City Hospital

Belfast City Hospital and the stairs…oh the stairs

The glorious BCH

The glorious BCH, which looks eerily like the EFI research facility in House of the Dead 3

This entry has been dragging on and on, and I haven’t had the time to work on it. Last week began with a fencing competition. And there I hoped it would end. I believe it was the second worst I have ever done at a competition; second only to my very first attempt at Carrickfergus castle. I had not fenced in a while, or done any physical activity, so the whole endeavour was doomed from the beginning. It was a needed push into action though, as I desperately need to get ready for the intervarsities coming up in Limerick in a couple of weeks.

I spent the week in Belfast City Hospital renal unit, talking about all things kidney, which was both interesting and minimally stressful. Most of the time was spent in the seminar room running through tutorials, but I did get a chance on Friday to see the dialysis unit, and a patient coming off dialysis. He was eager to get home, but at the same time irritated, because he had been in longer than he wanted. It was understandable, but not entirely forgivable. People have become very complacent about medical treatment, and it is now viewed as a right rather than a privilege in this country since the installation of the National Health Service. To be annoyed about staying longer for dialysis seems rather insignificant when you consider the £45,000 it costs to keep that same patient on dialysis for one year.

The dialysis unit

The dialysis unit

I think I would be counting my blessings that I wasn’t living in a country charging for healthcare. After nephrology, I moved onto general medicine and cardiology, which is where I will be for the next six weeks. I am taking the stair challenge, refusing to use the lifts for as long as my placement lasts. You really do feel it when you climb 12 stories in a couple of minutes, but it is worth it. For me, it also clears my head. The alternative is to wait forever for a lift which is incredibly cramped, and always sitting at the top limit for the number of occupants.

It was my sister’s birthday on Friday night, and to celebrate, we went out to Zen. Zen is an Asian fusion cuisine restaurant, which just so happens to also have karaoke facilities, adding up to be a pretty unique experience. I do enjoy karaoke, but when it goes on until after 1am, then it becomes rather tired. The song choice wasn’t too bad, though the vast majority were hits from Chinese bands and artists, with some rather hilarious music videos.

Microsoft Arc Touch

Microsoft Arc Touch

The weekend also brought a new gadget, which I was going to do an unboxing feature of, but since I left the photos at home, that’s not going to happen. It’s the Microsoft Arc Touch wireless mouse! A very interesting gadget indeed, I proclaim. It folds flat for travel, and when you get to your destination, you can just pop it back into the ergonomic curved shape and it’s a normal mouse again. Well, I say normal, but it is anything but. Instead of featuring a traditional scroll wheel it has two touch sensitive pads which perform the same job. What’s a mouse wheel without the clicks though? Thanks to some nifty tech, we are in luck. The Arc Touch features haptic feedback, vibrating and making the sound of a scroll wheel when it is in use. It is a good feature, and takes away the need for a bulky scroll wheel, while still preserving the functionality. At times I found it a tad annoying having to look down to check that I was hitting in-between the two scroll pads to open a new tab, but like anything new it takes a bit of getting used to. The sensor is very responsive and accurate, utilizing a blue light instead of the traditional red, and it works on almost every surface.

Straight from the unboxing it feels like a premium product, with a viewing window in the front of the box, and a minimalistic chic. Not at all what I expected from a Microsoft product, but then again, they have upped their game in the hardware market. Windows 8 tablets are a prime example of what Microsoft can do, and I believe this mouse is also one of their best products. It is just incredibly simple, and makes sense. Who needs a million buttons when you can make the ones you have, count.

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