"I'm 56 years old," I told my MSF recruiter, "and I want to do this while I still have the mind, body, and spirit for it." After just over twenty years of practicing medicine, this is my first MSF mission. What took me so long? Ten years of full-time hospital work, always part-time rural emergency medicine in addition, publishing a book on quitting smoking, part-time assistant heli-ski guide, locum work in Nunavut, occupational medicine and urgent care in Alberta's oilsands, mountaineering at home in the Canadian Rockies, a director of Medical Mercy Canada and volunteering time on the Thai-Burma border, annual motorcycle tours, fixing headgaskets on Paula's Subaru, ship's doctor in the Antarctic and Arctic with Quark Expeditions, renovating the home in Canmore, etcetera. No, no kids, no pets, no worries on that score.

I took to the sea at three, emigrating from England with my mother and two brothers on board the RMS Nova Scotia. After graduating high school in French in Montreal I took about eight years off, learned to weld and work metal, and served as a Group Leader with Canada World Youth in Indonesia and Sri Lanka before completing undergraduate studies in Biology and Psychology. Medicine followed, and then all of the above, and suddenly here I am. Good to go.

Listen to Simon on Everyday Emergency, the MSF podcast

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