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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

You know what it's like. You crawl out of bed at 7am on a Tuesday morning feeling dog-tired after a bad night's sleep, and by 2pm that afternoon you're single-handedly training the international doctors of tomorrow. It makes me wish I'd bothered to shave this morning.

I was doing a clinic in the hospital's diabetes centre this afternoon, and the consultants there are currently playing host to a group of medical students who are spending time in various departments as part of their doctorly training. Most of them look about three years older than Amelie, and are presumably just as tiring to look after, because half an hour into my clinic I was asked to take one of them off the consultant's hands and let her sit in on a few of my patients.

She turned out to be an American girl, so what she's doing over here, I have no idea. I expect it's all part of Obama's healthcare reforms. Although the way they've been slagging off the NHS over there, I presume she's not a Republican. She was actually a very nice young lady, and as a doctor in training, she probably knows more than I do about virtually every part of the body. But not the retinas. Oh no. I spent forty-five minutes answering the girl's questions and showing her photos (of eyes, not Amelie), and it was all very enjoyable. There's something deeply satisfying about being looked up to by someone with five A*s at A-level.

With one international exchange student well and truly educated, I was promptly given another. This one was British, and only looked about two years older than Amelie. It was like spending half an hour with Doogie Howser MD. I was going to say that to her, before realising that she probably hadn't been born when that show was on TV. At which point I shed a silent tear and wondered where my life's gone.

Anyhoo, the best part of it all was that I had to sign their official training logbooks to say that they'd sat in on one of my clinics and I'd instructed them in the dark arts of retinopathy. So when they sit their finals in a few years time, and stand on the brink of being qualified doctors, they'll be able to look back on those records and see that they learnt everything they know about retinas from me. And when they fail those exams, they'll know who to blame.