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!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

End of the summer, bloody great news and new babes!

The time has come around fast. Summer for me, is over. I am back at uni and I'm feeling a little bit apprehensive. This return means my last year as a student, the last year I can say 'sorry I'm just a medical student'. It's terrifying! I did however have a smashing summer which mainly involved lounging around at home, helping mum with housework and cooking and playing PS3 with my brother!
Oh and the odd BBQ! 


Yesterday in some communication skills teaching where we had to break bad news to a 'patient' (a rather convincing actor) I was told I was both kind and brave. I hope that's what you're all looking for in a Doc?!

Good news!!! On Mon we got the most super news! I passed my finals OSCEs and my first written final exam! Almost a Doc now! Eeeeeek! One more biggie exam in nov then hopefully I will be able to say that I am Doctor! woop!

This next academic year I really want to get to grips with my sewing machine. I need to make the skirt with the pattern I bought from "By Hand London". It's just beautiful. I also have cute little babies to sew for! Might get back into my knitting too! Though it does seem a shame to spend months knitting a darling little jumper only for them to grow out of it so quickly.

Currently I am wrestling with a baby quilt and also using this Purl Soho pattern to make these sweet little bandana dribble bibs.

Last weekend I helped organise my very first baby shower. One of my hugely talented best friends, Bam, made the most incredible cakes with fondant babies! All home made! What a talent!

I made some pastel bunting.

We also made a baby shower finger print picture for guests to leave their print as a keepsake for mum! Bam made this too! Such an artiste!

Currently I am at home trying to sort my life out before heading away on placement again. Its hard to think that last monday (a much needed bank hol) I was enjoying a sherry at home home with my family. We sat around eating pâté and doing a quiz. No wonder I miss being at home home!

Next post will be from my away placement!
Hopefully I'll have some more sewn delights for you then!
Char xxx

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Gosh it's been a while......

Welcome back!
I know I have been the most dreadful blogger, I am sorry! With so much to tell you I might have to span more than one blog post unless I can squeeze it all in today.

Where to begin?!

The beastly exams are over! I can't say they went terribly well. The practical osce's were certainly a mixed bag. One of my communication stations involved telling a man his wife had just died in a car accident.......terribly which he responds with 'can I bury her tomorrow, we're Orthodox Jews'. I didn't quite know how to respond to that! In the acute stations one of my skills was CPR, safe to say it went terribly, I haven't done it since first year! Basically don't have a cardiac arrest around me! Never mind, I'll let you all know how I do when the results are out in September.

After the osce's i decided to go and visit my darling godchildren (F 9, B 4, and little B 11/2).

They are the most fabulous little people!! I had a wonderful day with them playing games only children can create. For those who are interested I am a terrifying and highly venomous jellyfish (I also make a rather good pirate). We had a lovely afternoon flying kites and prancing around fields. All hunky dory until I lifted little B and felt my back 'go'. Yes this is something old people say, yes I'm only 23, but believe me, my back went! I spent the next few days on various levels of codeine in bed with a lot of ice. Not the situation you want to be sitting your medical school written final exam in. Fortunately the medical school were incredibly considerate and accommodating. I had my own special little seat at the back where I could stand up when the pins and needles in my leg got too bad.
3 weeks later to the day, it is slightly better. Apparently I have slipped a disc. Time is a healer. Fortunately I have found swimming front crawl to be the only exercise that is bearable so I'll be hitting the pool hard over the next few weeks.

So, back to the day of finals. After the exam I spent the evening making delicious courgette lasagna, recipe here.

It's a firm veggie fave. That night we all headed out to celebrate, I was rather sober and hobbling with the crippled back, which I why I ended up in a and e. One of my very close friends, C, fell down the club stairs, mainly due to her absolutely ridiculous shoes and also partly due to her slight inebriation. After 8h of the night spent on a cold hospital bench it was decided C did not have a vertebral fracture and we were allowed home. Bless her she bought me flowers to apologise! Overall it was actually quite an entertaining evening. The other patients made for very amusing observation. Two boys came on because on had punched a wall following them finding out that the other boys ex girlfriend had got with someone else. Crazy I know.

After uni finished I had a glorious week in France with my best friend ever, J. She is an amazing human being. We lounged on the beaches and drank lots of Rosé. Very chilled and lovely.

Sewing wise I finished the bow ties! They boys loved them, and I made my first little bit of money from my sewing! So satisfying!

Yesterday I bought the fabric for my friends babies quilt, I'm very very very excited. Due 22/9! A baby! Eeeeek!

Oh and now I am just bumbling around and home trying to organise my medical elective for February.

Hope you are all having fan-dabby-dooby summers!

Char xxxxx

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Mallows Galore!

Hello All!

Fabulous news! My copy of 'Love at First Stitch' arrived last week! Incredibly excited! As an avid reader and fan of Tilly's blog I was thrilled when she wrote a book to ease me from quilting into clothing. I haven't actually used it to make anything yet but I am putting that down to the exam pressure. I have however spent my evening's easing my exhausted brain into relaxation flicking through the beautiful pages.

On a less relaxing note my handwriting has taken a turn for the worse. It has got to the point where at times even I cant read my own revision notes! Quite concerning! 

Sewing wise:
Bow ties are coming along nicely and I have even learnt to tie them!

Only 5 more to go! Going to relax and hit the sewing machine hard after the OSCE exams on tue and wed.

In the meantime my fabulous parents have sent me the most wonderful motivation! Marshmallows!!!!

The Marshmallowists are the bomb! Today 3 boxes of the most enormous light soft fluffy delicious marshmallows arrived from 'The Marshmallowists'. These ladies make the most incredible marshmallows. With flavours including gin and blueberry, coconut, and orange and mango you cant go wrong. These light puffs of heaven are a family favourite so it helps that Simms (one of the Marshmallowists) is a great friend of mine. Goddess of the kitchen! Check them out!

The mallows making my desk far more appealing

In fact today has been rather fabulous (other than the sky raining on my laundry) as Bear, my incredible housemates presented me with pancakes for breakfast! Such a treat!

Bear and I have also started drowning in series 2 of '24'. Why we do this to ourselves around exams I do not know! It is just so exciting!

Must go and rescue my washing off of the line, so I'll leave you with this beautiful sunflower!
Such a shame I have managed to kill it already!

Char xxxxx