Monday, February 27, 2006

My first ever IQ test...

I administered my first ever IQ test to a client today - which might not sound all that impressive, but administering the damn thing is harder than doing it! :S

I've been practicing on partner dude, who, it turns out has the extortionately high IQ of...155 :O! It was really something to watch, I've never seen anyone do it so fast - especially the maths ones - he had the answer out before I'd even hit the timer button - what a clever clogs.

To celebrate, and on account of my client being late and my finishing work late and being both hungry and lazy in equally large measures, we decided to get take-away for dinner. I spotted a tiny Indian takeaway in the middle of an Asian area last week so we went there, in the hope that we would get an authentic curry (greasy slop British curry houses don't cut it for me). Anyway, authentic it was - the staff behind the counter didn't speak English - one of the other customers had to interpret for us!

However, we did get a really yummy and very spicy curry, and a peshwari naan with citrus fruit stuff in the middle....Mmmmmmmmmmmmm Definately going back there.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

PEP to be more available on the NHS

I awoke this morning to a rather terrifying sound. A doctor saying that someone who exposed themself to HIV through sexual contact was not deserving of PEP (post exposure prophylaxis) because, well, basically, its their own fault.

Anyway - the good news is that his views were only sought because of the increased availability of PEP to all on the NHS . The drug has been available to healthcare workers for years. If I ever have a needlestick injury at work (distinctly unlikely as I don't deal with that sort of thing) and the client is at risk of or has HIV, then I just have to nip over to occupational health and I can be given the drug. It costs about £600 - £1000 (i.e. not much in the scheme of things, particularly in comparison to treating someone with HIV). Apparently its a bit of a nasty concoction and makes you pretty sick for about a month so I don't think anyone is going to rely on it for protection. Bleurgh! I am glad. I don't think there's any evidence that increased availability of PEP will lead to an increase in risky sexual activity (just like the availability of the morning afterpill & abortion availability doesn't increase risky behaviours either).

Anyway, imho the promotion campaign has been pretty crap - I've not seen so much as a crappy leaflet. The Terrance Higgin's Trust material is excellent so look it up and pass on the information.

So good on the THT and the NHS! Major boo to unsympathetic medical professionals. However, its up to primary care trusts whether they make PEP available - so more work to be done methinks!


Monday, February 13, 2006

Back at the Quakers

We made it to a Quaker meeting on Sunday, the first time since we moved. It was a completely silent meeting in which no-one spoke. It was lovely. Sometimes there are no words to say, and the quietness itself says all we need to hear.

(Although someone fell asleep and snored a bit...hee hee)

Jesus toast

Oh wonder of wonders, the Lord hath appeared to me in the toast.

You too, can have your very own personal Jesus toast.

Or is it just a way to put a scam on ebay? ;)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The cartoons....

I thought I'd like to do a quick blog post about *those* cartoons. What a mess, eh? Anyway, through the wonders of google searching, I managed to find said cartoons, which depicted Muhammad as a suicide bomber. I love satire, especially religious & political satire. I think it can cut to the heart and force us to see things in a different way. The pen of a satirical writer/artist is a powerful and dynamic tool and can be used so positively. These cartoons were not satire, they were just plain old hatred and they say more about Islamophobia in the West that any newspaper would want to publish them than about Islam.

Anyway, I applaud the several thousand Muslims and political leaders who gathered today in London to voice their protest at the cartoons. Such a wonderful and peaceful public expression of Islam does the whole of our society good imho. I've resolved to keep a lookout for future events, as I would like to join and express my own solidarity with them. Christian Peacemaker Teams recently issued a very thoughtful statement...

We, the members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq, are disturbed by anti-Muslim cartoons from twelve different artists published in September by Denmark's daily paper the Jyllands-Posten. The publisher claims the freedom of speech to publish the cartoons, but we believe they are only spreading hate and bigotry.

To those who believe and act as if terrorism is an essential part of the Islamic faith, we say No! Stop! We cannot stand by and remain silent when our gracious Muslim brothers and sisters are being defamed.

Some members of all religious and cultural groups have taken up the way of violence, killing innocent civilians for political causes. We as Christians would not want others in the world to see our faith as one which advocates dominating and oppressing the poor and weak of the world. Yet, the Christian leaders of our countries have been carrying out such domination and oppression.

Those of us working in Iraq see the suffering and pain that acts of terror cause. Terrorism is wrong. It is hypocritical to label Muslims as terrorists when our own countries have been the greatest perpetrators of terror and violence around the world.

Instead of spreading prejudice and lies about another faith, we call on artists, publishers, religious leaders, and on all people to put their creative efforts into exposing and seeking to eradicate the deeper injustices that foster the use of terror. We must open our hearts and minds to listen and learn from the riches of each others' cultures and find ways to build bridges in our fractured world."


So where did the last 2 broadband-less weeks go :S. I've started my job, so internet (and thesis-writing) activity have been rather lacking. I'm enjoying it, but its quite slow going to start with. Its a tad disorientating for me to switch from being in a very neuroscience orientated research group to very psychological/social/systemic orientated clinical psychologists. And alas, I find myself arguing in favour of medical models and slipping articles from psychiatry journals about the correlation between challenging behaviour (where I work, typically understood within a systemic framework - i.e. the environment causes the behaviour) and psychaitric diagnoses into the interesting research folder. Seems I am destined to be the voice of dissent :D.

I must write something about the need for co-operation beween psychology and psychiatry sometime. The psychiatrist is off on leave. I'm looking forward to meeting him when he gets back - I'd like to grill him on diagnosis in people with learning disabilities. Anyway, enough of that. I am supposed to be concentrating on clinical activities and not my philosophical/research curiosities, and having treated partner dude to a red wine fuelled lecture on how systemic models can be as oppressive as psychaitry over our first dinner-date in our new surroundings...I think I best climb down from the soap box. is cool. My supervisor is lovely, and I'm getting to shadow lots of people. I'll be spending a day with the physiotherapist at the epilepsy centre soon, going out with the community nurse and arranging to spend time with the hearing therapist (so I look forward to finding out what in the world a hearing therapist actually is.) Ironically, I've not been able to get any of the duty social workers on the phone...hmmmm....aren't they supposed to be available for emergencies?! Ahem!

My supervisor is really keen on "professional development" and has told us to go on as many courses/events/training days as the trust will pay for. So, I'll be going on a person-centred planning day, lectures on seeing patients as experts (something I am really keen on). I saw a course on how to work with interpreters which sounds fab which I will apply to. Where we live has a fairly high Asian population, so language and interpreters are real issues.

Anyway, I had best be off to write my thesis...another exciting Saturday night for me.