Who am I?
I’m Bob Leckridge.
I am a medical doctor working in Scotland. As you might imagine from that small piece of information I’m interested in health. I was a General Practitioner from 1982 through to the end of 1995. Since 1996 I have been working at Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital. The holistic approach to patients there really suits me. One of the guiding principles of homeopathy is that every one of us is unique. The particular medicine a patient needs is based on their whole experience. It’s not selected just for the disease they have. One of the things I love about my work is the stories patients tell me. I have always loved stories and every single person I see tells me a new and unique story – a story I have to try and make sense of in order to help them make sense of their own lives.
Being interested in a holistic approach has led me to think a lot about health – what is it? How do we know when its there? How do we get it and keep it? Those kinds of questions. They aren’t easy questions to answer but they are really, really fascinating. My studies in this area have led me into philosophy, literature, history and science and I am especially intruiged by the connections between the scientific concept of the “Complex Adaptive System” and the philosophical ideas of Gilles Deleuze and Hans-Georg Gadamer.
I love reading. I am insatiably curious! And I love movies – the great narratives of our time. One of the other appeals of movies for me is their visuals. I love images and I really enjoy photography. That photo at the top of the blog is one I took standing on the platform of Stirling railway station early one morning. Movies appeal in a third way too – the music. I have a pretty big collection of vinyl albums at home and CDs too, but, you know, I can honestly say the ipod changed my life! I have my music collection with me everywhere and it is the soundtrack of my life.
The biggest changes in my life have been when Amy was born in 1978, Ross in 1981, then when Amy became a mum herself in 1998 (then again in 1999, and 2001!), and Ross became a dad last year. So now, I’m not just a dad, but a grandad. And I love that.
I’ve been married to Hilary since 1976 and she makes beautiful Artists Books.
I was asked by a fellow blogger why I blog and he liked my answer – here it is!
Why do I blog? Well, here’s the story.
During the year that I moved from being a GP to starting my present job at Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital I wrote a textbook on homeopathy entitled “Homeopathy in Primary Care” It was published by Churchill Livingstone and from that project on that publisher would ask me to do various things for them – book proposal reviews, brainstorming about medical textbooks, and so on. Those activities resulted in me building good relationships with some of their editors. I’ll come back to pick up that trail in a moment.
I travel to work by train. It takes an hour and so for two hours a day I have a bit of personal space and time to do what I want. What I usually want is to read and write (although on the way home often I sleep a bit!). I’ve always been a reflective doctor. I’m always thinking about how I work and about the patients I see. I read very widely because I am insatiably curious. A few years back a number my lines of thought came together (that’s the way my mind work – I’m always looking for links and parallels) and I had this idea for a different way to think about health – it was about holism vs reductionism really – anyway, to cut a long story short, I wrote the draft of a textbook called “Understanding Medicine” where I laid out these ideas. I let a few colleagues read it and the feedback was “interesting ideas, boring book!” – so I knew it needed more work. I contacted one of the editors at the publishers who I know well and talked it through with her with the idea she might be able to give me good advice about it and she said, much to my surprise, “Why do you want to write a textbook?” I said because I wanted medicine to be practiced more humanely, I thought the emerging sciences of complexity gave strong scientific foundations for a more holistic practice, and so on…..She said “Well don’t write a textbook” That shocked me. Here was a high flying editor in a major academic publisher telling me textbooks were not the way to go! She said students don’t want to buy textbooks any more they get their information more dynamically through other modalities – especially the web – blogs, internet resources, podcasts and so on – why not go and explore that and see what’s happening. So I did and that led to the blog – the basic idea of the blog is the core message that people matter more than things and that we need to focus on complex wholes instead of simplified parts.
All my life I have wanted to be a doctor. I believe I’m here to make a difference and I do make a difference every day on a one-to-one basis with the patients I see, but as time has passed I’ve also made a difference on a one-to-few basis – teaching small groups of doctors and medical students. The potential of writing is to make a difference on a one-to-many basis – so that’s how I see my life – helping people and making a difference – one-to-one, one-to-few and one-to-many. Hey I could go on but that’s probably plenty, huh?
I don’t actually write blogs for much time each day – I can access the internet at work so some days I’ll have a half hour at lunch time to do something but mostly I write in evenings and weekends – don’t know how much time really – maybe on average an hour an day? Not sure, sometimes a lot more, never really much less.
I enjoy it.
I enjoy life.
And I enjoy people.