Saturday, December 09, 2006

grab the yoke from the pilot and fly the whole mess into the sea

the votes have been cast, the panel has been ruminating behind closed doors. months of hard work, extra hours after school, meticulous notemaking and detailed tome reading are over.

sadly the royal college of physicians have given me a nice big fuck you with another failed exam.

it would have been nice for a lift. it would have been nice for a bit of achievement to end the year with. but no.

i'm not entirely sure what to do now. i've always been one of those people that has to study hard for results (there's not a lot natural about me) and when i haven't it always shows. this time was different because i worked my little cotton socks off. it's difficult to know how to improve on that.

maybe this is the wall! medical gandalf standing in my way bellowing "you shall not pass."

i have had lots of kind words from friends and colleagues - it's quite funny in that the response is almost like that to a bereavement.


as i remind the friends who i am worried feel i might go and top myself, i bought a REALLY big christmas tree (far too big for my flat) and decorated it yesterday with not one, not two but three sets of fairy lights. and i did score three strikes bowling on thursday night. i am good at a few things.

i'm sure a weekend of nights will make things look better.
[i am listening to Regina Spektor again]

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

gnarls barkley

i have had the pleasure this week of meeting up a few times with another good canadian buddy, Dr Gnarls Barkley (his real name is VERY similar and i think that's hilarious). i first met Gnarls in his capacity as best man and organiser of a stag night for another good friend in vancouver last year.

happy days, with much meat, beer and rye consumed (not always in that order) and the town was set alight. that whole holiday actually supplied a good few anecdotes for the next few months. happy days (tear wiped from left eye).

over the past week he has accompanied me to the BJM at the Astoria and also a great dinner this weekend with his sister, brother-in-law and their fantastic new baby boy.

perhaps somewhat unfairly, Dr Barkley gets tarred with the hellraiser/nutter/crazy mofo brush because of many many historical exploits that he and the groom became embroiled in through university and beyond. i empathise with him as i too often get similarly tarred. Dr Barkley merely likes to let his hair down when he manages to have the time.

in his "normal life", he is an attending physician (read consultant NHS fans) in emergency medicine in Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. in a ferociously busy department, he works bloody hard, does lots of night shifts whilst not losing his humanity or sanity. he's also blessed with good looks (ten quid in post i'm told), a fabulous apartment and a handsome paycheque to take home at the end of the month.

despite being at the top of his game, i wonder if something changed in him over this and/or last year. (having said that i only met him in Sept 05 so it may have been brewing for a while before that). this perceived change culminated in him packing up his alberta life for a while, moving to London and pursuing a Diploma in Tropical Medicine at the London School (very prestigious, very difficult to get into.) during this course, seeds that had already been sown began to flourish and just under a year later he is preparing to quit his job again and head off as a volunteer with Medecins Sans Frontieres to Africa.

i have nothing but admiration: respect for him as a senior colleague and pride that someone i know can be brave enough to undertake such a noble odyssey.

and once again it triggers me to ask "there must be something more" than negotiating the depressing quagmire of exams/job applications/specialty training applications/on calls/going to the pub again/wandering around London. i wonder if gnarls asked himself the same question.

to be honest i'd be useless in Africa. there aren't many skills a physician (as compared to a surgeon or an anaethestist) could bring to a warzone or refugee camp in my opinion. "i understand that the injuries from landmines here are horrific but have y'all thought about reducing your risk of stroke with a statin?" beyond that, i don't think i'm brave enough. i'm not even brave enough to admit to myself that life is pretty shit stuck in a pathetic "at least i have enough money to live somewhere nice and go out every so often and take a holiday twice a year" existence. there must be something more. whoa. it always comes back to MY problems.

anyway Ms D&C and I bid him farewell on Sunday evening. i'm not sure that i'll see him before he disappears off to foreign plains and new adventures. so, if you happen to chance upon this, here's to you Gnarls Barkley. look after yourself, stay safe, and next time you pass through London there'll be an empty bar stool and a Staropramen waiting for you.

[i am listening to Nothing To Say (and i don't actually) by The Strokes. still no exam results. although having just read what i've written i'm past the point of caring at the moment.]

[if you haven't already heard, the shiny happy person has returned]