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.

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Overrated junior doctors!

There was no hesitation when I decided to do MBBS, nearly five and half years back. I just left what normal kids do during my age, giving SATs, applying colleges abroad but “No” I was so fixated to one and only goal to get a better GPA and proceed to a med school. Little did I know that life would change forever after finishing that degree! Professional wise, I am still a needle in haystack, a junior, a learner but yet the society gives it a highest accord available. Society overrates junior doctors!

No, I am not an almighty! If prescribing simple over the counter medicines makes me get the same status as of a god then I decline to get that decree. I am as normal as most people, at least, I try to show that I am normal. There are days when I am painstaking waiting for the clock to strike to two thirty and leave from work.

Education wise, I may have proved myself but the professionalism attached to being a doctor has still not gotten in my veins. Being a doctor is pretty similar to business men of any kind. The only difference is that businessmen would sell merchandise of any sort and doctors sell medicine and treatment to save lives.

Things like what it means to be a doctor aren’t taught in med school. Factors like how you treat patients are not taught in med school, which makes us come to the conclusion that the personality that you had or developed over the years becomes the highlight of your career. Since med school caters less to what most med students are like, those that have the objectively unsuitable personlaity do not get filtered in the process.

Personality is cumulative of what parents teach at home and how they confidently project it to the society. There were several days, when I struggled to be people friendly. It was not a smooth teenage hood, cracking out of the self made delusion of being the superior individual was the first step. The following steps involved, engaging with everyone in an event, including those people that you always thought were mean to you and the last is the art of pleasing people instantly.

So how did a people pleasing person have doubts about being perfect for the job?  Every day is an event, every minute is a gala event now-and-then there are moments, when I completely want to forget that I can be an instant charmer. It’s stressful as it is and communication is another factor which detaches me from making a connection.

Five and half years of med school has made us to excel at collecting information and storing  them in our memory but it fails to produce quality doctors. Med schools cannot make there student’s realize what it means to be “practicing”. The power to execute a decision, actual duty hours, and endless patients to please are not as easy as they show in television sitcoms.

Med school should filter student’s worth of the job of empathy and should introduce actual internship related job earlier than the course offers (for this, my organization Health Nepal Foundation, will be focusing in the upcoming years), otherwise countries will produce doctors with the highest record of burnout physicians!

Who monopolies the world of Vaginas?

It was 5:30 hrs in the morning, you know the anticipation that you get before traveling to another country? I almost felt that. The special preparation that I did for my departure was a clean apron that I washed the night before. I love to be punctual, so I was half an hour early and was all ready to enter into the world of vaginas or aka the GYN and OBS department.

Working in Ramadan is fun to a certain extent; you get extra hours of sleep and well, if you get lucky you can get some free ifftari as well and It does seem extremely rude to go out for tea breaks deliberately announcing that you are a Non-Muslim, so, according to my plan, I snuck out before entering the GYN department. People who know me also know that I am very punctual with my meals as well!

Who monopolies the world of Vagians? The entire time, when my senior was asking me to make discharge papers, I was wondering why the most successful Gynecologists in Nepal and Bangladesh were Men? Men come to Men doctors when they want to get checked and vice versa but people who can afford, especially those who want to get checked according to rankings, will always prefer male gynecologists.

Where is the feminism? Where is the “we trust female gynecologist act”? Sorry sister, a male doctor’s opinion is worth a thousand then a female one! Then they ask the ultimate question like, when you get pregnant, which doctor would you prefer? You need to pause and think, marriage, babies, that road is far off, let’s just avoid that question. If I were to answer that question, hypothetically, I would always choose a doctor who would understand me, who could bear my personality, who I can trust professionally to do the job, knows when to pull the alert button. “Doctor, you sound diplomatic!” becomes a common response when people ask me stuff. Then I think, gens, why must you show off like that?

Patients are smart these days, with Google, WebMD, the online rankings for doctors, practicing must be a different experience in Western countries but in South East Asia, still patients suffer from minor problems of obtaining medications or being educated about a disease. Among all these difficulties that most of the majorities of the people suffer choosing a doctor for child birth is not a leisure that they enjoy.  The question of who gets to be their future child’s doctor is a futile question that people who enjoy better healthcare can fiddle about.

 

Internship Report

Sebaceous cyst is the most common swelling that I have seen in surgery so far. Luckily, I was a part of a surgery were we dissected the cyst. I was with the patient from day she entered the ER room, until the day she was discharged. I started off my internship program with surgery and I have four months to grasp it all.

Two years back, if you asked me what I thought of studying for my post graduation, I would have never uttered surgery. But for the past one month, I keep asking myself why I never studied surgery as keenly as I did for Medicine or other subjects for my boards.

Working or being a part of something that you studied for your boards have really helped me stay motivated, even if it takes 6 hrs to finish in an Operation, just to hold a retractor or a sucker. Staying in my room for almost 4 months and trying to be a memorizer queen has finally paid off. But I keep asking my seniors why we could not mix the clinical years of study with internship?

Most of my work, as Christina Yang (a character in Grays Anatomy) would say is scut work, involves writing history, discharge notes, removing drains and cutting stitches. Basically being the junior most, who gets pushed around by seniors!

I have never been so busy. There are shifts, rounds, follow ups, dressing and even more OT assistance and have ER duty once in a month. So I am physically not available in room as I used to. I spend so much time in the hospital that makes me less assessable to wander in my thoughts and blog about it.

I had an unusual experience today, which helped me remember how much, blogging helped me overcome that. I was more close to patients when I was in med school. when I blogged as a med student, I had less time to spend with them and today I have to be in charge of 14-20 everyday. Being close to patients by describing how their experience was magical for me and I missed that.

“Patients are like babies, they need my constant attention, and they need to know that I am there for them all around the clock, even when I am the junior most and a learner, they are my babies until they get discharged.” And without writing the above statement in my blog, I forget how to handle patients. And as of today, I promise to write more heart touching tales from my journey in Internship.

Few days back someone in my twitter account said that, I quote, “I look for compassion when I hire my doctors” and I just bluntly replied with” med schools don’t teach that” and the respondent agreed and I decided to consider compassion to be  a mixture of empathy and being able to enjoy what you do all day long.

Thank you folks and stay tuned for more blog updates!