Friday, 25 September 2009

What is really important?

“Dr. Lin, can I have a word please?”

Dr. Lin our college tutor which means that she is the person in charge of looking after the training of the junior anaesthetists in my hospital. I’ve worked with her a couple of times and she appears a pleasant lady. I want to speak to her about something that I’ve had on my mind for a long time now, but have only recently made a proper decision on.

Dr. Lin regales me with an even look and replies, “Certainly Michael, do you want to come through to my office?”

I follow her through to her little room and she clears a stack of patients’ records off her workspace and asks me “What can I do for you?”

I’ve been over this moment many times in my head and I figured the best thing for me to do is to just come straight out and say what I want to.

“I’d like to leave the rotation.”

I state the words simply. This is one of the biggest professional decisions I’ve made in my career and, to me, it feels like I’ve lit the blue touch paper. But there’s no fanfare, no fireworks, just a slightly surprised look in Dr. Lin’s brown eyes. I fill the silence.

“You see, my other half, she works in fashion and, as you can imagine, there’s been lots of job losses in retail over the past year or so. Anyway, she’s had to leave her job here and none of the retail firms are recruiting at the moment. She’s actually managed to get herself another job – one that’s actually better than the one she left – but it’s not here, it’s in London. London’s where all the big retailers have their head offices. She’s searched for a job round here and there really isn’t anything that she wants to do. So, she’s taken the job in the capital. She’s moved there already and I’d like to follow her.”

Dr Lin breaths out slowly, during one of our days working together, I chatted to her about my girlfriend and what she does, so she sort of knew a bit about our situation already. She takes her glasses off, slowly rubs her nose and speaks.

“You know Michael, I understand where you’re coming from. I think from my point of view, it’ll be a real shame to see you leave here. The other consultants and the secretaries all say good things about you, but if you want to leave…” her voice tails off and she sits back in her chair and sighs.

“You probably aren’t aware of this but one of my good friends was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago and is now off work, probably for good. When something like that happens to someone you really know, it brings a lot of things home. It really makes you think about life and what’s really important. And I’ll tell you what’s important…” She’s more animated now, she sits forward in her chair and jabs her glasses in my direction.

“Health, happiness, love… these are things that are important. Turning up here at the hospital to work every day, that’s not important, not in the long term, but love is. So, like I say, I totally understand why you want to go and be with your girlfriend, you two have been together a while now haven’t you?”

I nod.

“So of course I’ll support you when you want to leave.”

“Thank you,” is all I can say.

“Have you told the deanery about it yet?”

“Yes,” I reply. “I’ve already asked them what I need to do to transfer my number and I’m going to fill in the application form this weekend.

“Good.”

“Could I put you down as one of my referees?”

“Yes, of course you can.”

“Thank you very much Dr. Lin” I say once more and stand up and head for the door. I’m half way out when Dr. Lin says

“Oh, Michael.” I turn to see her with a conspiratorial smile playing on her lips. “Do you think that she’s the one?”

I give her a broad grin in return and say, “We shall see…”

11 comments:

brokenangel said...

Good for you for following your girlfriend. You not think its time to be buying a ring yet!

rosiero said...

She better had be!!

Hospital Lab Tech said...

Oh good decision.

Wishing you all the best x

Jo said...

Good luck for both you and your girlfriend - I hope that the move is successful for you both.

Harry said...

Wishing you the best of luck for your move - what a big decision!
I just wanted to take a moment to say what a pleasure it is to read your blog. I was so fascinated by it that in only took me a few days to read it from start to finish. I love your style of writing, and the discussions about the decision making you make for you patients on a day to day basic. You clearly have a passion for the job which is truey honourable, treat patients with the upmost dignity and respect and have the patients best interests at heart. As I said to my friend today who wants to train in anaesthetics, if you are going to be one, you have to be like Dr Anderson!
You also highlight the huge responsibility and scope of practise Anaesthetists have, which sadly a lot of people are very naive about. (Then again, got to love them, but Amateur Transplants dont do the profession any favours!)
Anyways, I fear I'm dragging on quite a bit here, but please keep doing what you do best, being a clearly great Anaesthetist which this trust will be unfortunate to loose, and writing brilliant blogs!
Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with your move. Hope the London trusts don't affect your optimism and enthusiasm for your career... would be interesting to find out where you end up but I guess you can't reveal too much to an anony-mouse.

laws of nature said...

sorry, but i am 99% sure you wont be together this time next year, its just how life works im afraid.

Harry said...

laws of nature.....who an earth are you to make a sweeping statement like that. you dont know him or his girlfriend so why dont you keep your pessimistic opinions to yourself!

Adam said...

North West Thames rotation is nice...

Homer said...

Cool. I can't imagine any of the Ortho registrars I used to know upping sticks for their girlfriends. I hope she appreciates it! Good luck.

Mylene said...

This has to be one of my favourite writings from your blog. I love your enthusiasm and passion for your work and most of all for life. I wish you many happiness in your future. :D