Well, it appears I am much in demand at work, due to the fact that there are no other bank secretaries to cover for holidays and sickness anymore… there’s only me! Adverts have been placed in the community, but nobody has enquired. It keeps me in work though, as in just one week I have been typing for Dermatology, Gastroenterology and Neurology, and now Oncology want me next week. I have a veritable lexicon of medical terminology that has accumulated inside my head, but not being clinically trained I only know what some of the words mean. However, as a reward for my labours, after 15 years as a medical secretary I now find that I can usually answer most medical questions on University Challenge and Mastermind!

There are just 2 years left before I finally retire, hang up my headphones, and say goodbye to all the people I’ve got to know in the hospital over the years. I started off as a Grade 2 ward clerk back in 2002 and worked on a general medical ward for 3 years, and some stories of my time there I detailed in my novel ‘A Rather Unusual Romance‘. After time off for a thyroidectomy my voice was weak and I could no longer answer the phone on the ward, and so was re-deployed and promoted to a Grade 3 medical secretary. In this job I just had to type clinic letters and not answer the phone. When my voice improved I was promoted again to a Grade 4 personal assistant and stayed a Grade 4 until 2017 when I needed to have extensive radiotherapy. Once recovered I elected to work part time as a Grade 3 again as my voice had been damaged further.

The hospital have been good to me… not only have they allowed me time off to have treatment, I have also learned a wealth of medical terms through typing letters for many departments which has taught me various ways to hopefully improve my old age. In Dermatology I learned the importance of using sunscreen and how to recognise sun damage from a melanoma. In Pain Medicine I learned how important it is to keep moving and to keep muscles toned, and to avoid taking long term opioid medication. In Ophthalmology I found out more about my dry eyes and what ointments to use. In Respiratory I discovered the poor quality of life that patients end up having who continue to smoke or vape for year after year. In Cardiology I found out how important it is not to become obese; in fact, the common denominator affecting the majority of patients in all these departments is …. obesity.

And to summarise? Here’s the truth: I can honestly say that to keep your weight down and not to smoke are the main keys to a happy old age. There are other keys too such as having family and friends around you, but after nearly 20 years of working in a hospital I have learned the hard way what not to do, lol.