His behaviour was becoming increasingly atrocious. He would kick, bite and refuse to do what he was told. He was always answering back and when there were females present his interest in them became embarrassingly obvious. It was clear that surgery was the only answer.
On the appointed day getting him sedated was a nightmare. However finally the needle slipped into the vein and the midazolam hit the spot followed by an appropriate slug of local anaesthetic. The procedure was a bit of a struggle, but after a few minutes the vet tossed the first testicle onto the stable floor, followed shortly by the second and the operation was deemed a success.
As the vet rinsed the gelding irons under the tap I showed the ‘orchids’ to a couple of builder’s lads who happened to be on site. One of them went pale and muttered “poor little bugger”, while the other reflexly placed his hands across his crotch in a defensive manner.
Over the next few weeks as the surging hormones abated our would-be little stallion metamorphosed into a sprightly co-operative gelding. (He has just been broken and is now up for sale, 12.2 New Forest, chestnut, suitable for an enthusiastic young rider. So if you are interested…Sorry Ed, but I couldn’t resist a free advert.)
Over the years politicians of all parties have regarded the medical profession with a great deal of suspicion. We are potentially a powerful testosterone-fuelled bunch, and they know it! I heard Ken Clarke, currently justice secretary but previously health secretary, remark on Radio 4 that the doctors were the hardest group he ever had to deal with.
The last time that there was serious confrontation involving industrial action was the junior doctors’ dispute in 1975 when Barbara Castle was in charge. The issues were pay, working conditions and a contract which would result in juniors working excessive overtime for 30% of basic pay (which would not arise in these EWTD days). It is argued that the industrial action was, in fact, counter-productive (although it is rumoured that we made Mrs Castle cry) but I prefer the personal account given by Dr Paul Goddard in his highly enjoyable polemic, The History of Medicine, Money and Politics.
But I am astounded that the current pension proposals, well outlined by the HCSA and more recently by the BMA have not roused the profession to utter fury. Since every penny of the huge increase in contributions will go simply to pay off the government deficits, it is in effect an additional super-tax on doctors. It is not even a stealth tax, it is quite blatant!
Yet when I speak to juniors about this it is clear that many have given the matter little if any thought. But to be fair I suppose it is hard to focus on pensions when it is 40 years in the future (or even longer under the proposed changes). Among many of my consultant colleagues there seems to be a feeling of quiet resignation; it is going to happen whatever we do so why waste time and energy making a fuss. Others quite clearly have fingers in their ears, tightly shut eyes and head deeply buried in the sand. But when the brown stuff hits the pay packet I suspect that many will be deeply shocked.
For those within ten years of retirement the proposed ‘protection’ of existing rights seems designed to ensure that they will not rock the boat and risk losing all. And those who, following the pensions ‘choice’ exercise last year, decided to stay in the 1995 scheme with a view to retiring at 60 will suddenly wake up to the fact that the goalposts have shifted, and not in their favour.
It has long been the dream of our political masters to apply the metaphorical gelding iron to our professional nether regions, and I am becoming increasingly concerned that they have succeeded.