Liam Farrell: Dizzy and disoriented by the Olympian surfeit

I have to hand it to the English, nobody puts on a show like you do.

I thought nothing could live up to Beijing, but the Olympic opening ceremony was simply spell-binding; the pastoral beginning (the only thing missing was a good murder mystery), Sir Kenneth Branagh reciting Shakespeare, the titanic eruption of the Industrial Revolution and the paean to the NHS.

The pop music section was a bit of a mish-mash, but the lighting of the Olympic flame was magnificently imaginative and ending with Hey Jude a master stroke (memo to all singers; always choose a party-piece with a chorus to which everyone knows the words).

Following the Olympics on BBC has also been mesmerising. Cycling and rowing are two sports that have delivered the medals (memo to Olympic committees; concentrate on sports that require expensive equipment, as this reduces competition by eliminating all the poor countries, that's why the Winter Olympics attract a better class of people, keeping out the riff-raff). And the beach volleyball; I wish I was a young man again, I would have been a natural at a sport which apparently requires physical beauty as much as athletic ability.

With so many different sports to choose from, all with the white-hot furnace of supreme competition, it was almost too much; while watching the boxing I was afraid of missing something in the basketball or water polo. The BBC offered so many fruits of autumn and flowers of spring that I didn't know where to start sniffing and tasting.

It's reminiscent of the condition which sometimes affects first-time visitors to the Piazza del Duomo in Florence; they become dizzy and disoriented by the surfeit of masterpieces all around them; too much to see, too much to experience.

And we can empathise – we all have patients who exhibit a veritable cornucopia of symptoms; an itch, numbness, 'feeling funny', 'pains all over', and as soon as one is squashed, another pops up like a gopher. Sometimes they all pop up at once and the young clinician might feel overwhelmed; which to ignore, which to concentrate on?

But the years have lent us wisdom and we have learned to let the familiar soothing litany of complaints simply wash over us and hope they go away on their own.

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