Friday, February 4, 2011

Making sense (part 1)

The Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine has always been teeming with life and knowledge. Medical doctors, scientist, bioinformaticians and patients trod its corridors in pursuit of the next ground breaking discovery in treating diseases which plagued mankind for so long. With its sparkling and impressive credentials in cancer research, it's no question that it has been chosen for my SSC on Biology of Cancer, whereby medical students are expected to have a comprehensive understanding on the very disease which ravage the lives of so many people, within 2 weeks, and inspire them to do something better than just treat and cure.

It's a bit freaky when a medical registrar cum research fellow, in all his intellectual and medical glory, lay out upon us the different available pathways in reaching the pinnacle of the medical field; a consultant. But one thing i realised is that those different pathways have one thing in common; it would take a huge chunk of your life, ranging around 9 to 13 years on top of the 5 to 6 years spent in medical schools.

This is one of those talks where regret starts creeping in, whispering doubts in the ears of the people who have chosen this path. That is when you started relishing on the notion that your counterparts who opted for other courses, may it be engineering, law, politics, physics, geology, accounting or others, would have a much rosier experience of learning, rather than being bathed by the light of the study lamp at night till the wee hours of dawn, cramming the British National Formulary into the head, memorizing the details of the human anatomy, working out the different physiological process and putting it into a context so that it would make some sence, and figuring out what went haywire in diseases. Some of my peers in different courses are about to grad this summer, and i will still be at my desk, struggling.

I can't help myself from thinking that my pursuit of medical greatness come with a much higher cost. It seemed the price obtaining a medical degree has to be paid in the currency of my personal life. Much has been sacrificed; my time with my family, my personal relationships with people, the pleasure of reading a novel , where i swapped it with books, labs, prosections, and journals. Once, the vice dean has reiterate this notion during a briefing on my placements where i might be living 9 weeks in a hospital for each module next year, where she said that medical students are not supposed to have personal relationships, 'so break up!'. By hammering on these points, it is reasonable that i would have a fair share of regret in me. It may just be my narrow view of life and the world, or it may be my ignorance towards inspiring stories of men and women of medicine who have already stood on the altar of medical greatness. In times like this, i would tell myself that i am still naive... and my path is still far from the destination i intend to reach.

In times like this, i search for any form of assurance that my cause is just.

p/s : the montage from the HBO mini-series 'The Pacific' which i listen to every morning. It helps me to convince myself me that it is all worthwhile.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

what it means to be us

I would just like to share with you a poem my neuropharmacology lecturer use to capture our hearts and minds to human creativity and the price we pay for it in the form of schizophrenia.

'We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,

Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.'

Arthur O'Shaughnessy

Powerful words, worthy of describing humans and our potentials.

Sit and ponder.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

London to Boston

From London to Boston.

It starts tonight.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The walk along the Thames

It's been over a month now, and i thought i finally had everything under control. Normality and routines have finally returned, i thought, but i guess i have spoken too soon. My anxiety and curiosity have led me to the discovery of a sudden turn of events on the internet, which has only led me to a spiraling, bottomless and depressing abyss. It haunted me through day and night, especially when i am in solitude, confining me to a state of non-functional. The undesirable image of them in a display of affection crept even in my sleep and in my dreams, only to be awaken in the night and not being able to get a good night rest. So, i did what i usually do when i have things bothering me; do my work, but to no avail. I was not able to register the words on the paper; my eyes were on the articles, but my mind was in a place where i wish not to be. I had to do something. Then i remembered the famous words in Forrest Gump; Run Forrest, Run.

I would love to run, but jogging at night in the cold winter would not be a good idea. Lap swimming sounds nice, but i didn't think there were pools open late at night. So walking would be the best thing to do. I took the tube to Bank, and made my way to Leicester Square, hopefully i can let my mind and body lost among theater enthusiasts and tourists in London's West End. I grabbed myself a coffee, head south bound towards the river Thames, hopefully i would arrive at Westminster, where i would take the long walk of shame to Whitechapel along the Thames path in the veils of London's night.

Central London late at night is a very pleasant place to be. There is a side of London at that hour of the day where only the daring could experience. The Victorian lamp posts which illuminates the Thames river path radiates a romantic feeling, with the backgrounds of London's iconic monuments across the south bank entertaining the very pedestrians who bravely trod this path at that hour; a perfect atmosphere for me to dwell in my feelings and to find solace. If i were to be mugged, i have nothing to lose; if they wish to take my blackberry, they can take away all the remnant of my distant past when all seemed to fall into place. If they wish to take my wallet, they can take away the notes which hold testament to the joyful memories i once had in it. If they wish to take my life, i would put up a fight.

It's amazing how your mind and emotion can dictate your body into walking almost 5 hours in the late,cold night. My mind was occupied with the bits and bobs of my discontentment, that i did not register my body's state of fatigue. It was a pleasant walk, except the incident where i was grabbed, hugged, and kissed by a lady with a bottle of Brandy in her hand and she asked to bring her home ( which i politely decline, of course).

The quality time i had through out the night has helped me to do a lot of soul searching. It has made me realise that love is not about being selfish, but being selfless; being able to put my self interest aside for the best interest of the individual involved. Sacrifice is not just about giving up stuffs; it's about being able to let go something or someone so important, and be contended and be able to be happy for other's happiness. Everyone has their bitter share of the cake once in a while, and what's important is how you respond to it. At first, i have doubts of how i would make it out of the day, with a lot of crap on my back. But i came to realise that the problem lies not with the girl across the Pond, nor the bloke who stirs my worst imagination; it has been me all this while. No one would like to change routines, but i have arrived at the point that changes have to be made, and my dedication and commitment must be channeled to a place where i am most needed. Some people equates moving on as finding replacements, but i'll prescribe myself to a higher cause. All of this i concluded within the 5 hours i walked, from Leicester Square, to Westminster, and back to Whitechapel.

The next morning, i still had a couple of things in my head. So i walked again, now somewhere closer, and had coffee at Aldgate. As i returned to my flat, the nice old lady next door was cleaning up the corridor in front of her flat, and she is just a sweetheart. She complained about her backaches and how terrible it was, and she asked me a question which made you wonder whether it is pure coincidence or she can read minds. 'Do you a have special girl?'. 'I wish i had' i replied. 'Oohh, poor lad. A man like you shouldn't be alone. Don't worry, you'll find one soon'. Hmmm.... i wonder:)

And something i would like to share which made it all more bearable,