Finally it was time to leave my little cottage in the woods and the three attention seeking feline tenants.
When signing up for the locum placement well before Christmas, I didn’t want to commit myself for more than a month to start with, just in case that the Nordic experience might not have turned out to be as great as it has been. This was not a problem, but the clinic in Falun had to make alternative arrangements for February and another colleague from the UK was on her way and she was looking forward to take over the responsibility for the cats and of course for the cottage as well…..
All my belongings had to be squeezed into the (no longer) white BMW and I realised that despite me living of porcini risotto with truffle oil from Italy, containers of apple juice from the Black Forest, sausages from the Alsace and wine from Austria and the Franken region in Bavaria, this had failed to free up any storage capacity. The fact that I had bought another set of skis and boots and had acquired a couple of new veterinary text books might have had to do with this……
Kumla is circa 200 km to the South of Falun, right in the middle between Stockholm in the East and Oslo in the West. The countryside here is less hilly and my chance for getting snow are reduced further.
However, here a busy veterinary hospital with circa 65 members of staff (2/3rds of the size of Falun) was waiting for me and instead of my little cottage, I now have a modern house on a lake which I am sharing with two other colleagues.
My new neighbor Peter is a petrol head being busy fitting tuned Volkswagen Beetle engines with 200+ BHP into beach buggies and he is the proud owner of an 8 kg + giant of a cat which understandably is ruling the neighborhood.
The team at the clinic in Kumla is more international than in Falun, with vets from France, Belgium, Romania, Australia and myself working alongside our Swedish colleagues. Once again I am blessed with a brilliant nursing team that is a delight to working together with.
Although I once again had to get used to a new computer system, it felt easier this time and I noticed that I have started to conduct more and more of my consultations in a mix of my resurfaced Norwegian and the native language. It just shows that the brain is very much like a muscle that can be trained, although it might be uncomfortable to begin with.
My work here is predominant emergency medicine, which includes presentations I have been less familiar with, like poly traumas due to wild boar attacks or lung oedemas in gun dogs.
Thankfully most patients have been luckier and are happy to stand for a photo.
Well, let’s see what the next three weeks will bring……