The coat is white, crisp and classy. It looks cool. And the stethoscope around the neck just puts the cherry on top. People think we study all the time and it’s a mystery to them how we manage life and study. For some, getting into medicine means end of life. Here’s a little effort to clear any doubts and to put forward a few confessions as a medical student.
As soon as the news reaches the family and relatives that we have gotten admission in a medical college, they think if they come to us with their health problems, we will acknowledge, diagnose and probably prescribe pills to them. Hold on for a second! I have just started to get accustomed to the heavy loads of anatomy and physiology. The part of diagnosing doesn’t show up until third year. You better go see a practising doctor!
A year later, if you have successfully cleared your exams and manage to get a good GPA, it’s a huge relief not just for you but also for your family who now thinks we know how to give injections, draw blood samples and to suture. How do we tell them that we hadn’t have a single patient exposure yet and that our hands shake badly even when we are inserting needles into a mannequin’s arm!
“Beta, tell me which thing is this medicine for. It doesn’t have side effects, right?
Risek, Ascard, Xplended, Softin!
Sure! Oh, sure! You can pronounce these fancy names. Imagine my luck as I just recently spent hours memorizing their generic names that do not come easy on the tongue, let alone being fancy and yeah, they are pretty handful to remember.
We learn Risek as Omeprazole, Ascard as Acetyl Salicyclic acid, Xplended as Rosuvastatin, and Softin as Loratidine! There you go! Not easy to learn, is it?
When my mom sees me typing, she gets excited. So, when she came to know that I was doing some research work, she was more than baffled, and since then has been telling everyone that I have been working hard on my thesis and got many into believing that I was doing PhD. Seriously! It could not have gotten worse than that. It’s just a damn research work. But maybe, this is the perk of being a medical student that comes with a harsh irony that we are always more appreciated and praised by our folks than in the medical world where we are treated like underdogs. How to explain to our loved ones how we are treated by our professors! I say we leave it as it is; what do you say?
If you managed to enter the fifth year, more popularly known as the final year, most people think we are finally doctors. That’s the reason they so frequently and unhesitatingly ask you to write the prescription for their medicines. How do I tell them that I have still got one big year till I am legally allowed to do so, but no, they don’t get it!
You have successfully graduated making your parents the proudest that they had been in their entire life. Even though they don’t say it but its obvious they are hopeful that we will be earning soon and help out in the finances of the household. House job diaries start soon bringing with it all the malice that it could, making lives miserable as ever and making the young doctors wish they had never decided to become doctor in the first place. But they are so enthusiastic about their work and dedicated to the oath they took that they can be found hiding bottles of normal saline, injections or other medicines so that their patients can get them on time. They are seen running in different wards to get an opinion for their patients. They are the ones persuading the nursing staff to draw samples of blood of their patients so that their lab results are sent timely. All this trouble they go through just so that the patients receive necessary care. Still they are not paid timely. Salary comes usually after three months or even much later and sometimes it does not, and people think that we earn a lot. At this stage, we are pretty much dependent on our parents.
We may be studying to become doctors, but we are human beings, too. We also love to shop, eat out and have fun. We are not boring as you may think, and we do bunk our classes occasionally to enjoy. As much as human life is sacred for us and has made us serious in our profession, outside we party hard and make sure to enjoy ourselves.
Next time if you see a person in a lab coat, don’t think they are bragging. It’s part of our uniform and just as students stop by malls on their way from university, we do too. It has nothing to do with showing of our coats to the public. And for the record, I didn’t get glasses because of studying those big fat books. I don’t study for 24 hours. My glasses have been my companion since I was a kid, so medicine is not to be blamed for that after all!