What To Do Next? Part -I

 

“The best time to plant a tree is always twenty years ago. If for some reason, you did not plant it then, the next best time to plant a tree is now”.

I had involuntarily shared my interest to become a doctor to Kitty. She was a replica of Anne Frank diary. Most people obtain habits from influences with human relationships; I made my influences limited to books and novels. I tried to be regular at it, but often had to apologize to Kitty when I exceed a week or two.

This winter break when I got the opportunity to flip through those pages again, I realized that at 16, I had decided what my next 20 years would be like. At 16, I was locked in the boundaries of Saudi Arabia. Inspirations were showered through the Indian system of knowledge and I thought I would attain the highest attainable degree in the world like most of my friends, who discussed and shared their higher level of thinking in the lunch hour.

Two years after I departed from Saudi Arabia to finish my junior school, I was lost. I was not sure what I wanted in life. My dreams were fading and I was drifting. My dreams were not nurtured and motivated to that level. Then by the grace of the Nepalese Government, we decided to move to Dhaka. “Med school is cheap in Dhaka”, is what they said. People around me motivated me after that, they helped me to map out my dreams and they enhanced it with “pride” and called it a “great respect for our family” if I decided to go to a med school.

Plans are meant to be thought, processed, assimilated, digested and beaten up until something new emerges. That’s called life. You can’t map out your life like a building block but, you should have the courage to dream big, no matter what people have to say to you. Dreaming is your right and no one should rob you of that.

Turning into a general physician was my goal and after nearly two decades of unknowingly what life direction I would go, I completed it. But even after completing one goal, I am hungry for more. Life right now seems so undirected. I need a goal and a new direction. Where would I go, what would I do?

I cannot limit myself to just a “general physician.” I want more! Most people decide to choose London or Canada for under graduation. But I choose Bangladesh with full cooperation and with hundred percent certainty that my life would be different, if I choose to stay in a third world country. I would turn out to be humble and I would stay ground to earth if I choose to feel the pain and suffering of the normal people. I still remember how I had to convince my parents that leaving me in Bangladesh would one day make them proud parents. “Let me suffer today” I said and later on, I can get all the happiness in the world. Plant your dream today, who knows ?,it, might come true. I don’t write to Kitty anymore but she played a very crucial role in my life.

Confessions About Marriage:

181230_539610816081319_1709117519_n“My whole life has been about studying, passing the exam and getting gratitude out of it. I am satisfied and comfortable with the way life is going through. I don’t want to complicate things and take the burden of relations on my tinny shoulder. I need to grow and in the way of life, if I find the perfect or close to the perfect match I shall consider marriage as an option. ”

“Are you kidding me? Marriage is for the 30’s and 40’s. I need to grow as a doctor, earn enough dignity and money to choose a wife. And oh! I don’t like a smartass hammering me every second on the road.”

“I am excited to get married very soon, I have been dreaming about it all my life and soon will be an appropriate time as you know the biological clock stops ticking after a certain age.”

“The last time you asked me a question about marriage, I was perplexed and I gave a very unrealistic answer but as the years have passed and I have been heartbroken and have come to the realization that a profession can make a big difference in what a person wants in the future. I want to marry someone who can guide me through my career. One seeks for professional gain through personal!”

“Being ambitious and running around being a free soul is what most women doctors in South East Asia seek but they get tied with social stigma and they are redeemed marriage unfit by the society if they seek to finish post graduation. If you want to be a success story in South East Asia, marriage is a must!”

“A perfect body, gushes of estrogen flowing through your arteries makes you an ideal woman for marriage, irrespective of any profession and degree. I am not one of those whinny girls who end up with fainting spells every time they attend the OR. So, if I get married it has to be someone who can specifically delete excessive drama and let one do what one wants! ”

 

 

 

Relationships and screw ups

I have been unfair to the people who  have actually enjoyed reading my blog posts over the years. I have this great equilibrium between the amount of extra reading that I do (non-medical) and the amount of blog posts that I write. This blog post comes after I finished reading a book by Erich Segal entitled “Doctors “.
“Doctors are wounded healers” says the book. The story is gripping and you can identify to the characters of the book. I particularly noticed that the book projects doctors to eventually have a screwed love life or a broken family relationship. Maybe the writer could not have started the book if he had only projected about the normal life. But then again, makes me ponder, are we normal?
What makes a successful doctor? Is it the lady behind the man or was it the damn fortune that he was destined to have? What about Female doctors, who should be held for their success? The man behind her (I meant husband or boyfriend) or the fact that she is cold blooded or there is no success for female doctors at all?
Look at the proportions of hypes that men get all the time. Even today, men are considered far better than women for doctors! Why is that? Is it because the female race has to subsequently bow down to the realities to life, like having baby, taking the home responsibilities and well, what not that comes with commitment.
It’s difficult, to actually see this happen. I disagree to bow down to subtle realities as far as I can. I mean, it almost took me ages to finish a degree, will take another decade to be well know (if people find me equivalent to the male counter parts) but I will never settle for comments like please avoid a duty because you are a female.
It’s not only a crime to be ambitious; it also makes you an outcast in this field. And deciding to settle for the least of it is the toughest thing that one has to do. Each and every character of Erich Segal’s book reminds you of the fact that life is going to be bumpy either ways, so get prepared for both and move on with your life and keep reminding yourselves that life is never going to be normal for us!

Typical Medical Student In Dhaka

I am just speaking out for all the medical students who come to Bangladesh to accomplish their dreams of becoming a doctor. It’s my final year and I know how things work here, through and through. So here’s a list of things that you will end up doing, especially when you study in the capital city.

  • You will spend a lot of money on food. You will either spend most of it on fast food chains or you will end it on junk food for your “while you study” regimen.
  • Dhaka is no place for partying or drinking. Alcohol is prohibited and the only alcohol that you smell is at the airport lobby before the final immigration hassle. So forget about how much you enjoy you Gin and Tonic and try adjusting to “Tang Juice “and “Prawn mango “drinks.
  • You need a serious wardrobe change up, no low cut vests and you can say good bye to your shorts and skirts. Because here, people like to see girls all dressed up from head to toe, despite the scorching sun and heat. It actually depends on how you handle the wardrobe change in your life, I have seen girls dressed in the usual clothes that we wear in Kathmandu and they do get the blunt stares but somehow they dare to manage it without much fuss. For me, I personally like to dress in “Salwar Kameez” when I go out or I wear the “Kurtes” the rest of the time. You should be comfortable in what you wear and thats my fashion statement.
  • Trying to adjust with the fact that most of the books that you just bought are photocopied versions of the original and move on with it. I think the fake ones are better than the original ones and money-wise it saves me half the amount that most med’s have to pay in other parts of the world.
  • You need to learn “Bangla” fast, like within a week or two because most of the stuff happens in this very language, its mostly like Nepali but the old Sanskrit version of it. It’s easy to understand but you need time to work on replying back. No matter how much one glorifies a college, most medical schools teach in Bangla at the very starting and end of the lectures. But no harms done when you can understand what they say.
  • It depends on which college that you go to. Mine, well literally forces the balls/guts out the students to study so basically when I am bored to death and wish I was not a medical student, I still would be studying or giving an exam. There is no way out of this mess of items, card finals, ward ending exams, block finals. So, you repeatedly get beaten up, mentally of course to study all your life, as long as you are in Dhaka. You life becomes a mess when you can’t balance the pressure and fun.
  • Coming to the part, “Fun”. What’s the fun part about being a medical student here? Well, none, besides that fact that we spend half our times obsessing about how our fellow med students in Nepal are having all the fun that we did not get. And the rest half of the time goes into studying excessive theory, seriously, like as if we are giving the PG exams the next very day and we stay focused, because there are no distractions, except when you fall in love, but that’s rare.
  • Is Dhaka the right place for you? Yes, if you can learn to cope up with new changes in your life, starting off with eating, living and defining fun, all together, if you need some seriously studying to be done with less distraction for the rest of the five years and six months then this is the best place for you. Once you make a group with a bunch of people that you like hanging out, you will always find ways to have fun and satisfaction in life in ways that you could not have imagined.

Who are we to decide our fate?

Last three weeks have been a constant reminder of how lucky I have been. The pediatric ward has its own aroma; it took me a while to grasp. I see children, babies, and neonates with their parents who are hoping for a better life for their children. Hope is what they show to us, they are kind, they give us their time, they share matters with us.

Life is not easy. Everyone either has a congenital deformity which they will have to battle for ages, others show transient illness, acquired.

“It’s not the first time I have been here” exclaims the mother. She already knows the answers to our questions in a systemic fashion. She is very co-operative. She is repeatedly asked the same questions over and over again and yet she is not bored to inform us. She has a son who has Thalassemia, 10 years old. He comes for repeated blood transfusion every month. Life has been distressing for both the parents and the child. He misses school for the blood transfusion and also he fails to thrive like most children of his age group. He suffers from repeated infection.

“The doctors lost hope, but I am optimistic about her” says a mother, who had given birth to an incredibly low birth weight baby. The baby is tinny and her heart produces a distinctive mur mur (abnormal heart sound). There are many cases worth sharing, mostly acquired. Fever is a major presenting complaint. Patients stay in the hospital for 2-3 weeks for a spiking fever, either due to Enteric Fever or Dengue. Hospital stay is bothersome for parents, yet they decline to show any glitch when asked.

I always try to put myself in others shoes, especially when it comes to patients. What if I was congenitally abnormal? What If I had a spiking fever without any diagnosis? When I asked this question to my sub-conscious brain, I did not think about how much pain I would go through, I just imagined my parents and family who would have done so much for me.

Who are we to decide our fate? We are nobody, everything that happens lies in a single gene, chromosome. What do we do? We accept the fate and struggle. Three weeks of Pediatric ward taught me that life is worth fighting for no matter what sickness you have.