It’s now been one month exactly since waking up in an adult hospital bed for the first time. It’s been quite a journey thus far. I’ve raised £30000, a picture of me has been ‘liked’ 25000 times on Facebook, I’ve spoken at Westminster abbey, flown in a plane, been woken up by a strange very well groomed man in a tuxedo, had a surprise birthday on a Monday night in a small pub in London with around 40 guests, been interviewed by the BBC, eaten out more times than I can count. I’ve had countless messages from well wishers and when I said I wanted to see everybody I’ve got pretty close already. I’ve had endless and brilliant support from my close friends, been given loads of stuff even a miniature heroes bouquet*. I’d love to note every present and thank everyone of you, but the list would be too long but please please be aware I’m grateful for everything. Lastly thanks to my family who are fantastic. The support really has been truly overwhelming and vitally exceptional.
So here comes my first piece of advice. I’ve never really been one for giving advice, apart from in a work based context, in gp (as an fy2) was the first time really I was pushed into giving life advice as opposed to medical advice that I’m more comfortable with. It ranged from very simple “should I take time off after my partner has died?” Well yes, to “should I quit my degree and return to Sweden?”. Without going off on a tangent, but this shows how difficult being a gp is, it ranges from being a life coach to being expected to know how Pembrolizumab works.
The advice is this. Be friendly.
This piece of advice moves onto the next make friends. Everyone is your friend until proven otherwise. I’ll try and explain. Everyone knows that person who goes to work and for them work is work, their colleagues and their social life remain steadfastly separate. I’ve never understood this if you’ve got mates at work, where unfortunately you spend most of your life, then works a lot more enjoyable. Also this “work is work” approach in the most boring sense isn’t very practical. Working in the NHS it can be difficult to get things done with each team and different health care professionals having their own agenda. If it’s your mate on the end of the phone it’s much harder for them to say no.
Lastly keep your friends. I sometimes feel this is easier as a man because you can not see someone for two years and no one is any the wiser, after all we forget birthdays and anniversaries so we don’t notice anything as boring as time. No one should be beyond reconciliation (unless they’re completely resistant). Every family seems to have some petty feud and when you hear a story from both sides I usually can’t decide who’s in the wrong, but even if someone is in the wrong…. Who cares, it’s petty get over it.
I say this because you have no idea what is going to happen to you in life. Everything I listed above only happened because of you (my friends). When life gives you lemons you’ll be very surprised by how great your colleagues, friends and family are at making life a lot sweeter.
*I’ve just realised that I still couldn’t spell bouquet despite looking the spelling up when I posted it on Facebook. I infamously once asked “what’s the french for crepe?” Whilst on a ski holiday… What I meant to say was “how do you ask for crepe in french?” I.e. I wanted the whole sentence. Before you ask we did German at school. Before you ask again, I was rubbish at that too.