Mission Failed

Drat! I failed my test. Did all the hard parts fine, but two silly things let me down:

  1. A failure to indicate while doing a reverse park… Didn’t know about this but hey ho, I do now.
  2. Went through an unmarked crossroads on Mitre Road, a road I am intimately familiar with. D’oh.

My intructor reckons it was just nerves that did me for the second one, but I think that I would have done that even just in the car with him. Problem is, that I know the  4-way junction in question is always always always really quiet, and so in my mind it’s a give way coming from the side street (rather than a 4 way give way). Ah well, lesson learned. An expensive lesson right enough…

Driving Test Stuff

My practical test is in a week. Eep, yikes, etc etc. I had my penultimate lesson (counting the one right before the Real Thingâ„¢) today, and managed to get a couple of silly fails out of my system.

My point point is that the website The Driving Test could be quite useful if you’re in the position where you have a test but aren’t exactly sure of the procedure. It may not look like much, but it has some useful information. It talks you through what will happen in a test – ie what kinds of things the examiner will say – which is very useful in allaying fear of the unknown. The author is a former DSA examiner, so he should know his stuff. Check it out.

Spanish Adventure

So, having just celebrated by 22nd birthday, I have come to a decision that will have profound implications for my life. Well, I say I have decided, but I am being especially indecisive about it. Just call me Harvey Twoface.

The decision? Whether or not to defer entry to medical school for a year. My choice amounts to:

  • Start my medical degree in September, coming straight from a pharmacology degree from the same university
  • Take a year out to travel, probably to Spain for 6 months, then possibly elsewhere, like Italy, Germany or Morocco (if I am feeling particularly adventurous)

Part of my reason for thinking about this is that I have lived in Glasgow all my life, and so my experience is somewhat limited. Don’t get me wrong, this is a wonderful city filled with great things; but it can be very insular, to the extent of some small villages even. And while I love it here, I do feel I should have some experience of life elsewhere. There’s a whole world outside the city walls! Or so they tell me.

Another big part of the reason is that I desperately want to learn another language, and my attempts while residing in this country are abortive at best. While you may point to this as a lack of commitment, I do feel that actually residing somewhere that the language is spoken will significantly bolster my flagging efforts to learn it. It’s either that or not speak for 6 months.

So where would I go to? In Spain, probably one of Madrid, Barcelona or Valencia. Madrid I have seen already to a tiny extent; and I have heard wonderful things about Barcelona. The agony of choice…

Anyway, you would be right in saying that I would appear to be leaning towards the defer option. It’s intimidating, as I’ll have to go off alone leaving family, friends and significant other behind, to a country where I don’t speak the language and I won’t have a steady job. And my brain has a decent chance of (further) atrophying and being unable to recommence academic pursuit some September 2010. And I might cock it all up or wind up dying in some Catalan separatist attack, but hey ho, I’ll give it a go!

Protopic / Tacrolimus Followup

Well, since it has been two weeks since I was given the tacrolimus, I figured I should post a follow-up. The stuff is magic. Cleared up the really bad stuff very quickly.

However, the first night of using it was hell. I had been warned that “some people find it to be irritant… kind of like smearing chile pepper sauce on your face”. Oh dear. I thought it would sting like mad when I put it on (kinda like E45 for me), and when I did smear the 1% formulation over my face right before bed… it was fine. No stinging, not even a twinge.

The horror started a couple of hours later. I had fallen asleep, but was woken up sweating and scratching (well, tearing at my face). I was only half-awake and so very dopey most of the time, but eventually I woke up properly. Then I realised the skin on my face felt like it was being heated from the inside (like those “Deep Heat” / ralgex type muscle pain alleviators). Not nice. However, I washed my face (mainly to cool it down) and reapplied the ointment – somewhat more thinly this time – and went back to sleep.

Now, before being seen by dermatology my face had been pretty bad, eczema-wise. After this, I thought it would be… well, fucked. To my surprise the next morning I found that despite all the damn scratching the inflammation in my face had gone down. Overnight, it had made a significant difference. Within a couple of days, my face had almost regressed to normal. Certainly by now it’s looking great.

Would I recommend tacrolimus for persistent moderate-to-severe eczema? HELL YES. It’s not nice when you first use it, but it’s more than worth it.

Pro-topic / Tacrolimus

(not sure where the last few months of posts have gone… there wasn’t much of importance anyway)

I was at the dermatologists yesterday. I’ve had what turned out to be pretty bad eczema on my face now for the past 12 months, which has been annoying, sore and unpleasant to look at. So the dermatologists gave me some Pro-Topic (aka tacrolimus), an immunomodulator which should help my skin calm down and heal up and generally stop being so red and itchy. I’m very happy with them giving me this – I’d heard good stuff about Elidel (pimecrolimus) and was kinda hoping to get that; well Pro-Topic is Elidel on steroids 😉

That last sentence was a joke, because they are both non-steroidal topical… You normally get steroids to treat eczema… Uh… Never mind. About 3 biologists laughed.

Anyway, this stuff is the equivalent of a nuke (consultant’s words, not mine), so I’m glad to have it. They warn me a bit about a stinging / burning sensation, which I dismissed as something I could handle. I mean, my skin was getting so inflamed that even putting water on it was hurting. Also, E45 (a moisturiser) would sting for *ages*. I had it covered.

How wrong I was.

I put the ointment on before going to bed, somewhat very apprehensively, but it all seemed fine. I go to bed and am drifitng off to sleep when my left eye starts itching. So of course I scratch it it a bit, but that only makes the itching worse. Oh and scratching also spreads it a bit. I don’t need to spell out the whole sequence – suffice to say after a few minutes my whole face was itchy like never before. Oh, and this isn’t just an itch, it’s a hot itch, like someone has smeared chile around my face. This happened a couple more times through the night, except on the subsequent occasions I had the compounding factor that I was actually asleep and had been scratching for a while before I woke up.

So today, how is my skin? Well, worse. There’s no two ways about it, the scratching took its toll. However, my skin does look less inflamed, and it definitely doesn’t feel as sore as it normally would. Essentially I think if I’d been able to avoid scratching in the night, it would have been a whole ton better. So today and tonight I just have to exercise some self-contrl (easier said than done) and hopefully it shou;d start healing nicely!

GU Amnesty

Just to let you guys know that since joining them a month and a bit ago, not only am I involved with the GU Amnesty website as previously mentioned; but also we have a blog now. If you know me, you’ll know I can get passionate about things. Amnesty gives me a way to direct that energy (apoplexy is extremely exothermic) into something constructive. The people there are great too – just as energetic, enthusiastic and go-getting as me, probably even moreso. I sense great things ahead.

Protect the Human!

Edit: Fixed link

eBay – like a drug…

I have become addicated to eBay again. It happened before I left for the summer and only recently has it kciked back in. It is just so much fun – bidding on random crap you don’t really want, only to NOT get outbid just before it ends, and bidding on stuff you do want, only to be outbid seconds before the end. The only thing that stopped be buying stuff recently was a scare as I noticed my distinct lack of funds…but I found an eBay related solution – to sell some random crap! When I actually went through my stuff thinking – “do I want to sell this on eBay” – I actually came out with 79 items to create listings, take photos and list. And it has been done and it isn’t going too badly. 22 items selling at a total of £88.22 at time of press. And yes, this entire post has been for me to do a shameless plug. Feel free to have a look through my items and see if anything interests you!


Thinking about insomnia keeps me awake at night. At least something does – I’m not entirely sure what, but it best be important. I find it simultaneously amazing an vexing that a body deprived of sleep will further deprive itself by refusing to sleep for even longer. In the past week or two I’ve had more and more frequent opportunities to observe this phenomenon. Continue reading “Insomnia”

No Elixir For Me

Despite saying earlier that I was going to give it a shot, I have yet to try the cure-all remedy suggested to me by my barber. This is due to my sore throat unexpectedly clearing up. Disaster, I know. I still have a cough though, so if it’s a Strep infection the sore throat may return – and if it does, I’ll be waiting with a bottle of Crabbie’s green ginger wine and some black spiced rum.

Yeah, it better watch it.