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Med School Blues




"Med School Blues"

(written by a friend, totally touched my heart; and  this strong feeling of De Ja Vu  made me share it here with you all)


“Is anybody here a doctor? (Pause) I am looking for a doctor.” 
This was the only order that a troubled & worried mind, could put those words in, at that time. And when her eyes caught on to someone, who was so desperately sought of and so eagerly looked for, I can tell that those eyes were comparable to the brightest stars in the sky for they shone with the few breaths that a mother’s dying hope was gasping for, and a heart although exhausted after ages of tagging that body along but still staying strong as iron as it pounded in her grim, weak chest trying to cope for the miles it had made her legs walk. “Please dear sir, can you come right away?”, “my son is...”, “my son”, “he’s”... and she fainted. The doctor rushed out of the exam room, “give me way”, “get aside”, and “move” he said, as he 
cleared the mob. And there lay the poor chap, helpless on the floor, a heroic lifesaver or a childhood death, waiting for either to come. “Absent breath sounds on the left”
"tracheal shift to the opposite side”...the doctor mumbled quickly as his ever so sharp brain put the pieces together. And then suddenly he lifted his head & asked the author of this essay to bring him his bag which was brought instantaneously, he took out a syringe, pulling out its plunger with all the confidence in the world as if he knew what he was doing, and BAM!!!...into the child’s chest went the needle, making a little hissing sound with it, the boy labored for a few breaths and sat right up after that.


Every word of thankfulness that came out of the woman’s mouth accompanied a hundred tears that came out of her eyes, she never let any chance of kissing the doctor’s hands go, the people hugged him, patted his back, shook his hands & did everything known to our culture to express gratitude & appreciation, a few youngsters made those lobbies echo with slogans in the doctor’s name...& that was the day I came to know what you get for being a doctor...!!! (But I had yet to learn what it takes).

I don’t have the glistening, ancient domes or the fancy old clock towers over magnificent historic buildings that have been there for more than over a century and a half to strike peoples’ minds with the very mention of the name of my educational institute, so what is it then that keeps blood rushing through my veins and my heart pumped with adrenaline & enables me to hold on to the best of my endurance and strength and to stand firm in times of distress, when so many things are working together to keep me down. When you sit down with a pacific mind and ponder over it, you realize that the prestige doesn't lie in the place you learn, it is rather present in what is being learnt & the ability that comes with it. It’s just a difference of motives that makes all the difference, after all, everything you get in life depends on why you wanted it in the first place, and life for that matter isn’t always in black or white...it’s mostly in shades of gray. That means it’s always going to be dark clouds outside and for you to reach your destination you’ve got to think about how afraid you are of getting wet!...or how determined, to not let that matter. Now, I could tell you the tale of the “blues”, but I’d rather show them to you in the bigger picture & once you have an idea of what you’re dealing with, you can decide for yourself how you let them get to you.

They say if nothing goes right, go “left”. So, if blue points towards sadness & depression I want you to remember red, and red as a feeling of love and joy, & remember that it was brought to you with saving a patient’s life, then there is yellow as a symbol of friendship, you know it’s those friends, the ones who you could always count on, the ones you roamed the wards with, it’s the biggest treasure & that makes you the richest person in the world, and indigo to give you a feeling of accomplishment, remember looking yourself in the mirror the day when a dying old man’s children were not there when his time came and you were the one holding his hand when he passed away & if green is about looking decent & handsome, I can tell you no piece of cloth suits a man better than those green scrubs that make you look all the more suited and devoted to your profession, and orange to remember the charm of the youth, the era you spent preparing yourself for the service of humanity and then there is blue...and well anything can be blue. Of course there’ll always be a group of bullies,(funny isn’t it for “bullies” to be an anagram of the same words that gave you “blue”-both somehow being related to sadness & depression) trying to turn you down, getting in the way of your confidence and self-esteem or a newly appointed demonstrator who just doesn’t get to you & makes a difficult & confusing topic all the more impossible to do, you could be the poor guy from a rural background bringing honor back home by being the only medical man in the family but being totally unknown to the system of co-education in med-schools & messing things up in interactive sessions & group discussions, or there could be this competitor (if you’re the king of nerds or the queen of bookworms) who gives you a hard time, every time & a good run for the medals, it could be you being all in vain for not being able to let that formalin not get to you in the Autopsy room or finally going for the ground on sight of a severe orthopedic debridement in the Operation Theatre if you passed the former one, the latter looking like a bad omen if you had an aspiring career in surgery in mind. Med-schools are known to be loaded with people who are supposed to be your mentors and who believe teaching by humiliation & a little insult as the cherry on top would train you for working in stressful environments, but one can imagine how a Professor who makes you wet your pants every time, can qualify so easily for your list of “blues”. There’ll be people making good use of every chance they get of pulling your leg, and well people just being mischievous, mixing laxatives in your drinks, making fart noises under your chair, being so discreet with pasting that “kick me” post it on the back of your shirt, making you go round and round and round the whole block and finding yourself still in front of the ladies’ rest-room.

But then in the versatile realm of medicine & in the roses you dried in books on pills and potions, in the few hours after school that you threw yourself on the couch & slept like a baby & in the laughter you got while not knowing that question in the tests but still managing a way to get it done, in the tears of joy in a clinical setting where you finally witnessed all the puzzle pieces joining together & in the leap of faith that you took to step up & speak up for yourself in front of the whole class, in the moments where you resented yourself for staying up all those nights & had to go to school the very next day & in the moments where you took it back having passed the professional
& getting the “it was worth it” feeling, you find something &...

Yes, it takes just one random thought for you to find out that all these “blues” you’ve been talking (or for some, whining) about, just made you a better person, a stronger one, the one able to stand up before bullies, the one able to speak for himself, the one perfectly capable of making life saving decisions on his own,and with that conscience you grow all over those “blues” and all of them become a pleasant memory for they played their part to get you there, it takes you no time to find yourself on the brink of a promising adult hood, all the reds and the oranges and yellows and the greens, the blues, indigoes and the violets click together and now they make sense, they really do, because united as one they make white...and guess what, of the most important things associated to you is white...it’s your coat,bestowed upon you the very first day you stepped into medicine, you were readied for this all along & now you’re finally there. It’s the very thing that makes you who you are & the reason why you went through all of its hardships, and for what you came out to be, it makes you shine in the sky after the dark rains of grief, sorrow and disease have infected God’s men and it makes you the One that millions of people look up to, in times when there is nobody for them to go to.

And hence that would put “med-school blues” to be all the “joys” that I had in my life as a medical student, and others, though not as joyous & enjoyable as some but still turning out to be the best for me and yet others maybe not that pleasant of memories but still accounting for being the reason for me to acknowledge my shortcomings and loopholes not only as a doctor but also as a human being and as a person and the nostalgia for that precious time of my life, in the life yet to come, would surely give me sadness if not melancholy. I’d rather let it be my “blue”.

So, could there be a poor, old woman in our proximity who would come to us one day, perhaps with the same story, asking for help, demanding what we promised to give to her in our oath. “Is anybody here a doctor?” could be her words. Actually “could there” is out of the question because there’ll always be people like that around us, what we really need to ask ourselves right now is “should there”???...

-Arsal Siddique

Monday, March 24, 2014

05:18:04 PM

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