premature thoughts

when i was in clinical school, there was a medical officer who was 27 or 28 but had already finished his professional exams and was just 2 years away from becoming a physician. he completed most of the papers while just a houseman, passed all of them in a single attempt and signed up for a specialty early on.

there were many qualities about him that i could have looked up to – his drive, determination, definitely his smarts – but what i find myself admiring most is the certainty he had of which path he wanted to take.

i’ve always thought of myself as a medical person, despite doing worse in medical disciplines and getting the better scores in surgery as a student. i liked how obsessive things are in the operating room – the counting of equipment and swabs, the strict aseptic techniques, the consent checking and re-checking – but i couldn’t imagine myself digging through abdominal contents, debriding the foulest of wounds. plus there was the episode where i almost fainted after inhaling cautery fumes while assisting a hernioplasty in clinical school…

and yet here i am, at the end of my surgical rotation as a house officer, and i find myself asking for more time in the theatre, sometimes working up the courage and initiative to perform procedures (which is something new to painfully shy me), actually interested in the many ways a single condition can be managed. i find new meaning in the things my lecturers taught me, the same things i rolled my eyes at, groaned at, had palpitations over.

still, i think i could have made more effort, been more aggressive, shown my eagerness to learn…and i ask myself why i haven’t done so. is it because i just find this interesting and not something i see myself being passionate about, much like alot of other things in my life? there’s always something lacking, missing.

maybe it’s just me being slothful.

i know for sure i can’t be like that medical officer specialist (by now). i tried – i bought the mrcp book and finished a couple of chapters during the holidays – but now i’m thinking…what if i want to be a surgeon instead?

no, really…what if?


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