Night-calls spent taking histories as I caught up with an old friend, some freshly brewed coffee smiling with me under the calm night sky, the parents surprising me with home-cooked food at 9 in the night, knowing that I had not wanted to eat from the cafeteria, a rather spontaneous decision to stay post-call with a dear friend to accompany another friend on her call that ended in three friends laughing and studying and drinking unhealthy cups of tea with some more giggling, and a little more studying, and carefully averted panic attacks humming around an exam scheduled for the next day – some few, fond, lovely memories from our North campus’s obstetrics rotation.
But what I really learnt were a couple of lessons – golden leaves – that I can forsee shaping my unknown future.
OBS taught me how people smile in places that will forever haunt them, how to painfully relive certain moments of agony as I also live the present and talk about fungal infections. It taught me the value of last moments and desperate prayers, of exhaling regrets, of kneading your anger into an imaginary ball of fire that you can only hurl at yourself. It taught me how ridiculously invaluable compassion and empathy are. It taught me that nothing can buy us time – time to say goodbye, time to speed up a racing car, time to make a life and death decision – everything is already predestined, the laws of this universe do not allow us to click the ‘select’ button. It taught me to make peace with unanswered duas – unanswered prayers that will return home as something even better, unanswered prayers that will shield me from dusty winds, unanswered prayers that will be answered when Time itself will gravitate towards them. It also taught me that some wounds will never heal, some skipped beats will always remind you what it is to love the dying, and there are moments that our weak hearts could never have borne. And that He knows best. Always.
The miracle of life – the fetal heart sounds resonating within tiny limbs in another miracle – is much larger than the miracle of death. Life – shrieking and crying – is as enthralling as death – the end of a whole universe of feelings and thoughts as they go to sleep under the blanket of earth.
I’m glad I spent those days auscultating fetal heart sounds.
They share the same wavelength as hope.