Sunday, May 25, 2008

Through the Years

You know what’s unfair? I’ll tell you what’s unfair. Having an exam every week, that’s what’s unfair. You know what’s even more unfair? Having an exam in SPM every week. Can you think of anything worse? No? Our department of SPM could, and did. They are going to send our marks in these rotten exams to the University, so if we do really badly on these, we will not eligible to take our final exams. If you can think of worse stuff to torture medicos with, send your résumé to "The Department of Community Medicine, Some Medical College, Anywhere in India."

In other news, I have passed both my Ophthalmology and (surprise!) SPM end posting exams. The drinks are on me, folks.

Now, since I have a lot of free time coming up, thanks to the lovely exams, I shall be blogging more often now. And my posts will not contain any pictures.* There, you have been warned.

A fan of mine, and a classmate. Has attended exactly one class in these last four years, and that was because he followed me (and my friends) into one. He disappeared shortly after this picture was taken, and has not been seen or heard of since. Anyone possessing information about him, please let me know. You shall be rewarded for your efforts.

"Ha, a poet! Know him by
The ecstasy-dilated eye,
Not uncharged with tears that ran
Upwards from his heart of man."

Our class went to Kodaikanal, Mysore and Coorg a couple of years ago. She carried a notebook and pen at all times, and wrote poetry throughout the entire trip. Oh, the agony. Here you can see her composing an ode to the red flowers that match her clothes. The flowers died as soon as she began reading out her monstrosity to them, and then the security guards came and kicked us all out of the park for committing unspeakable atrocities on flowers. She probably wrote about the pulverisation of tender emotion by the unloving hand of man on the way home.

The Pharmacology people have a lot of charts like this. We are supposed to "explain the graph" and answer the questions on a piece of paper, and when called up, to read it to the examiner, who will then indulge in chori ask us more questions. A friend of mine got this chart, and she started with, "This is a graph showing the effects of different drugs on a dog's blood pressure. A baseline recording-" to be interrupted by the terrifying examiner asking her, "What dog?" Luckily, if she had said the first thing that came to her mind, she would have failed the exam then and there, but after racking her brain for a couple of hours (or what seemed like a couple of hours to her), she managed to hit on the right answer- an anaesthetised dog. In case you were wondering, her instincts told her that it was a German Shepherd. I would have answered that it was one of the stray dogs living in our campus. Now you know what happened to my friend.

This was the last specimen for my Pathology practical exam. The examiner was surrounded by uteri, and she picked this up, and told me I could leave as soon as I answered this last one (having screwed up on all her previous questions). All those uteri sitting on her left side had misled me, and I told her that this was a specimen of uterus containing a vesicular mole (which, in my defence, is also a feathery looking thingy in a hollow cavity). Imagine my surprise when I found out later that I had indeed passed my Path labs. :)

My mom spends most of her free time taking embarrassing pictures of our cat (and also pictures of her daughter staring at a candle flame, and worse) on her cell phone camera. STAY CALM! DO NOT PANIC! This fierce warrior is asleep and will not attack you. I repeat, HE WILL NOT ATTACK YOU! Unless the sound of your running feet wakes him up, of course.

More pictures next time, if there is one. There always remains the possibility of the Park sucking into the void.

*Sarcasm: raw and scornful use of apparent approval to express disapproval. And no, not the meaning I was looking for.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Remember how the PG students went on strike during our labour room posting? Ans the house surgeons joined them? When I discovered my latent surgical skills when I scrubbed in as the first (and only) assistant for a Caesarean section? When I delivered a baby and gave an amnioinfusion? No? Chhe. It’s over here.

This time, it is the doctors who are on strike. Both teaching (the ones in medical colleges) and the non-teaching (the ones practising in other hospitals) followers of Hippocrates employed by the Government of Kerala have refused to work for the measly salary they are currently given. Biased and unbiased reports can be read here and here.

You know what this means, don’t you? No classes! This rarer-than-an-honest politician event was heralded by a great deal of applause and laughter until we learnt that we get extensions at the end of the strike. Now, the cud chewing baboons at the University of Kerala have already given a six month lag due to their zeal in postponing exams and the lack of it in announcing our results. While my friends who prudently decided to study in medical colleges outside Kerala are in the middle of their final year, I am still in fourth year. Yay. Not.

We are all totally in support of the strike, of course. At least some of us will practice in government run hospitals in the future, and we would really enjoy earning slightly more than a lower division clerk.

I don’t understand why the government has such a pathological dislike of doctors. House surgeons, whose absence would paralyse the hospital, are given peanuts. PG students, who actually look after the patients, get slightly more than the housies. Medical officers, who run the show, the ones with lots of training and plenty of experience, are paid a fraction of their worth. And then they act all indignant when nobody wants to work in a government hospital. Until last year, housies did all the blood, urine, sputum, stool, and other body fluid collection and despatching, along with their routine jobs. Now the dearly beloved government has decided nursing students should undergo a period of internment after completion of their course, where they perform the above mentioned activities. The fly in the ointment is, their stipend is higher than that of the medical interns. Government darling, do you even understand how difficult it is for us to go on strike? Contrary to what you think (assuming that you have at least one neuron in your head), our natural instinct is not to increase suffering. Doctors are the one of the most overworked employees on your payroll, and also the most underpaid. I get the feeling that a lot of research is required on brain transplantation, so you can act like something resembling a normal human being.

Anyway, the strike did not prevent my SPM test from being held. *sob*
A large group of professors tried to stop the Parkists, but our SPM prof was adamant. And I was too busy thali-fying about neonatal tetanus in socially handicapped children (or some such) to notice our saviours being ruthlessly struck down.

There is this guy in the department of sleep producing medicine who speaks English with a really weird accent. He is, obviously, not mallu. (All mallus learn to speak Manglish at their mother’s knees.) Let’s call him Romancer, because, well, that is our nickname for him. The SPM echhis do not print question papers for our tests, they just have the Romancer read it out. It took me three whole minutes, and a hushed discussion with Twin to establish that epizemolzigal dryad was not a hitherto unknown species of mosquito that spreads Kyasanoor forest disease, and also that KFD was not transmitted by mosquito bites. All of the Parkists have booming voices to prevent attacks of sleep apnoea among the students during class. Why the Romancer is made to dictate questions at every single exam is beyond me.

One more month, a couple of exams, and I’m in final year. It seems like yesterday that I was a scared first year, who carried around an inhaler of Salbutamol to get out of ragging on the grounds that stress precipitated my ‘asthma’. It’s been fun, even the exams, after the ulcers have healed. :)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Four Eyed

I am posted in ENT next month. If this Ophthalmology posting is any indication, I will be wearing a hearing aid by the end of next month. I got glasses, people. Glasses! Me. Adorable “6/6 vision” Pancreas. Damn.

It all started with a headache. Which, according to the Park (you know, our SPM textbook. Go read this post if you have not. It got published and all, so it should be better than my usual nonsense. It's better than this one, at any rate.) is also known as cephalalgia. Cephalalgia! I kid you not. So, with this cephalalgia that has been bothering me for sometime, I chopped a perfectly healthy tree in my garden, dug up the root, continued digging for another 12 feet, and retrieved my spectacle case from where it had been buried. It was undamaged (it would be, just my luck) and the cephalalgia disappeared like magic when I put them on. This would have to happen. And my mom gave a yell of joy and rushed me to an optometrist, who made her cough up a lot of money and gave me new glasses because the axis had changed or something. I am now the proud owner of a pair of glasses. Yeesh. Anyway, bye bye headache cephalalgia. Don’t bother to send any postcards.

I have two tests this week. Both SPM. Because, you know, I have nothing to do. Ah, how much better can life get?

A lot of my classmates (to say nothing about the kids from our junior batch) have been attending PG entrance coaching classes. I know that the competition is tough-- most people take the entrance a number of times before they get through. What I don’t see is me joining them. It’s not that I am content with just a degree or that I am not ambitious (Dr. Adorable Pancreas, MBBS, MD, DM, MRCP, FRCP, Woohoo!), I just can’t see myself keeping my nose to the grindstone for the next 3 years. I burn up. Fast. It happened with the premedical entrance exams, it happened during the first year exams, it happened during the second third* year exams, and I think I’m heading for one now that the exams are just a couple of months away. I do not even want to think about the hell that is final year. And then the internment. And don’t get me started on the rural posting. I don’t know where my life is going. I am afraid I won’t get to be a cardiologist if I don’t. attend. those. classes. NOW. And right now, I can’t bring myself to care. The heart is the only organ in the body whose anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology and pathology I can recite in my sleep. The only reason I did well on my Pathology exam was because the long question (which carried a lot of marks) was about rheumatic heart disease. I think I’ll die (probably of a heart attack) if I don’t become a cardiologist.

I wish I was in my control of my life. Instead, people who do not even know that I exist are laying the foundations of my future. I am scared stiff. I really need to get my life back on track. Taking it easy is not an option any more.
Nobody got anywhere in the world by simply being content.

Now just how do I go about reforming myself?

*We have no second year. We jump into third year at the end of our first year. Don't ask. Loooong story.

PS: The whole thing sounds disjointed and unconnected, no? Welcome to the randomness that is the inside of my head.

PPS: Better post next time. Maa kasam.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Eye Am Back

It is time, folks.

Ophthalmology review posting.

And yes, that is hordeolum internum. I can distinguish it from a chalazion, so yay.