Poor biological material?

srgry02Hearing’s not great. Euston-station tube orifices are patulous. Left tympanic membrane has a large retraction pocket (medics will understand). I blame all this on glugging too much cows’ milk when I were a lad. Cows’ milk is snot- and allergy-inducing poison. My left retina became detached about 10 years ago and an attempt to stick it back on failed so my left eye is useless. And, now, oh joy oh rupture, I’ve got suspected glaucoma on the right.

So off we trot to ophthalmology outpatients. I’ve joined the ranks of the shuffling Zimmer frames, the arthritics, the blue rinse cardys (that’s the men), and the even-more-obese-than-me. Interesting to note how many patients bring the family with them for a day out. Put me in mind of families checking in at Heathrow for flights to the far east, with mountains of luggage.

If I weren’t already a member, I’ve joined the ranks of the poor biological material. This highly politically correct phrase was much used by us medical students to describe those whose inheritance, life circumstances or personal choices left them just a bit—how shall I put this?—poor biological material. The ‘strawberry jam complexion’ (my term) was a pretty good indicator of a diet rich in white bread and sugar. Of course, there isn’t a machine that measures this, so as a diagnostic tool it’s limited.

Sitting in the ophthalmology waiting room and having exhausted the stamp collecting magazine (5 seconds) and Woman’s Weekly (let’s say 10), I was pondering the differences between the general population in Ireland and England. Here are my preliminary observations.

The Irish are healthier and look more alive. They are closer to the earth—many of them work on the land—and so are more physically active. They are less obese. There are fewer mobility scooters in Ireland, in fact I don’t remember having seen one in 19 years there. Can their burgeoning presence here be put down simply to the popularity of Benidorm?

Why not tell people to take up their beds and walk? There is precedent for this, I understand. Give them all a gym subscription and make them go at least three times a week. Think of the savings on arthritis, joint replacements, mobility scooters, diabetes, obesity and more. Then they too could have a body like mine. It won’t do much for eyes and ears though.

5 thoughts on “Poor biological material?

  1. I second Irina! You cut an imposing figure upon the stairs in the anatomy room.
    Sadly it was locked behind a keypad during my recent nostalgic visit to college.

  2. Prof, Ireland misses you!!!! I dont know how medical could possibly learn anatomy without you!!!
    just some comments from RCSI facebook today!
    nal canal 👍👍👍
    Like · Reply · 2 · 3 hrs
    Airena Salsation Zumba Seremban
    Airena Salsation Zumba Seremban Where is he now?
    Like · Reply · 3 hrs
    5 Replies · 58 mins
    Nadia Hanom Ishak
    Nadia Hanom Ishak He explains the cranial nerves like he lives in the skull 👍👍
    Like · Reply · 3 · 2 hrs
    Barry Boilson
    Barry Boilson Alice in Wonderland in the pterygopalatine fossa..
    Unlike · Reply · 7 · 2 hrs
    1 Reply
    Hilmi Lockman
    Hilmi Lockman I so remember that line!
    Like · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs
    Abdulla Al Naqi
    Abdulla Al Naqi No one could walk down from the office up in the anatomy lab, with a sandwich in his hand. Then look at us struggling with the hand. He puts the sandwich on the cadaver. Cracks the hand separating it from the arm. And pick up the sandwich to finish his food. He was a great teacher
    Like · Reply · 4 · 2 hrs
    Badariah Ahmad
    Badariah Ahmad How about this…..Does anybody need a hand with the dissection?? And promptly thr@w$ the specimen to the unsuspecting ting medical student 😁😁😁
    Like · Reply · 1 · 1 hr
    Ata Mazaheri
    Ata Mazaheri One of the best things that happened to me was being his student.
    Like · Reply · 1 hr
    Maire Dumbleton
    Maire Dumbleton Brilliant at Anatomy and Music! One of the best.
    Like · Reply · 1 hr
    Yi Wang
    Yi Wang Alanna Leela Crawford read the comments. Monkhouse is a legend.
    Like · Reply · 57 mins
    Gregory A. Alouf
    Gregory A. Alouf A true Giant!! I am hard pressed to remember a professor that had such a positive impact on so many students. Many are so grateful for this amazing man! He made learning fun, and “scary” at times. Everyone was at full attention was in the room. I…See More
    Like · Reply · 1 · 57 mins
    Ravinderjit Sandhu
    Ravinderjit Sandhu A great tribute to RCSI
    A lifelong memory to those who had the honor of being his pupil
    Like · Reply · 36 mins

    • You are all very kind. I don’t know what to say except thank you. I always said that however effective I was as a teacher was the result of my learning from mistakes and students. Love to all!

  3. Are you OK? You’re being “nice” to the oirish! 🙂
    Cows milk is wonderful, do you know what I mean. 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s