There really has been a lot of stuff happening. I thought that coming to an unfamiliar town and living in someone else's house would mean I had a load of free time - that's what happened last time. In fact, because of what happened last time I made a lot more effort to find a good place to live, and have now signed up to play at two badminton clubs. This has resulted in me enjoying my evenings immensely, but having no spare time for homework or blogging at all. And there is homework that I should be doing, at this very moment.
It's been a while since I ventured into the territory of describing the actual dietetics I've been doing, what with having had a bit of a breakdown in weeks 3 and 4, but things are really much better now at the end of week 6. Half way.
I have now seen an adult with a BMI of 9.4 and a weight of less than 4 stone (56 lb, 25 kg), and someone weighing more than 24 stone (335 lb, 150 kg). A patient with kidney failure kindly allowed me to feel the 'bruit' or 'thrill' from their newly constructed arteriovenous fistula that will be used to facilitate haemodialysis. I observed a cooking session carried out by one of the Food Educators, where parents and their young children cook something that they can then cook again at home. Cooking used to be taught in schools when I was young, but now this seems to be one of the only ways that people can gain the skills that I took for granted. If you've never tasted a courgette or chopped an onion, for example, you're not going to buy them for your family.
I have to admit that the GNT dialect is giving me a few food-related difficulties. Bread rolls/baps are called bread cakes (in Manchester they were barm cakes), which is straightforward enough, but it gets more complicated with meals. The main meal is dinner, and is eaten at dinner time, which is often in the middle of the day, except when dinner is eaten at tea time. Tea time is in the evening. Here is a direct quote from a patient that I wrote down: "We eat our dinner at dinner time, not tea time." One patient didn't seem to understand when I was talking about lunchtime, and I had to explain that I meant the middle of the day. Supper often means a snack taken after tea, i.e. before bedtime. 'While' is used in place of 'until', e.g. "I work 8 while 5 during the week." Now all that is sorted out, I can usually understand what they're all talking about.
During the past week I have been on stroke and diabetes, with an outpatient clinic or two thrown in for luck. I like stroke and diabetes, particularly diabetes, which I find fascinating in a very nerdy way. All those lovely numbers! Blood glucose readings, HbA1c numbers, cholesterol and triglycerides, blood pressure, BMI, waist circumference, carbohydrate portions and units of insulin. Then there's Oral Hypoglycaemic Agents, different types of insulin, meters, pumps, lancets, strips and a team of doctors, specialist nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, podiatrists and opticians. I observed a fairly complex set of patient consultations, did a couple of fairly straightforward ones myself, and almost felt like a real dietitian for some of the time.
The feedback I'm getting is good, and apart from the backlog of homework, I think it's going well. There's also a bit of exciting news from the world of University - my supervisor persuaded me to submit an abstract of my research project, on visual impairment and food choices, to the annual British Dietetic Association Conference. This week I found out that they have accepted it for presentation (with modifications). This is good news for my CV, but bad news for my workload - now I have to make the modifications and re-submit the abstract. I will only find out nearer the time whether they want an oral presentation or a poster, and then I will have to create that. My placement supervisor also suggested that I could practise by presenting the paper to the department. Oh boy.
So I have plenty to be getting on with, but the priority has to be a job application this weekend, and then I must sort out my placement portfolio. I should mention that it was nice to see Mr A again, and I managed to recognise him despite his long hair. That was another job for me this weekend!