What do you want to be when you grow up?
It’s a probably a question every little kid who can talk is asked,and you would always get various replies,some amusing,some scary and some very determined answers too.Ever since I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a doctor.Why would someone ask? Well! My story goes as follows…
Childhood memories had a frequent visit to my paediatrician,mom says I was ill most of the time,but I definitely remember the visits being fun,I used to love playing with the stethoscope,enjoy being the centre of attention,the walls filled with pictures of animals and more cute babies,and the distinctive smell of a clinic which I still love, clean and disinfected.The first of my playtoys included a doctor’s set with a syringe,eye mirror,knee hammer, stethoscope and this cute pair of glasses ,I was in love.
Playing with Grandad and Grandma,even watching in awe as my Grandma recieved her insulin injections I knew one day I wanted to treat someone too.I grew older joined the school and the high school wagon of knowledge and then stopped at my counselling to ask what do I want to do? Of course the answer was medicine ..i.e. MBBS..And here I am 11 years later,a practicing anaesthesiologist , and an MBBS,MD,DNB Anaesthesiology.
I never realised growing up what it actually took to be the doctor in the white coat.The dream was to get the fame,respect,love from the patients,be the kind and caring soul I was saw my paediatrician be.But of course it took so much more.
All through childhood I was the average kid,good at studies,miserable at sports,it took extra hours of tution,gruelling books and yet I didn’t know what I had gotten into.
The first year of MBBS we got the paraclinical aspect..Dissection in anatomy,the mice in physiology,and the tubes and chemicals in biochemistry(I still consider chemistry to be my not so good subject!).Second year being longer was probably a bit more fun with a college tour,intercollegiate events and forming strong friendship bonds for life(my gang of girls is something for which I am willing to go through the whole process again and again).Third ,fourth year and then internship flew like the sand in the wind,before I knew it I was a doctor and what a proud day it was.Making your parents proud of your achievements was definitely a dream come true.
Postgraduation on the other hand was sort of a nightmare converted to reality,it was only then that I saw the other side of being “The Doctor”, sacrifice of sleep,food and even the occasional bath(personal hygiene does a take a toll).
We still stay up nights looking after patients,people we don’t know irrespective of anything,but as humans,and see so much pain,loss,and grief that now death seems like an old friend.
Along the tedious road,some definite life lessons were learned ,for example:the present times predict that no matter how good you treat your patient,it’s rare find that your patient looks back at you as a human too,with lacking sleep,a hungry stomach or even as a troubled being.
I do make it sound a little grotesque and weary to the normal eye,but it is what it is! Being the doctor that I always wanted to be I still love talking to my patients,interacting with the kids,and coming to work every single day!.
My job though now is pretty much thankless since I help put people to sleep as people say before their surgeries,and it’s rare that when your patient wakes up you remain a part of their memories of their surgery.All saying being remembered by a patient even behind the curtain ,is a joy like no other and for any doctor that’s a prize worth all the hardwork through.
So would I retrace the steps and still be the doctor I am today,my answer may change to a no/maybe ,at the career changing point in my life I have have taken something more creative a chef maybe,or an artist,but I don’t regret taking it.All I can say is if I had been mentally prepared for all I went through from the beginning maybe I would have enjoyed my struggles a bit more.
Thus to be a doctor it takes extreme determination,strength,courage to give up sleep and food,giving enough to put someone else above yourself,and the sheer willpower that it’s mostly a thankless job,you do get the rare nice person who will thank you along the way but that will be your salvation at the most.
I’m proud to say I am a doctor! It’s just if a kind doctor had given me a glimpse at that turning point in my life maybe I may have chosen the other crossroad.