Hurried steps from one ward to another. Long working hours at a stretch. Difficult night duties when on call. That is the real life of a doctor. I knew this, of course. But they very rightly say that experience is truly the best teacher. There’s something very powerful about experiences and empathy that takes our understanding to the next level, or the right one, let’s say. That is one of the many things that working as an elective student taught me. And for good.
It’s very easy to imagine that the life of a doctor is that of prestige and wealth. That may be very true. But what we very conveniently forget is what goes behind all this grandeur.
Imagine having to wake up every morning and rush to the hospital to attend to ailing bodies, often missing out on your son’s parent-teacher meeting, or your daughter’s sports day at school, or your own mother’s appointment with the doctor. Imagine having to miss out on attending your best friend’s wedding, or a night out with your cousins because you have a night-shift that may stretch into a 12-hour post-call. Imagine having to be on your feet all day, your wits intact, as your back aches and your feet shout for a rest. Imagine having to make important, life-saving decisions on empty stomachs and full bladders. Imagine losing a patient in the face of the complexity that the human body boasts of, and not blaming yourself for what was predestined. Imagine breezing through life as you watch little tragedies and big miracles every day.
Yes. That is a small window into what the real deal is.
Perhaps, it’s in these larger than life paradoxes that the simple secret of life lies in.
Seconds melt into hours and days into years. Between one summer and one winter, more than a few showers of rain grace this soil, either washing away fragile homes of mud-bricks and straw roofs or watering a healthy rice field. Someone, somewhere, crushes the autumn leaves. Someone, somewhere sings the songs of spring. And a doctor, a messiah, does all of that in the heartbeat of a moment.