Our last morning in Glasgow started early so we could catch our 6:45 am flight to Norwich through Manchester. The taxi arrived at 5:15 am and we got to Glasgow airport with enough time to grab a small breakfast. Thankfully our flights were uneventful and we touched down in Norwich a little after 10:00 in the morning.
We were met at the airport by Jo Nolan, wife of Mr. John Nolan, one of the consultants in Norwich. She drove us to the hospital where we met our guide, Amresh Singh. Amresh is the current hip fellow in Norwich. He’s a lovely chap with a real inquisitive mind about how things work in the United States.
Amresh took us to clinic to see a real, live NHS clinic in action. The consultant in clinic, Mr. Jim Wimhurst had a collection of radiographs ready to review with us. By this point it was nearly lunch time and Amresh took us to the hospital canteen.
After lunch we finally got the chance to meet Mr. Nolan, and he was certainly worth waiting for. His easygoing charm and friendly smile immediately made us feel right at home. We sat in his clinic and reviewed several of his talks on topics like complex primary total hips, treatment of periprosthetic fractures, experience with metal-on-metal total hips, and the results of femoral and acetabular impaction grafting. He had a tremendous wealth of fascinating cases, and such a wonderful way of presenting them. Finally, he gave us a brief presentation on Norwich itself. He displayed such pride in the town he now calls home, it was charming to see.
When we had finished in his office we went to the McKee Room for a conference with the whole department. Michael and I gave our presentations, like we had done in London at the BHS meeting. They were attentive and asked great questions, despite us going over our time. After our presentations they showed us some challenging cases and we all discussed what to do. These conferences are always amazing in that they highlight the variety of approaches and options for treating hip disease.
When the case presentations finished, John drove us (and his middle son, George) back to his house, where we would stay for the night. He had also planned a barbecue for us, and everyone from the department was invited. It also turned out to be the birthday of John’s youngest son, Archie. We had great conversation, shared jokes, ate, drank, and sang happy birthday. After too much food, cakes, and English bitters, everyone headed home. The rest of us helped tidy up before heading inside.
John had one more treat for Michael and I before bed. He fetched his finest glassware, a few sets of scotch stones, and took us to enjoy some of his scotch collection. As we sipped he took us around his home, an old vicarage in the Norwich countryside that he believes was built back in the 1600s. He and Jo have done major renovations on the home over the last 20 years, but I couldn’t help but stand in awe at the thought that this home was older than my home country. As John said, “you don’t own a house like this. You simply look after it for a few years, and then pass it on.”