Responsibilities

We are right in the middle of winter, but the air has been mild, unlike our American and Canadian counterparts, who are experiencing some of the worst winters in history. They say if we get a bad winter we can look forward to a very good summer. If that’s the case the summer this year might be a total washout for us. This morning however I woke up to the sounds of a fierce wind, strong enough to get through the nooks in the house and make the open doors squeak. The thuds are getting worse and I force myself out of bed. I might just try and squeeze in a bit of pilates before I go to work. I get a phone call from my GP the other day asking me if I was a keen runner. I am not, I walk a bit though I replied. I have some ligament damage in my knee and he is sending me the report. So much for trying to keep fit in my old age.

According to the news the QEII Bridge is closed to traffic because of the high winds. I used to take that route when I was doing my rotation jobs as a trainee working in Brighton and Medway. Over the years I developed a phobia of driving over the bridge and I still try and avoid it. Even a slight sway when a lorry whizzes past was enough to give me the heebie jeebies and I can’t imagine how it would be like today. There was a time though when I didn’t have any problems and I could drive even on the outside lanes looking into the horizon. Slowly over the years the phobia crept in and once it took hold it, that was it. How easily I became a nervous wreck. It’s a case of mind over matter, but how do you conquer it?

I get to work a few minutes late. I am on my own today. I see the patients and get to theatre. The first patient is 120 kilos. A young guy who is already on multiple drugs for his diabetes. It seems to be the norm these days. Second patient is smoking himself into an early grave. Last week I tried to reason with a young woman and tried to make her see sense. All this falls on deaf ears. People do what they want to do till they get their wake up calls and sometimes this comes too late. As an anaesthetist where do my responsibilities lie. Giving an anaesthetic or trying to make people lead a healthier life? Both I presume, but we can only try.

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