A Brave New World

Posted: May 11, 2012 in Work

When I walked out of work today at 16:01 (ok 15:50 but I started late)I left behind the world of smells and bells. I felt strangely disoriented and could not find my car. Then I remembered I had ridden the bike back to work after my 30 minute lunch (ok 45 mins). This helped explained the rather heavy feeling I had in my head too with a helmet on and all. Onward and downward.

Smells of course refers to the wonderful world of Microbiology which is now relocating to the seaside hamlet of Hervey Bay.The Micro Credo is If you have an orifice we can swab it and if you have a fluid we can culture it and if fluid is leaking from your orifice you are probably in trouble. Its a sense of mixed emoations really. Microbiology is an interesting discipline and of course one of the ironies of work in Pathology is it can be very mundane and routine until you get an interesting case. The cases are often interesting not only because you may rarely see them but also because the consequences tend to be more significant and this is the problem. The excitement of culturing The Flesh Eater bug is tempered by the realisation that it is eating someone’s flesh at present. Mind you most people have too much flesh anyway. So it has been 35 years of playing with bugs. I often wonder what impact being a Gynecologist has on one’s sex life – let me tell ya 35 years of processing vaginal swabs is no spanish fly. How can such an accumulation of so many bugs be referred to as “normal flora” ? Leave a tub of yoghurt in the sun for 3 days and you get the idea. And no I have not kept all the vaginal swabs from the last 35 years – 2-3 years max. There have been some highlights though – I once isolated 2 different E Colis from the same urine on taste alone – a much underused skill. So weekends will be a lot easier but the passing is not without a sense of loss.

Bells refer to the annoying sound of the “On Call” phone disturbing sleep at all hours of the night. After 35 years I have had enough – although the money is good! My first call 35 years ago was for a CSF (Spinal Tap to you lay people and not the band). Often used to investigate an unexplained headache , let me tell if they take > 3 ml CSF out of your spine then that headache aint going away in a hurry. My last call was for a suspected snake bite on Wednesday night – arent those bastards suppose to hide in the cold weather. I only mention this because in all of those 35 years you could probably count on one hand and one foot the number of CSFs or Snake Bites you would be called out for in Maryhole. Of all those, only ever had one positive snake bite for venom. The guy was dead and they had a brown snake in a bottle by the bedside but that did not diminish the sense of achievement I felt when I was able to inform the doctor 30 minutes later that the venom was from a deadly brown snake! I have had nights with 7 calls in it and I have had 7 nights in a row with no calls. Mind you I was in America at the time

So Monday beckons with the dawning of the brave new world. Only time will tell whether it is a good new world or a bad new world. At my age I guess I will just be happy to wake up on Monday morning.

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