Well here we are. Forty-eight hours into being a GP registrar and I still have a licence to practice. TICK. All my patients are still alive. TICK. My colleagues still like me (I think). TICK. I’m still rolling with the Lycra. TICK. Time to make hay while the sun shines.
Of course you and I know this will only last a certain while. After all, life – real life not Hollywood life – is also about the curve ball, the surprise, the unannounced.
And with that in mind, let me tell you about my youngest patient of the day – a little man just six weeks old. I mean, Love Island was on for longer than he has been alive. He came with that fresh book smell we all love, and naturally had attached to him a two attentive first-time parents who had bought enough from MotherCare to prop up any ailing economy.
My task of this 15 minute appointment – the six week baby check. It’s a head to toe job where I basically make sure this little man has been put together properly. Thankfully I have done this before; Not quite an ‘old hand’ but not quite a ‘popping to the loo to Google “how to check a baby”‘ situation (there was a time, yes).
To the tune of my lazily scraping chair (my legs are feeling the cycle ride today), I get up and grandly announce for them to strip their baby down and put him on the examination couch. They get to it like a pair of eager army recruits, peppered only with the under the breath exchanges of short, terse words as dad struggles to negotiate the Panda themed baby grow – fully aware that my judgement of their parenting hangs on the very task. I tap some notes on the computer while quietly enjoying the mini-domestic unfolding. Two minutes later, the little man is prepared and I step up to the mark. Game time.
As I stare down upon him sprawled on the examination couch, all pink, chubby and squirming, I can’t help but think how happy he looks. Not a care in the world.
How your luck can change, little man.
Like a burst water main his own ‘little man’ suddenly kicks into action and he starts to pee. I have never seen something so remarkable. He has managed to pee in the perfect arc – enough to rival one of Mother Natures rainbows – launching it over his body and straight onto his face. Instagram would have loved this.
The expression he gave was golden. If I could paraphrase on his behalf, it would have been “W.T.F”. If you don’t know what that means – good on you – that’s clean living.
And so in that moment it reminded me of a valuable life lesson. Sometimes shit just happens. I mean this little man didn’t expect at that moment in time to get a face full of urine – especially his own. But he did. Likewise we don’t expect to fall ill, get dumped, not have the level of fitness we did 10 years ago, or realise one day that we don’t fit into our jeans anymore. But we do.
It is however, what happens next that counts.
Do you stand up, dust yourself off, learn from it and move forward? Or do you bathe and wallow in the fact that something bad happened and fail to even try to move past it? My humble advice – think like my little man in clinic – he took it in the chin (literally), had a bit of a cry, some milk and then had a nap. By the time he has woken up, he’s shaken off the experience and is onto the next adventure.
Maybe we should all take a leaf out of his book when life urinates on us.
See you next week.