Business Pleasure 

As I relax on the couch watching The Simpsons, I reflect on the past few days and more importantly, try to recuperate from the night before. I should probably begin with how the day started…

The morning wasn’t too stressful (compared to the afternoon at least). This was probably because there were no babies for baby clinic, which meant that I could catch up with my paper work. Due to the very chilly weather outside these days, I’ve now stopped opening my window like I used to, just to let some fresh air in. I thought that as my room so happens to be at the end of the corridor, I can keep my door wedged open (usually after the end of a session), while I work. A little sad maybe, but sometimes it’s kinda nice just to hear the voices of colleagues around. It can get a little lonely at times, more so when you’re not feeling so great in yourself.

It just so happened that while I was doing my work, I had the door open as usual when all of a sudden, a baby wondered into my room.

He was a gorgeous little Afro Carribean baby, probably one and half years old as a guesstimate. He walked right into the middle of the room, looked at me, gave me the biggest grin you’d ever seen… and  collapsed to the floor all comfy-like. He had no intention of getting up.

I looked at him completely stunned. I didn’t know what to do! I walked to the door and looked down the corridor, hoping I’d see his mother. It was empty. I then sat back on my chair trying to think…how do I get him back up and out, without making him cry? Not having children put me at a huge disadvantage. All I had under my belt were my baby charms, those I had picked up and started to use in day to day practice. These aren’t foolproof. 

“Where’s your mummy?!”

Was what I asked the baby…hoping to try and sweet talk him. I knew full well that he wouldn’t understand a word I was saying. He just looked at me and kept on smiling. He REALLY didn’t want to leave.

I joined him on the floor, thinking that maybe if I sat next to him, I could try and form a little kinship and win him over. His mother hadn’t come my way yet, so I realised that I’d have to lead him out instead. I held out my hand, in the hopes that he’d hold onto it…

It was a miracle! He thankfully took my hand and picked himself up from the floor. I watched him get up and was feeling really chuffed! We wondered down the corridor together, receiving many looks and laughs from patients and receptionists alike, when we saw the mother at the end of the corridor. Her frightened-looking face immediately turned into one of utter relief. I suppose it was a baby session after all! 

This encounter was definetly something I’d never experienced before. It was later followed by another event that day, and another new experience…the work-do Christmas party. 

I was really apprehensive about this. There have only been a few occasions in my training, where I’ve met with senior work colleagues outside the work place. I’ve been at this surgery for almost four months now, and this was my first time socialising with the team. I was worried that I’d make a fool of myself somehow…and I’ve done that many a time already!

Nonetheless I was grateful for the invite. I decided in the end to put all my nerves aside, let go and go with the flow. Maybe I wasn’t the only one who felt this way? 

I arrived at the hotel an hour later than advertised. This was upon the advice of some of the nurses, although after what looked like a terribly busy afternoon for me, I really didn’t want to rush things. I was dying for a cup of tea and a sit down, so that was my priority when I got home! When I got to the hotel, people from the surgery were still following in after me, so my timing was ok in the end! 

The room we were directed to was huge, filled with many round tables. Two were assigned to our surgery. It was almost like a conference, except there were disco lights and a dance floor at the front! Again, I was updated by the nurses that this was to be expected, but I hadn’t really imagined it so. 

The conversation was good. I was mainly talking to the other new trainees at the surgery, downing my glasses of wine. In the end I had three glasses, and I was feeling the effect of it. I was telling stories of how I’d met Jeremy Corbyn or the real reason why I eat less and exercise…stuff I’ve never really divulged to the people I work with before! 

I looked around at my other colleagues and wondered what sorts of things they were talking about. They must have known eachother for years, like 20 I think. I mean seriously a long time. To them, I’ll always be just “another trainee”, who will make an appearance in their lifetimes, later to leave and be replaced by another. It is what it is.

By about 10.30-11pm people were already leaving. I suspected it was because they had family commitments, or maybe they were exhausted, I certainly was! All of my work colleagues and seniors, including my mentor went home. In the end it was just me and another trainee, who were the last ones sitting.  I told myself that if I was going to go to the party, I would stay at least beyond midnight. That would be a proper night out for me. 

After all, how often do I get to do this? Rarely if so. When I do go out, I try and make the night memorable as best can be. It’s a night on the town, and nights out make me feel young at heart.

Advertisements

Uganda Healthcare Expedition Part V

I’ve been spending this weekend back home in London. Unfortunately, it didn’t start off quite so smoothly…

I developed a bout of conjunctivitis towards the end of the week, and was slowly recovering from that. It was also on the Friday when I headed to London, that I heard about the terrorist incident at Parsons Green earlier that morning. People were naturally more cautious about their travels and that included me. What made things more difficult, was telling my family that I was going to the Uganda-UK convention in central London the next day. They were NOT happy.

While I was brainstorming on the train, and trying to think of what I would like to achieve from the convention, I received a certain-toned phone call from the family, asking about the sort of convention I was attending.

Then that classic saying came along:

“We’ll talk about this when you get home”.

No, not an unfamiliar saying. But if anything, it probably fired up my drive more so. Listening to some of my favourite movie themes (yes, this includes How To Train Your Dragon), I was even more focused in my planning for the convention!

I tried to think why it is that parents don’t want us to do certain things. Do they think differently from us? Do they feel like they are losing us? Are they worried that we could fail? Maybe all those things. Or maybe, we’re supposed to be “settling”.

I don’t think such a thing as “settling” exists. To settle and accept things as they are, almost means giving up on life. I actually think that’s somewhat disrespectful to life itself. To strive, however and whatever you decide to pursue, means to live life to the fullest. If you choose to be of service to others, why shouldn’t you? Anything which increases your options is a good decision. If you do the same actions, you’ll get that same results. If you do different actions, you’ll have a different life.

So I went.

After an early morning wake up (6.45am on a Saturday morning is early for me!), I got ready and headed out. The convention itself was quite easy to get to, only a few stops on the underground and just a couple on the railway. Once I got there I signed in, was given my pass and waited around…unfortunately for a long time! It turned out that not only I had gotten there ridiculously early (I thought 9am was quite decent!), but they were running very late. The hall where the convention was being held at was divided into two parts. The front consisted of the stage, the tables at the front and the stand alone seats at the back. Behind were all the exhibition stands. The people who attended were spread across the two parts, though the exhibition area was naturally much louder! Before you realise people approach you, and you can’t help but network as well-exchanging contact details and dishing out calling cards (I was probably one of the few who DIDN’T have one, I don’t think your NHS smart card quite qualifies!).

Sneaky photo before the crowds came

Before the rest of the people arrived 

The chairman opened up the convention with a saying I thought was clever, in the context of us being allowed to use our phones to take pictures!

“Life worth living is one worth recording”.

The convention commenced with the singing of the Ugandan National Anthem. This was soon followed by various speeches given by many distinguished invited guests-such as the Ugandan High commissioner to the UK, and the Vice President of Uganda, Edward Ssekandi.

Vice President of Uganda Edward Ssekandi giving his speech 

One of the presentations which interested me more so, was delivered to us by Dr Ian Clarke-a physician, philanthropist, entrepreneur and the chairman of the International Medical Group. I found his work inspiring, particularly how he used agriculture from his roots to keep his medical work sustainable. I adored his motto:

“Sustainable Development with Social Impact”

I was very fortunate to have a face to face meeting with him, which was just as well as I missed a part of his presentation (because it was during his presentation that we had to register to meet with a specific speaker…funny that!).

The meeting itself was a delight! I had my notebook with my questions written and my pen at the ready, to write haste his answers and advice. However I soon as I sat down, I didn’t even look at my notebook properly. It didn’t seem all that appropriate. I asked just one question, and the rest of the time we just chatted away, completely informal and relaxed. He was taken aback that I was a doctor, as I think he thought like many others, I was seeking for an investment! It was almost like we were uni friends, getting to know each other and comparing notes about medicine and life. I felt absolutely honoured that we spent the length of time we had talking. To me he was like a celebrity, and it was probably my highlight of the convention!

After leaving the meeting room, I walked through a very crowded hallway where out of nowhere, a calling card flung across, hit my face by accident and landed on the floor. I picked it up and didn’t think much of it when a gentleman said:

“I’m really sorry, did that hit your eye?!”

“No no it didn’t, not to worry”

“Oh then you can have it!”

Suddenly there was a loud uproar of laughter and I couldn’t help but join in. But it wasn’t until I left the hallway, that I realised who the card belonged to-the Ugandan High Commissioner!

After a cup of tea and a croissant for lunch (the queue for lunch was incredibly long and I didn’t have the stomach to wait), I managed to speak with some other people in the crowds, before taking my seat at the table. The lecture after lunch was provided by a Ugandan Physician, which captivated me yet again. She first talked about the Diaspora in Uganda. Ignorant as I am at things, I had to look this up. She then spoke about how the healthcare system there is “corrupt and broken down”, and that a lot of work still needed doing. This was followed with a story, one which almost brought me to tears…

A senior physician at her hospital became unwell and needed a ventilator. Unfortunately the ventilator broke down and he was deteriorating. “Hospital X” where he was staying would not let him go to “Hospital Y” to receive treatment via their working ventilator, until he and his family paid the fees. This was in the hundred thousand region and despite appealing to the administration, they would not let him go. “The fees were coming in but his health was getting worse”.

Once the payment was made to Hospital X, Hospital Y refused to take him in. This was because he now needed to pay for the ambulance, and this was even more expensive (in the millions region). SOMEHOW they managed to get this payment sorted and thankfully, he was transferred across. Maybe it was the way she told us this story (which is far better than how I am saying it here), but this sorry horrified me and I was heartbroken.

After a couple more speeches I decided to call it a day. I had taken more than enough knowledge and insight than I could have hoped for and decided to head back, to spend the rest of the day with the family.

My trinkets from the day 🙂 You could only speak with the guest speakers if you applied for a VIP pass-so worth it! 

Attending this convention only reinforced what I want to do with my life. There are many messages which I took home with me, but one of my favourites still is this one, which was mentioned by the Ugandan physician. It couldn’t be put more simply:

“It was just something different and that’s what I chose to do”

Life is a Movie

This weekend was a good weekend. I think everyone needs one of those weekends… you know the sort where you don’t set an alarm, then get up late and are happy that you did.

When I did wake up, eventually, I decided to drive to the city centre. There were some errands that we needed to do and we still hadn’t seen Wonder Woman! Despite having left the house at almost 2pm, the city was still buzzing and it was a very sunny day!

On the Friday, I watched the British movie ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’…the true story of a homeless man, who was literally saved by a stray cat.

a_street_cat_named_bob_still

Isn’t Bob the cutest?!

Having previously done a 10k marathon to raise money for the homeless shelter, there is now a part of me who will try and give more money than I previously did, to a homeless person I see. Whilst we were in the city, I saw a homeless man on the floor with an empty paper cup in his hand. The movie I had seen the day before came straight to my mind, his story and his troubles. He even looked like the man in the movie. He was miserable and had a sweaty forehead (it was a hot day). I fished out a £5 note and gave it to him.

‘Are you sure?’ His face completely changed.

‘Yeah, get some food it’s past lunch time’. I said.

He thanked me and we carried on. I turned around and I saw him run into Subway.

Having completed our errands, we stopped for a coffee and later headed off to see Wonder Woman.

IMG_5177

I thought my ‘flat white’ coffee looked pretty, so I took a picture

This movie was better than I thought and by far my favourite DC movie to date. The characters, the scenery, the story line, even the music which is definitive of Wonder Woman, all absolutely amazing. It encompasses a central theme which I adore-the importance of leadership. 

wonderwoman-1280-9amembargo-1488818748850_1280w

From one of my many favourite scenes. It’s not about what you deserve.  It’s what you believe.’

Even after I returned home, I was still in that movie mood. I ended the day by going on Youtube (as you do) and watching clip after clip, of classic movies and new favourites. I wanted to end this post by sharing with you two of my favourite Disney movie openings, in the order I first watched them as a child. I hadn’t seen them in a VERY long time and yet I still get the chills. I think they are both so grand, magnificent and unforgettable. I still wish they did movies like these. Moana has now become my new favourite movie of the 21st century and one I am super excited about. I loved it that much that I went to the cinema twice just to watch it, but that’s for another post, another time!

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Prince of Egypt

Live Your Life

As I head back to Leeds on the train again, I reflect on how I spent the last few days in my home city, London. I use train journeys as a golden opportunity to recollect the good memories we made at home. It’s always something I can come back to.

I hadn’t been at home in just over two months, and hadn’t seen my family since I did my exam. It was nice to actually spend a few days with them, not just a weekend. In addition to getting a hair cut, I took the opportunity to meet my cousins. A couple came over to see us and I met up with a close one in the city.

I always enjoy going to central London, and this trip was no different. I love the fact that it’s literally a 30 minute trip on the Underground to get there. I met my cousin at around 5pm in London Bridge, at a fresh Italian Pasta restaurant called Padella. Despite the early dinner and neither of us being particularly hungry, we somehow managed to consume 3 pasta dishes, a chocolate torte and a bottle of Prosecco between us! I hadn’t seen her since Christmas, so there was a lot of catching up to do.

After having our meal, we walked across the city centre. Starting at Borough Market, we made our way along the River Thames and passed many London landmarks-Shakespeare’s Globe, the Royal National Theatre, London television centre, the London Eye, Sea life London Aquarium, Dungeons and Dragons, skateboarding sites, the list was endless. Streaks of sunlight were seeping through the clouds still, yet nobody was cold. Everybody looked happy and was in a good mood. We said our goodbyes on London Bridge at around 8.30pm and we went home our separate ways. My understanding is that the London terrorist attacks took place two hours later.

The following morning, after waking up to numerous Whatsapp messages to check people were safe, I went to a barbeque my sister was organising for me and my parents. We were joined by one of my old family friends who I hadn’t seen in almost a year, and her American cousin who I briefly met at my sister’s wedding. I won’t lie, I thought I had felt a little awkwardness between us, maybe because I hadn’t seen her in a long time or maybe because they were guests. However I think it settled…my sister showed us wedding videos (some of them I knew I’d seen before) and we chatted again like old times.

After the barbeque, we drove to my friend’s house where she was staying with her parents, whilst she was back in England. Her house always reminded me of happy childhood memories and the days we used to hang out there. Her cousin was a medical student and talked about the medical school system. He also invited me to come to America. Yay! My first American friend! It was even more lovely seeing her parents again. Her father is a retired GP and I had the utmost respect for him. He had a very good work ethic which my mother always talked about when I was younger, and I’d like to think  that he was proud of me. Hilariously he exclaimed, “ahh Chitra, you look like a 10 year old!”, and we had an energetic conversation. We talked about the hospitals I worked in and he was happy that I can do LPs, (lumbar punctures), stating “yes, you’re a doctor”.

I definitely enjoyed my time in London, I always do. I love trying to make time to see old friends and family, because I want to be reminded of my roots when I tend to forget them. This trip back to London will probably stick to me more, because of what happened in London Bridge. Last time I met up with my cousin was around Christmas time last year. We met up later in the evening and I came home later. What if we decided to meet up at a similar time this year? It’s almost terrifying to think that, and I did lay awake that night thinking about what could have happened.

My mum mentioned that I should stop going to central London often (as if I go often!), and brought up many a time, how I encouraged her to take trips there that very evening, before we heard the news. But really, should something like this stop us from carrying on with normal life? According to her, it almost felt like she believed that. Yes maybe I’ll be a little cautious, but I won’t be living in fear. We have a life to live and we should live it.

Nicest Kids in Town

A few days ago, I went out for dinner and drinks with some work friends from the stroke job. Due to oncall or family commitments, not everybody could make it-but despite this it was a very eventful night!

I decided to bring my boyfriend along, whilst one of my friends brought her partner too. This was probably my second time I think where I brought him along to a work-social event this year (you can see how often we meet up!). We had our fair share of pizzas, a few beers and glasses of prosecco between us. I was made to ask the bartender for “their sweetest beer”, on behalf of my boyfriend. That’s right, I had to ask the bartender for this drink, and yes he gave me strange look! (Seeing as I purchased a Cherry Beer!)

All in all it was a very enjoyable night, but the main reason I decided to write about this is because it somewhat relates to my last blog post. Compared to the previous discussions I told you about, the things we talked about here were definitely more interesting, lively and entertaining. I thought why this might be, and I came up with some reasons:-maybe it was because we had worked together for much longer, and the next time we would meet wouldn’t be because of work. This was also a social event, where we were free to talk about more varied things. Or maybe I could relate to these friends more than the others I spoke about-none of us were married!

Towards the end of the evening, I made my way to the toilet and when I came back, all my friends seemed to look amazed at me. I couldn’t really think why at first, until they told me…my boyfriend had apparently updated them about my plans to Uganda. I was pleasantly surprised and didn’t know how to react, only a handful of people know about it!  It made me realise that I like to keep my work life separate from my personal life, but in my mind there wasn’t anything wrong with some overlay. We probably wouldn’t be working together in the future,so I could be more relaxed about things. I was reminded about something Paul Graham, venture capitalist and co-founder of Y Combinator wrote in one of this essays:

Friends offer moral support, but secrecy also has its advantages. There’s something pleasing about a secret project. And you can take more risks, because no one will know if you fail. 

So no turning back!

Let’s Dance

So I did. Back in June 2015, I went to Ghana (my first time in Africa), to join a medical volunteering expedition. On the fourth day of our trip, we went to a salsa bar, as a means to get to know the rest of the group. What you are about to see below was completely unplanned, without any practice and without a drink before hand. We both went with the flow, and I felt so free! I think it went well (aka I was still standing by the end of it 🙂 )

Stay Salsa, and have a good weekend!

How do you define old age?

Yesterday my consultant decided to take us out for drinks after work, our first social gathering two months into this job. I’m not usually the type of person who attends every work-related social event. Not only do I like to keep my personal life separate from my job, but I choose not to maintain false pretenses with people who I genuinely think are unfriendly and nasty. I can also get somewhat insecure and uncomfortable when being my ‘normal crazy self’, in front of the people I work with.  However on this occasion, I had no real reason not to attend. Everyone in my team is lovely and I didn’t really have any other plans.

We took a 5 minute walk to a pub my work friends suggested..and NEWSFLASH: I get extremely uncomfortable in pubs! I don’t really know what it is about them, it might be that I’d never really hung out in pubs in uni, or I find that people stare at me constantly (that could be me being paranoid), but I’m totally fine in bars and clubs…it makes no sense!

After overcoming what sounded like a ‘fear’ of ordering a drink (that’s the other thing, I NEVER know what to order), we made our way outdoors to join the others. From then on I think things went smoothly. I seemed to be making good conversation, I opened up a little bit more, and I managed to get some laughs…hopefully good ones!

My consultant asked me an interesting question… ‘How do you define old age?’

I did think about it, but unfortunately I feel the one drink I had may have gone straight to my head, and I answered ’35(!)’. Yes it was too late, I had already said it. Fortunately I received a rather friendly outburst of laughs from my consultant and the other junior doctors, so I just hoped my rather immature answer went down well.

This morning I asked my boyfriend what my consultant had asked me last night. We pondered about it for a bit, and we (mainly he) came up with this:

‘A person who hasn’t reached the goals they have set, at the age they set it’. (Subconsciously my answer was 35).

And that was it, the perfect answer to a big question.