No Higher Honour

My childhood dream of becoming a doctor is almost coming to a reality. Most probably I will celebrate my twenty fifth birthday as an intern in some remote village in a place that I still don’t know. The feeling sets my heart on fire and elicits fear in me in equal measure.

As I come closer and closer to the end of my undergraduate training, I am awed by the fragility of the human body. The human body, as fragile as it is, is also resilient. Before someone dies, the body would have fought against all odds to be alive. Sometimes these odds tilt towards death and sometimes the doctors come in and save the situation.

As days pass by, I am like a groom with so many brides. I am spoilt for choices. The heart and the brain have particularly remained the two organs that I have loved the most. Sitting steadily behind the chest, the heart beats relentlessly to keep us alive. Heart disease remains the major cause of death everywhere in the world. This means as a cardiologist, you will make huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Treating the heart means you must be a keen listener and hear the  sounds. This I must confess is very thrilling. You could hear something and exclaim, ‘S3 gallop! Patient is going into failure’.

If you think that was beautiful then look at the brain. Physical matter, a constellation of neurons and a home of electrochemical activity holds the conscience, feelings, thoughts and the ‘I’ of a person. This remains a wonder and an awe to neurosurgeons. Consciousness itself could be an illusion, the brain might be playing some tricks on us.

Neurosurgery remains at the realm of the medical world. Neurosurgeons have maintained their pedigree, gathering around the idea that they stand above all physicians. They have embraced a reputation of narcissism and austerity, a historical sameness in which character of neurosurgeons goes unchanged and unchallenged. I don’t care about this, but it is my dream to be part of the medical crème.

I can say that I am the kind of person who loves challenges. I relish emergencies and situations that make me think on my feet. These are the moments that I become the real me. The moments when we are counting minutes without which someone dies or gets morbid. If that is to be combined with awe, then the exhilaration could kill me.

I still have time though, to go round and understand my lovers and finally choose whoever I please. So far neurosurgery  and cardiology are proving too seductive. my experience out there in the wilderness will guide my path. For now general practice stares at me in the face.

Each day I wake up a content man, so eager to learn new things and review old ones. There are nights I never want to end, the Friday nights at Casualty. These are the nights that make me who I am. I am forever indebted to God for this wonderful opportunity to be a doctor. No higher honour.

Author: Dr. Kiaye Oliver

I am a dreamer. I love medicine. She is generous. I am also in love with literature, she makes me see the world the way I want to and sometimes the way it is.

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