BLOODY WEEKEND. After two hours of exploring the hospital wards and units, I went down to the ER to embrace the life in that post. I had observed a difficult central venous catheter placement converted to a bloody cut down of the brachial vein from 2-5AM, then two modified radical mastectomies from 7AM-12:30PM. But the most heartbreaking part was being at the ER and seeing all those who could not be admitted mostly for financial constraints.
I saw the country in an undignified state. At any one time, the hospitals only see 1% of the entire nation. But even in there, maybe only half (more or less) of these patients are being attended to at any one time. Though I couldn’t fully understand yet how the health system works there and where precisely are the deficiencies, but I could feel the results.
At the OR, I was trying to blend in the background while observing a surgical operation when I overheard a consultant cheerfully address a senior resident in a quiet corner: “I’m not only telling you what to do. I’m teaching you HOW to do it. You are a senior. You can make them do what you tell them to. But I hope that you will be able to TEACH them as I am teaching you now.”
Mentors are indeed real treasures. One does not have to copy his role models. They are there to suggest designs for his life. It is up to him to weave the unique patterns of his destiny. If my hopes and dreams were spread out like well-prepped skin, three years of medical education and training has made a great incision deep enough, that in order to close the wound, certain procedures have to be carried out with finesse.
Of the many perks of being a junior clerk, my favorite is the ability to stand back and take a good look, a bigger picture, of the systems at work around him. He is expected to learn the principles but not master the procedure just yet. In that way, he doesn’t have to get involved. He doesn’t have to learn by committing the mistakes himself. He is a space-occupying lesion, albeit invisible most of the time. He is like a drape: he sits in the middle of a procedure, with a gaping hole through which all intelligence and skill of a team are passed. Sometimes he is clamped with the others, secured at the sides; sometimes he goes alone. But he can only watch and wait—try not to be in a way—all the while absorbing whatever essence drips within reach.