London Calling…

I remember when I was nine, I used to tell everyone that I’m moving to England one day. This was before my dad actually got a job there and we actually moved. I grew up in the southern countryside of England and at each step of my education, I moved just that bit closer to the city.

In secondary school, I would go to social events in the city centre. At university, a lot of my courses, events and friends were in the city centre. Finally, as a F2 doctor, I have the great privilege of living and working in the greatest city in the world (IMO).

Name me a city with more sordid secrets than London. Name me a city more quirky than London. Name me a city with more history than London. Name me a city that is more welcoming than London.

It might be Covid still and a lot of the small businesses are suffering. As are the theatre comapnies, the start-ups, the city’s economy and the heart and soul of London – the tourist industry. But I can’t think of a better time to be here. To be serving the people of London and being part of the community.

Thank you for welcoming me, London. I never want to leave!

Here are a few photos of the housemate and I out on our explorations of the great city.

Peace

-V

The final few weeks

Recently, I passed my first set of competency checks and was granted the official ‘you may progress to the second year of training’ statement. It was rather anticlimactic, I must say. I had a notification on my phone from a friend saying that the results were out. What an ominous statement. It was around 11 am, I was in the middle of the ward round. But knowing that my results were a few mouse clicks away, I couldn’t possible wait another two hours for lunch time to check.

Luckily the ward wasn’t that busy and as the noise of patients, machines, doctors, therapists and others all mushed into white noise, I breathed a sigh of relief at the confirmation. That was it.

And now I’ve entered the final few weeks of FY1 – foundation year 1. Or internship as it was known back in the day! It sounds cliche but it is true when I say that it feels like a lifetime has passed but also as if not a minute has done so. A colleague recently said to me: ‘never stop learning’. And I think this statement is more apt. now than ever before. I’ve made it through the first hurdle of being a doctor and now it’s time to settle in and focus on the true essence of being a doctor – the lifetime of learning and helping.

I applied for my full registration today. Converting my provisional licence to a full one. It was as anti-climactic as I thought it would be. But it’s the small anti-climactic moments that are the building blocks of one day being the doctor I want to be.

It’s the every day small steps that count. The first time a patient thanks you. The first time you recognise heart failure. The first time you make a mistake. The first time you see death. They mould you to become the doctor you are today. The small steps matter more than we think.

-V-

When it is your turn – Part 5 of the Death series

I’m a very practical person. Emotional, yes. Empathetic, definitely. But I really am not one to sit down and be unable to do my work. I remember having the flu a few years back and it took the fact I kept falling asleep in clinic for me to realise I really needed to be at home, resting.

I had a massive row with someone I cared about and went into work the next day, perfectly fine.

My grandad died. And I was stunned. shocked. But then I carried on because , well, what else was I supposed to do?

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Learning from the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew

Disclaimer: Always seek medical advise before using drugs and medications. Please do not eat plants from the wild as their medicinal properties have not been assessed for safety. Always seek guidance if unsure. Plants and drugs approved for consumer use by the MHRA are deemed safe but please check with a professional if suitable before ingesting drugs or plants for medicinal purposes. 

In early July, most of the country was still closed and very few places had started opening up. Tired of the Scrubs, the observation charts, the documenting and the Covid chatter, I had taken annual leave and spent it looking for a house for August…

So, not exactly the kind of break I had imagined, but, the family and I did manage to squeeze in a few day trips. We went to an animal safari in our cars, walks around the area and Kew Gardens!

Click here to visit the official Kew Gardens website.

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Lockdown stories

I made paella recently. The flavours and scents of Spanish cuisine floated through the house and with it, brought back memories of the first time I had made the dish. I was fifteen and going to an all-girls school where we had weekly cookery lessons.

I remember cooking with my friends. Pretending to speak Spanish and creating something that resembled rice and sea food. These cookery classes were where my best friend and I learnt that we both liked carrot cake. It was where I discovered my other friend didn’t like bananas. It was where I realised how lucky I am that my family would eat anything I cooked to support my culinary progress. It’s also where I learnt that one of my friends didn’t know the difference between a potato peeler and a knife. Continue reading

“Rest in Peace” she said and the art of communication. Part 4 of the death series

I had been a doctor not that long when I found myself and a fellow new doctor doing a ward round. * We knew the patients well since we had been seeing the same ones the whole week. We knew their medical plans and we knew them personally too.

The last patient of the round was a middle-aged individual who had been told the previous day that the cancer was back and that this time the prognosis was poor. Basically the patient had a terminal diagnosis and really the only option was comfort care and palliation. I led the consultation whilst my colleague wrote (we swapped roles every other patient) and I listened to the patient’s concerns carefully and noted any changes we needed to make to accommodate the patient’s wishes.

As I drew back the curtains and made to leave, I turned back and brightly said:

“I’ll let you rest in peace”

There was a moment of silence as I stood, paralysed with mortification, the patient and my colleague stared at me in equal measures of horror and incredulity.

I was trying to say “I’ll let you rest,” and “I’ll leave you in peace.”. But my wires got crossed and it came out wrong.

I left quickly after that and my colleagues muffled giggles followed me.

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