london calling

Hello world.

I’m currently sitting on the seventh floor of a medical officer residence with Portable Air Conditioning in London – where I’m placed at the moment for the next three and a half weeks, to learn how the NHS works. That’s what my brief says, anyway, and that’s what the assignment I really should start working on will say, you know, when I get to it.

So far London is a delightful place, full of interesting people and wonderful sights. I’ve been learning a chunk of neurology while I’m here, which is my aim, and have been engaging with a wide variety of people. That, and catching up with old friends.

Friday last I braved National Rail over here and visited Cardiff in Wales – something that’s been a goal of mine for several years now. There I met my internet friend, Jon, with whom I’ve talked about life, random stuff, women and bad humour for the past decade, and who I promised, many years ago, to visit when I finally made it to the UK.

Promise kept. He gave a visiting Australian a lovely tour through the Welsh countryside, gave me a surprisingly comfortable couch to rest upon, and even chauffeured me to and from the train station. He’s also a wonderful guy and has some lovely friends, as well as a great local Japanese restaurant. Add in the wonderful countryside and it was a thoroughly enjoyable visit.

South Wales and New South Wales though? Not that similar. Not really. One wonders where the name was inspired from, and will keep wondering.

Upon returning ‘home’ to London I had another Friend Adventure™, this time with Amin, an old school chum who has recently (last week) moved to London with his wife and new son, to start work at a law firm here. We sat down for a drink, and then explored the centre of the city for a while. Wonderful to catch up and to finally meet his lovely young lady, and his little boy – named, appropriately, after me. I assume.

Today, being Monday, was day 16 of elective, and I celebrated the best way I could; by having a day off to do some paperwork. Yep. I was going to go into the ward, but didn’t, and instead of attending the clinic I wandered about London, had something to eat, explored Fitzrovia, and found out where my mail gets delivered too while I’m here. That’s important, as I have ordered a book off Amazon, as well as an engraved pen, and now a pair of headphones. The book has arrived already, the pen hopefully by tomorrow, the headphones this week. Huzzah!

Tomorrow’s plan at this stage is to attend the Professor’s clinic (my technical boss) and then attend an epilepsy clinic in the afternoon, then on Wednesday I’m planning a hospital day (attending the registrar’s meeting and then rounding), Thursday probably similar, and then clinics on Friday morning, I think.

Next week? I’m probably having a week off. I’m going to Stratford-upon-Avon and staying the evening, as well as seeing some Shakespeare. I’m thinking about visiting the Continent, but Eurostar tickets are for some reason triple their usual price at this juncture, so that might not happen. Maybe I’ll trek up to Edinburgh instead, or do some sightseeing around England. I’ve always wanted to visit Alderly, after reading the Weirdstone of Brisinghamen, and maybe that’ll happen. Maybe I’ll just do some of the London sightseeing I’ve been missing out of so far, like the Tower, a bus tour, that kind of thing.

Probably try to see Wicked too; depending on my elective friends who want to go and see it. If they can’t make it, hell. I’ll still go. It’s my birthday that week after all, so I deserve some time, right?

The two weeks following I’m planning to spend mostly on the ward. I might do a bit of clerking perhaps, I’ll definitely attend rounds, and I plan to spend a day or two following the on-call SpR (A/T registrar) to see how the life a neurology-trainee goes. I’ve also got a PPD essay to write, as well as a disease monograph, and a symptom monograph.

Sigh. Busy busy. Life!


-Benjamin Andiyar