When I say that I fleetingly think about the drive home, it’s not because I’m counting down the hours until I finish. I’m thinking more along the lines of, “I am knackered. How am I going to drive home without crashing into a tractor or something?” You start to think about your own mortality. It’s not a baseless fear – 57% of doctors in the position have said they’ve had an accident or near-miss. When I first started working in north Wales I lived around 25 minutes away from the hospital, requiring a run home on the A55. It’s full of fast-moving trucks, and negotiating those after a set of nights is possibly one of my most terrifying experiences. All my car windows were open, whatever the weather, the radio was on loud and I was forcing myself to sing along to every single song. I’d crawl at 40mph to the annoyance of everyone, because I didn’t trust myself to stay awake – and if I did crash then at least speed wouldn’t be a factor in the trauma I might suffer or bring to someone else. I’d pull over, try to cat nap – whatever it took to get home intact. I moved closer because the fear of that drive home was mounting and I guessed it would be only a matter of time before there was an accident. The nightshifts were exhausting and as the A&E registrar in charge of the shop floor, the pressure was relentless. By 8am I was a ghost of myself.You poor thing! You must be exhausted, and have no time to...
I have a dual career – as a doctor and a film-maker/journalist.You've got time to write columns for 'CiF' and make films for every leftie cause going?
When I am working a late shift within the media I will be entitled to a taxi home. There will be hot food available somewhere in the building and plenty of breakout spaces to grab a rest. The following day, when working a nightshift in A&E, where I’ll be responsible for patients, making life-or-death decisions and possibly not sitting down for 10 hours, I won’t have the same facilities.Then you know which career suits you best, don't you?
Before training to be a doctor I was an army officer and yet again, facilities existed to ensure comfort after hard work.You've had a lot of roles in life. Is it because you're eternally dissatisfied with your lot?