Doctors make the worst patients. Period.
Whilst I would never tell any patient not to take anti-malarials or not to adhere to any advice that would make their trip safe and successful, it is only after a telling off from my family that I agreed taking important travel precautions would probably be a very good idea.
I do try to live by the rules and advice I give to others on a daily basis, but truthfully, my love for red velvet cupcakes and Cadbury’s dairy milk can sometimes get in the way of that!
In the spirit of planning, it turns out I will need a lot more than just a passport and a toothbrush. For as long as I can remember all my worldly possessions have fitted in one small suitcase. During medical school we were packed off on peripheral attachments to all parts of London and the South East of England and even Charles University in Prague. My elective afforded me the amazing experience to traverse the mighty Himalayas where I spent 3 weeks camping and treating the underserved populations in remote areas of the Indo-Tibetan Borderlands.
My foundation years took me to the West Midlands where, after a few tears, I arrived knowing no-one; I found myself a place to rent the week before I was due to start and soon called it home. The other junior doctors became my family and the bright lights of London were quickly replaced with the buzz of Broad Street in Birmingham. My GP training brought me back to London, and this was a really happy moment for me because I finally felt I could start putting down some roots.
The way our jobs are allocated means you have to rank every single area in the country. My way of tackling this was to make myself a nicely brewed cuppa, get very comfortable and ensure there was an unlimited supply of cake on hand. I then proceeded to look at a map of England and started by ranking from the bottom up. My least desirable areas were those furthest away from home, and those in the middle were decided literally in order of distance by mileage from my house. My most desirable area was London, and whilst I was lucky enough to be allocated this for my speciality training, I then had to rank all 29 schemes within London from Ealing to Enfield, Bromley to Barnet and everything in between. Where you would actually end up remained a mystery until a few months before you were due to start!
So as a person who isn’t much of a planner, I sit here chuckling to myself at my attempt at being organised and writing a ‘to do list’. Although with only a few weeks to go, some would argue I am totally leaving things to the last minute! Alas, you have to start somewhere!Pri’s Uganda to do list: 1. Lonely Planet 2. Anti-malarials 3. Dioralyte 4. Paracetamol 5. Ciprofloxacin 6. Sun cream 7. Ibuprofen 8. Insect repellent 9. Anti-histamine 10. Imodium 11. First aid kit 12. Torch 13. Post exposure prophlaxis (PEP)
All the above are essentials and it is only the beginning of what is looking to be a very, very long list…! I shall not bore you all any longer, however any suggestions are most welcome!