Master of India

The hospital is a bit different from Craigavon. That’s only natural I suppose. It’s a bit more laid back. Dress code a bit more casual. In fact, documented in the DHB regulations is a statute that allows you to wear shorts and sandals to work. Though that was the seventies and folk would wear socks and sandals and shorts and a tie. Not just the germans then.

I call all my consultants (some more than 40 years older than me!) by their first names. I go round to their house for tea, we go on trips together. We take the piss out of the oldest consultant for being older than most of the patients. We behave in fact as if we were normal human beings to each other. A strange experience.

So on Friday night I got invited out for a curry. A benign thing you might say. Till I picked up JT (the other ICU reg – a 50 year old drifter of an orthopaedic surgeon from Surrey, bout 20 years ago anyhow) and realized that this was a curry that was 4 years in the making. Well not the curry itself – that would be a bit weird. But the night out itself was 4 years in the planning. Or at least in the being talked about.

So I end up in ‘the master of india’ in Hastings with JT, the head of the Emegency Department (an American guy), the only gastroenterologist in the hospital (a Glaswegian with a licesnse plate saying GUTSDR – I kid you not), a cardiologist (from Manchester) and a Scottish medical registrar. All these guys have pretty much emigrated here.

The original instigator of the curry was a welsh anesthetist, of the eccentric genius type. The third day I was working here I drove past him on the way to work. He was unconscious on the ground with paramedics and other docs (who’d been on their way to work) doing CPR. He died in the hospital he was such a big part of. I’d never met him but here stories about him almost daily.

So this was the curry in his honour, though he’d had many memorial services and stuff. This was simply to fulfill the idea.

And it was great banter. Such good curry it must be said. And I watched my senior colleagues get slightly tipsy and then merrily drunk. We talked mostly about medicine and characters from the hospital. Medics are weird. These guys were of the variety who enjoyed their job, it meant a lot to them. They liked to talk through things. I’m the same. Though I know it irritates the life of non-medics. Who I suspect are just bitter cause they hate their jobs. Or maybe they just don’t have the same inflated sense of self-importance that we do. You choose.

As usual I got the designated driver role and left a couple of them off at a bar in town at 11.30, hoping they’d make it home to their wives safely and not try to serenade them drunkenly at 2am.

I drove home, grateful for the experience (and the fact that JT payed) and loving the banter. And filled with a knowledge of acceptance and affirmation from my seniors. And then it was a guilty pleasure as I realized I take far too much joy in what people think of me. That the affirmation of my bosses means far too much to me. The Devil is crafty and I am more than willing to listen.

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January 2007

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