A new beginning…

Finding my feet in living for Jesus.

Archive for the ‘medicine’ Category

Doctor Oliver.

Posted by lauraoli on May 25, 2012

This week I have had a manic time. I finished my finals last Friday, I returned to Preston from  Brighton on Monday, I went to Glasgow on Wednesday and then yesterday I was in Blackpool in the morning and waiting for my finals results in the afternoon. Needless to say, I was pretty nervous about my results, but the crazily busy week beforehand helped me from focussing on them for too long!

God has been completely amazing over the past few months, I have had many people at church praying for me, and although I have been working hard and feeling stressed, there is no way I could have got through the exams without Him.  The verse of exam time for me is always Phillipians 4:6-7; ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’  I have most definitely felt God’s peace over the last few months.

In my quiet time on Wednesday evening, I read this; ‘Now, therefore, you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.’ (Ephesians 2:19). This was a brilliant reminder for me that although my results that were coming on Thursday were incredibly important, and whatever happened would shape my life for the next few years to come, that in the end, I have been adopted in to God’s family, and the end result, no matter what is eternity with Him. I have been saved from my life of sin and transgressions by God’s grace, and have been given life in Christ Jesus. That is way more important than those results! This knowledge doesn’t stop me caring about my results, and doesn’t (entirely) stop me worrying, but it does give me a great perspective on what they mean.

The results came through yesterday. I passed.

I am now, officially, a doctor.

Thank you Lord.

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Thursday Thoughts

Posted by lauraoli on April 5, 2012

It’s been 4 months since I last posted a blog entry. I’ve been quite busy… I’m going to take a leaf out of a friends book and write a compilation of random thoughts.

  1. I have now (successfully) made it through the first half of medical finals, and have the second half in a months time. Thank God that I passed the first half! Now my focus is on Him as I try to be organised with revision, and to keep calm as the exams get ever closer.
  2. I have a job to go to in August – I’m moving back home, and starting working in Blackpool Vic hospital. I am SO excited about this, especially with the prospect of being able to be more involved with All Saints.
  3. On the flip side to this, as I mentioned in my last blog post, I am really sad about the prospect of moving away from Brighton. I know there are exciting times ahead, but I don’t like change!
  4. This final year malarkey is fairly heavy on the old workload. A friend commented the other day that between last August and this May, we will have had a total of one week off. Ouch.
  5. This week a whole bunch of people from church went to New Word Alive. I was very disappointed to not be able to go with them, but it did mean that I got to hang out with the ‘left behind crew’, which was a really good opportunity to spend time with people I don’t often see much.
  6. I went to my last ever student CMF conference in February. As ever, it was a wonderful time of bible teaching, fellowship and encouragement. My take-home message was that in life, my role as a Christian beats all other identities I may have. So God is always the most important thing.
  7. I met 4 other students that will be working in the north west next year on the CMF conference, and THREE of them will also be working in Blackpool hospital. There are only 36 new doctors starting. What an encouragement to have other Christians to work alongside whilst we are all getting our feet as new doctors!
  8. 2 years ago today I watched ‘The Passion of the Christ’ with a friends, then blogged about it. Since then, that blog post has been far away the most read on this site, with a total individual views to date of almost 6,000. I can’t believe that everyone that read it is a Christian, but it just shows that the story of Jesus, and the Passion He showed at the end of his life is a story people can’t quite turn away from. There’s something in it. Because it’s gloriously true. I haven’t watched that film since then, and I think I may take the time out this weekend to watch it again.
  9. I am here, in Brighton this Easter for the first time in a few years. I am very excited about being able to go to BH (my church) on Sunday to celebrate, and spend the time with lots of lovely friends!
  10. Last Easter I posted a blog about the fact Brighton were hosting its own outdoor Passion Play. I was disappointed then that I couldn’t go. Well, it was such a success last year that it’s happening again! If anyone local fancies it – come down to the seafront for 2pm on Easter Day. I will be there!

I think that’s enough of my random wittering.

This holiday weekend I hope you can take the time to look into the life of Jesus, and see what an amazing sacrifice He made so that you may have a relationship with Him.

Happy Easter! He is Risen!

Posted in Brighton, Christianity, CMF, films, Jesus Christ, medicine, random | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

Posted by lauraoli on November 17, 2011

It has been about 3 and a 1/2 months since I last wrote a blog entry… the longest time I have gone in between posts since I started ‘A New Beginning’ almost 2 years ago.

It’s not a case of me wanting to stop blogging, it’s more of a case of life getting in the way! Medical finals (part 1) are coming up in January, and things have been very busy. After being in nice, (relatively) lazy 4th year, 5th year has hit hard, with long days, regular assessments and lots of work to do.

Trying to keep Jesus at the centre of everything I am doing is proving to be quite a challenge, and I am currently struggling somewhat with the stress of impending exams. I have been feeling quite distant in my relationship with God, and although I know He is ever-present and never-changing, the absence I feel is making me miss the security, love, comfort and peace I have in Jesus. In this case, although absence isn’t making the heart grow finder exactly, it is making me want to be closer to Jesus.

I’m not sure any of you actually noticed my absence (I don’t know exactly who reads this?!), but I am going to try and blog more regularly again!

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The benefits of faith!

Posted by lauraoli on April 30, 2011

So it appears that being a Christian can extend your lifespan by 14 years!!! See the articles below…

Health benefits of Christian faith <– the original report.

‘Doing God’ is good for your health <– this is a really interesting article published on the CMF blog about the above report.

Faith ‘good for you health’  <– and this is the Telegraph newspaper article about said blog post.

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A lesson in God’s sovereignty

Posted by lauraoli on October 1, 2010

I survived! I have now been back in the UK for just over a week, after spending 7 weeks in Madagascar at a mission hospital in the rural north-eastern part of the country.

My original criteria for an elective placement:

  1. An English speaking country
  2. A developed country
  3. Somewhere that didn’t require a long journey
  4. A highly specialised hospital, preferably paediatric

HVM, Mandritsara, Madagascar:

  1. A Malagasy/ French speaking country
  2. A developing country
  3. Outbound journey required a total of 18 hours flying time and a 22 hour taxi journey over the course of 4 days
  4. A generalised mission hospital, serving the needs of the community in the best way it can

Laura the surgeon!

Just a few short months ago, the idea of going to somewhere like HVM for 7 weeks was a ridiculous idea. I have never had any inclination to spend any length of time in Africa and I have always imagined my future to be here, in the UK.

However, God has certainly taught me over the last year that he is most definitely in charge and that he knows best.

I had the absolute time of my life in Mandritsara. I did things I never thought I could (including spending a night in a remote village with the Community Health Team, with no running water, no electricity, no phone signal, no toilets and no English speaking person) and my whole world has sort of been turned upside down.

In third year of medicine, I did 8 weeks of surgery and I hated every minute. I was certain I never wanted to be a surgeon. In Madagascar, Dr. Mann, the surgeon, is the only qualified surgeon for an area equivalent to Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey and Greater London combined. Without him, people with acute surgical emergencies would simply die. The difference he makes on a daily basis is incredible, and opened up my eyes to the possibility of specialising in something that would be the most useful, rather than the most enjoyable. I spent a lot of my time in theatre, and I began to realise I actually could enjoy it – something that I wasn’t expecting at all! God has also opened my eyes to the possibility of doing some sort of mission work in the future. Seeing the difference the hospital makes in the lives of the local community was wonderful, and incredibly rewarding.

There were many things I learned whilst away, and I had some amazing experiences. This is just the first post of many to come!

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This is it!

Posted by lauraoli on August 2, 2010

So… in just a couple of hours I will be leaving home to go to Manchester airport to get the first of three flights. The first to London Heathrow, then overnight tonight to Johannesburg, then tomorrow mid-morning to Antananarivo (the capital of Madagascar). I will stay overnight in a hotel, before getting a ‘taxi-brousse’ to Mandritsara, which, if it goes well, should take a mere 20 hours!

I haven’t quite finished packing, almost everything is in the bag, and I am praying and hoping that I manage to stay within the 20kg weight limit. £35 per kilo charge per extra kilo isn’t really affordable!

This adventure up until now has been a huge learning curve, and I’m pretty sure that it’s only really starting. This trip is completely and utterly outside of my comfort zone, and although I’m very excited, I’m pretty apprehensive too.

I won’t be able to blog whilst in Madagascar, the internet is basically non- existent. Just before I go, I wanted to share this video – what a brilliant way to act in a crisis!

Posted in current affairs, elective, medicine | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

God truly is omnipresent!

Posted by lauraoli on July 3, 2010

Montpellier

One (major) issue of going to Madagascar for my elective is that I need to be able to communicate in French. The last time I did any French was for my GCSE, 8 years ago (that makes me feel SO old!) and so I have been trying to brush up on my skills. For the past few weeks I have been listening to some ‘teach-yourself-French’ CDs that a friend from church lent me, but I knew I needed to do a lot more to be at a decent standard by August. So this last week I have spent the week in Montpellier, on the south coast of France at Accent Francais language school.

I was really nervous about going to Montpellier, not only because my French really isn’t so good, but because I was being hosted by a French family and I was worried about whether I would get on with them. I found the first couple of days incredibly lonely and baffling, was quite emotional and began to count down the days until I could leave.

It was on the second night when I was feeling very low, I got out my bible to read and had the realisation that however lonely I was, and even though I didn’t understand the language, God was with me. It was a truth that I had known, but the reality of it hit me in those solitary hours.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.                                                                                                                                                                   Deuteronomy 31:8

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.                                                                                                                                 Joshua 1:9

These verses and the truth that they hold will be very comforting in Madagascar I expect!

The rest of the week went really well, I made friends with some of the other students,  began to understand a lot more of what my host said to me, and was actually quite sad to leave today! God definitely gave me the strength to get through the week.

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Things that can go wrong on elective…

Posted by lauraoli on April 9, 2010

This is taken from a presentation given by my medical school in preparation for elective.

Things that can go wrong…

Adverse events occurring on medical electives in 2006 across 9 medical schools in the UK.

  • 7 Deaths
    • 2 cases due to road traffic accidents in Zambia and South Africa
    • 1 case in Sri Lanka due to drowning
    • 1 case in Australia – ‘circumstances unrelated to placement’
    • 1 case due to carbon monoxide poisoning in a shower in South Africa
    • 1 case due to climbing accident
    • 1 case of suicide on return from elective
  • Serious non-fatal accidents
    • 52 leading to spinal injuries
    • Road traffic accidents
      • 1 leading to amputation and renal failure
      • 2 whilst on holiday after placement
  • Crime related
    • 71 stabbings
    • 1 shooting
    • 3 muggings
    • 2 serious sexual assaults

Also:

  • Several reports of theft; numbers unknown
  • 11 needle-stick injuries in operating theatres
  • Infectious disease
    • 3 cases of malaria
    • 2 cases of schistosomiasis
    • 1 case of para-typhoid fever
    • 1 case of amoebic dysentry
  • 1 case of medical evaluation required
  • 3 serious episodes of psychiatric disorders
  • Political issues
    • 42 arrests in Israel
    • 2 cases of airlifting out of Ethiopia and Guyana due to civil disturbances

I’m not going to pretend that I’m not terrified now…

Posted in elective, medicine, random | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Madagascar

Posted by lauraoli on April 6, 2010

At the beginning of 4th year medicine (next year), students at my medical school undertake an elective. This is a 6 week placement in any hospital anywhere in the world. The general advice from the med school is to start organising it about 18 months in advance. I, however, have only just got mine finalised (4 months before I go).  I’m not the most organised of people.

I avoided organising it for as long as possible, simply because I just didn’t know where I wanted to go. I finally decided on the US – it is a developed country, they speak English, I know someone in Seattle…. all in all it was a safe option. But that was exactly what it was. Safe. After several months of rejections and dead ends, I began to question my motives. I also spoke to many people at the CMF conference (see previous post ‘CRASH CALL’) and they all had really amazing stories of their time in developing nations. This made me change my mind, and try to challenge myself.

I am now going to a small mission hospital in a town called Mandritsara in the rural north of Madagascar. I am terrified. It’s possibly the complete opposite of what I had originally hoped for…. it’s a very poor nation, they speak French (I don’t) and I won’t know anyone. However, God has made it pretty clear to me that this is where I am supposed to be going. The number of ‘coincidences’ since sorting it has slightly freaked me out – from reading the first chapter of a book I’ve had for ages which turned out to be about a couple of medical missionaries who went to the same hospital, to speaking to someone I have babysat for for over 2 years and discovering that they went to Madagascar on their medical elective 20 years ago, before finally the person I have a one-to-one bible study with announcing that she knows the doctors that run the hospital. I think that I’ve had enough signs now, God. You’ve made your point!

On a small side note…. I actually haven’t seen the film ‘Madagascar’. I think I need to rectify this situation as soon as possible. People keep quoting it at me, and I have no idea what they are talking about.

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CRASH CALL

Posted by lauraoli on February 22, 2010

CRASH CALL: an urgent appointment with the living God

A couple of weeks ago I went on the annual Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) student conference. 350 medical students, from all over the UK get together to spend a weekend learning about and worshipping God.

I went on the CMF conference last year, for the first time. I hadn’t yet committed my life to Christ, (although I was on my way) and I spent the weekend absolutely terrified, hoping that no-one would talk to me for very long, completely freaked out by the arm waving in the praise and worship and by the praying out loud.

What a long way I’ve come in a year!


This year I couldn’t wait to go to the praise concert, or to participate in discussions in the seminars, or to buy as many books as I could carry, or to try and meet as many people as possible in 2 and a ½ days.

I’ll probably blog at a later date about some of the talks and seminars since many of them were interesting and challenging.

For now, it is enough for me to say that spending a weekend in a conference centre with 350 other people, all intelligent medical students or doctors, all with amazing testimonies, all who believe in and follow Jesus is possibly the best way I can imagine spending 3 days! Being a Christian amongst so many other Christians makes it easy. And makes it joyful. And it comes naturally. My church’s key verse for the year is appropriate here, I think:

‘I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ’                                                                                                                                                                                        Philemon 1:6

When so many Christians are together, sharing our faith with one another happens naturally. And with that, we remind each other ‘of every good thing we have in Christ’. If we can constantly remind ourselves of our inheritance, then living for Christ, 24/7, becomes much easier! Something to try and remember to do more often with Christian brothers and sisters, I think.

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