London! The financial centre of the world. A city bustling with life, teeming with people from all walks of life, headed towards all sorts of destinies. A metropolis full of excitement, dreams, possibilities, adrenaline--
-- and one clueless medical student who can't read a Tube map to save his life. (Literally. Who knew that chavs liked to beat up clueless-looking people wandering around in Cambridge University hoodies? And why the hell did they call me a "toff"? I don't even like toffee. --Ed.)
So I'm in London, situated at a top teaching hospital and finally in the thick of the good ol' socialist NHS. For simplicity's sake (and because I have fewer comedy ideas than Will Ferrell on a good day), I shall refer to my hospital as Stalingrad General Hospital from now on. (refer to above mind-bogglingly brilliant Photoshopped picture. Who needs sex when you have Photoshop? Who's with me? Huh? HUH? No not you David Schwimmer, you're just ugly. --Ed.)
Two months into clinical school, I have managed to acquaint myself with nearly every personality of note (and their respective bootprints, which have all become very good friends with my ass) in Stalingrad General, and for simplicity's sake (and because I have fewer comedy ideas than Prince Philip on a really, really good day) I shall refer to them all as they appear in the following Who's Who in Stalingrad General Hospital:
Komrade Professor - Our Professor of Medicine, in charge of the integration of Oxbridge transfer students into a "proper" medical school (read: teaching us poor pre-clinical sods how to hold a stethoscope properly.) Literally looks like a tanned version of Rowan Atkinson, complete with biting wit and a glare that makes you feel like Mr Bean presenting a chest x-ray.
Komrade Konsultant - Supreme Overlord of his medical specialty, and at the direct opposite end of the hospital food chain from me. I'll use this title for whoever's in charge of teaching me at the moment (read: bossing me around a bit, pretending they care about medical training, then disappearing faster than George W. Bush's approval ratings when I approach them for teaching).
Komrade Konsultant Surgeon - The consultant surgeon in charge, whenever I have the fantastic misfortune to be on a surgical specialty instead of a medical one. A heckuva lot more scarce than the medical variety, but (as any medical student will tell you) worse than medical consultants. A lot worse. (And hey, how appropriate will this picture be when I start Respiratory Surgery?)
Komrade Klinikal Skills Tutor - THE poor bastard in charge of teaching us poor bastards how to hold a stethoscope properly. Loses hair faster than John McCain lost the election. Probably got the job in return for a foreign work permit or because he got caught stealing cookies from Komrade Professor's personal tin. Either way, I pity the man. (And so will you, once you hear what we've done to him. --Ed.)
So there we go - a small sampling of the crazy characters perpetrating the wide-screen madness that goes on daily at my clinical school. (Boy, the stories I have for you! And I haven't even introduced the nurses yet.) Stay tuned*!
*Anybody (and I mean ANYBODY) who makes the ol' tuning-fork-neurological-exam joke at this point gets to be the first subject in my clinical trial to test whether humans can feel tuning-fork vibrations in the inner rectum, okay?