6.30am I get up, do a quick workout using the Fitbit app on my phone, and make the coffee for Rosie and I. Our kids are waking just as I’m leaving the house. I walk to the hospital every day. It’s great for clearing the head first thing in the morning. 7.30am I arrive in the operating theatre, change into scrubs, check my equipment, and prepare the drugs for the first patient. Every day is different. I could be doing plastic surgery one day, maxillo-facial the next and general surgery the day after that. 8.30am Usually, I’ve met the patient before in the pre-anaesthetic assessment clinic but if not, I’ll take a medical history and discuss the anaesthetic options. Almost every patient is nervous about ‘the needle’ but being a regular blood donor, I know exactly what it feels like, so I’m able to reassure them and having done it thousands of times at this stage, it’s over in seconds and they’re safely asleep for their surgery. Anaesthesia is like flying a plane. Taking off and landing require the most skill but even in the air, there’s a lot of dials to watch. You have to maintain vigilance at all times. On Wednesdays, I run the pre-anaesthetic assessment clinic instead of working in theatre. This is where I see patients who are scheduled for major surgery or who have serious medical issues. These patients require a more detailed interview and physical examination as well as monitoring and further investigations. Before or after the clinic, I’ll attend meetings of various hospital committees of which I’m a member, like the Blood Transfusion Committee. 1pm Lunch is usually eaten very quickly between cases in the tea room in theatre, but on Wednesdays, I get to enjoy a great coffee and sandwich at Dukes in Citygate. Living in Melbourne for five years has made me very discerning about my coffee and Dukes is one of the best. 6pm My theatre list/clinic has usually finished at this stage and I’m heading home. After dinner, I love playing board games with my three children, Emily, 10, Ben, seven, and Tom, three. After that, it’s story time, they’re off to bed and then Rosie and I join each other in front of the TV.
“Anaesthesia is like flying a plane”