Learning among a company of good people is unbelievably fun. I have almost forgotten how it felt after these kinds of activities became absence in my life while I engrossed myself in pressure of trying to pass every exam which is fueled more by coercion than passion. After been through a really tough year last two semesters, I really needed an injection of energy and I found it last Saturday.
When a friend of mine asked me to join a charity program in Baling last week, I was very reluctant to say yes. With no friend except him I was not sure I can survive the 6-day program unscathed. However, after a great persuasion by him, at last I agreed to join the other 34 medical students on the 4th day. The experience was so amazing and surely it was an opportunity not to be missed by everyone. I certainly welcomed the courage I had put in to brave myself to join this program.
On the 4th day of the program, they were conducting a free and some mobile clinics at one of the mosque in Baling (I kinda forgot the name of the kampong). Besides a free medical/dental check up, medicine and consultation from general practitioners, specialists, dentists and pharmacists, there were also blood donation campaign and free pap smear test.
As I was not really a participant of this program, I did not really have a major role at the free clinic and most of the time I went to Sara to learn something. Sara is an Irish who had volunteered to join the program too. She is a final year medical student in one of the university in Ireland but she knows almost everything like a real doctor. Besides she was so friendly and kind to me. She taught me so many things. For every patient that came to her to be examined, she will explain every single thing to me as if I was her student and she was my lecturer. She taught me how to diagnose the patient and let me perform the physical examination under her guidance.
There was a woman who came with red spots all over her extremities. I was about to ask Sara what rash was this and suddenly she said “look at the hemosiderin”. OK, the rash was hemosiderin and somehow I thought I was familiar with the word ‘hemosiderin’ but what on earth are the diseases that are associated with hemosiderin? I have no idea. Thus, patiently she explained everything to me from a to z.
After that I was busy calling the patient to see their doctors (which was my original duty) but suddenly Sara called me and handed me her stethoscope, insisting me on listening to an old lady’s heart. As I didn’t really remember the exact location where to listen to the heart’s sound, again without complaining anything, she taught me the locations. She even gave me an acronym on how to easily remember the locations of the 4 valves. OK, the reason why she called me was because she wanted me to listen to a murmur. The lady has been diagnosed bicuspid AV. So, the murmur can be easily heard and I swore it’s very loud.
Late in the morning, there was a woman who came just for a general medical check-up. She said she was healthy. Suddenly Sara asked me whether there was any difference in both arms and I realized the right arm was a bit swollen and then she asked me to press the edema and I thought she was going to ask me whether it was pitting or non-pitting but instead she asked me whether it’s due to vascular problem or lymph problem? Huh?! After that, she explained that the swollen arm was due to the accumulation of the lymph. The lady had a breast cancer which had metastasize to her lymph node and the doctors had removed the lymph nodes which had cause the accumulation of the lymph in the arm. I looked at the anamnesis paper (which was taken by someone else in previous station) and yes there’s a history of breast cancer. And obviously Sara asked nothing about the breast cancer or the lymph node to the patient because she couldn’t speak Malay.
What an experience! There are a lot more to tell but I couldn’t write everything in here otherwise it will end up being the longest post I ever write. I am really glad to have had the opportunity to be part of the medical camp. Thanks for inviting me and the never ending persuasion. After all, this is the thing I need the most.
After entering the university, my confidence markedly subsided as I lost the environment that nurtured me to fight for my dream. I only started to realize how low I felt one day in my room doing mediocre assignments that did not inspire me. Whether there should be an improvement from the university to make the assignment more interesting or not in order to make sure they will produce good young doctors later on, that is far less important because that would be entirely up to us, the student. Whether we like it or not, we are the one who determine our own path whether we want to become a good doctor or just a mere doctor who graduates from medical school but know nothing more than a layman.
In humble opinion, passing an exam is easy.
Yeah, call me snobbish or whatever.
But I think deep in you, you do agree with that statement too even though how ridiculous it may sound at first. Just do the pass year questions and understand the patterns and insyallah, you will pass it.
The hardest thing is whether by passing all the exams and was named to the dean’s list had ensure you of becoming a good doctor in the future as well?
I doubt that.
After witnessing a third year medical student came up with a diagnosis of sciatic nerve palsy yesterday, I think I really need to work harder after this.