There's a reason I'm not a poet

Posts tagged ‘old endings’

Coming soon to a hospital near you

Happy New Year folks! And next weekend, gōngxǐfācái!

Since coming back home I’ve been trying to earn some money to pay off the lovely debts that China has left me with, and so I’ve been doing a bunch of locum shifts in a few different locations. Around Christmas, I was back in haematology (where I was about a year ago), and I’m doing a few shifts in my FY1 hospital as well as a semi-regular job in one of the hospices. I’ve been describing a “locum doctor” as the medical equivalent of a substitute teacher, only thankfully without the abuse that a bunch of them seem to get from their students. ..For the most part.

I’ve actually enjoyed being back in some of my old wards, and I’ve been touched that people recognise me and are happy to see me. I’ve also been touched by one nurse in particular who felt that a hug wasn’t a good enough hello and decided that stroking my face repeatedly was more appropriate.

But it has been nice. Moving around a lot in your jobs can make you seem like you’re just another number, but it’s a good feeling when people not only remember your face but your name, and are pleased to see you. And it’s rewarding to know that my efforts going into being “a good team member” didn’t all go to waste.

I’m currently applying for more long term posts though. The ultimate goal is to become a consultant (ideally in some form of oncology) but the next step on that path is to get out of locum work and back onto a training programme, new posts for which are filled every August. So next Wednesday I’ve got an interview for Core Medical Training, where I’ll be asked by a couple of consultants what exactly I was doing in China and how ingesting a large number of carbs makes me a better doctor. Still working on my answer to that one.

Until then I’m looking for a more regular locum job so that I don’t have to worry about where I’m working next month, and so I can plan things slash work through my millions of lists of gigs and photography classes and NI Science Festival events that I want to sign up for. So we’ll see what turns up.

A slightly more bloody fricking exciting and awesome development in my life is the expectant arrival of a new niece and/or nephew! My sister tells me it’s not twins if Friends has taught me anything it’s that you never know. I’m really looking forward to greeting the new arrival, and my sister will be the first in this generation to have a child, so we’re probably all going to descend on little Norbert/Brenda/Quentin/Alexis with our various sailor suits, sheep skulls, sk8rboi shoes and other things we thought were good ideas when we were kids.

God help them.

M

Business Talk

Bit of a catch-up post here, as I sit in my on-call room during my night shift. This new haematology job is clearly very stressful.

That’s right, I’ve finished my rotation in A&E. Seen about 600-700 patients, witnessing gunshot wounds, major incident trauma teams, things I thought I’d only ever read about in textbooks, and assessing plenty of drunk/crazy/unlucky/heartbreaking (delete as appropriate) people throughout the four months.

While it’s not something I want to do as a career, it really was a great fun rotation. It was exciting, always interesting and once I got past (some of) the blinding fear of people threatening to drop dead on you, it was good fun. The nurses and doctors worked as more of a team than I’ve seen before, and the sense of camaraderie was brilliant. I ended up going on two staff nights out, and seeing consultants break dancing and nurses winning dance competitions is something I won’t soon forget.

But all things must pass. And thankfully that includes the 2 out of 3 weekends rota. That’s right ladies and gentlemen- I have a life again. I’ve moved to the regional centre for haematology (lymphoma, leukaemia and haemophilia are the patients) and I think it will be a good job. At the start it was obviously daunting, what with not knowing what the acronyms mean/where the wards with your 22 patients are/what your consultant said their name was again. But I think I’ll get there.

The main downside of the job is that unlike as a consultant in clinic, the majority of people I see aren’t the success stories of Disease-Free for ten years, it’s the heartbreaking ones who just want to get better enough to be home in time for Christmas. But in many cases that’s not feasible. So there will be a few less-than-cheery times ahead. One of the paths I’m thinking of is cancer care, so these few months will be quite useful in seeing if it’s something I’m interested in/able to deal with.

Right, I’m off to either do some work or catch some sleep. My nights so far have been surprisingly calm, so I figure make the most of any sleep opportunities while I can!

M

Jack of All Trades, Master of Arts

It’s a fact universally acknowledged that all people who have had three graduations will be in want of a fourth.

So, I headed back last Friday to the old Alma Mater with my parents to pick up a free degree. After six years in the place, I’ve got a BA as well as my medical degree, but all undergrads who’ve studied there become eligible to have their Bachelor of Arts converted into a Master of Arts degree. Without any extra work being required! All you have to do is remain an upstanding member of society, ie avoid getting

  1. Bankrupt
  2. Thrown in jail
  3. Divorced

Yeah.

We flew over and I picked up my stuff for graduation, and immediately started running into a huge number of familiar faces, setting up the theme for the weekend. It was pretty great seeing so many people again, as practically the whole year was back at the same time. There was maybe 100-150 people from my year in college, so there was a whole bunch of people I’d lost contact with who it was great fun catching up with. People are doing Real Life Things like moving to exciting locations, buying property, heck one guy even brought his daughter along.

Of course, with a year group that big, there have to be people that you weren’t best buds with, that you at best exchanged awkward hellos with when you came across them in the street. Aaaaaand that was another part of the weekend: there was a hefty number of times accidentally getting caught chatting to someone while walking towards one of your actual friends/alcohol. It was flipping hilarious watching people go through this, and deliciously painful when it happened to me.

Graduation was preceded by a dinner the night before, which again was a great hark back to old times. Food, wine and port was served, we got screwed over by seating mayhem, and the serving staff told us off for being too noisy. The ceremony itself involved a lot of standing, a lot of waiting, and a lot of Latin. All the pomp and fuss is quite fun, but by the time I went up to the front I was a bit keen to get out pf there into the sun! We had lunch in college and hung around on the grass chatting- we ended up being the very last to leave out of the 300 or so people there, as one of my friends was taking 595 photos. Yup.

That night we headed out for dinner to a South American tapas place for my birthday. It ended up being a bit of a logistic nightmare, what with sixteen people ordering off three different menus and sharing 2 for 1 cocktails, but the food was class and the craic was 90, and the sitting down meant I had a bit more time to chat to one or two people I hadn’t really managed to yet.

We ended the night with a walk around college at dusk, reminiscing and stirring up nostalgia. With a sit on the fountain I said goodbye to college life. For the first time I don’t know when I’ll next be back in Cambridge, which is strange. I had a flipping great six years there, but that’s all over, and Cambridge is now just a place I used to live.

M

Semper eadem

So I leave tomorrow- this is my last night in England.

I don’t think I’m a massively sentimental person, but I would say I’m at least pensive- so I’m having a think back on my six years here: how much fun it’s been, who I’ve met, and what I’ve achieved. I’m happy to say that while obviously there have been social situations where I’ve said the wrong thing (or things I would have liked to have done more etc.) I don’t think I have any major regrets.

We had our “Declaration Ceremony” on Sunday- it’s like a graduation, but not. It’s more of a ceremony where you profess to follow the equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath, but family are invited to take the obligatory photos of you prancing about in a gown and a funny-looking hood (ours were hot pink with white fluff. Manly)
While essentially it was one big queue, I had a fricking great time. Hearing my name being read out and having some applause/cheer was a fantastic feeling, and in true Michael style I had the stupidest grin on my face when I went up to the front. At the end though, I hadn’t really thought about the fact that I would be saying bye to people. So all of a sudden I found myself trying to thank people in about thirty seconds for being the kick-ass, superfriendly people that they have been for several years. Naturally I failed completely, and so afterwards I sent a few soppy text messages and got to ruminating.

And now I’m leaving.

At the risk of sounding like the most pretentious d*****bag ever, I’m reminded of a poem I heard several years ago. I think it was originally written in Chinese and to be completely honest half of the language/imagery doesn’t work very well, for example I’ve never quite understood the line “I would be a water plant”
The last sentence has always struck me though- it describes a visiting scholar called Xu Zhimo, on the evening he’s leaving Cambridge. The place is at heart the same it has always been, and will very much remain so for a long time. While I’m extremely lucky to have studied here, and I feel like I’ve achieved a lot/possibly made a difference in some people’s lives, Cambridge itself will remain unchanged by my presence. It’s not necessarily a sad feeling, but it’s kind of poignant. His poem ends on a bit that does in fact translate well, and to me talks about how that feels:

 

Very quietly I take my leave
As quietly as I came here;
Gently I flick my sleeves
Not even a wisp of cloud will I bring away

This is it guys. It’s been a pleasure

M

That’s all folks

Written on 23rd June, 18:14

How to round up six years? Finals are over, and I feel like now that I’m coming to the end I need to be churning out deep poignant sayings that could end up written over stock photos as inspirational posters, or saying super-emotional goodbyes to people. Buuuut that doesn’t seem to be happening so maybe I just won’t.

Nevertheless, these six years have been pretty momentous as a period in my life. It’s a hefty chunk, and arguably as you’ve flown the nest and are trying a lot of new things, it’s the most formative period. Your brain finishes developing around this time, and you become the person that you’re going to roughly be for the rest of your life. Don’t worry yourself though- I’m not going to waste the valuable space on the internet with armchair-philosophical ruminations on the man I’ve become, as much as you’d love to read about it I’m sure.

I spent the weekend in London attempting to see as many people as possible before I leave England and I actually managed to do a decent job of it- I managed to see a fair number of people, and to spend a decent amount of time with each of them- the worry is that you have to dash off after about five minutes of spending time with people that you used to hang out with for whole days. Of course, there was food involved (rooftop terrace burgers, homemade pancakes fancy dim sum, Selfridge’s ice cream and sourdough pizza) and I managed to squeeze in a few nice views of London’s skyline and even a trip to the old Olympic park. The people I’ve met here have really been fantastic, and I’m grateful to them all for helping me enjoy myself so much over these few years.

This week involves several Last Suppers, LASER QUEST, packing away my life and throwing away some of my endless clutter and then (hopefully) officially becoming a doctorrrrrr. Before graduating and fecking off out of this place. I have a graduation ball on Friday which I’m really looking forward to and then the fam are coming over at the weekend to celebrate! I can see it becoming a bit of a blur. Which thankfully the past six years have managed not to be- I’ve enjoyed myself to such a huge amount, and as much as dead-inside-Michael can manage, I’ll miss England.

M

Bucket list

After having gotten into the NI foundation school, we were presented with a list of jobs to rank, choosing which ones we’d prefer to do when we start work. I’ve submitted mine about a week or so ago, and we find out on Tuesday whether or not computer says no. It’ll be nice to finally know exactly what I’ll be doing in a few months time!

All in all I’m really looking forward to the whole Norn Iron business- a chance to see my family and home friends more often than I’ve been able to for the past six years, and to be in a place where people don’t struggle with my accent or make fun of me based on the strength of my feelings towards potatoes. However this week it’s dawned on me (I’m a sharp tool in the shed) that going somewhere else means I’ll really be leaving.

I won’t be walking around the same streets, going back to the same house, or seeing the same people that I’ve been used to for the past six years. I won’t be enjoying the comparatively-less-rain-filled climate, or the free attention/bonus points that you get purely for having my slightly incomprehensible accent. Most of all, I’ll be one heck of a lot further away from my friends.

So, I’m starting to think about how to actually say goodbye. Obviously I won’t be saying goodbye to the people (more of an auf wiedersehen), as I do actually intend to keep being friends with them after I feck off to another island, but there’s a few things I want to do here in this city before I go.

In true Michael style, pretty much every single one of them is food-related. Which means I’ve been able to meet up with a few friends recently to work through that bucket list! After trying what I think might have been the Turkish equivalent of a corn dog, last night a bunch of us went to a place that only does desserts. And it was fricking great. Waffles, crepes and sundaes galore. Yum.

Gonna have to find a few more excuses to tick off some of the other ones; my birthday’s in just over a month, I reckon that’ll do nicely! We’re coming closer to Easter though, and after that I’ll probably be in Robotic Work Mode, saying no to anything that remotely resembles fun. So once again, the clock’s ticking

M