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Sounds of summer

Some of you come here for bitchy posts about medicine and the NHS. To be perfectly honest we’ve had a pretty decent summer. Everyone buggers off to Spain and the Balaerics for two weeks and get sick in other countries or fall over and break their arm in Portstewart and end up in other hospitals apart from mine.

People don’t come to this part of the world for their hols. They used to come in huge numbers for a bit of a riot around Drumcree but we seem to have moved on some what.

Swine flu has had a bit of an impact. We have lost our paediatric area to become a swine flu isolation area where we have to wander around dressed up like someone from the moon landings just to take a history from a very well looking patient.

Despite huge amounts of coverage telling people NOT to turn up at A&E or their GP but to ring first, people still keep turning up. We shout at them mainly when they do. Tis the caring profession.

Despite seeing a good 10-15 patients with flu and my own family getting it I’m still going strong. Be it chance or the rigorous immune system that goes with working in A&E I’m still fighting fit. I’m all for getting it to be honest. The idea of a week or two of enforced isolation with nothing but some paracetamol, some DVDs and shelf of books fills me with great enthusiasm. In my fantasy I’ve blanked out all the flu-symptoms that come with having flu. I’ll keep the fingers crossed for some fevers and arthralgias.

There have been times in the past few weeks where there haven’t been any patients in the department waiting to be seen. People have been seen promptly and thoroughly, often getting the time, dignity and grace that they deserve. Without the doubt the whole place and system runs so much more smoothly and better at times like these.

So how do you measure quality of care? How do you measure it genuinely and honestly? And do we really want to pay for it?

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But it’s hardly all work. I was at U2 being blown away by the sheer scale and audacity of the thing. Feeling slightly bad that I’d prefer to be leaning on the railings at the sound desk in somewhere like Vicar St or the Empire.

I have seen U2 in Croke. That was box ticked. If I see Bruce then I’m not sure what else there is to live for so I’ll put that off for a while.

I saw Potter at a 1030am matinee. I liked it. Though it’s been about 3 or 4 years since i last read the book so I’d forgotten half of it. Despite running to three hours it felt very, very rushed. Too many disparate parts that seemed to have no discernible link.

I had a ride on the train from Sligo to Dublin and found some theses throughout the train:

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I’m not sure Translink are quite with the program yet.

I’ve been working my way through Subverting Global Myths, with my black biro underlining virtually everything and scribbling little comments of approval in the margins. There’s sections with titles like “rediscovering Christian integrity” that get me all excited. There will be more quotes no doubt. If the gospel is not socially, politically and relationally radical then I want none of it.

I had some time on call in work and learned that when trying to put an IV in a child that’s fitting then it’s generally best to use the half of the child that’s not fitting.

I made a kick ass roast dinner for a stack of people and we ascended to new levels of interpersonal communication by requesting songs off spotify by texting knoker sitting by the computer in the corner.

I became intimately acquainted with the inside of a 2002 VW polo and realised that if the car stereo isn’t working then it’s cheaper to but a 15 pence fuse that a 70 quid new stereo. Every day’s a school day I suppose.

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Coney Island

Last of my wee fun trips for my week off. I must say i think i’ve done well.

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Have been going on about Coney Island to Gilly that he’s finally agreed to come for a trip. Him and wee Phil.

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And such a cracker day we got.

Along with all the wonderful foodie goodies for a cracking BBQ. All except the charcoal of course. Not exactly covering myself in glory there. Some kind folks who were leaving as we arrived let us use the remains of their portable BBQ and in the end we were just fine.

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Long evening spent chatting over the rather deafening roar of the most recent hatch of lough neagh flies making sweet love overhead. Has to be heard to be believed i suppose.

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Spent a largely sleepless night listening to the herons. Who are in fact a well known nesting bird on the island and not an uber cool indie band as you might suspect.

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Good times.

An Ocean and a Rock – Part 3

Woke very hot and sweaty in the tent. The sun had been shining strongly since 5am and last night’s bacon had left me with a dreadful thirst.

Otherwise a wonderful night’s sleep.

But farewell to rosse’s point and it’s overly expensive (but very pretty) campsite where the showers were one euro extra.

I had to be in greystones for 6pm, some 180 miles away. But I had time. Time I though to lie by a lough on the Shannon water way and doze off in the sun reading the Irish times.

Hunger got the better of me and I ended up eating fish and chips in a retail park car park in Carrick on Shannon wishing I had a canoe with me.

(Me and wee phil have great plans to canoe from Fermanagh to Limerick in September. We originally planned a week but some basic initial research makes me think two might be more appropriate. Or that a motor cruiser might be even more appropriate)

The difference between the roads in NZ and Ireland is the views. In NZ you were bowled over by spectacular scenery at every corner and there were endless view points to pull in and take photos.

It’s just that in Ireland they built all the decent roads through the flat boring bits of the country and you’re continually given glimpses of stunning vistas just round the corner or over the hedge. But they’re always just out of reach and require actual effort to see.

None of that was convenient for today’s trip. So I drove cross country listening to whatever was loud and raucous and losing my voice in the high notes getting my right arm burned as it sat out the window – the hazards of driving south west in the afternoon in the northern hemisphere.

I did make an ill advised detour round the Wicklow hills, geting horribly and wonderfully lost up shady country lanes filled with nothing but flashy looking SUVs.

I stopped briefly at the sally gap to admire the quite spectacular view and the weather. On a sunny day I’m not sure I’ve seen anywhere nicer than Ireland.

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And so I pulled into Greystones about 5 pm and promptly paid 50 cent for the priviledge of almost getting locked in the public toilet at the beach. I have still no idea why the exit button was at ground level. Answers on a postcard please.

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Sat in the shade trying to avoid more uv on the already crispy right forearm and waited for transfarmer to come pick me up.

After a night of volleyball, singing, pub and cigars with lots of lovely people such as soapbox and smallcorner (and lots of other people who are just as lovely but don’t have blogs), I’ve managed to score a free room with ensuite. As fun as sleeping on the beach is I’ll not complain.

I don’t want to spoil the party

Despite having a Paul that looked more like a mixture of the office and David Brent, the Beatles tribute act we went to see last night were pretty sweet.

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Note the, middle aged, overweight, grade IV mallampati giving it dixie up front.

I could watch live music till the cows come home, covers or not.

Not so fussed on watching your mates mince it up to I Will Survive afterwards though. Bless ’em.

Nice places to bring the dog if it could ride a bicycle

We started about 2 years ago with occasional trips to scarva along the newry canal, quick stop in the pubĀ  and back again trying not to cycle into the canal on the way back.

It has been about 10 month since the last one.

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So today we were back on – quick cycle to the chippy and dine on the steps of the boat club and then cycle to scarva, avoiding the dog poo and inhaling half your body weight in fies.

The photos below illustrate the danger of trying to take photos while cycling while trying to keep flies out of your eyes.

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The pub is one of those pubs where people go to watch Coronation Street. They also did a wonderful offer of buying six pints get one free. Note the “Drink Sensibly” logo in the bottom corner.

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Half way back wee Philly’s (Philly-O-Fish/Lord Phildemort/Milhaus) chain broke, Not just came off, just broke. Despite some valiant, greasy fingered attempts to fix it we had to abandon the idea.

We did manage to construct a towing device out of two bicycle chains and managed to tow him the rest of the way.

Good times.

Walk without direction

Normally this would fit into “nice places to walk the dog” series. But the dog is in heat, and is banned from public appearances without some kind of chastity pants on. In the hose she wears a pair of kiddies pants with a hole cut in the tail.

Would make for a great photo, except it’s not really my dog so should avoid taking the piss out of the poor thing too much. So instead i went walking with actual, flesh and blood human beings.

This is a lot more tiresome from a conversation point of view – the dog is a very good listener, and only interrupts to stick her tongue in your ear.

We (perhaps I….) managed to make an extremely simple walk through the boundaries of tollymore very difficult by taking the wrong track twice and then forgetting the keys for the car that we’d left at the end of the walk.

Fun all the same, if only for the tight rope walking on the trees through the blue bells and the view over the sea.

PS Wee philly as a gun in my back, hence my bizzare facial expression.

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The old friends

I’ve got away pretty easily this year with weddings. A couple of years ago I had 6 in 6 weeks. Lots and lots of debenhams vouchers.

The list of friends to be wed is slowly decreasing – the next thing will be the babies.

Some of the best weddings have been with the Junio Ho’s (junior house officers) – the 7 guys i did my first year as a doctor with. All of us slightly scared and confused as to what we were meant to do each day – all a bit scared we might cock sometihng up and kill somone. Good times.

We still all meet up about every 3 months or so, just to catch up on how we’re all getting on. We all go to each others weddings and the guys blew me away when they all came to Dad’s funeral. Better friends than even i thought.

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Yesterday we were all together again for a wedding. A good big Catholic wedding in South Armagh that left us ignorant prods feeling all awkward and not knowing when to stand up and sit down and all that.

It was even sunny enough to sit outside and admire the view. An odd but always pleasant experience in Ireland.

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The reception was just over the border and it always gives you that moment when you go the bar to order two drinks and you give the bar man ten euro and you wait for your change and then you realise that no, there is no change and in fact you still owe him a couple more euro. Financial crisis and all that.

Managed to successfully avoid dancing all evening. Fine acheivement i must say.


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