I am sitting typing this probably looking and feeling as healthy as I had in a long time. Freshly back from a week in the Turkish sunshine with a nice tan, a full stomach, aching muscles and joints and a recovering hangover – to be blunt – I feel alive!
You see I am now 2 weeks after receiving my Medical school finals pass and a month after my last exam. Since then I have sprung back to life. You see there is something odd about going into a medical finals. For me at least, life essentially ‘shuts down’, you become tunnel-visioned and slip into a mild depression that rumbles on. Life for me, had lost it’s colour.
A holiday in Turkey marked the return on that colour! Seven days of windsurfing, wakeboarding (shameless photo to show off my delights!), kayaking, swimming and tennis. What more could a sporting boy want!
The nice thing about this holiday too was that it afforded me time to reflect on medicine and the year ahead. As I lay sprawled on the cabana with the 38 degree sunshine beating down and a cool breeze aiding my rum-induced hangover I found myself getting setting out the goals for a year ahead. Now many of these are private and not for this blog, I hope you understand, but I am happy to share my medical goals:
1. Be the best junior doctor to my abilities
2. Enjoy being a doctor
3. Get to know my patients
4. Be the best team member on my Firm I can be
5. Continue to learn, revise and consolidate my knowledge
6. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help
7. ALWAYS KNOW MY LIMITS
That final one is so important. I remember once a senior consultant explaining that the most dangerous mind-set of a junior doctor is a over-estimation of their own ability. That will get patients hurt or killed. I don’t want to be that guy.
The holiday also heralded a new step for me – I found for the first time telling someone I was a doctor. It was a really odd sensation and if that hadn’t had gone “Really?! You?! Noooo..” it would have been even better! To give you some context so you don’t think I’m some arrogant new doc telling everyone, I had rather ungracefully fallen off my windsurf board as a I tried to jibe (that’s a sailing term not a bad dance move I tried to throw on the dance floor) and I cut my ankle pretty badly (as well as bruising my ankle). The windsurf staff were insistent I went to their first aid room and fill out a form. Now, knowing that I had my own first aid kit with me and that the cut was pretty superficial I was sure I could take care of it – and to be honest I was on holiday which meant I had self-banned myself from holding any work related instruments…even a pen! So out it came…
“Look, it’s ok – I am a doctor – I will take care of it”
As I type it I cringe at the thought of me saying it…but I did!
It’s funny how qualifying changes the oddest of things. On the flight to and from Turkey I found myself worrying about what I would do if the call for “Is their a Doctor on board?” came out over the tannoy speaker? Would I suddenly find myself being fascinated by my shoes…head down…pretending I wouldn’t hear it..OR…would I spring up from chair, strip off to my scrubs, demand a plastic knife and spoon, some sticky-back plastic, biro, and a glamorous air-stewardess as my assistant!
Well, I think that fact is neither of those – even if the latter does make me smile. I would of course stand up. I would feel it my moral (even though not legal) obligation to assist a passenger. I would declare myself as a recently qualified junior doctor yet to begin work. I would further request they but out a second call for any more experienced doctors, nurses or first responders for example on the plane. You see although you may get the impression that I joke about a lot in blogs (and I do because that’s my personality!) – when it comes to it I will be the utmost professional when it comes to medicine. I will pride myself of that. It’s just how my parents raised me to be – and how I want to be.
Of course…no call went out. Though, as I sat back in the plane, fighting my way into the earphone cellophane bag….mum leans over and says: “you know the thing with the biro when you have to stab it in someones neck to help them breathe…can you do that?”. I smiled and just said – “let’s hope I never have to, eh?”.
Thanks for a great week, Turkey and to all the great people I met.