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The good old days

The second installment of our new 'Through the K hole' blog, in which Professor Candid reminisces about a long and varied career in medicine.

In a recent valedictory lecture, Professor Candid reflects on his early life and career in medicine which began in the 1960s.

'As a young dresser, as we called medical students back then, I was thrilled to be on the wards for the first time. I remember my first day on the surgical firm, my white coat was luminous with starch and my faculty tie was presented with an immaculate full Windsor knot.'

'I was excited to breathe life into all of my book knowledge and after a stiff shot in the mess I was raring to go. We were given lots of responsibilities back then and we were treated like one of the boys. We were very hands-on, using a see one, do one, teach one approach.'

'I remember my sheer panic when I was left alone with a ward full of very sick patients and having to run to the toilet every hour to puke up with the nerves. In more nostalgic moments I reflect on the time a patient arrested in front of me when I was trying to fit a central line and not having a f****ing clue what to do.'

'I also like to reminisce about my bastard of a consultant who took it upon himself to give me a beasting as I was trying to follow the diagrams in a surgical textbook during a botched attempt to remove a dying man's ruptured appendix. I also vividly remember the sweat, the screams, the arrest bleeps, the sleep deprivation and the appalling teaching through bedside humiliation.'

'In my more sentimental moments I sometimes think back to my dark suicidal thoughts which slowly tightened around my neck like a noose before the end of my 56 hour shifts.'

'I think I probably killed more patients than Shipman in my career but unlike some of my colleagues I never killed myself, and now as I come close to my retirement I can candidly say that I'm a bloody good doctor. Bloody being the operative word.'

Inspired by the Jobbing Doctor column 'Goodbye to all that'. Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen.

Through the K hole - credit HaPe Gera, Flickr Through the K hole - credit HaPe Gera, Flickr