Back in the day I never wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to be a vet, and I missed out by one point…I loved the old James Herriot books and I love dogs. But I’m so glad that I did go to medicine. I became more attuned to it as I went, and it’s something I’ve never regretted not for one moment.
I did my internship at Geelong. Back then that was a hotly contested internship if you wanted to be a GP: they had a really good GP training program, and it was a big hospital that could take care of people with all sorts of common problems.
I remember weeping as an intern, just with sheer exhaustion. This is where your listeners will be rolling their eyes as he tells his war story. (puts on his best voiceover for comedic effect) Back in the day… (reverts to his normal voice) when you were on call for Dr. Barrett’s medical unit in Geelong, you’d pick up your beeper at 8 o’clock on the Friday morning to start receiving medical patients, and you would hand it in on Tuesday at 6pm, not having being off duty from Friday morning to Tuesday evening. That was just brutal.
Those were the days of being blooded as an intern - if you can’t hack it, get out - that sort of thing. I’m so proud of your generation and I wish ours had the guts to do it. To stand up and say - This is not appropriate. This is not the way I’ll practice. This is no good for our patients. It’s like being drunk at work to be that tired; to be weeping just with the sheer desperation of having to admit another patient.
The good days were living in Ocean Grove as an intern, buying one of the first windsurfers in Australia, and pounding across the waters of Lake Connewarre on an afternoon off just because I could.
Or getting dressed up and going out to spend our first paycheck in one of the best restaurants in Geelong. You’ve got to promise me that you will do that! That’s tradition. Well it is now.
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