Although I am retired, I still receive the British Medical Journal every week and feel slightly guilty if I do not at least tear off the plastic cover before I throw it into the recycle bin... By taking off the plastic cover I am conforming to the recycling rules for paper of course, not really pretending to have read it. (Although I often have a quick look at the obituaries page to see if I recognise anyone and also to see which age group is falling off their perch. I am slightly reassured that dates of birth after 1939 do not appear too regularly in those columns.)

I have given up reading the advertisements for medical posts available, although I find them intriguing – particularly those promising opportunities in foreign countries. I have obviously missed any chance that I might once have had to take up a post in the Australian outback, or one offering a fabulous salary in the Gulf. But it still allows me to dream. (I think that I would have been quite out of my depth had I ever decided to take up such a position, and would have hated it.)

The specialist journal that I still read, BAPRAS, still intrigues me. It is fascinating to see how practise has changed in the decade since I retired. For example, the use of beta-blockers in the treatment of congenital haemangiomas. How did anyone discover this possibility? Was it the result of a mistaken drug administration, or what? Other advances have arisen through careful dissection of the blood supply of skin, flaps allowing the further development of muscle perforating flaps, fascial flaps and others, which have increased the success rate of reconstructive surgery. Advances such as these make me wistfully long to still be clinically involved... I wouldn’t hate that!


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