November 9, 2013

Everybody matters

Did you smile at the pedestrian who just happened to make eye contact with you today?

Did you greet the gate keeper when you entered your work place?

Did you say thank you to the cab driver who drove you to your destination?

Did you say 'I love you' to your mother today?

Did you pat the dog who came running to you with his tail wagging in joy?  

Did you smile and stroke the child who in his innocence stared at you from the seat infront of you in the bus while on his mother's lap?

Did you pray for the life of the person in the ambulance as it sped past you, siren sounding in full volume?

Did you thank God for keeping you alive, hale & hearty?

~ Eveybody matters. Saying 'good morning', 'thank you' or just simply smiling can mean a lot to someone. When it doesn't cost us anything,  why don't we do it?
Be thankful for the life you have, be thankful that your chidren and parents are healthy. Appreciate the love and concern someone has for you.  
     I've seen children, young adults, parents die in the most unexpected of times in the hospital. Many a times people around them realise their importance only after they're gone ~ 

There must surely be a reason why God created humans with the ability to communicate - lets communicate, lets make everyone around feel that they matter. 

October 12, 2013

Nearing the end

Officially (and successfully) completed my fourth year in medical school today. And ended it by doing my favorite part of this course - watching and assisting kickass surgeries in the theatre!

A myriad of thoughts are competing among themselves facilitated by my limbic system and so far, not one feeling has reigned supreme - which leaves me thoroughly overwhelmed.
These feelings/thoughts I'm referring to, includes:
1. The joy & satisfaction of successfully completing fourth year
2. The apprehension about final year (FINAL YEAR!)
3. The doubts on whether I'll be able to achieve all I've dreamt of achieving in this career
4. The fact that the 'student' part of my life is coming to an end! (Not at all ready to make a switch from carrying a back pack to a 9-5 job!) 

I thank God everyday for enabling me to live my dream (of becoming a doctor) in such a beautiful place. I thank my mother daily for always motivating me, for always boosting my morale. I thank my friends and family for always believing in me - it's all of these that has made me what I am today. 

Today, I have a new set of people to thank. 
All my lecturers and professors at Uni who spend so much of their time and effort to teach thousands like myself. The doctors at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka who pass on their wisdom, skills and secrets to us. It's not easy being foreign students in a foreign land;so grateful that majority of doctors whom I've studied under have understood how difficult it is for us and have helped us so much. Even doctors who weren't very fond of Bhutanese students deserve a mention because had it not been for them, I wouldn't have put in that extra effort. And I know the extra effort that I put in will come in handy one fine day.
My Sri Lankan friends - you'll are family now :) We have our differences, true, but what would I do without you'll?

Most importantly, the patients we come across in the wards. It's not easy to reveal your story (history) to a medical student whom you hardly know; and yet they do it - only to help us learn. They let us examine them (repeatedly) just so we master our clinical skills; all of this when they're sick, in pain and ailing. I owe so much of what I am to these patients; some of them have even taught me the local language when I've stumbled with the limited vocabulary of the local language. 
In less than a month's time, final year begins. Am I excited? Yes!
I'm going to be at my busiest from now on. Every day will be challenging and exhausting. But I look forward to it. 
Amazingly, after writing these few lines, one school of thought has won - I'm glad I successfully completed fourth year and now, I look forward to final year, which is going to be the most exciting (and toughest) phase of my course! 

I'm promised myself a gift and I got it today - some jewelry that I've been eyeing for quite sometime. Always nice to pamper yourself after working hard, no? =)

Thank you for reading, thank you for wishing me well for all this while. I need more good wishes and all the luck here on - be there for me =) 

September 9, 2013

On being HIV positive

If you test to be HIV positive, who would you confide in? 

This was what I was asked during a HIV story telling session, a part of the "Logos Hope - World's Largest Floating Book Fair".

The Logos Hope ship is huge and houses a book fair; the ship visits various ports around the world, hence the name "World's Largest Floating Book Fair".
The ship is docked at the Colombo harbour currently and has over a million books for sale.

In addition to the sale of books, they had this small section made to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS. When you go in, they give you a set of headphones which has a audio story of this guy who battles with HIV.
What's interesting is that the story is told in sections and for each section, you move into a room specially made to suit the setting in which the story is based.

Here's the story in brief:
(Section 1: Hostel room) - Meet Mark, an engineering student who one unfortunate day, ventures out with some friends to a party and ends up spending the night with girls he's met for the first time.

(Section 2: A room custom made into a club of sorts with lights, liquor and beds.) -  Clubbing, drinking, doing drugs and sleeping around goes on to become a habit of sorts for Mark.He does it as a means of escaping the stress from college.

(section 3: Park with a lot of greenery and a bench) - Few months later, he meets this medical student, Sarah, at a park where's he's contemplating on quitting his bad habits... Being with her, he realizes what a waste of time partying and sleeping around had been. She's had a rough past as well and the two hit it off well. He falls in love with her and so does she.

(section 4: Sarah's room) - Few months into their relationship, Mark gets a call from a frantic Sarah asking him to come to her house as soon as possible. The ground below him shatters when Mark discovers that Sarah's pregnant. What's worse is that during the course of doing a full check up, Sarah finds out she's HIV positive.

Mark is confused. He is in disbelief on how this could have happened. The big task at hand is to get himself tested.

(section 5: clinic) Here you hand over the headphones and act as Mark. You choose a placard from a box full of placards. The cards are marked either positive or negative.

The placard I picked was 'HIV positive'.
I was asked if this happened to you, who would you confide in?
 - I was dumbfounded.

Who would YOU confide in?

Perhaps it's because people living with HIV are stigmatized and not many declare their positive status in public, it's hard to imagine yourself in that place.
This is how everything goes wrong actually. We always think, "No, this can't happen to me".But nobody's immune. It's so very important to be aware, to be careful and mindful.

August 28, 2013

Does life really go on?

I found this interesting poem by Lei a few days back and I'm surprised as how it's managed to linger on in my mind for these past few days.

It's amazing how it's so simple yet carries so much weight and meaning.

Give it a read, please.

I sit and stare
Do you notice me there?
You continue to break my heart,
With each moment we're apart.
I have the constant memory
Of how you're never here with me.

I watch you dance with another man
I sit up as straight as I can.
I force a smile as tears begin to fall
You smile at me as if we've had it all.

I see that you have moved on
But why is it that I hold on?
I weaken as I hear the claps
I smile as you turn your back
I watch as you move on,
It's hard to move on...

I close my eyes and begin to pray
I wish for better days
For without you, I can't go on
But as your pink lips move, you tell me, life goes on...

The story behind this poem, as Lei mentions, is that of a girl sitting at her mother's wedding watching her mother dance away with her new husband. Her father has died recently. Seeing her mother move on hurts her. 
She knows and realizes that life can't stop; it has to go on. But she's in a conflict...


April 24, 2013

Now this is LOVE

I've read about the wonders and powers of love in so many of the books I've read; seen it being depicted in movies and dreamt of it as well. Today, I witnessed it in reality.

There was a young female patient in her mid 30s who was admitted to our medical ward. She was a known patient with Systemic Lupus Erythematosis and was in and out of hospital. She's married with two children.
Last evening, she developed a respiratory arrest and due to the unavailability of an ICU bed, she had to be manually ambu bag ventilated in the ward. 

We are a group of 16 medical students working at the medical ward currently, so we were asked to come in groups and help with the ambu bag ventilation.
I and three others were to go at 4am, to take over from the previous shift's colleagues. 

I made my way out of bed and to the hospital half asleep, yawning away and not happy with the early start that was required...but on seeing this young lady lying on the bed partly unconsciousness with tubes down her throat and nose, ECG leads across her chest, abdomen distended due to ascites and the monitor displaying a low BP of 86/50 I forgot my sleep, my tiredness...

The four of us in turns, ambu ventilated her. Few times the BP dropped low to 50/20 and other times the oxygen saturation dropped to 75. Using normal saline, dobutamine and close monitoring, we kept her going in the hope that an ICU bed would be available by 8 am. 

At 6 am, her husband arrived, He went by to her side, gently brushed her hair off her face, rubbed her as if to say, "Don't worry love, I'm here now".He even offered to ambu ventilate her. We however said we're doing our job and asked him to sit nearby ...

...and then in a matter of 5 minutes, she crashed! We did all we could - chest compressions, adrenaline shots, ventilation, sucking out secretions...she unfortunately had already  breathed her last.

This lady struggled but survived the entire night just to see and feel her husband's touch in the morning - this is true love.
The way the husband kissed his liefless wife's forehead at the end, clung to her body and wept like a body ... such strong emotions!

THIS is true love, not the ones created with bouquets of flowers and tonnes of gifts.