It’s been about a month since I last blogged but it seems like ages! I had semester finals in December and so life (aka “routine”) eventually started wholly revolving around, or limited to, exams. I don’t know where time has flown, really… I’ve completed my third year of medicine and am about to the start the penultimate year. Just two years more to graduating, InshAllah, and about a year after that, getting registered as a doctor!
Initially, especially at the start of the third year last January, I didn’t really feel like I was a doctor. Sure, we’d studied two years in a medical college but it was all about preparing a foundation for the clinical years, starting with third year. We weren’t studying dieases, rather the normal physiology of the human body, the placement and relation of structures with each other (Anatomy) and the biochemical basis of the human body. Third year marked my first entry into the clinical and pathological (disease related) side of my medical education and wow, was it an amazing year! Our University introduced a semester system too so while caught up with a tangled new system, we also had to learn clinical skills. It all seemed really tough in the beginning… Surgery, Gynaecology/Obstetrics, ENT, Opthalmology, General Medicine and Paediatrics made up the loaded list of clinical rotations for us third years.
We also had new subjects in our college classes… Pathology, Micrbiology, Pharmacology, Foresnice Medicine and Toxicology. Alhamdolillah, looking back now at the end of the year, I’m so happy that we made it through all that! And, no matter how worthless we thought of ourselves initially as medical students, we did learn and we did progress. We had a short clinical exam of the major rotations on Sunday and it was really good, Alhamdolillah. Examine a paraumbilical hernia, percuss the chest wall, take a simple history, conduct a pregnant lady’s antenatal exam, palpate a child’s spleen… these and other things – and we did do it, Alhamdolillah. Sure, we need refinement but this was just the start and, now that we’re well-oriented with studying pathology, I noticed we’re absorbing new things faster than we were a year ago.
Today, as my one-month vacations began, I started an elective at Liaquat National Hospital in the Cardiology department with friends and two cousins, who’re also medical students. Right on the first day, we met a patient who consented to give a detailed history of her case and then an examination too. She was a middle-aged lady, 50 yrs old, had had six children and was admitted for the fourth time in Cardio. Two of my friends and I took her history and then started a general physical and cardiovascular exam. We made some startling discoveries, things we had read about in our books but not really seen yet. More importantly, we did recognize some important signs of her heart disease and when we asked the incharge doctor about it, she confirmed our ideas. It gives you such confidence to know that you do know stuff and you justy might be better off than you thought.
Alhamdolillah, things are looking up study-wise. There’s a new passion for learning, to explore medicine and develop the self to the level that treating disease is the simple next step after making the correct diagnosis. This year is all about learning diseases of the organ systems in detail in our college classes and then attempting to make diagnosis in the hospital wards. I just wish and hope that, at the end of this, I can and do help people – the main purpose behind becoming doctors. Seeing the situation around the world, especially in Gaza, we simply need more doctors.