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.