will you look keen, it’s the best way of avoiding eye contact. Another goodie is to nod your head. Think the Churchill dog at the back of a chav’s car. Nod like you’ve never nodded before. Agree with everything that anyone says authoritatively. A verbal ‘yeah’ or agreeing ‘ummm’ will back this up. Piers’ Top Tips: If someone says something stupid, join in mocking. Not too loud, not too soft.

4pm If you’ve had to endure a two hour tutorial you’re probably desperate to go home and play PS3 (or gossip about boys). You’re almost done. The last bit is essential. Ward face-showing time.

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I suggest pitching up looking a bit flustered and busy. Explain that you’ve had clinics all day. Ask if there are any good patients etc. Fear not, you won’t have to do any work, ‘The Bleep’ is about to save you. Tell a reliable friend on another ward to bleep you exactly 10mins after the tutorial. If you’ve timed it well, you’ll be speaking to the F1 as the bleep goes off. Try to look concerned. Apologise saying you have to call the number back. Call the number and speak to your friend. The conversation may go: ‘Hi, it’s [insert name]. What’s up? Oh, I see, and they’re there now? Can I join you? I’ll be there ASAP.’ Turn to your F1 and apologise saying one of your friends has said there’s a patient with a really good clinical sign on another ward. Murmur is good as everyone is useless at listening to them. Say you’d really like to have a listen. They’ll agree. 15 minutes after stepping onto the ward you’re on your way out. Piers’ Top Tops: When experienced, you can move onto reciprocal bleeping. N.B. This is an advanced skill. ***** At this point you’re like Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption. You’ve dug your tunnel, chosen your moment and are now walking off into the sunset a free man (although yes, in the film, he crawled through a sewage pipe into a thunderstorm). Walk out of the hospital with purpose, looking fulfilled. A pint and cigarette as a reward probably wouldn’t go amiss either. Good job. Another day combining life and medicine. (It should be noted that this is a fictional guide. If it were to be based on anything, it would be a student at Peninsula.) P. Osborne (illustrations by G. Stuart)

Runner Up in the ‘Capture Bristol Medical School’ Competition, Spring 2010.

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The Sick Rose O Rose, thou art sick. The invisible worm, That flies in the night In the howling storm, Has found out thy bed Of crimson joy: And his dark secret love Does thy life destroy. William Blake

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his short poem, composed by the celebrated poet Blake in 1794 as part of his anthology of cynical social commentary, Songs of Experience, has often been argued to be a portrayal of the ravaging nature of syphilis that plagued his historical setting. At this time Blake was living in London, a city rife with poverty and prostitution: a breeding ground for sexually transmitted infections the most debilitating of which was syphilis. The allusions to furtiveness in the second verse, with the worm having ‘found out’ the bed with his ‘secret love’ could indicate an affair between a married man and the ‘rose,’ perhaps a prostitute or rape victim. The nature of the disease would have blighted more victims than just the rose however: the carrier’s wife and children would probably have been infected too. The worm itself, a phallic symbol of disease and biblical temptation, is ‘invisible’ and is able to ‘fly,’ demonstrating the covert nature of syphilis transmission. Lacking obvious signs as a disease in its latent stage, the contraction of the virus would be unheralded by clinical pathology. The ‘howling storm’ of the night upon which the act of transmission takes place further emphasises the secrecy of the event, yet could also be symbolic of the social context of this poem. Penned on the cusp of the industrial revolution, 1794 was a time of confusion and turmoil within Blake’s culture, employment being precarious and societal roles undergoing a significant degree of upheaval. Ultimately, this poem captures the ruin that results from a lack of effective healthcare. In a modern context we can still find relevance in Blake’s words by considering them with a disease such as HIV. Like syphilis, it is silent in its early stages. It has also been reportedly utilised as a tool of abuse, knowingly passed on to victims through rape. In this sense, the emphatic message of the final line: ―does thy life destroy" is all the more sinister. H. O’Neill


Social Stereotypes

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s a medic,’ thought Jessica, ‘I work hard and play hard.’ She had worked hard for her exams over Christmas, barely breaking to enjoy the turkey of which she was dubious with regard to the saturated fat content. She would have preferred the more nutritional meal of an egg (a gold standard of protein) with a side of salad, and a carrot to avoid rickets and enhance night vision. In preparing for her exam she had copied out her notes repeatedly, each set changing only in colour. Indeed preparation was key: ‘failing to prepare was preparing to fail,’ her most valued mantra. Certainly grades were important to Jessica who was desperate to intercalate, not only to gain MTAS points but to develop new ‘learning skills’. Now she planned to play hard for one big night, with a whole weekend to recover. Her preparation for that

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evening would be as timeconsuming as her exam revision, the difference being instead of changing pen colours, she would be changing dress colours, going through countless pieces not worn for years only to eventually settle on the same little black dress she always wore. Tonight she would not fail. The choice of club was obvious. Originally the term ‘lounge lizard’ had been used to describe men who frequented nightclubs in order to pick up easy prey, like the cold-blooded reptile. Lizard Lounge was a sanctuary for such creatures. It was an establishment in which a (medic) mother could interbreed with any member or number of her (academic) family in a single evening without causing a frown. Such an activity would normally be considered socially unacceptable or dangerous, when considering the narrowed gene pool of Homo sapiens.


Lizard Lounge: underground and dark; Jessica planned to utilise her habitat to maximum effect. As with any creature, her immediate concern was hydration; a green bucket later and her attention turned to food. Wellaccustomed to hunting prey, she understood the fundamental principles, namely that a desirable meal would be desirable to others. Indeed her extensive preparation for the evening was to combat any such competition. But this beautification could act as a double-edged sword; as part of the food chain, Jessica was aware that while on the prowl, she was also exposed as prey. The danger lay in the unpredictable form of those she might encounter. Those who ‘don’t need to work that hard but play extra hard to compensate,’ whose main nutrition comes from a homemade funnel and to whom female lizards such as Jessica were mere icing on their richly

filled banter cake. Those who ‘work extremely hard and pursue several other interests as play,’ around whom Jessica felt intellectually vulnerable (had they used more highlighters than her?) but inspired by their philanthropy. A further challenge was to gauge their intent and judge her subsequent benefit. However as the night wore on, her instincts blurred; she concluded that food was food and a balanced and varied diet was necessary for her health and studies. It did not much matter what she chose to dine on tonight, for who she missed this week she would be able to devour next Thursday at the same watering hole. For her chances were high – ‘It is both a convenience and a comfort,’ she reflected, ‘that the medical student has an innate sense of generosity and interest in other people and receives training in discretion.’ M. Thorne

Runner Up in the ‘Capture Bristol Medical School’ Competition, Spring 2010.


Let the Healing Begin Young doctor! Please don’t look scared, For life on the wards you’re prepared, Not with statistics, But lots of holistics, And a merit in Whole Person Care. So with patients around you complaining, One bleeding, one breathless, one fainting, You can reassure, That you know not a cure, But you’re practised in poems and painting. I’ve never performed an injection, And can’t treat heart block nor infection, My textbooks unread, My patients soon dead, Thank goodness I’m trained in reflection! Sion Williams Runner Up in the ‘Capture Bristol Medical School’ Competition, Spring 2010.

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Educational_Crypticities_ Each set of pictures amounts to a medical condition. Answers in Coffee Break.

example

one

two

three

hash + emo + toes = Hashimoto’s


Always a Pleasure, Never a Chore Unt. Bristol. Hsp. RFC 9 – 3 Cardiff Medicals RFC

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n the 5th of December 2009 United Bristol Hospitals RFC beat the Cardiff Medicals RFC. The last time this happened your correspondent was not alive. In fact, in the last 16 years only one other medical school team has accomplished this. Unfortunately, all photos taken during the game were spoiled by the dazzling, white light which drenched the Bristol team during the game. A light which, some have since speculated, came directly from heaven. The events will never be forgotten by those of us who were there. The following is an attempt to give an unbiased, objective account of the, quite frankly, bloody marvelous performance boys! UBHRFC won the toss and kicked the pill deep into opposition territory. Some unfortunate sod of a Cardiff medic got the ball and got smashed. This was the general pattern of

things in the first half. UBHRFC players tackled Cardiff to an aching standstill. One of Cardiff’s great strengths in the past has been, and still no doubt is, their powerful running from centre and full back. It was a boon that the game was played on Dingle’s narrowest, soggiest pitch. The big tackles still needed to be made, and they were made with ferocious impact. Hits of orthopaedic prowess came from Chuckleberry Finnan (co-captain) and his centre partner Paul ‘The Heat’ Heatley. In the face of such fiery resistance, frustration crept into the Welsh camp and subsequently their entire game. They gifted the home opposition four penalties, three of which were expertly and gratefully slotted by that man Finnan. Another warrior worthy of mention from the first half was the towering

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figure of Bryn ‘growthhormone - secreting - pituitary -adenoma’ Summers who was a persistent thief of Welsh line-out ball. In a post match interview Richard Wand, front-row talisman and all-round club buffoon said tellingly, ‘It was a game of two halves.’ He wasn’t wrong. As Wando astutely noticed there were indeed two halves to the game he had just played, and the second one was a fairly nerve wracking affair even by Cuban Missile Crisis standards. UBHRFC were tiring a little, leading to costly Bristolian indiscretion. The home team began to leak crucial penalties in eminently kickable positions. However, dear reader, it is oft said that pride doth come before the fall. The visitors repeatedly spurned opportunities to kick for goal from seriously tempting positions. Instead they opted for ill-fated quick tap penalties in hope of reaching the try-line. This, no doubt, had worked in countless games before for the visitors, in over a decade of

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South-West medical student rugby. On this day though, it was becoming increasingly clear that it would not be successful. To a man, the determination was visceral amongst the muddy Bristol medics. This was demonstrated time and again by the lung-bursting, joint shuddering, gritty intensity of their defensive work. And so the referee blew the whistle, and so the game was won, and so the celebrations began. The coach was dragged through the muddy pastures by the team. In the bar afterwards Fraser Birse had this to say of coach Chris Leech, ‘Much credit, must go to him. His jelly babies on the paddock at half time and his maneuvers on the training field have made the difference this season.’ Chris Leach later that afternoon was seen crying under a sycamore tree. When The Black Bag: Sport asked him for a comment he said, ‘Working with this club is always a pleasure, never a chore.’ E. Dinneen


37

‘Under Alcohol Immersion’ H. O’Neill


Neighbours M

aybe it was growing up next to the urban expanse of inner city Belfast, but I’ve always felt uncomfortable in suburbia. I like people about me, shops I can easily walk to, neighbours to be on nodding terms with. Since we came to Bristol in year 2000 we have lived, worked, shopped, dined and recreated centrally. One of the major things you can’t do centrally, namely park within 100 yards of your front door, we sorted by getting rid of the broombroom. In Bristol, that inner city space is one you share with 60,000 students.

38

There is always tension in early October as we await the arrival of the next cohort. What will our new neighbours be like? UWE students are generally noisier but also, on average, friendlier. They are more likely to stop for a chat but also to spend more time in the house not working. One hot summer an enterprising clan of construction management trainees installed a swimming pool out back. It took a week to fill from the kitchen tap. They loved nothing better than hurling themselves into it from the first floor windows. They also set up their televi-


sion in the window facing outwards for late-night movie sessions as they lounged in the balmy heat. There is often a bit of squaring up in those first weeks. I recall the first night on the block for our new opposite-door neighbour Henry. Maybe Henry couldn’t get signal or was missing life on the farm, but he sets himself on the doorstep at 1am for a thirty minute, hugely animated, vibing session with someone called Beatrice. Now here is something I can’t explain, but why is it that posh people have very loud voices? It is like they are addressing parliament or something. Henry, bless him, got a friendly note the next day, setting out some of the finer points of citizenship. He took it well and even came over one morning to tell me that I’d left the front LED on my bike on overnight (he didn’t want to intrude into our front yard to turn it off, which was considerate). The children find it all interesting. George was more or less adopted as a nine year

39

old. He liked the no-rules spirit of life next door. Occasionally I’d have to go and retrieve the lad for dinner and find him kicking back on the sofa, Coke in one hand, billiard cue in the other, watching something unsuitable on the box whilst awaiting his turn on the baize. This was his idea of heaven and why couldn’t we have a pool table in our kitchen? I don’t think, for them, the transition to student life will hold much novelty as they have been more or less living it for the last decade. He is currently having DJ lessons from the guy in the basement room with a sound system that can literally rock the house. There is one sore topic that can’t go unmentioned and that is the mixture of students, alcohol and darkness. When I was a whippersnapper a late night was 2am. Round here the taxi for the club doesn’t arrive until midnight. The big downer for us is pissed students, roaming past or entering and leaving their abodes in the small hours. Again a mystery,


why people shout when drunk. I think some auditory feedback loop has been buggered so you can’t tell the volume of your own speech. There is also some jostling between blokes for who is the alphashouter. I remember waking (along with the rest of the denizens) at 3am to twenty or so students sambaing down the middle of the road. Losing it a bit, I went out and effectively spoiled all the fun. I even had the stupidity to ask them for their names and what courses they were doing. Their answers, all false, were quite inventive given how drunk they were. Mercutio from Social Anthropology was particularly plausible. A variation is the hysterical girl syndrome. She’s been chucked or had her horse put down or been locked out and needs to sit on the kerb and wail for an hour or two. There is no reasoning with her. You wonder to call the police or perhaps an ambulance. In fact, as you will have learned on your psychiatry attachments, and I have learned in a

40

few fisty encounters, there is absolutely no point in tackling the drunken student whilst drunk. On the other hand any involvement of the local constabulary puts the fear of god into the sober student. The truth is, hard as you might sometimes try to hide it, you students are decent people. You don’t steal, you’re not violent, you’ll come to the aid of a stricken pensioner. Though you attract crime you commit very little which is why the ghetto is a safe and happy place to live. On this conciliatory note, let me clear things up on the topic of student parties. Only an arse of a resident would complain about them. If you live around here then you need to accept the incontestable right of students to party. The instinct is hard-wired. I have never complained even though I’ve wished they would stop, especially after the 2am watershed. Forewarning the neighbours is a kindness; they may choose to leave the country. You can make a hell of a lot of noise inside the house


with impunity; it is exit and entry where much of neighbour damage occurs. The arrival of taxis seems to herald the need for a good shouting session. Nor should it be said that you are the only people capable of noise nuisance. I have terrorised (inadvertently of course) generations of students with the early morning use of the anglegrinder (noisy thing for cutting through metal). For me the main downside of having student neighbours is the transience of it all. On the block for as little as eight months, I can really understand why most don’t see the point in getting involved. Resident enthusiasm for making the connection also

undulates. But I remain a big fan of neighbourliness. Apart from the intrinsic worth of knowing the people around you, good neighbours can be bloody useful. Those same pesky UWE builders helped me dig out a tonne of Redland clay. I can reciprocate with a range of power-tools and we are always surprised how grateful folk are for any food offerings (some groups stop cooking once all the crockery is dirty). It is simply unbelievable how quiet it is from June to October, eerily quiet, parking spaces everywhere, hardly a bin to negotiate. We start to miss you – honest. Dr T. Thompson


The Elephant in the Room K. Blundell

From www.outofourheads.net, a collection of outstanding creative works by Bristol Medics.

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Pills of Wisdom

Help Eoin Come Out!

‘It is a mathematical fact that fifty percent of all doctors qualify in the bottom half of their class.’

Author Unknown ‘Throw physic to the dogs; I'll none of it!’

William Shakespeare ‘If you hear hoof beats, look for horses, not zebras.’

Spanish Proverb

Bedside Banter ‘Doctor Doctor, can you help me out?’ f

‘Doctor Doctor, if I give up wine, women and song, will I live longer?’

‘Certainly, which way did you come in?’

‘No, but it will seem longer.’

If it’s dry: add moist. If it’s moist: add dry. Congratulations, you are now a dermatologist.

When I was born the doctor took one look at my face.... turned me over and said: ‘Look ... twins!’

g


Princess Beatrice

Laura Mason

Educational Crypticities answers: 1) Ankylosing Spondylitis (ANKLE + O + SING + SPON + D-LIGHT + SIS); 2) Paget’s (PAG + ET + S); 3) Schizophrenia (SKI + ZOO + FREE + NIA)

Spot the Difference


‌ still free to those who can afford it.

2010 1  

Black Bag is the University of Bristol medical students magazine.

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