Musings From The OT: The Surgeon. (Housejob Diaries)

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Sleight of hand, sharpness of wits. Blood stained, sweaty browed, stiff necked, he stands. Yet he stands upright. Stance firm, piloting up to four instruments at a time.

The surgeon, almost arrogantly confident, always a little too loud, always sure of himself. So much so, that you can’t help but wonder whether it is in fact blind certainty, or a facade to mask any lingering doubts. His decision is absolute.

Hands plunged deep inside an cavity, searching, rearranging. The vibrations of the operating table jolt me back to my senses. A reminder that that’s in fact a human being, under the drapery and bloodstains. A realisation, that what he’s doing is no less than assisting the work of God himself.

 

“As a surgeon you have to have a controlled arrogance. If it’s uncontrolled, you kill people, but you have to be pretty arrogant to saw through a person’s chest, take out their heart and believe you can fix it. Then, when you succeed and the patient survives, you pray, because it’s only by the grace of God that you get there.”
– Mehmet

Reflections from the ER 1: Housejob Diaries

Short and somewhat fragmented, much like my thought processes these days. 

 

Twice a week we are banished to the purgatory of the ER. A place where it is neither night nor day, summer nor winter; yet everything all at once. Bright lights rob us of any true orientation, disconcerting after a certain number of waking hours. The ER doesn’t play by the rules of other places. Things never come to a stop, but merely slow down, then speed up. An irregularly irregular pulse of activity. Time follows a similar pattern. It would be foolish to associate night with rest, or any other time for that matter. Rest, for the fortunate, is always stolen from within duties.

Here in the accident and emergency department, we juggle the accidental emergencies and tackle the emerging accidents. We main sharp-witted, shrewd, and often sure of ourselves, even when we are not.
The walls absorb as many prayers and curses as the floor does blood, sweat and tears. Wails and yells pierce the air intermittently, an argument dotted here and there. But that’s all routine.

 

 

Procrastination, Purgatory and the Pee-Yew

Exam season always feels like a sort of purgatory, between what we’ve been working for and what we’re hoping to achieve. The days leading up to the exams themselves turn into a listless monotony, that I’m forced to push myself through. While the overall aim is to be productive, something I wouldn’t say I’m failing at, my mind feels like sludge. I can’t help but find myself to be unthinking, almost robotic in my daily machinations.

It’s not that I haven’t allowed myself much introspection lately, but such is the curse of the med student, that when we do finally decide to get studying, it leaves little room for much else (thoughts and social engagement likewise). Rather, I have these little moments of self awareness. It’s like realisation in a dream that this is not, in fact, reality. The opposite would be more accurate, I suppose.

At 12.45 pm, lifting my third cup of tea of the day to my lips, I shuffle the pages before me and suppress another yawn. Half submerged in a blanket (I study in bed, yes, a terrible habit), I pause. Since the recent earthquakes in Afghanistan, I’ve been feeling (hallucinating, rather) the ground shaking at odd moments, a paranoia my loved ones have chalked up to anxiety, which I grudgingly agree to (it feels so real!). How can it not be strange and alarming to me that anxiety can manifest in such a way, when I’m not actually anxious (yet)?

In the evening, watching the sky change colour, I refresh my Facebook feed yet again, hopefully. It’s 17.15 pm as I listen to the azaans, some in tandem, other echoing each other. I happen to be in search of a date sheet; an as of yet unfulfilled promise by the University of the Punjab (or PU). This annual proverbial tug of war, between our queries and their vague responses, is something we’ve become used to. It makes us tense, and lull us into a false sense of security in alternations. The exams that we’re so fervently preparing for are apparently fast approaching, though without a deadline, we’re left working on estimations and guesses. Frustrated, I bat closed the window I’d left open, despite the cold. What is is about the chill that keeps you in your toes, yet turns you into a lethargic fool?

It’s 3.30 am and I’m scraping the bottom of a jar of peanut butter with pieces of biscuit that may or may not be stale, though at the speed I’m shovelling them into my mouth, this doesn’t seem to matter anyway. I love this time of night.

Despite how much I have or haven’t studied, at this hour I can close up shop; that is to say, chuck my books aside and just give up. I’m aware that doesn’t sound very motivational, but hear me out. There is solace in the fact that to stop before I reach my breaking point is a choice that is solely mine. And to start again, requires no motivation except my own.

Till then, I get to escape in sleep; that elusive mistress, adored by many yet obtained by fewer. The impertinent voice in the back of my head attempts to reel off all I have yet to do, but I swat it away as I bury myself under the covers.

Tomorrow’s a new day, after all. I’ll worry about it when it comes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I just realised I wrote  a blog post about two years ago, which is quite similar to this one! I suppose exam season feels the same every year.