I’m on the train, (Not, unfortunately, to Rodsville Jack) sitting here in quiet coach A, on the way to my brand new life. Hong Kong via Lands End; that well trodden path. The journey began somewhat inauspiciously from Reading, but then, not everyone’s life can resemble a Zac Efron movie.
So yesterday I hung up my cheap polyester, draeger branded shirt for the last time. I handed back the test lung and enough four-coloured pens to excite even the most taciturn band 7. The breathmaster 5000 (nb. not an actual Draeger product) has another trainer.
You could say sitting here, anticipating the future, whilst looking out on our green and beautifully sunlit land beats being at work. It beats standing in a side room for 4 hours, being ignored by people who actively stare through you when you dare to converse with them. It beats dodging the briefcase wankers on the M25 to ensure your 7am arrival at Urban Decay A&E for training, only to find your audiences numbers 1.5 permanent and 4 bank staff who have not been told of your appearance and balefully resent your existence following completion of their woefully short-staffed night shift. It beats elaborating on the intricacies of the unique decelerating flow pattern whilst the patient in the bed next door has their stoma changed. Yes, you could say it beats that.
But, my job has allowed me into the hidden world reserved for those who suffer the tragedy and horror which can afflict you or I with no more than a lazy flick of lady luck’s liver spotted hand.For the past five years I have worked in intensive care units, conducting training on patient ventilators, training staff to use the machines safely and to their maximum capabilities. I know, I did a Law degree! Yes, I’d love you to ask me why I’m here!
It seems salient at this moment, given this governments relentless intention to drive a wrecking ball through the NHS, a true ‘national treasure.’ (An institution, which contributes more, despite it’s detractors, to validate the continued attribution that this isle can still, in any way, be considered ‘Great’.) to reflect on it. I’m very sad to leave such an industry, one that I can say without prejudice, intends only good. It’s been a privilege to walk into an area reserved for deeply unfortunate and failing vassals or their distraught family, whose relentless vigil doesn’t always have a happy ending. My view, unencumbered by sheer terror or the haze of a morphine drip has allowed me to witness wonderful people doing wonderful things; morning, noon and night. People who do care, who have seen more things in one 13 hour shift than most would be happy to seen in a lifetime. It is a true vocation and one which should be appreciated and rewarded more highly by society. We are all getting older, living longer. Sadly, sooner or later you and I will need their help, it is one of the inevitabilities of life.
I’ve had some great times and met some really great people. Nurses, in particular I find to be an amazing breed. They have an openness and a freedom to life which comes from seeing success and failure divided by the width of a scalpel. It’s invigorating to experience. True, they can also be miserable, lazy and extremely contrary, (These are the exceptions I must stress!) but stop and think for a second. Can you honestly say you hold a life in your hands every working day? Also, give them a pen and yours is the Earth, my friend, and everything that’s in it.
My former company makes special machines whose only purpose is to save lives. My job couldn’t quite make such a bold claim(despite what you might think Simon.) but I’ve been very proud to do it. Now I don’t feel even slightly so special. It won’t be quite so easy to touch greatness, but I guess I’ll have to try…..
PS. I know most who know me consider that I fell into my former profession, (and rightly so) and that the main reason it took me 11.5 years to leave is extreme slothfulness and an ability to go undetected by senior management. (Also correct) but somewhere along the way I happened upon an exciting and fulfilling career. It’s done me nothing but good and I’ll be forever thankful to everyone and everything that has helped form who I am today. Having said that, nothing will beat the glory days…..
For example, who’ll ever forget the day jigsaw went down…. indeed