Friday, 15 January 2010

A diploma in smuggness

Have you ever had a monkey on your shoulder? This is a metaphorical monkey although if you go to Gibraltar I believe that real ones are all the rage. Anyhow my metaphorical monkey sits on my shoulder and flicks my ear, again and again and again... Then he whispers in my ear. Not sweet nothings but tells me about all the things I've neglected and should be doing. It's September 09 and metaphorical monkey (lets call him MM to save my repetitive strain injury (RSI in case I want to use this symptom again!)) is happily whispering in my ear "you remember that Implant Diploma at the Royal College of Surgeons, that you got so excited about, spent sooo much money on and used to work so hard at and have shelved whilst you build a new practice?,'ve built your new practice and now you have no excuse!"
"I know monkey but look at all these pencils that need sharpening or those paper clips that should be tidier in my draw and I haven't even checked the online weather forecast for over an hour..."
So that was it, excuses abandoned and a commitment to my imaginary primate that I would indeed complete the Diploma. Late nights and early morning were spent gathering photos, finding x-rays and collecting models so that I could present my 10 best cases to the examiners in London. Week after week went by until I reached submission day...and missed submission day.. but bless them a 2 day extension was granted. I've occasionally wondered why I have children however one Sunday afternoon as this child labour production line was putting documents into folders and sticking on page numbers it all made sense. Don't worry they are a savvy work force and excessive bribes and good working conditions were negotiated!
And that was it, they were gone. All 10 case submitted and out of my hands. All I had to do was wait and see if I had made it into the exam.
At last the call came and I was granted access to the final exam. The Holy of Holies..a 40 minute verbal exam at the Royal college of Surgeons. Oh well whats the worst that could happen?
Monday before the Friday exam. Phone call...
"Dr Murphy, 5 of your cases have been detained by US customs"
"Is that the 5 cases I was planning to topple and corrupt the free western world with or the 5 cases that have pictures of old ladies with plastic dentures in?"
When life gets too surreal it's best not to ask too many questions. Lets just say by 5am the following morning 5 of the deadliest terrorist inciting cases ever to threaten our democratic existence were reproduced for said examiners.
I better get Cheryl and Danni as my examiners I thought to myself as I approached the examination room.
Just my luck it was the dental worlds equivalent of Louis and Simon!
40 of the longest minutes later and I was out. Sweaty palms and a dry mouth that could only be rectified with a fermented beverage..or two.
One week later and the letter hit the mat. That sickky O' level (giving my age away) feeling was back again. PASSED. read it again and again. The feeling seemed to be more relief than ecstasy. However as I passed a mirror I did think
"God I look smug, but never again.......mind you that Fellowship looks interesting......."