Category Archives: Undergraduate Diaries

Closure

 

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It has taken me quite a while to write this post; kept writing and erasing and rewriting it all over again, abandoning countless drafts – just because I did not want to sound corny.

Five years back, at the very start of med school, I had decided to chronicle my days of undergraduate life on this blog – I had recently read Erich Segal’s Doctors – and I was very motivated. Consistent with my personality (and sheer laziness), this motivation did not last beyond two days (can be found here and here.)

As it happens, I wrote the prologue back then, lived the subsequent chapters and now I am writing an epilogue of sorts; just to tie up some loose ends for once in my life. Downton Abbey, Naruto, everything seems to be ending. It is a season of closure and I believe it is high time I offered the same courtesy to my resolutions, even if this particular one was made five years back.

What is so surreal about graduation is how vividly I remember some days; as if some iota of my being is still reliving them all simultaneously. I remember bunking classes and going to the BDS cafeteria just for their fries. I remember the never-ending surprise birthday parties. I remember the Reading Hall shenanigans, the Dissection Hall study sessions. I remember the Voice of LUMHS’ brainstorming meetings, the frantic art assembling for the Top Ten Ceremony. I remember the sneaky nails of the lecture hall benches that always managed to get snagged in my jeans. I remember the impromptu hangouts, the 1000-comment posts. I remember the petty fights, the long-held grudges. I remember witnessing the fights transforming into lasting friendships, the grudges slowly fading with time. I remember the happy moments, the missed opportunities, the crests and troughs of friendships.

Even as I reminisce, I realize how different I am from the person of five years ago.  My patience, my fortitude has slowly chipped away along with all pretense of diplomacy in the incessant drama of med school – I have learnt what battles to fight, what battles to retreat from and what battles to just … let go. It has not been an easy process and I am not sure I have got it down perfectly as well. But, hey, if there is anything I have learnt in these five years, is how to be comfortable with my own opinion and to stand by it.

Back then, I had talked about the fear of applying knowledge we acquire in med school on actual patients – now I realize that fear never really goes. You instead take it up as a companion, always there to remind you to do the best for your patients.

So, yes, I have no idea how cynical or conscientious or different I would be in the next few years, but I do know this: I will always try to remember these moments of five years as vividly as I do today.

 

Facing the enemy: Biochemistry

The Chatterjee Monster mocks the author

After three days of battling with the enemy, i.e. Biochemistry – we’re at a deadlock. A most stubborn, tedious deadlock.

And, sadly the slate of my mind is still blank. It is rather sad that after laboring through the damned subject with a tremendous amount of concentration, a thousands of mitochondria worth energy – I’ve managed to retain nothing at all. Whatever happens to linger, is jumbled up in a mess of carbonyls and amides.

With love, Chatterjee's Textbook of Biochemistry.

So, the whole point of making this post at this god-forsaken hour is to inform the general public, that I extremely, incessantly, HATE Biochemistry. Yes, with all its mind-boggling structures, annoying clinical importance and irksome vague information – I HATE IT!

And I’ve solid reasons to hate, abhor it.

Following are the widely-felt symptoms of this villainous subject –

Symptoms of Biochemistry Syndrome:

a) It leaves one hazy and disorientated. (Yes, ever since I’ve opened the Chatterjee Monster, I’m having difficulty understanding perfectly normal things. For instance; during the boiling of egg, why do the normal conformation of proteins change into a disorganized mass of polypeptides?) <— Yes, I know O.o

b) It has the tendency to induce short-term memory loss. (I  go over a few pages, but after sometime find myself wondering about what actually I remember from it. Most of the time, it’s zero :|)

A structure destined to be forgotten

c) It prompts a constant feeling of nausea and depression. [Yes, you get nausea after one hour of ratafication – and depression when you can’t recall anything. 😥 ]

I could ramble on and on about why exactly I hate this subject … but the clock is ticking.

And sleep is hitting on fast; and tomorrow there are more battles to win.

-sighs-

Adios, people.

Opening confrontation with blood

29th December ’10

blood Pictures, Images and Photos

I’m a first year student – a newborn in the world of medicine. From the complexities of control mechanisms of the body to the mind-boggling biochemical garble to the vivid intricacies of human body to the scintillating art of living tissue to the transition of a mere cell into a balking neonate – I have to learn all, so someday when I’m wise enough, I could heal with no hesitation.

The first hurdle that is to be passed in this process of learning is none other than blood: the red water that is the basic living component of human body.

The first practical in Physiology, the study of functions of body, was blood sampling by pricking method and venous sampling method. Students at random were called out to the front so that methods could be demonstrated on them for all to see; we huddled around the selected ones and watched in trepidation.

The first guy, who was having his finger pricked for blood, was hailed with cries of “Khoon! Murder!” by the apprehensive students – lots of laughter – but I believe it was just an attempt to lessen our fears of the red substance.

However, it was strange to find that when blood was drawn out – I did not feel squeamish or nauseous or frightened. If there was any fear, lurking in the sub-conscious, it was dispelled.

I guess this is how it works: we are confronted with blood early to harness resilience for future purposes – and, of course, so that we may learn how to draw blood with an actual patient without fumbling and blubbering.

Next week students would be divided in pairs so that we may practice on each other.

I hope I don’t puncture any vein. *Fingers crossed*

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Originally intended to be published on 29th December ’10, but as with the previous post couldn’t publish due to net problems.

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First day at LUMHS: Origin of a new fear

28th December ’10

Suddenly, long bone became long not because it was long, just that it had a shaft and two ends. Suddenly, small bone became small not because it was small, just that it didn’t have a shaft and two ends.

First day at university was foremost in shattering these pre-conceived ideas; one could feel overwhelmed by this scattering of ideas – however, it was strangely exhilarating: this deviation from the normal course of our thinking.

Because not all are privileged to comprehend the true workings of human body; this exclusive privilege lies solely with those who toil hard on medical minutiae.

And this feeling, though elating, is also the origin: of a new deep-rooted fear – that when we indulge this knowledge, one day we would be also expected to use it. And, when time comes to employ this knowledge, the question arises – what if I could not fulfill the absolute trust put into my skill by the vulnerable patient?
Frightening as the thought is, there is one bright aspect of it all.
It would be a few years before I treat actual patients. And, hopefully I could amass enough knowledge by then.

Hopefully.

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Originally intended to be published on 28th December ’10, but due to some net problems, I was unable to do so.

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