Editor’s Letter 2015 No. 16

[box] This week, our Editor-in-Chief is feeling Christmassy… Sort of [/box]

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When Wham wrote Last Christmas I sincerely doubt that they had me in mind. However, this is my last Christmas at medical school and potentially the last Christmas for a while that I will spend hungover in my pyjamas wearing novelty socks.

I have many friends who this year have pulled the short straw (or cracker) and will be having a cannula Christmas up on the wards. Oscar, our F1 diary keeper, is one such man and he’ll be liveblogging his day for us on Twitter. It will be strange that first time not to be opening presents and drinking wine far too early in the day and instead to be opening a catheter kit and pouring not wine but lidocaine gel. It makes for a weirdly bittersweet Christmas; I want to make the most of it yet am already lamenting its inevitable passing.

In the season of consumer hysteria it may be that, for once at least, the maelstrom is away from the ward. The madness of a shopping mall, the delirium of a discount store, all are steeped with stressors far worse than seven lengthy discharge summaries. It may also be nice, for one year at least, to be spared the festive chorus of elderly relatives’ snoring as the afternoon drifts on into evening. Too much eggnog as ever, uncle.

I’ve been told a sprinkling of stories about Christmas in hospital throughout my time. A nurse once told me back when I was doing work experience that although many patients are glum about staying in during the run up to Christmas, the day itself is actually quite lovely. Staff and patients alike make the most of it. Other stories are more mixed, stuffed with sage and onion homesickness, and how by the end everyone is tick, tick, ticking the minutes down until they can get away. I think it will be a mixture of both; if life gives you lemons make lemonade, if life gives you sick bowls make festive decorations.

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As well as basting the bird and chopping the spuds, this year we all have an additional job to do, to download the Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir’s A Bridge Over You and bludgeon Bieber down into second place. Don’t worry Justin, you’ll no doubt have other number ones! There’s no better present to give to Jeremy Hunt this year than a sign of public solidarity for the NHS and bring 2016 in in good spirits and good form. I am hopeful that the new year will bring a new junior doctor contract that is fair and safe for patients and for doctors and finally Hunt will scuttle back up the chimney never to return.

But I now must exclaim, as I’ve nowt more to write—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Rob

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