I will surely miss this!

anatomy

Anatomy is coming to the end, only three weeks to our finals. Life has been tough here in medical school, but we have made it this far. Learning has been fun especially if you had the best professor like Eugene, our cadaver. My life has changed a great deal, especially now that I am following my dream, am into it and it’s into me. Sometimes I am convinced that I was chosen for medicine, I mean it is the only thing I would do. Accounting did not interest me much back then in Strathmore Business School, and neither did Engineering. Despite the fact that sometimes I marvel at amazing pieces of engineering like the San Francisco Bridge in the States, this has never got into my heart. I have a passion to always work with people; to share with them in times of agony and to celebrate with them in times of good health and abundance.

My teacher taught me to always pursue happiness, to love what I do and to enjoy the passage of time. I think that is the secret to success. He told me to choose to be different, and I think that is what has been seeing me through the challenges of today and tomorrow. The moments I enjoyed most were not the moments I passed examinations but were rather the moments that I got inspirations. Life makes more sense if we have something to look up to, something greater than ourselves, something that prevents us from going to sleep, something like a dream.

During my time in medical school, I have enjoyed the history of Greek medicine. Medicine at the time of Hippocrates was coupled with novelty and discoveries that formed the basis of modern medicine. I like the enthusiasm of Alexander the Great, the Conqueror of Persia. He learnt medicine and conquered many nations as he spread this knowledge. Asclepius, the demigod is also an exciting character; he was the son of Apollo, the god of the sun and Corinis the mortal being. He was born under difficult circumstances but rose to the occasion and became a great healer. Greek medicine is fun!

I will truly miss the anatomy laboratory, my wonderful teachers, my wonderful friends and the great aroma of formaldehyde. Modi was a great friend, I enjoyed the long stories we made when removing fat and fascia on our cadaver. The long afternoons we spent dismantling the human body and the times we left late in the evening, like that day when we were studying the heart. I like the times we choose not to despair however much circumstances demanded. The honesty we showed in our faces when we did not know stuff. Surely, our mentor was a great teacher and he too deserves a pat on the back. The only appreciation we would show him is becoming good doctors. Thank you so much Modi, you made a great contribution in shaping my career. I am sure you will make a great surgeon. May you rise high above the obstacles that will come your way. May you live long to tell the story of passion and determination.

I will forever live under the shadow of great physicians and surgeons, those who taught me and those who inspired me. When I stand tall, it is because I stood on the shoulders of those who came before me.

Long live history, long live medicine, long live anatomy, long live Modi, long live me!

 

The third letter to my dad

letterHello father, I hope this finds you well. Though it has been long since we talked, it has been on purpose. I am coming close to the end of my first year of training as a doctor. This has been the best of my years and yet the worst of them all. I have never had such an amount of workload to cope up with in my entire life. I am not complaining or something but I am echoing the words of my predecessors that medical school was never meant to be easy.

Coming close to the end of the year means getting closer and closer to completing the rite of passage of becoming a physician. For the better part of the year, I have learnt about the human body intimately than ever before, it is the most amazing piece of engineering of all time. The creator must have thought and thought. The simple activity of walking for example, involves a lot of activity that one does not even need to know, yet we are still walking.

As I cut through the human heart, I saw dried clots of blood that once flowed with life and bubbled with joy as it traversed all the regions of the body without ceasing- ceasing meant death. I sliced the brain with confidence and wondered how people think, how they believe, how they remember or even how they love. These questions went without answers. I can attest to this, that even in death, the human body contained the secrets to life.

Dad, I have never forgotten the spirit of brotherhood that you taught me back then when I was still a little boy. I have learnt that teamwork works; I have cherished the success of my friends especially when we aimed together and shot the same target. We spring from different backgrounds, different ethnicities and different beliefs yet we share the same goal. I remember my teacher and mentor once saying, ‘we are bound together not by where we come from nor by the tenacity of our faith but by the articulation of our ideas. I will surely miss my classmates.

I will forever hold on to your dream, the dream of service to God and to humanity. I am sure that however tough life may seem, hope will forever be my dream; it will keep me awake in the night in search of knowledge. It will take me through the thick woods in the less trodden paths. It will be my light in dark moments of despair; it will be high up in the sky so that I look up to it whenever giving up remains an option. I will soar on wings like eagles held by the hand of God.

Your son and Doctor,

 

 

Pofessor, Listen to Me

prof

Professor,

I am doubting,

Yes doubting,

I want to be like you,

But I doubt,

I might run,

And fail to reach the mark,

But I carry hope,

Hope for a better tomorrow,

That one day,

I will be a bone doctor,

Just like my professor,

The professor of my freshman self,

I remember your presence,

In the anatomy lab,

On summer evenings,

With confidence,

Of a Hollywood surgeon,

The surgeon in Grey’s anatomy,

You came to give me hope,

And behind your smile,

I saw years of experience,

I saw deaths that came along the way,

I saw times that you felt like despairing,

But love for the art kept you going,

That is the same message that you preached,

When we were dismantling the human body,

As you talked,

I saw the secrets of life,

The simple physics,

That makes me stride or chew,

I showed you the ulnar nerve,

And you said it can be entrapped,

At the groove between the medial epicondyles,

That was back then,

In my freshman years,

I read anatomy,

I slept and dreamt anatomy,

But the more I read,

The more I forgot,

I never lost hope,

Because I chose to belong,

To the great family,

Of Hippocrates,

And William Osler,

The father of prognosis,

I wonder whether I needed all these data,

To be able to maneuver the scalpel,

In a soul that craved for a second chance,

And you told me,

Medical school was not meant to be easy,

And you smiled,

And rolled your eyes with admiration,

And asked me whether I had more questions,

I said no,

For your presence alone,

Was in itself a lesson,

A lesson that no pain no gain,

And that is my professor,

The professor of my freshman self,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Delicate Swing at the Pivot of the Art and Science of Medicine

delicate

While medicine is to be your vocation, or calling, see to it that you also have an avocation- some intellectual pastime which may serve to keep you in the world of art, of science or of letters.

 -Sir William Osler. (1849-1919)

As I read these words, I challenged myself in the quietness of my room where tranquility reigned supreme, ‘What is it that I am doing to make myself a better person? Is it just studying, studying and more studying?’ It dawned on me that life, especially in medical school, has more to it than just books. Just like a finely cut diamond, the conspicuous preciousness of life is in its characteristic of being multifaceted.

I stopped for a moment and took a few minutes to assess my life, and I realized that I had a rather small social circle and most of the people around me were classmates, former classmates and a few friends, most of whom I knew as early as during my childhood. My life revolved around the lecture hall, human anatomy laboratories, and my room and occasionally under a tree where I admired Mother Nature and rejuvenated my passion in the art and science of medicine. I needed to balance my life, mould it into a life well developed in all its domains; spiritual, social and academic.

I tried to relate my situation to many others that I had read in psychology but I convinced myself that this was not identity crisis, or perhaps Sigmund Freud did not do an exhaustive research on human behavior. I was comfortable with the life that I was living but I felt that I needed to network more. How could I do this yet I knew I had a choleric temperament? A temperament that intimidates even without speech. Something needs to be done, urgently for that matter. I need to save my social life; it is slowly on its way to extinction.

I have found writing an interesting activity; it enables me to document my long journey through medical school. It is full of moments that make tender memories, memories that will be cherished as long as time exists and memories that will live on after we have followed those who came before us. However, I need to engage myself in at least one other non-medical yet constructive activity so that I just don’t become another typical doctor but a wonderful all-rounded clinician, which is my aim in life. Sports should do it!

From this point, I have decided that I don’t want to just live; I want to be ALIVE! And live this life as though it would end tomorrow. I have resolved to join the university athletics team. With its wealth of diversity, I am sure am going to make more friends from different professions and cultures and with different personalities. Variety is the spice of life! That is the secret to life, at least as said by those who have passed through theirs successfully. I believe that this will add an edge to my purpose in this place, achieving an exemplary character and becoming a holistic medical practitioner.

‘The young doctor should look about early for an avocation, a pastime that will take him away from patients, pills and portions…..’

 

 

The Great Adventure begins

Six weeks down the line. Things are getting tough and tough. We are getting to the end of the lower limb. I must say that it is enjoyable. The long hours we spend  in the anatomy laboratory as we dismantle the human body are the moments that restore my belief in medicine and makes me hopeful that one day I will be a healer of the human body.

Being surrounded by smart people in medical school is the greatest privilege that I have had in my entire life of studying. These represent the best of minds, minds of great dreamers, poets and artists.  I like it when I meet people from diverse backgrounds, different colors, races, faith but still find simultaneity with them. I find something that binds us together, and this, is the articulation of our ideas. We believe in the same ideals, same mission and same vision of saving a dying nation.

Biochemistry is still the same as it was many years ago, a science with no art. Sometimes we are taught some stuff that we doubt whether they are really relevant to medicine, anyway we carry the hope that the higher we go the cooler it becomes.

Medical school has taught me to say, “I don’t know” without apology and I have learnt that in admitting so, failure does not follow. I remember my lecturer told me that not knowing is the best place to start from and that has always been my motivation, to explore deep and deep into this science of medicine.

One day I will be a doctor and I will rejoice and cherish the paths that I followed to hold the rod of Asclepius. I will miss the anatomy laboratory, my dearest cadaver and my classmates with whom we shared the same body. Those are great guys in my life. They are contributing a lot in shaping my career as a physician. Thumbs up guys.

 I believe that this is going to be the toughest year of my life but I will make it as interesting as I can because I was chosen for medicine and I am grateful to God that I found such an opportunity.