A letter to the Daily Mail

The Daily Mail

The daily mail I hate you so
I have to write to let you know.
That strip of shame on your web site,
You know, the column on the right?
Where women are apparently meant to go
To find interesting things we ought to know

Things like “kim has lost 56 pounds”
Your investigative journalism knows no bounds
What a shame this isn’t the USA
Pulitzer Prize; straight away

I don’t give a fuck who is in a White bikini
Or who has got fat when they used to be teeny.
Tell me something interesting please
Not which poor girl has thighs like cheese.

Oh Daily Mail I’d dearly like you to meet
Me and my pals in a darkened street.
There we’d give you something to say
About women in the present day.
Where women are complex, clever, kind and rude,
Where they care about more than who looks good.

The editorial policy of Femail must be set
By a teenage boy or boys I bet.
How else to explain your fascination
With the Victoria Secret angels of every nation

Why do you think women are shallow and thick?
Your articles often make me sick.
The printed edition is not much better
I suspect they will not publish this letter.

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Super exciting piece of journalism here. Orange make up face looks less orange a few years later. Of interest to women everywhere.

Rebecca Relationship

Woman’s hour interviewed two literary commentators this week and part of the discussion was whether or not you were a “Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind” type woman or a “Mrs M. deWinter (the second) from Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier” woman. I did a quiz on what sort of literary character I was and was dismayed to discover that I am Rebecca from Ivanhoe, dismayed because I haven’t read Ivanhoe, but now feel that I must.

I have been a second Mrs De Winter character and didn’t like it very much at all. I went out with a man who had the name of his ex-girlfriend tattooed on his back and only wanted to have sex with me if I had been swimming, (she was captain of the university swim team) in total darkness, whilst listening to a CD she gave him. Don’t worry reader, I got my own back on him eventually.

Being in the shadow of the eponymous Rebecca was no fun for the woman who doesn’t even have a first name in the book and it is no fun in real life. It seemed a strange debate that either you are Scarlett, fabulous and flawed or a meek little mouse like Mrs de Winter. Where are all the great women of fiction? I was disappointed that the only option was these two books both written before the Second World War.

It’s 75 years since Gone with the Wind was released in film form and I wonder if it is still watched or read by young women, I was made to watch it when I was about 13 and my grandmother and mother are big fans. Will I force it on my daughter? Probably not, but I would be keen for her to read Rebecca. The Hitchcock film of Rebecca is good but not true to the book, it was made more Hollywood acceptable with references to Rebecca’s promiscuity removed and her death changed to a sailing accident rather than murder.

Mad and bad or mad and sad?

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Selfie Week

I’m getting fairly old and have reached a point where there isn’t much that can happen on a ward round that surprises me (shower heads inserted into rectums on abdominal X-rays, any combination of blood, poo and vomit from any orifice, violence, death etc) but this week I encountered a first. A young female who did not have much of an acute problem other than she was a bit constipated took a “selfie” of herself (obvs) and deliberately included our ward round in the background and subsquently posted it onto Facebook. The nursing staff were incandescent with rage and wanted me to “do something”.

You could see some shadowy out of focus green clad people but otherwise there was no breach of confidentiality and so we requested that she refrained from taking further selfies in hospital but didn’t go as far as asking her to delete the image. Interestingly the same ward was once used by some nefarious characters who faked illness so they could attempt to film a pornographic amateur movie; we gave them the boot.

I ended the week on a bit of a high, I managed to secure front row seats for Mr KBW and I at the nativity of my youngest child by arriving deliberately 40 minutes early, so I took a selfie of me and my empty seats. Youngest child was unimpressed with her nativity and looked pretty bored throughout but hopefully she was encouraged by her mental mummy grinning and waving at her. The nursery teachers don’t like me much, they hardly ever see me and when I am there I am always first at the door to drop off and last to collect but they clocked me in the front row alright.

Selfies of course are topical this week with Obama and Dave gurning and grinning into their iPhones. I am not at all sure what the ethics and legal issues of this situation were, we have a stupid rule that you can’t use mobiles on the ward but of course everyone does. The nurse in charge of the ward has contacted the relevant hospital management person to find out the legal position and whether or not we need to put signs up saying “no use of photography”. It doesn’t strike me that we have a selfie problem in the hospital, we have far more people taking illegal drugs on the ward than taking photographs and there is no sign up saying “No taking tramadol, ketamine or heroin, (unless prescribed by a doctor)”.

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Too fashiony for Bighospitalburgh

As regular readers of this blog know, I work in Big Hospital located in a largish city in the UK which we will now refer to as Bighospitalburgh. It’s not the worst city for fashion but it certainly isn’t the best. Annoyingly, despite it being December it isn’t that cold yet and I have yet to break out the serious winter clothing. There is a hat that I am after and so showed a friend and Mr KBW this hat on google expecting them both to love it. Even Rihanna has one and if it’s good enough for the princess of pop I can’t see why it wouldn’t look good on me.
Both of them think it’s far too much for where we live, too fashiony apparently for the dull city we inhabit. Not one to be deterred or indeed to care what anyone thinks about my head gear I am going to make one and wear it and be frosty and fabulous and far too fashiony for Bighospitalburgh.

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Look, there’s millions of them. I only want one.

Surgicalness

We have a trainee just now who is very junior and we are as a department unanimous in our view that they probably don’t have the right sort of attitude, attributes, commitment and ability to cut it as a surgeon.

What is it that makes us so sure? Only a few of us have operated with this trainee and yet even if she was technically competent it probably would do little to change our view that she is better suited to general practice, or maybe radiology.

The selection process into specialist training has changed recently and without sounding like a grumpy old woman, they aren’t selecting them like they used to. Previously only years of commitment and slog would secure you a coveted specialist training number, it is significantly less arduous now and crucially there is no process of trying a trainee out before giving them a number.

People don’t like to hear it until they need an operation but surgeons are not like other people in many ways. Generally speaking they are very controlling, they like to “verify” things for themselves, expect high standards in themselves and others, work long hours, do long operations, go without food and water for long periods of time and generally put knife before wife before life.

This is especially true when you are a trainee and you are on an 8 year (previously longer) mission to go from most junior oik to consultant. Somebody has to have a word with our not up to it girl, so far the least sensitive person on earth has already told her that she is not suited to surgery. He is not the right person to do that, but at least it has been a warning shot across her bows that there may be a tricky conversation coming. I know that she has no respect for this person (a slightly more senior colleague with an attitude problem who is himself unsuited to his calling) and therefore will not take his criticism on board.

“A surgeon should be youthful, or at any rate nearer youth than age; with a strong and steady hand that never trembles; and ready to use the left hand as well as the right; with vision sharp and clear and spirit undaunted; filled with pity so that he wishes to cure the patient, yet is not moved by his cries, to go too fast, or cut less than necessary; but he does everything just as if the cries of pain cause him no emotion” Celsus wrote this in the first century in his encyclopaedia medicina. If only it was that straight forward.

The obvious qualities of leadership, decision making ability, compassion, team working and an ability to cope under pressure are easy to identify and to some extent to train for but these skills are common to A&E doctors and anaesthetists and many other specialties, not just surgeons. There is something else, some glimmer of something that marks somebody out as suitable for surgery. It is not very politically correct of me to say so I suppose, but not everybody meets the correct person specification. What that exactly is however, I don’t precisely know, I suppose it’s rather like the midichlorian count in Jedi selection….sorry!

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