November in Review4 December 2018
Well met, reader! Not long until Christmas…
We are further into Winter. My nose runs; the house freezes around us. In the mornings I drive to Mach wearing my coat and with the dashboard heater jets pointing at my numb hands on the steering wheel. I grew used to the darkness beating me home but on top of this a few days ago I had to defrost the back window before setting off home. Chest infections are on the rise in the surgery, and all the patients come in wrapped in every layer they own, gently unwinding scarves, coats, cardigans and fleeces as they sit themselves down.
When will it snow? Will it flood? The sea has changed. In the twilight starlings flit in great swarms above the sea front and under the pier and even today driving North I saw a huge red kite twist in flight.
If the weather is clear the scenery shines through. All the oaks long ago lost their foliage and now crooked arms weave up between the fields or covering the flanks of the hills – no more dense greenery. Six of us recently took up an invitation to climb Cadair Idris, or Idris’s Chair, a steep volcanic formation looking North into Snowdonia Park. On the day we climbed the visibility was stunning and the wind ripped warmth away from everything and everyone. Down in the valley below the sun shone but on the peaks any heat was scattered as we fought not to be blown off our feet and dashed on the rocks. Most of the views as we walked were bare and uncluttered: no roads, no fields, no pylons or turbines. Just red and dun grass, bare heather and sharp broken rocks stretching out all around us in the bright light and cloudless air.
We had a two week hospital placement at the start of November. I was given a pass, brought up to one of the wards and assigned to general surgery. In a hospital there is a lot of waiting. I was always waiting: waiting for a ward round, for a patient at theatre, for the rest of a team, for the anaesthetist, for anything… but there were rewards for this patience. I was allowed to watch as orthopaedic teams replaced knees and hips, or dragged metal plates away from old ankle fractures. Being taught about adhesions from Monday through to Thursday paid off when I was permitted to scrub in to a laparotomy on a patient with suspected adhesions from her hysterectomy a week previous, and when I held instruments and actually helped reclose the original incision using staples.
As well as hospital placement we have of course been in with the GPs as usual. I have had a rare one or two consultations where I knew what I was doing – not guessing, but actually sure of what was going on and what to do next. A patient recently thanked me, called me a very good listener – very flattering. Sometimes it’s naturally been the right thing to check on a patient in a week or two and now myself and the GP are making sure they are booked in with me for their follow up. On the drive home I’m filled with hope that the next time I see them things are on the mend.
And finally where would we be without sport in Aberystwyth? The freezing temperatures haven’t stopped me so far and I don’t see why they should. At training with the university athletics club everyone stays in their layers a little longer every week, but they still keep coming and I’m no different. The Aber 10k is coming up soon and hopefully it will be a clear day. I don’t know why the region isn’t marketed as a one-stop-shop for health and fitness: I’ve never felt better in my life.