Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The pain of deadlines

"Are you in employment at the moment?"

"I'm 80 years old!"

"I'm sorry, I forgot - you look much younger..."

This was the biggest laugh of my practice dietetic consultation yesterday. A volunteer actor was playing the part of 80 year-old retired teacher Mrs Johnson, and my job was to welcome her to the consultation, find out more about why she had been referred (she has lost 5 kg since Christmas and just doesn't have any appetite) and then advise on what she might do about it. This involved taking a diet history, which is a frequent activity in the real world of dietetic consultations, and something that we will definitely be doing on our placements over the summer.

Rather than an emaciated, frail, little old lady, my volunteer, Christine, was a well-built woman probably not much older than me. By the time I was asking about her employment status, I had completely forgotten that she wasn't who she appeared to be, as it were. Apart from that, the whole thing went pretty well. I forgot to ask her whether she had any allergies or food dislikes, but I'm not too worried about that, because if I'd suggested anything she didn't like or was allergic to, I'm sure she would have told me. More pertinent was that I failed to ask her whether she was taking any medication, because that might certainly have affected her appetite without her being aware of the cause.

I'm very glad that's out of the way, but I need to write it up and there are still many other deadlines to meet. My folate essay is nearly done (deadline 3pm Friday), my research proposal is nearly done (met supervisor today, hand in by next Tuesday), my education session on eating out with coeliac disease is coming along nicely. I must humbly thank the selfless volunteers who turned up last night to be educated, thus helping me practise for the assessed version on Monday. Special praise to Stubbly Swot who actually did some homework, and a hundred lines for Billy Knee for missing the main session but turning up for the social afterwards ("I will not fall asleep on the sofa. I will not fall asleep on the sofa"). They provided a few more useful ideas, and I think the majority of it will work. To tell the truth, I'm past caring at this point.

More distant deadlines include a case study for Mr Samuels, soon to become Number One Hate Figure comparable with Mrs Sparrow of times gone by. Also, a presentation and essay on the pharmacology of depression, Prozac and St John's Wort (not started yet). More serious is the Molecular Nutrition online test, deadline 12 noon on Monday, and I haven't started revising for that one yet. This has pretty low priority because it's only worth 10% of the module (but 20% really because it's a double module), compared with the research proposal that's worth 50% of that module. Also it's a multiple choice test that isn't negatively marked.

So that's the sum total of pain at the moment. If there were anything else in my life to blog about, I would, but Alf seems to have abandoned us for the time being, Mr A's teeth are no longer blogworthy and we haven't had a night off for ages. Just one week to go, and I'm counting the days.

Photo of the Textbook of Pain

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