While You Sleep
It was a great pleasure for the School to receive a copy of While you Sleep - a personal journey in anaesthesia, written by Roy M Humble, who attended Merchiston from 1944-1948. "Roy Humble was born at Bellfield, Dumbarton on the West coast of Scotland in 1930. He qualified in Medicine at the University of Glasgow in 1953 and after two years of compulsory Army service in the Middle East spent his early years as a family physician in East and Central Africa. After completing his anaesthetic training in England he worked as a Consultant Anaesthetist in Dumfries before emigrating to Canada with his wife Betty and their four children in 1969. Combining clinical and teaching duties in Edmonton, Alberta with an increasing interest in the history of medicine and anaesthesia, he published and lectured in both these fields, finding time also for his lifelong love of golf and for volunteer work as a figure skating judge. In 1995 he published The Voice of the Hills, the remarkable story of his uncle, Ben Humble MBE, who overcame total deafness to become a leading pioneer of mountain rescue in Scotland."
The Headmaster writes, "I found this a fascinating read. Not only do I have a print of John Hunter FRS (1728-1793) hanging in the Headmaster's House, namely Castle Gates at Merchiston, but both Barbara, my wife, and I were born in Africa and spent many years living in Africa. I underwent an operation in October 2009 which necessitated being under general anaesthetic for 12½ hours."
The following words are written on the back of this book: "When thanking your surgeon after a successful operation, do you ever spare a thought for the individual who brought you safely through that surgery? If you have ever wondered about those missing hours, here is a book to ponder on. You may not be able to put it down. Writing for both a lay and professional audience the author uses a mixture of memoir, travelogue and history to present his very personal medical journey, delving into a seemingly limitless and often hilarious collection of stories from work and play across three continents to bring his speciality fully into the public eye. He also looks back at some outstanding pioneers from the sixteenth century onwards, opening hidden pages from the past to highlight the emergence of modern anaesthesia and its importance in the history of social progress. Dr Humble's fascinating tale will leave you with a new appreciation of the men and women who are the guardians of those missing hours."
The School congratulates Roy on, not only his story, but his lifetime achievement of work in the field of anaesthesia.
In 2008, Dr Roy Humble donated a valuable collection of pioneering classic medical books to the biology department. These books (totalling about 35) include works by Florence Nightingale, Henry Cussing, Jeseph Lister, and John Hunter (ancestor of Headmaster, Andrew Hunter), as well as many others. The prospective medical students at Merchiston find them interesting and valuable.