The First Day In New Home

The First Day In New Home

Most people remember the first day they spent in a new home having  to mix with new neighbours, getting used to new lay out, and new routine. One may go through different emotional stages, such as excitement, stress, sadness and relief on sitting down and relaxing in a new house. Unlike others, a medical doctor with an instinct for exploration moves in more frequently in view of the career progression and job opportunities. In this blog I shall explore my emotions on starting life in a new home in the course of my taking up new jobs. 

 It is exciting to meet new people, use modern gadgets and live in a new lay out. But it is stressful to check meter reading, to locate electricity, gas and water controls, internet set up, to get to know the local provision shops, and to learn the working of new appliances in the house/flat. It is a statutory responsibility of the new occupant to inform authorities about the change in address. On the moving in day, we will be busy with instructing removal staff where to keep each carton or furniture. I normally write down what is there inside the cartons to help me to keep cartons in the corresponding rooms. 

 I recall the day in April 1975, when I moved into my first house, at Nooranad, Kerala India. The accommodation was provided by Carmelite nuns, for working in their hospital. That was a newly constructed house in the midst of a coconut tree plantation. I  noticed mongoose running around the house and Rajan, the handy man who  took me around warned me that there were poisonous snakes around too. To add horror, Rajan also mentioned that the ghost of a man who hanged himself on the nearby cashew tree would be lurking in the plantation. Just opposite the accommodation, there was a government leprosy hospital. As I was getting food from the convent, the first day was not too bad.  

The next job, was in Udumbannoor, Thodupuzha, Kerala and I was provided with accommodation within the family house of the owner where I mixed with everyone in the house. On the first day, the doctor whom I was relieving played poker with me. Since there was no extra bed, I had to sleep on the floor. The next job was at Sultan Bathery, and the doctor who owned the hospital put me in a cheap hotel room without attached toilet. At the onset there was a stench of dampness and mold in the room. I left the job on the following day, as  I was feeling  gloomy there.  

In my previous blogs, I briefly touched upon my life in Nigeria. My employer Mbadiwe took me to a three bedroom modern looking hospital quarters. Luckily I was provided with a cook/steward, called Dickson, who served me English style food. I was disappointed with lack of clean water and 24 hour electricity. Although, hospital vehicles were available, initially I did not get a car for my own use as the authorities had promised. There was no television or radio and there was nothing in the house to engage with. I felt crestfallen on the first day due to extreme loneliness. However challenging was that first day, my inner feelings persuaded me to be there for very long time to come.  

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Since arriving in the UK, I worked in various hospitals. Junior doctors were provided a free room or a house at subsidised price. These accommodations were fully furnished and maintained good standard. Initially doctors were provided with free milk and bread. Doctors common room was having television, news papers, and some were having snooker tables. In addition, the company of other doctors made life less boring. But to get access to the accommodation was difficult, especially if one arrived late in the evening. One need to go to medical staffing or porters lodge to get the keys. Some hospital medical staffing provided pin number for number lock for opening the main door of the flat. Sometimes the doctors accommodation would be far from the hospital with poor lighting, and then it would be difficult to read the flat numbers of quarters in the evening.  

Once I was put in a flat in Redditch hospital where the other occupier kept a fierce Rottweiler dog. On my entry into the flat, the dog pounced on me and ripped my shirt, although the owner kept calling ‘Siggy’ (later I learned it was named after Sigmund Freud, the eminent psychiatrist) to release me. Luckily, except lifelong trauma and disdain for dogs, I have not had any physical injury. I asked the owner to keep the dog on leash, as I was supposed to attend calls even in the night. On another occasion, while arriving at the flat at about 10pm,I was unable to open the main door with number lock pin, as the medical staffing  put a wrong pin on the appointment letter. I was forced to spend a few hours inside the car on a cold day.  

In 1990s, I was driving an automatic blue Rover car, and arrived at North Shield Hospital at about 08.00 am from Blackpool to take up a new job. Normally I lock the Rover car, by lifting the flap of the door handle and shutting the door, while making sure the keys were in my pocket. But due the excitement, I forgot to remove the car key from the starter and locked the car. I rushed to the hospital, while the engine was running, and rang AA breakdown service. After two hours AA  broke open the drivers side door to stop the engine. Then I had to fix the door, in the evening. As such the first day was a disaster. My first day experience in the accommodation provided by King Khalid Military Hospital, Jeddah was different. The hospital staff collected me from Jeddah airport and I was accommodated in a five star hotel. The life in Saudi Arabia was dreary, where there was no social life and freedom of expression. Within a few days I resigned and landed back in the UK.  

After the completion of purchase of our first house in London, we drove from Blackpool, collected the keys from the estate agents at Welling, London. When we arrived, the house was not ready for occupation. My family with two children waited in the car for over two hours to get the house vacated. By then it was dark. At last the seller, Towells welcomed us into the new house bidding  ‘enjoy the house” comment. There was no furniture, and we all tumbled  on the carpet in the main bedroom. After five years, we moved to the current house in 1996. There was not only no furniture, but also no carpet even on the stair-case. Therefore after eating Chinese takeaway, five of us slept on the hard floor board dreaming for a bright future!

Looking back, there are customary routines in every moving on the first day in a new accommodation. I always keep a list of things to be done on the following day. For essential items, certain cartons ought to be unpacked without delay. If the moving in is during the day time, I always knock on the next door neighbours and introduce myself to them. First night in the new home with the smell of new paint and new lay out can be daunting and even a bit scary experience. Yes, the first day in a new home is an unforgettable  experience in life.

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Dr.C.J.George FRCS

This blog is about my experience as a doctor working in various countries in different clinical set up. This experience spans through 45 years, in which I acquired a lot of favourable contacts and unfavourable encounters. I shall dig deep into them and make it interesting to the readers. Unlike others in the profession, I worked as a community medical officer in a remote areas, prison medical officer, benefit service medical officer, in cardiac surgery in prestigious institutions and as a private doctor. I was managing my own businesses, and real estate in three continents. I hope the information I impart will be valuable to the like minded readers.

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