May 31, 2009

Bleep test

So on Wednesday, I foolishly decided to embark on assessing my current level of fitness, using the bleep test (click link to find out more). I had signed up thinking it would be a good way of assessing how I’m doing with my weight loss and fitness levels at the moment – but it was really nerve-racking actually. Felt kind of like going into an exam!

They use the test for admission into the armed forces, police, etc and as an apparently fairly objective measure of cardiovascular fitness.

I actually did ok, I was pleased with an 11.6 which would reach the minimum standard for the army, navy, police etc, and also the royal marines which is pretty pleasing! (though don’t get me wrong.. they do a lot more than one bleep test to check potential applicants!). That said, I felt I could have run better, and I wasn’t very well hydrated, was pretty tired and generally felt on poor form.

Needless to say I’m going back this week to attempt to better my score and get a more ‘realistic result’. How foolish.

DB


Solicitor search online

So, here’s a random one for you. I was in search of a solicitor (for reasons I shall not bore you with!), and of course thought of the web as the first port of call. I trawled through google as you’d expect, and obviously a whole host of sites came up (mostly fairly useless!).

One of the websites I did find though in order to find a solicitor was www.qualitysolicitors.com. The site mainly allows you to find your own solicitor in your area and the area of expertise that is most appropriate to you. Obviously there are tonnes of these search sites around, and this is by no means the first one that comes up in the searches, but the way it works it pretty simple and it has a number of pretty decent features, such as the ability to download DIY legal documents which I thought was interesting (although this feature is not actually up and running yet, but I thought that seemed like quite a good idea, since you can get all those will kits and things anyway – why not have them online for download?).

The area I was looking into was regarding personal injury solicitors following a couple of car accidents a year or two ago, although I think I’ve decided not to bother for the moment now – but the website was pretty comprehensive and this page talks specifically about personal injury solicitor. You can just sort of look through and find the people who specialise in what you need. There’s a number of ways to search, and as I say the site seems pretty easy to use and navigate (e.g. you can find solicitors in Manchester), so I just though I’d share it as these things can always be a bit of a mine-field. So if you’re looking for a solicitor for any reason, might be a good port of call, if it’s any use to anybody.

DB


May 26, 2009

Back in civilisation

Well here we are. Sadly we have arrived back in the UK and have been successfuly manouevering the wards of the hospitals once again. We are of course keen, although it’s a shock to be back.
Anyway, I thought I might try and keep up this blogging business, for anybody who cares enough to read it. I shall endeavour to post anything random that comes into my head.
DB


April 25, 2009

In the jungle

Our intrepid adventurers were trekking through the Amazon when they heard screams of terror ahead. Knowing a woman had passed by a few moments before holding a baby, Dan and Dave broke ranks and raced forward. Up ahead on the trail they could see the woman being attacked by a swarm of black wasps. Naturally they launched themselves into the killing zone. Dan picked up her bags while Dave encouraged her to move faster away through the mud. He also killed a number of wasps by beating them to death with a bottle of mineral water.

Once free of the swarm, Dan remembered he was not just a superhero but also a medical student. He administered 20mg loratadine. Although badly stung around her neck and chest, there was no apparent respiratory deficit.

We hope our MDU elective indemnity covers good samaritan acts but, in the event it does not, Dave accepts no liability for any deleterious consequences arising from Dan’s management of this patient.


April 16, 2009

An extended weekend in Chile

Trying to get across the border:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMduoz9X5DY

Finally on our way to Arica:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvJ3hhNyXr4

On the beach:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOv46J7l3Wk

Strange things afoot in the Plaza de Armas:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6_jq66FdmQ


Reflections on Salkantay

Some thoughts at various points along the Salkantay Trail _en route _ to Machu Picchu…

Dave wonders where he is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wHhWLZgL_E

Dan isn’t much help:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpoG_nIjtH8

Days away from civilisation, Dan has not lost his ability to sniff out a bar:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao_KJvClsZU


April 13, 2009

Disaster Dan Strikes Again

We write to report three episodes of Dan embarassing Dave on public transport.

The first was a minor incident. We have been travelling around using budget coaches and were not expecting one of the drivers to bring each of the passengers a packed lunch. Dan at least was not expecting such a service because, seeing the bag of lunches, he leaned over and deposited all his rubbish in it. The driver did not see the funny side.

On the second occasion, the driver was attempting to fix the onboard television which required him to stand partly in a doorway. A local girl, unable to see him there, was gently pushing the door closed with her foot. Dan the Gallant, despite seeing the driver, could not watch a pretty girl trying so hard without success. He gave the door an almighty – and, I should hand it to him, a very masculine – kick which sent the driver into a fearsome rage.

The third was rather more cringe-worthy. On a mini bus returning from the hot springs of Santa Teresa, we noticed three small children in the drivers´ seat. This alarmed us for a few moments but we ignored the potential danger and preceded to the back of the bus. We were reminded of our observation only when the handbrake was released and the bus began to roll away. Unable to get to the front, Dave gently attempted to warn the other passengers. He explained there was a child in the drivers´ seat and asked for someone to apply the handbrake. The other passengers ignored these reasonable requests which Dave reiterated a number of times. At this point another passenger replied “but there is a driver”. Enter Dan who commanded in a loud voice stricken with terror: “IT´S A CHILD, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD IT´S A CHILD”. This shouting prompted the driver to turn around. He was at least forty and had been trying to start the engine by releasing the handbrake. Nevermind Dan, it was dark and he was very short.


April 11, 2009

Salkantay Trail

With hospitals in full swing, we managed to get on our Machu Picchu trek and walk day in day out, which was amazing, but hard on the old legs.

Our guide was Percy, Percy Huaman. He was quite the character, and had an extremely bubbly personality and cheeky grin. When it became apparent that we were finding the trek reasonably straight forward, he challenged us to a number of extras, letting us walk the long way round on a few occasions and racing us up hills at altitude – needless to say he won.

Our fellow trekers were Morag (another Warwick Medical Student), Ana (a swedish girl who lives in Bavaria), and Joe (a south african chap on a mission to walk to Machu Picchu).

The whole experience was tough, but great fun, and Machu Picchu was pretty amazing, and the views through the mist were incredible (except at the top of the extra mountain, where we were so high all we could see was mist!!)

The trip ended in marginal disaster though as Dan was rushed on a train with Morag, and Dave remained stranded in Agua Caliente (the town adjacent to the Machu Picchu site), as some tickets seemed to have gone AWOL.

All ended well though in Dave´s safe return, and a good time was had by all.


April 02, 2009

Bolivia

We also managed to do possibly one of the fastest tours of Bolivia EVER, involving 12 hour journeys to La Paz, then to Salar Uyuni, and back, stopping back at La Paz along the way. Dave suggested anaesthetising the larynx of each small child on any long journey, although we’re not sure this would ethically sound..

Med Student 1: It’s the larynx isn’t it, the voicebox?
Med Student 2: I think so.

La Paz is an interesting city. We found a nice hotel with “hot water, twenty-four hours”. As can usually be expected, it was cold and the water was mightily close to a 32A fuse switch. Fantastico.

Salar Uyuni can only be described as a desert town, but drive 10 miles out on a tour, and the desert changes completely in nature – to SALT!
This is apparently a dried up ocean, but noone quite knows how the salt continues to replenish itself, and the locals are then able to harvest it, make things with it, and even build hotels out of it. It’s certainly an interesting place.

More updates to follow….


Week 3 – Time marches on..

So, having not updated the blog for some time, it seems time to summarise the events of last week.

Sunday, we visited the sacred valley on an organised tour, phenomenal sites, breathtaking views, say no more..

Monday and Tuesday were uneventful, and hospital continued as normal, with our supervising doctor as eager as ever for Dave to eat half of his sandwich.. EAT IT!

Wednesday we met up with the girls again for another Pablo tour extravaganza and went to see Moray – a set of Inca concentric circles thought to be an ‘experiment’ although myself and Dave have other theories. An ampitheatre, or even just something made to look nice. Who knows.

Thursday and Friday were just as uneventful in the hospital, and Spanish continues to be a pain, but we are of course improving! Dan also managed to get his yellow fever jab for Bolivia, but no certificate as apparently there were ´none left´.

As for the weekend, we managed to see lake Titicaca and stay with locals. We explored the artificial floating islands and then went to stay with our delightful host Valentina on a real island. We were able to watch the sun set, eat the food of the villagers and buy a couple of novelty alpaca-wool items. We were also dressed in local attire and made to dance in the local fashion with the natives of the island. It was during this charade that our tour guide for the 2 days wandered in wasted and, for no apparent reason, punched a fellow tourist. Needless to say Valentino decided it was time for us to leave – VAMOS! – and an extremely apologetic ‘Clever’ (and yes that apparently is his real name) arrived to explain himself in the morning – he had drunk too much and had not intended to come to the fiesta. Anyway, we made it back to Puno in one piece with no harm done.

The adventure continues…


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