Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bayeux and D-Day Beaches, Normandy, France

My sister and I drove from Champagne in north-east France to Normandy in north-west France. We stayed in lovely Bayeux, and visited the amazing Bayeux Tapestry. Then we spent a long day visiting various D-Day sites from WWII.

Bayeux Cathedral

Bayeux Cathedral, interior

British Military Cemetery, containing graves of 4,144 Commonwealth soldiers from WWII, including 17 Australian soldiers


Grave of an unknown soldier


Grave of an Australian soldier

Church in Sainte-Mère-Église, with memorial to paratrooper John Steele, whose parachute caught on the spire (he pretended to be dead for 2 hours, before being captured by the Germans)


I'm a MASSIVE fan of Band of Brothers, so I insisted we visit the paratroopers museum, at Dead Man's Corner in Saint-Côme-du-Mont (not far from Carentan)

Band of Brothers display, with memorabilia from Easy Company of the 101st Airborne division

Captain Dick Winters (RIP)

La Pointe du Hoc, a German battery near Omaha Beach, which was taken by US Rangers on D-Day

Omaha Beach, where US troops landed on D-Day (as depicted in Saving Private Ryan)

It's hard to imagine what it was like on 6 June 1944

Omaha Beach sign

American Cemetery, overlooking Omaha Beach


Memorial at the American Cemetery



Batterie de Longues-sur-Mer, a German battery overlooking Omaha and Gold beaches

Gold Beach at Arromanches-les-Bains, where British troops landed on D-Day, and site of the artificial Mulberry Harbour (remnants remain today)

Remnants of the Mulberry Harbour

Next: Granville, Mont Saint-Michel, and Saint-Malo, Normandy and Brittany, France…

Monday, May 30, 2011

Reims & Épernay, Champagne, France

My sister and I drove around northern France for a week. Our first stop was all about Champagne...

Joan of Arc, Place Cardinal-Luçon, Reims

Joan of Arc

Notre-Dame de Reims

Interior, Notre-Dame de Reims


Sube Fountain with Golden Angel on top, Place Drouet d'Erlon, Reims

Dom Perignon statue in the courtyard of Moët et Chandon, Épernay

Town Hall gardens, Épernay, and our first real taste of spring!

Looking back towards Épernay

Caves underneath Taittinger Champagne house, Reims

Approximately 92,000 bottles of Champagne stored in this section alone

Next: Bayeux and D-Day Beaches, Normandy, France…

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Internship: Term 4 – General Surgery

My fourth term was back at the main hospital doing General Surgery.

I was terrified about my surgical term. I'd heard about how unsupported you are on the wards, with your registrar stuck in theatre all day. I felt like I was about to be exposed as a really crap doctor. Imposter syndrome strikes again!

On day 1 I introduced myself to my registrar, and mentioned that I wasn't a complete newbie intern like the others. He nearly hugged me! He was studying for exams and was hoping to have plenty of time to study on the days when he wasn't in theatre, leaving me to manage the wards. I wasn't particularly thrilled about this, but it turned out fine: he was always available when I needed him. I never felt unsupported; quite the opposite. My registrar was amazing, actually - every day he'd call me at lunchtime and make me take a break, and he'd often buy my lunch. He was great with the students too.

My bosses were very good (and very nice - another myth busted!). I didn't have much to do with the bosses during the day - they did quick ward rounds in the morning and then disappeared. One of my bosses trusted my registrar to run everything and so didn't even do ward rounds - I didn't meet him until week 4 of the term! Two of my bosses were general surgeons who did elective breast and abdominal procedures (e.g. cholecystectomies and hernia repairs), and the other boss was a head and neck surgeon.

I'm not interested in surgery at all (duh), and I was worried that I'd be expected to spend a lot of time in theatre, holding retractors and being bored, and then staying back late to finish my jobs on the wards. Instead, I was only called to theatre on a few occasions, and I actually never operated with my registrar! There were always junior registrars or interested interns and residents, not to mention medical students, who were more than willing to take my place in theatre. Everyone's a winner!

This meant that I rarely did crazy long hours. We started early (7am) but if I was well-organised I could usually leave by 4:30pm. With daylight saving still in force, this meant I could enjoy my summer evenings.

The other good part about the term was the real sense of camaraderie amongst the surgical interns, residents, and registrars, and also the Anaesthetics registrars. There was a social activity at least once a week, and these have continued into the next term too.

At the end of the term, I would describe myself as an excellent surgical intern - organised, aware of the status of all my patients, available when needed in theatre, friendly to nursing staff, etc. I think I have a lot more work to do before I'd be confident calling myself a good doctor, but that'll come.

Term 5 was General Medicine (Geriatrics). I just finished the term (and internship!), and will summarise it soon.