Posts Tagged ‘Education’

moi

Rarely do I particularly write about the people I deal with on a daily basis because I have found a long time ago that it tends to get one in a lot of trouble if one is found out.  However, I am going to make a rare exception simply because I find it so fascinating that she is the only person I know so far who has ever had the cojones to admit to wanting to pursue a career in, wait for it, Geriatrics.

Geriatrics… the very word itself sounds so unappetizing that one could just wonder why she had ever considered it as a specialty.  Pediatrics is unappetizing to me as well but, in itself, it already is hardcore simply because kids as patients are so damn difficult to deal with.  It takes a certain amount of talent and skill to engage kids and make them cooperate.  Internal medicine is hardcore as well because it takes a bad ass to have complete confidence in one’s self to be able to diagnose something without directly seeing it, which sounds frustrating to me.  Surgery is the most hardcore of them all because one gets to open up another human being and directly see what one is doing with one’s hands – lesser probability of screwing up that way.

Geriatrics, on the other hand, sounds so staid, boring and, I have to admit, a little bit depressing.  One classmate actually verbalized it in a way I probably could never have:  “Geriatrics is the safest specialty ever.  If your patient dies, nobody’d care anyway.” Witty, so witty.  People did laugh out loud but, after much philosophizing over the matter (because I have so much time in my hands, you know), I have realized that it had got to be one of the more insensitive things we could ever say about the people who’ve seen more than we’ve ever had, who’ve lived through pain more than we’ve ever had, and who’d survived through all of it and have the scars to prove it.

In one lecture on Geriatrics, it was mentioned that a person reaches the point of being completely comfortable with himself when he is already at his fifth or sixth decade of life.  That actually surprised me and brought me down a bit.  See, the day I hit my twenties, I had sent a silent prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord, rejoicing that my awkward pre-twenties phase was finally ending.  Now, although I believe myself to be quite happy and content with the person that I have become, I realize that I am so far from that point where the old and the wise now stand.  When you’re in your twenties, you haven’t exactly lived yet and, in a way, it’s another phase of life you just have to understand yet again.  While those who are already in their fifties and sixties?  Those are people who’ve already lived and seen it all.  Those are people who are comfortable in their own skin because they’ve been through so much already as themselves.  How could one not respect experience?

Now, this girl who wanted Geriatrics as a specialty?  She wanted it because she grew up with old people around the house.  She wanted to learn how to take care of them specifically.  Although I’m sure there are more and deeper reasons behind this desire of hers, this simply reinforced what I have long ago believed to be the truth.  A medical doctor’s specialization says a lot about that doctor – what matters to him, what drives him, and what he was brought up with.  One cannot simply go into something and live with it happily without a motivation driving the need and the desire, be it money or something else.

Geriatrics is a noble medical specialty.  To have the desire to take care of those who’d painstakingly paved the way for us to become who we are now is just plain amazing.  Why do old people matter?  Because we’re all going to become them someday.

Going home to celebrate the holidays with my family does not mean that I’d left medicine in the closet in my dorm room to rot for two and a half weeks.  In a family of (mostly) doctors, the topic of conversations usually is (you guessed it) medicine.  By now, you’d think I’d be bored to tears or, at the very least, frustrated with the commonality of it all but no.  As funny as it sounds, I feel more of a (would be) doctor in the company of other doctors who believe that I actually know what I’m talking about as opposed to being in the presence of doctor-teachers who look at me as if I know nothing despite three years of drowning myself in all these medical shiz-nits.  See what I just did there?  I just allowed Pride to run its mouth.

Going home to my hometown also means having to meet up with the few high school classmates I’d chosen to keep in touch with over the years and bumping accidentally into those I’d tried very hard to not come into contact with in the last several years.  With these people, the topic of conversations usually revolves around what everyone else is doing – to put it simply, who’s at the top and who’s at the bottom, who’s the winner and who’s (still) the loser.  I would be a hypocrite if I said I’d never listened intently or asked prodding questions myself but the bottom line is that high school never ends, does it?

As one of my medschool friends would tenderly say, we rise up in people’s estimation with a medical diploma.  The honorable part of me wants to believe that that medschool diploma does not make one better than the other, despite the other thinking it himself already, but the realistic part of me has got to accept that we, as a society, put so much emphasis on education, especially further studies, because acquiring one seems to be tantamount to inevitable future success.  What people seem to forget is that a diploma can only serve its purpose if partnered with the priceless experience necessary to achieve that level of success.

I am halfway through medschool but I froze – totally poleaxed – when I saw a woman fall to the floor in the grocery store a few days ago when a thick holiday crowd was milling about.

The one other thing that made me ashamed of myself as a medical student, besides the fact that I totally went cold and froze as I watched her spontaneously fall, hit the floor, and look disoriented, is the fact that, at that time, I was thankful I wasn’t wearing my white medschool uniform.  Only when people had rushed to her aid did my brain start working again – ticking off the signs and symptoms, trying to come up with differentials etc.  As penance for my inaction, I stood at one side for a good 20 minutes just in case while the grocery store staff brought her a chair and her companion started to fan her.

I don’t like giving excuses so I cannot say that I was not able to help like I’d wanted because I did not have a stet or a pen light or a sphyg because who would I be kidding then?  I thank the good Lord that it was most probably just hypoglycemia or acute mild hypoxia instead of stroke or a seizure.  So, no.  I was not proud to call myself a doctor-in-the-making at that time… and my medschool education did nothing during an emergency situation when this supposed doc was on vacay.

As such, I repeat.  A medical diploma needs the necessary medical experience to be able to achieve expected results.  So, really – I do respect my mentors for they’ve seen more patients and been in more emergent situations compared to me.

I am humbled.  Humbled me shall now go take an ocean swim.  Pass the suntan lotion, please!

When I was a kid, my parents enrolled me and my brothers into a lot of classes.  For learning and improvement, they said.  My mom tells me now it was their way of making sure that their kids would be able to achieve all of their potentials in life.  Thus, from my childhood to my teenage years, I had taken classes in piano, ballet, karate, taekwondo, landscape sketching, portraiture, acrylic painting, guitar, typewriting, computer technology, swimming and First Aid, declamation, theater, and journalism.  My older brother got enrolled into a summer course on automechanics once.  He was ten.

As a result, there are a lot of things that I know how to do.  The problem is that I’m not sure if I’m that good in all of them.  As such, each one of them is a hobby that I don’t share with a lot of other people, simply because I don’t think they’re at that level of share-ability.  This desire to know or maybe to learn was probably the one thing that my parents had painfully but successfully instilled in me because of the constant barrage of diverse information during my formative years.

Speaking of the constant barrage of diverse information, which sounds suspiciously like medical school, perhaps the downside to being enrolled in an MD-MBA program is that it can be a bit confusing sometimes.  Sure, we know we are here to become clinical doctors but how can you focus on becoming that doctor when you also have to put aside what little time you have to become a public health practitioner, a quick-witted businessman and a social catalyst all at the same time?  Excuse the whining but I’m simply wondering, in earnest, how can you compete, clinically speaking, with other medical students from other medical schools whose only concern is to become the best clinical doctors ever?

It makes me think sometimes that, to have an MD-MBA attached to your name, you have to become sort of like a jack-of-all-trades –you have to know how to do a lot of things but you can’t be so sure if you’re that good in all of them.  Not unless you get the balls to try them all out, all at the same time – now that’s some serious balls.  However, these days, whenever I feel the urge to complain about the work load, I think about Daddy and Mummy and how they used to (irrationally) bombard me with diverse information that are so unrelated, I sometimes thought they were torturing me.  Yeah, my parents were very loving people.

The point though was that I learned how to do many different things and, in a way, I was able to achieve the potential to achieve.  I don’t care that I cannot readily define Ashermann’s syndrome or that I do not know what to call lub-dub-click-whoosh when I auscultate a cardiac patient or that I still cannot pinpoint the parts of the basal ganglia.  I mean, I am doing a lot of things here, okay, I am trying to be a lot of things here so chill, okay?

That is the reason why I am still slaving away right now, not for the MD-MBA titles (although, of course, they are still a major reason why I’m doing the shiz nits I’m doing right now, haha), but because I want to learn something new everyday and, these learnings may not be totally related to each other but they will help me achieve all of my potential – as a doctor, as a social catalyst, as a businessman, as a person.

Boom, we just had a pseudo-mature monologue right there.