Wednesday, 22 July 2015

slight rant on feminism and sexism

It's crazy.
I write so many blog posts in my head, then the moment passes before I put pen to paper....or in this case, finger to iPad. So here is a car journey crafted piece en route to Strasburg.

Currently I'm investigating my feminist side. I've always thought of my self as one, but been positively terrified and put off by the scary, hairy armpitted, ladies telling me to cut my hair short and stop wearing dresses. If you too are in this boat, help is at hand!!! I have discovered 'hot feminist' by polly vernon. A modern, no 'pissing about' take on feminism, which is at the end of the day, standing up for sex equality. Not man bashing.

Mum used to describe me as a 'token bloke' because I often sided with men. I don't buy into this man hating and need to set aside all that is womanly to qualify as a proper femist.
Much of what Polly describes rings true with my own encounters with feminism, both good and bad. I too, love a good wolf whistle from a construction site, regularly check out women (and often tell them just how blooming fab they look) and I'm shallow.

I don't feel that in order to promote womanlyness we need to crush men. After all I bloody love men.

I love my brother. He is my no.1 in the world and fashion stylist. He can be brutal but always honest. I love my dad. For always being there with sound advise, for being such a bloody good doctor, for making the best Turkey curry at Christmas, and for taking the blame when I scraped the car......among other things. Some of the most important people in my life are men. Men rock! But people don't rock because they do or don't have that Y chromosome. They rock because of who they are and how they are, irrespective of what resides in their pants.

I do of course have very negative experiences of men, and of blatant sexism. One that bothers me at the moment, probably because I'm considering career paths, is my experience of surgery. I love being in theatre. I don't know why but I just do. I think, although I can't be certain, that if I hadn't had such a shit time in theatres over the last few years, that I would be going into a surgical specialty.
So what happened? I was constantly humiliated by surgeons, told I wasn't good enough, shamed, criticised, sworn at and shouted at. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not adverse to criticism if it is constructive or warranted. I'm not ok with being told I can't be a surgeon because I am a woman with small hands. It's nothing new and certainly nothing personal and I am not particularly sensitive. (In fact I have been described as 'spunky' by a consultant before. Shortly before being advised to change career and become an escort as I'd 'make more money'. I'm sure he didn't offer the same advise to my male placement partner.) that aside, how can I be expected to learn, progress and flourish in my career when constantly being put down and criticised. To not receive acknowledgement where it's due. No. That's not for me.
Realising I loved theatre but hated surgeons (generalising I know), I migrated to the much more friendly, coffee providing, question answering, education providing ANAESTHETISTS. They are more of the nicest branches of doctor you'll ever meet (in general).

One of my friends B recently declared she would be horrified if a man didn't pay for everything on a first date. I felt a bit put out by it. I mean, why should he have to? Why not just go halves?!!!! By all means I like a free dinner.....who doesn't? But to shun a perfectly good bloke on the basis of how the bill is settled baffled me. I can't really jump onto my high horse about it though because I do like it when men hold doors open for me, but I enjoy it just as much when a women holds it for me.....isn't it just polite? On a more sexist note though, I do like men to take the bins out. Not because I'm not capable of it, I most certainly am and this year my house has solely relied on the ladies of the house for this as we have had a rather useless specimen of the male race residing with us. But!! I would rather do all the washing up or clean the loo or pull the hair out of the shower drain than have to deal with the bins.

Feminism aside, I'm not often happy with myself. For various reasons. Polly discusses this at length and I agree with her. We just need to love ourselves a bit more and stop being so terribly judgemental in the toxically negative way. On a loo stop mid France, I sauntered into the petrol station (checking myself out in the glass on the way) and I loved it. I know my waist is no longer the slinky 24inches it used to be, but it's still small compared to my voluptuous bottom, billowing things and cracking rack. All the moaning of wanting to be thinner, the bitching with girl friends as to how much we hate our bodies. It's often a lot of bull shit we need to cut out. Yes my thighs rub together so much when I walk that jeans only last a year before a cheeky hole wears away over the thigh area. Yes in summer or hot countries I need to either wear long shorts, trousers, or invest in a good chaffing product because if I don't I'm left with crippling red sores on my inner eh?!
I do love curves. I love having larger than average boobs. Even if I struggle to find a sexy bra that doesn't cost the earth or hurt. I love my eyelashes and eye colour.
Overall when I stop, really look, and appreciate. It's not all that bad.
So why don't we all say it a bit more? I agree with polly on this one. We all feel the need to hate ourselves more than everyone else. We don't take compliments. We feel guilty when we check ourselves out.
Note to self. Stop! For the most part, most of the time, we look cracking!
I'm determined to stop self hating.

Monday, 1 June 2015


Gosh I am so sorry!
Its been a crazy year!
Time has flown by and I only realised when I was sewing a gift for family that I realised I havent been updating the blog!

So what on earth have I been up to?

I finished the quilt from one of my last blog posts for one of my best friends baby. I also made her a very cute little stocking for her first christmas. 

Over christmas I knocked up a few Liberty bow ties and pocket squares:

Then I was on a GP placement which was great. I was in a very friendly practice and staying in a gorgeous farmhouse B&B. I also found the most amazing fabric shop there! Totally incredible! From this aladdins cave of a shop I picked some nautical fabric to make my godmother's new baby a quilt. 

After GP block we had an incredible opportunity to go on elective. I chose to go with an outstanding charity called 'FLOATING DOCTORS' based in Bocas del Toro province, Panama. It provides much needed healthcare to rural indigenous communities and also helps run a local old peoples home. I had the best time, met the most fabulous people and even extended my stay by a week because I was having too much fun. Dont think because I had such a fabulous time that I wasn't working hard. Days were long but the teamwork was incredible and it was very rewarding work. For example, one lady I treated had walked for three days to attend one of our clinics. If that wasn't amazing enough add in the fact that she was 8 months pregnant! I cant imagine a woman here walking for 3 hours whilst 8 months pregnant, let alone for 3 days!

One of the more permanent volunteers and I do a home visit at one of the communities.

Me on one of our days off - we went on a catamaran snorkelling tour

Here is a map of all the communities that floating doctors reaches!

 Me wearing scrubs that have 'dientes' or teeth sewn onto them. A local woman made these scrubs for me. Dientes are considered a sign of beauty there and some women even file their teeth into sharp triangular points!!

I really had the best time with this lot and miss them already! After my time with them I went travelling across cantral america. Up from Panama, through costa rica to nicaragua, honduras, guatemala and belize. Probably need to do a whole seperate blog post on this because it was an insane 3 months!

Back from travelling I got myself a job!! As a real DOCTOR!!! Starting in august i will be Dr.Sutures! Exciting eh!
And im another year older! wooohooo! 24! Had a gorgeous dinner with friends then a cracking raclette evening and walk with girl friends, then spent the bank hol with family. PERFECTION!!!


Sewing-wise ive not been up to much post-elective except for making this cute dinky little dressing gown. Its from a pattern from Dana at Dana Made It. It was my first item of clothing and it was incredibly easy! Brilliant pattern and very easy to understand instructions! Cant wait to make more!


Anyhow! Here's a little bit to be going on with! Appologies its rushed and a little garbled! I'll do one on elective and the summer before work soon!!

Take care!

Char.....aka Dr.Sutures.....eeeeeek!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Recycling aka ORGAN DONATION

I know this is a bit off the topic of sewing/quilting/knitting but it's something I feel we all need to be talking more about. Being in the hospital setting makes you realise that the difficult and sensitive topic of organ donation could be made a whole lot easier if we all told people what we wanted! Currently in ITU there is a patient who isn't going to make it. He is effectively already dead. We are keeping him alive. The conversation they are going to have with his family is going to be incredibly hard. Make it easier for your family. Discuss organ donation!

Around 90% of people if you asked them in the street would say they are happy to donate organs, yet, when the time comes for families to discuss their loved ones wishes, only 60% say yes. WHY? Because they haven't ever talked about it. So, the families err on the side of caution and say no. What a shame that lovely organs from people who were happy to donate are going to waste because they haven't ever told anyone their wishes!

Why should we donate?
Well firstly, and this is a rather worrying statistic - WE ARE MORE LIKELY TO NEED AN ORGAN THAN TO ACTUALLY DONATE! Crazy I know!
In the UK alone there are over 10,000 people waiting for a transplant. That's over 10,000 people who's lives are made difficult by an organ that just isn't doing its job properly. Imagine that! Knowing that part of you isn't working and suffering to some extent because of it. 
Sadly not all those people end up getting the organs they need. Each year here in the UK around 1,000 people die either waiting for an organ or by becoming too poorly to have the surgery needed to replace the organ. So that's a THOUSAND people dying because we cant get them a spare part! ONE THOUSAND! Now I don't know about you but I have around 700 facebook friends, I cant image all those people and more dying one year because some cheeky little organ is not playing ball. 

My point is simple, you dont need them, but someone else does. I know we are becoming a wasteful single use society but surely organs are different. You wouldn't throw away a perfectly good hardwood front door just because the house was going to be demolished. You wouldn't throw away a whole quilt if it was stained. You would save and reuse the good bits. You would carefully cut the threads holding the good fabric to the tarnished fabric. You would lovingly reuse that patch and incorporate it into another beautiful quilt. So why do we insist on taking our squishy bits into the ground or furnace with us?

No one needs to be a superhero to save lives. You don't even have to be a nurse/doctor/fireman/etc. In fact each one of you have the potential to donate:
- one heart
- one set of lungs
- two kidneys
- one pancreas
- one lives
- some bowel
- the gift of sight to two people
Now how cool is that? Check out the Organ Donation Website for more info and to sign up!

Here's something else mad. You don't even have to be dead to donate organs. One in four donors are living donors. This works particularly well for kidneys because we are lucky enough to have two each. This means that provided you are healthy and your other kidney is working well, you could donate our spare kidney to someone else. To top that off you'll still be alive to revel in the glory of saving lives :)
Recently a living donor, kindly donated a womb to a woman so she could have a child, here is the link.

Unfortunately when we die we don't all die in a way that means are organs are good enough to donate. Hearts and other organs tend to 'go off' fairly rapidly. Because of this even if you want to donate your organs you might not be able to. This is where TISSUE DONATION is important.
This is something I didn't know all that much about until recently. Up to 24 and sometimes even 48 hours after death certain tissues can be used from the body. Examples of tissues that can be used include: skin, eyes, heart valves, bone and even some blood vessels. This is another donation you should talk to your family about. More Information Available here!

Ok, so you don't fancy handing over your organs? How about some bone marrow?
Bone marrow is the squishy middle bit of the big bones in your body. As parts of the body go, it's a pretty big deal with a hugely important job to do. It makes your blood. Considering how big a deal it is the poor thing doesn't get much attention. 
Why do we need it? Well for all sorts of blood related illness, including the biggie you'll all have heard of....leukaemia. To put it incredibly simply they have shoddy bone marrow that has gone a bit mental and isn't doing it's really important job. The donor marrow is transplanted where it picks up the pieces and hopefully helps the patient get better.
How can you donate? This is the best bit, you donate bone marrow when you are alive! You can register by signing up next time you donate blood. Or by signing up to the Anthony Nolan trust where you post them some spit an they do the rest.
What then? They put your data and 'tissue type' onto a big system so when people with rubbish bone marrows come along they can match their tissue types up with potential donors. Similar to online dating really.
More info here.

If I've not convinced you so far maybe I can tempt you into donating some blood?
A shocking 96% of the population rely on the other 4% to provide them with blood. If nothing else go for the free biscuits and squash! YUM! It's also not that painful or scary. Ironically I used to be a bit of a needlephobic so the idea of letting someone have some of my blood was madness to me. Fortunately Papa Sutures (blood donor extraordinare) whisked me off to donate. And guess what? Wasn't that bad after all! 

I feel very strongly about donating:
- my mum received blood when I was born
- I see patients who need blood/organs/bone marrow on the wards daily
- my cousin would be dead of someone hadn't donated their lungs to her

At the end of the day donation is a choice but please make sure you communicate your choice to those who matter!


char xxx

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Catch up from away placement

Gosh I know, I've been useless. Every day I have the intention on doing a blog post, then something else much less fun gets in the way. So firstly, sorry for not blogging in such a long time.

So what have I been up to while not blogging?
- I am 4 weeks into an 8week placement.
- I am on a cardiology ward which is useful and interesting. Fortunately the FY1 on my ward is one if my friends through medics hockey.
- I have also had the opportunity to work with the anaesthetists which I love! Having practice cannulating and intubating and ABG's is really great. Also had some super airways teaching.

Placement isn't all hard work though, we've had a lot of fun too, including drinking some of Bex's homemade blackberry gin:


I have also had some fab news again. I have won an obs and Gynae prize! Not sure what it is yet but feeling pretty chuffed with myself. Mumma sutures is over the moon as she is a midwife so that's her area of expertise. This is probably why I did particularly well in the subject. I was brought up with midwifery chat around the dinner table!

Boring medic chat aside now!

Baby time!!!
Cerys, who's baby shower I blogged about last time, has had her darling little girl!
She was born on Monday night! I was fortunate enough to have cuddle with the little munchkin the next day. I am totally in love!

Sewing wise I have almost finished the girlie quilt I have been making for her little girl. I decided to broaden my hand quilting horizons and try my hand at quilting a pattern rather than quilting in the ditch like I normally do.  I have to say I am rather proud of myself, the results if I do say so myself are super!

Have a peek:

I have also been busy sewing this cheeky little froggy for my friend Bex birthday. Used a pattern from PurlSoho. She has named him Terrance. I am also spending my time trying to convince her to like fish. The latest success is Mumma sutures 'pesto cod' recipe. Cod, smashed new potatoes, peas and a pesto sauce. Super scrummy!

Fishy fact for you, apparently herring is the most popular fish in the world! Crazy eh! I was certain it would be tuna!

In fact September was a birthday heavy month for me and included a lovely weekend away to Abersoch in North Wales. My friend CJ has a holiday home there. 8 of us girlies headed over there for a gorgeous weekend of beaches, booze, birthday celebrations and bloody good fun. Yes I did take my quilting to the beach!
Here are some snaps! Happy birthday again Biggles and Smell.


Us medics have rather a lot on at the moment:
1)organising electives
2)revising for finals
3)choosing deaneries (where we do our first 2 years as a doc!) included for those as clueless as me about what a deanery is.

I've been feeling pretty frustrated with it all but tonight I have finally applied for my elective with 'The Floating Doctors'. Hopefully they'll accept me. I have left it a wee bit late....supposed to be done weeks and weeks ago!

Hence why I haven't had much time for any crafting. On top of that I'm struggling to afford any new fabric. No student loan and no nhs bursary have mean a rather tight budget this year with me heavily relying on Mumma and papa sutures. So no lavish fabric splurges for me. Grrrrr!
Rant over. Only one more year before I'm earning! Yay!

Hope you all had a super Wednesday!
It's pouring with rain here :(
Cuddled up in bed with the flatmates watching bake off final!