Week 4 - The Tropical Feast

29 Sep 2016

Peter Davey, DTMH September 2016

The fab four. The four seasons. The Four elements. The Four Tims. The four horsemen of the apocalypse (not related to the four Tims FYI). This blog starts with the number four.

For (the other kind) the intrepid voyagers of the DTM&H class of September 2016, the number four has taken on a special significance. Yes, that’s right, we have reached week four of the course. A whole month of brain strain, thought power and mental fortitude has brought us this far.

And what particular morsel was on offer this week? Week four brought us a hearty and ancient meal from the tropical disease world. Tuberculosis.

Sure the week began with an altogether different delicacy. Needs Assessment and Planning Tools was provided as a tasty starter, delivered in truly awesome style by none other than Axel Kroeger himself. And sure it was interesting, some might even say fun to plot Epidemic Curves (even if the author’s need to label axis correctly was ridiculed by his group). Some might even have gone so far as to have had a graph-themed photoshoot to treasure forever. And yes working out a problem tree turned out to be a fascinating insight into trying to break large problems down into their constituent causes.

But the real focus of the week was TB. We had TB for main course in the form of clinical features, seasoned with some epidemiology and a pinch of pathology. Condiments in the form of paediatric TB and TB meningitis ensured the dish covered all palettes.

A particularly tasty part of the week came in the form of group work, introduced by none other than head chef Bertie Squire himself. Once we had torn our eyes away from his splendid display of waistcoats we were put into crack problem solving teams. Chef Squire had impressed upon us the need to get to know each other before getting down to the nitty gritty of Public Health TB and it was great to find out a bit more about our classmates. Even though we had reached the magic four week mark, there was still much to learn.

For dessert it was an enriching trip to the Dagnall to perform smear microscopy and actually see the Mycobacteria with our own eyes (or at least try). It was sobering to think that such a small organism could cause so much suffering throughout the world. Food for thought indeed.

With our heads full of Smear microscopy, Gene Xpert, Multi Drug Resistance and treatment regimens, the cohort needed some other forms of nourishment to unwind.

The social event that was forefront in many people’s mind was the (in)famous L17 meal. We travelled from the restaurant of learning that is LSTM to an altogether different dining experience. Conflict of interest declaration: I benefitted both personally and gastronomically from this as I live in the Garner household as well as played a tiny part in preparation.  Those fortunate enough to live in the L17 made their way to Garner’s (almost) Michelin starred restaurant and bar for an incredible evening of food, drink and selfies. The food was amazing, the company even better and the athleticism of people playing the after eight game was…variable. Special shout out to Sous Chef/waitress/all-round good egg Jones for her technical assistance.

For those not fortunate enough to live in L17 there was a rival meal in another (inferior) part of town. Common consensus was that this was an equally raucous affair though this hasn’t been independently verified

Week 4 also saw the first touch rugby session of the season. As was to be expected, the DTM&Hers didn’t fail to bring their A game. In terms of other extracurricular activities football continues to be played, salsa continues to be danced, French continues to be spoken and climbing walls continue to be ascended.

As if the week wasn’t busy enough, the weekend brought more adventures. Snowdonia and the University of Liverpool activity base beckoned. Seventeen tropical heroes headed to North Wales for hills, hilarity and companionship. Organised fun in the form of “The cereal box game” quickly separated the flexible from the stiff, with particularly strong performances from Bendy Barnacle and Malleable Mulligan. Saturday brought an energetic walk, slightly hampered by gale force winds, followed by a frantic drive to Bounce Below, Wales’ premier site for jumping related shenanigans. Sunday brought the main event with the Heroes conquering all 1095 metres of Mount Snowden. Comfort zones were smashed. Fruit slices munched. Tropical shirts were worn (briefly). Storms weathered. Recommended volumes of water for the day stipulated. Recommended volumes of water for the day ignored. It was a cracking day and one that shall be remembered. Exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure.

So week four has come and gone. The tropical troopers have been sated both mentally and physically by what it has had to offer. Bring on week 5