Newcastle to Glasgow

After yesterday’s early morning emails in Newcastle I begin my drive to Glasgow, shooting West across the country via Hexham, along the side of Hadrian’s Wall and then North on the M6 and into Scotland.
The storm forecasts for the day are accurate and as I climb in altitude and latitude the surroundings look like a scene from “Twister” with foliage and rubbish (if not sheep and cows) whirling around and high-sided vehicles all over the road.
By the time I reach Glasgow, the wind has been replaced by torrential rain that carries on for the rest of the day.
My first stop is at the offices of Isoplan, where we hold a detailed meeting to discuss joint marketing plans for 2007. We have an idea that will be Bold, Outrageous and Provocative and we think it will create a stir – as well as helping many practitioners. You’ll have to watch this space for details – our idea will not break surface until after Easter – but if you work in UK dentistry, you’ll notice!
From there to Southern General Hospital to visit with John Barry just three weeks after his surgery. John has had a life-threatening tumour removed which stretched from his throat around to the base of his brain. To remove the tumour, his surgeon has to move his jaw bone, his tongue and most of his throat out of the way and then rebuild the whole lot.
I”m no healthcare professional and I don’t understand the mumbo-jumbo. But what I do know is that my heart skipped a beat when I arrived in John’s ward and saw him prostrate on the bed with his arms across his chest and his eyes closed.
Then one eye opened – he muttered something about “nice to see you you xxxx” and then popped off the bed, clipped onto his portable drip and walked me around the back of the ward and into a consult room that the nurses now call “John’s office”.
There, we broke all the rules, chatting about his op, about his overall experience, about work and laughing until it hurt him.
The man is inspirational – as somebody said a few weeks ago “John has cancer – I pity the cancer”.
He has filled 3 notebooks with a diary and musings, has suggested improvements in protocols for the ward he occupies, terrorised the nurses (with that glint in his eyes still there) and even interrupted a nurse removing staples from his arm graft, demonstrating to her how to do it properly and finishing them off himself.
I left John after an hour of fun feeling humbled by my preoccupation with my own problems.
John will be back – watch out.
After a horrendous 90-minute drive to return 4 miles into town, I changed and attended a working dinner with the FGDP at the very excellent Malmaison hotel in town. A private room, wonderful food, 2 of the best vodka martini’s I’ve tasted in months, stimulating conversation – and then an early night.
I present to 110 dentists this morning and they are joined by 150 VT’s (freshly baked dentists) this afternoon. I’m in the mood to end the week well so let’s hope we can have a blast today.


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.