“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
I am now visiting beautiful Alexandria for a few days, Also know as the
'Pride of the Mediterranean'. Of course Alexandria has an amazing history that spans all the ancient civilisations and was home to one of the ancient seven wonders of the world, the first lighthouse of the World, the “Pharos of Alexandria” which once stood at a then unheard of 400 feet. Nothing is now left from this opulent and most imposing structure. But against all the odds, this wonder was able to live till the 15th century despite the daily assault of salt and water corrosion of the not so calm sea! But, the site now has a famous citadel built by Qi'et Bey, of the Memlok era and it too is a beautiful structure so, all is not lost.
Alexandria also once housed the largest library in the ancient world containing up to 1,000,000 papyrus scrolls and codexes. It was founded during the reign of Ptolemy II of Egypt following the creation of a museum by his father Ptolemy I on the same spot. The library was major centre of research and learning but Legend has it that Ptolemy III greatly increased the library's collection by decreeing that all visitors to the city must surrender all books and scrolls in their possession which were then swiftly copied by the library’s scribes for the collection.
The library, or parts of its collection, was destroyed several times in its history by fire,
these include mathematical treasures by the likes of Pythagoras, Socrates .. etc. Who knows what our modern civilisation have been like if the knoweledge lost in the fire was saved ... Anyway ... a new library has now been built in the same place and it too, is one of the biggest libraries in the world.
Modern Alexandria is a very relaxed but also a vibrant city with it's on unique personality.
Like Cairo it is a safe and visitors always have lots to do either during the day or indeed,
the night. It also houses one of the most beautiful palaces of King Farouq, the last king of
Egypt and this is now as well as it's beautiful gardens and exquisite beaches are open to the public .. who can afford them. . I am staying with a few of my cousins but when you are in Alexandria, you don't sit in doors and so ... we're all out .. having the most amazing fish meal ever! .. It's a restaurant on a little cliff by the sea and the fishermen are stood beneath in the water with baskets containing whatever they caught ... still live .. you simply choose what you like and the restaurant buys it there and then and it gets cooked for you how you like it ... and the garlic sauce for that monstrous grilled lobster is out of this world! Honest! ... yum! .. I've no idea how am I going to get used to a chocolate bar for lunch again soon .... :-)
Oh beautiful, beautiful Alexandria ...
... and that beautiful September sea breeze ...
... and James Blunt is singing ...
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Sunday, 28 September 2008
Posted by Sam
Thursday, 25 September 2008
“To get up each morning with the resolve to be happy... is to set our own conditions to the events of each day. To do this is to condition circumstances instead of being conditioned by them.”
I really like this quote above :) Because it's very true ... You have to work at being happy. If only those in charge of public health took this wisdom into account! No point in asking people to reduce their weight, stop smoking and drinking .. etc, when other policies cause so much stress! ... So, you try and prevent diseases caused by over eating, smoking and drinking only to replace them by mental diseases that have the potential to drive people over the edge, even end their own lives! .. And probably cost as much to treat as physical diseases .. if not more ..
I am nearing the end of my stay here in The Middle East .. It has been the longest holiday of my life but it was all worth it ... Lots of sunshine and plenty of people to meet and things to do .. and the people are much more relaxed despite the bigger economic problems they endure .. (A jar of 200g of Nescafe is 50 pounds in the local currency!) But, Families are still tightly knit, Neighbours still visit with a plate of something nice they may have prepared. Sons and daughters stay at home to keep the family unit until they get married, then regularly visit the family house and enjoy the company of their elders ... my own parents, as well as my living uncles .. etc .. still hold cultural evenings once every month or so, where a big number of extended family members attend and sit to read poetry, discuss a book, sing sometimes or just split into small groups talking about different things. And everybody flirts with everybody! .. So, you can't afford not to be in your best shape and form .. and dress! ... Because regardless of your age, there will always be a look, a smile or a few complimentary words for you from a member/s of the opposite sex ... I think you already know that I like that ... it always puts a smile on my face ... and there is no harm ... just good will among people ... and that's what matters .. good will, ya :-)
No need for psychotic medicines to drowse older people while there dignity is being attacked here as the majority are taken care of by the family ... My own parents, the reason why I stayed so long this year, are both over 80 and are extremely agile and very active .. They are both retired professionals who still live in the same place where I grew up as a child. Although they now live alone, they have a driver who works part time for them and gets all their shopping done as well as help them visit relatives, banks, official stuff .. etc. They also have a resident cleaner and a cook who comes twice a week and stacks the fridges with home cooked food for the whole week ... So, they both do not feel their age at all. My father who is a retired civil engineer is currently helping a cousin build a house on the outskirts of Cairo and visits the site at least 3 times a week. As for my mother, she still does the crosswords to perfection and still remembers all important dates, like births, marriages, deaths .. etc dates for the whole extened family! You know ... the other day my mother, after a little fight with my father over something really stupid, was thinking of asking him for a divorce! ... :-)
Then I think to myself .. in Britain, w're in the 'developed world ... the first world!' But, watch people's faces as they march to work every morning in the west. Everybody is so serious, as if they were all on the verge of having a heart attack! Do you see even 'one' person slowing their pace a little to look at the flowers when they first bloom early spring? Do they smile at each other and maybe say a few words to encourage and salute each other on the way to work? .. Gloomy faces ... and many gloomy lives ..... Stress!
Living in the west also recently feels like being in a petri dish .. Do this .. don't do that .. watch how you behave .. what you say .. what you eat, how you live your life ... etc, etc! AND, we're watched, suspected and accused at all times! The result? People are preoccupied by making money and are forgetting what joy of life means! .. Shame!
As for me, after spending all this time in the sun, I do feel like a 'storage heater' .. :-) .. I actually think I have enough warmth to last me for the whole of the British winter and, believe it or not, I actually miss the British weather! .... Maybe I should bring back a piece of the Middle East with me ... sell 'warmth!' .. bottle the sunshine like they bottle water everywhere the world now ... Maybe we should all start a new venture .. selling happiness awarness ... for free ..
"What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare."
'Prevention is better than cure"
Prevent disease ... laugh as long as you breathe and love as long as you live ...
Aspire to happiness ....... :-)
" You don't learn how to love from books. Love comes naturally to the heart then becomes a state of mind" .. my own thought
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
"The best way to know a person is to walk a mile in their shoes" Nelson Mandela
"So, my 'Lord' Darzi has this vision of how general practice should change. He knows because he has wandered around a few hand-picked practices in the country drowning the occupants in a sea of Irish Blarney. He's clever and well-connected, so of course he knows."
"Now, 'Lord' Darzi is reputed to be a clever man. So are they all, all clever men. Did they not realise that increased accessibility results in reduced continuity. You can't have both.
Anyway, now that you too are becoming a fan .... you are welcome to use some of my Lord D picture database for your future posts if you want. Included here are two nice ones to start you off ... :-)
And, everybody is still waiting to see what will become of all those fully qualified GPs currently driving taxis because they can't find proper jobs .. for one reason or another ... What a waste! ... Maybe if some of those polyclinics could be run as cooperatives, where all staff are considered owners like the John Lewis partneship for example .. they may gain more popularity and be able to employ all those young GPs as well as those qualifying in the future ... and maybe be able to provide some continuity of care at the same time ...
That said, I would like, from a patient perspective, to open the debate and discuss this 'continuity of care' issue please ...
I do not have a long term problem and so, I do not need to attend a doctor's surgery on a regular basis but say I did, would that have meant that I would have had to stay put in England for the sake of continuing my care with the same doctor? Instead of traveling abroad and choosing to stay for nearly three full months in the glorious and very theraputic sun? ... Or, like many people did before and will forever continue to do, just 'choose' to take a recent medical report about my condition/s and travel to where ever I want to go abroad, then continue my treatment with another doctor/s?
And, considering the continuing global rise in people's movement as well as medical tourism and the communications revolution, will 'continuty of care' continue to be as viable and as valid as it is today in the future?
Surely, 'continuty of care' is not meant to be a hinder to good living or freedom of choice?! Or, the phrase 'prevention is better than cure' becomes somewhat meaningless, right?!
And, I really like your Nelson Mandela quote above ... very wise ;-)
“It always seems impossible until its done.” Nelson Mandela :-)
Sunday, 21 September 2008
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
On latest tour to discuss the implmentation of his review .. KitKat, coffee and how many laptops boss? :)
The jobbing Doctor is one of my favourite medical bloggers and so, I read his varied input everyday and really enjoy the mix of subjects he writes about. Especially when he discusses real medical conditions that he meets in his practice everyday. Very informative and I got quite a good education out of his expertise, so, thanks JD :)
Then he posted this yesterday:
" I saw the latest reports about the headlong rush to Darzi polyclinics in London. Apparently the way in which training is being changed is designed to fit in with 'Lord' Darzi's big idea.
Darzi wants to change all of postgraduate training to facilitate his new idea."
I hope 'Professor' Colin-Thome, Dame Carol Black, 'Sir' Liam Donaldson and Professor Elisabeth Paice have thought these ideas through. Or are they happy to notch up another cock-up to their already impressive list of utter foul-ups?"
I am a supporter of Lord Darzi but only since his 'Desert Island Disks' appearance and the messages he included in his choices (Look for relevant posts here.) I am now a supporter because I trust in his ability and integrity as well as believe his reform is saving medical training in Britain, after the desperate situation junior doctors were in following the disasterous MTAS as well as the very ill thought MMC. Back in March 2008, the problem of the increase in medical schools intake was being discused and everyone was worried that this was designed to delibrately create medical unemployment to drive down wages through the introduction of fierce'competition' that threatened to ruin the careers of many a young doctor. Of course, anybody who cared about the juniors then thought and voiced their opinion that it was very unfair to introduce competition on this scale to doctors who are still in training and I was one o those who fiercely fought this stupid idea.
At the time, in an effort to find a solution that would save the excess doctors from ruin, Ara Darzi said that he would employ this excess in his Polyclinics without training .. but that caused an uproar and I was one who opposed too. Well, we still have the same problem and the man is saying that the increase in numbers will not be forgotten and will be trained while working in the community, hence an opportunity to aspire to excellence too! Where did he go wrong?! Do we prefer to see massive unemployment amongst the juniors very soon? Beginning from this coming recruitment session in 2009 and for the foreseeable future?
Is there is a better solution to the problem of increased medical schools intake? ... If so, please anybody and everybody put your ideas forward. Otherwise we should be thankful to Darzi for saving the young doctors who were going to be graduating straight to the skip or having to suffer the same fate only one or two years after graduating medical school. Or after a life long of hard work only to end up joining the dole queue!
And I do not think it is fair to lumber a man who has taken it upon himself to fix and heal with those who caused the mess which lead to the 2007 heartache and the many problems we face re doctor training today! This is unfair and is not right. What I know is that if someone tries to save me, then I too should be prepared to return the favour! Give and take, not just take only .. I personally believe that those opposing Lord Darzi are missing 'the' opporunity to rally behind a leader whom we trust and are sure is honest, willing to work hard and acts with integrity .. unlike many that we have seen the actions of lately!
And to be honest, I can't comprehend how can a 'doctor' of his intelligence be unable to understand general practice?!... as so many people have been saying including JD?! I also can't unerstand why the resistance to his ideas? Especially that there is no threat to good doctors from Darzi's clinics? And, is it good to keep the bad practices just to spite Darzi? .. why spite him instead of rally behind him and support him?!
Keep up the hard work boss :)
Described by the opposition as "an honest man amongst thieves"
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Monday, 8 September 2008
"Banish the ego and develop the spirit of surrender. You will then experience Bliss.”
My room in Cairo has a large window as well as it's own balcony. I never close the balcony door because I like to wake up to natural light and it won't get any better than this. It's wonderful to wake up every morning to the sound of birds singing, then open your eyes to the sight of the clear blue, blue sky and see the tree top directly outside my balcony fully drenched in the sun. It's also in bloom with clusters of beautiful crimson flowers sitting on top of the young light green leaves with the darker ones right beneath .... Amazing view ... and I wake up to all those birds singing ... every morning!
Well, today the birds woke me up at 6am. A few came and stood on my balcony .. then two of them just flew right in and stood on my mirror! They just marched in uninvited! .. I didn't want them to fly away so I kept very still but .... 5 minutes latter they were still there .. sang a bit too! .. so I just sat in bed .. and they stayed despite me moving! ... For another 15 minutes or so .... Bliss! ... then off the went! ... and guys, you're welcome in again ... anytime ... :-)
It's amazing how they never talk about the weather here ....
What do I say?!
... and good morning to you too oh you gorgeous, gorgeous little ones .... :-)
What a beautiful, beautiful day ...
“For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”
Sunday, 7 September 2008
What I live for
I live for those who love me,
Whose hearts are kind and true;
For the heaven that smiles above me,
And awaits my spirit too;
For all human ties that bind me,
For the task by god assigned me,
For the bright hopes yet to find me,
And the good that I can do.
I live to learn their story,
Who suffered for may sake,
To emulate their glory,
And follow in their wake,
Whose deeds crowd History's pages,
And Time's great volume make.
I live to hold communion,
With all that is divine,
To feel there is a union,
Twixst nature's heart and mine,
To profit by affliction,
Reap truths from fields of fiction,
And fulfil god's grand design.
I live to hail that season,
By gifted ones foretold,
When men shall live by reason,
And not alone by gold;
When man to man united,
And every wrong thing righted,
The whole world shall be lighted,
As Eden was of old.
I live for those who love me,
For those who know me true,
For the heaven that smiles above me,
And awaits my spirit too,
For the cause that lacks assistance,
For the wrong that needs resistance,
For the future in the distance,
And the good that I can do.
Oh Lord, save me ...
George Linnaeus Banks
"Supporting Dr Scot junior"
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
“Tell me I'm clever, Tell me I'm kind, Tell me I'm talented, Tell me I'm cute, Tell me I'm sensitive, Graceful and wise, Tell me I'm perfect-- But tell me the truth.”
You're not taking me seriously guys, all of the time, are you? .... Why Not?! ...
And, I haven't even seen that programme! I am still abroad .. and the sun is really hot here ... ;)
With best intentions as always
I am a proper fan :)