Friday, January 22, 2010

Why it's great to be a scientist...

Illness- it’s a state of being out of health or a state of being sick. It’s a state when we feel we are not well… and we feel it when sometimes in past or in dreams, we have experienced what that’s called as being well. It depends on our education, our status, our wealth… our genes… that is on our luck.

People get cold; they become ill. They get depressed or anxious or bored; they feel ill. They get diagnosed with cancer or encounter an accident, become paralyzed; they get ill. They get a heart attack or angina or some kind of heart failure; they suffer illness. Some are borne with anomalies… they’re borne with illnesses. People get old, become disabled’ they get ill.

People who are normal or ill only for a short period are lucky people. Some… who’re not like them are ill so frequently that they feel ill or alone when the illness is not there. Pain or disabilities or sufferings are their life partners… honest enough not to leave them alone even for a moment. A child born with polycystic kidney disease doesn’t even know that a disease is accompanying it and is going to accompany it and leading it to the graveyard. Acute common cold is unbearable, but chronic sinusitis becomes a life partner. Cancer starts as an illness then grows as a lifestyle… so are paralysis, arthritis, heart problems, migraine and old age disabilities. Once they arrive, it’s almost impossible to send them back.

Like old unromantic marriage, chronic diseases tend to be dull… or slow killers. Once the ‘what is it?’ response is over, people learn to live with it. They have to live with it, till the life leaves them… or is taken away by the disease or its more horrible friends. People learn to combat the situation, sometimes to fight against the death… or attempt to reduce the fear of death, but it’s hard to accept. Some are lucky to defeat the death and get rid from the illness… but most of the times the new lifestyle continues for the lifetime… the length of which depends upon the graveness of the cause of the illness.

What doctors do here? They aid in the new lifestyle. They try to give some strength against the fight. They try to normalize the lives. Sometimes they achieve complete success… and sometimes flat failure. Many times they succeed in adapting the patient to the new lifestyle. Sometimes they prolong the patient’s life or improve quality of life. After all, it’s better to do ‘something’ than doing nothing. But we do need to try to improve that ‘something’. And this makes it fascinating to be a scientist.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ideal Vs. real situation

Healing, that’s my dream. That’s the purpose of my life. I survive in hopes that I’ll, in some way be helpful in healing people. I want to improve the depth of knowledge we humans possess regarding our own body systems. I want to find some way to study our brain… something like those optogenic tools [Temporally precise in vivo control of intracellular signalling]… that makes the receptor light sensitive. Something like that it could control our synaptic actions from outside.
I dream while awake, I dream at night in my sleep. I dream a lab where I get all the facilities… where I can work on the fine synapses of rat’s brain, and where I can do my research to study the brains of humans. I don’t want to face the reality… I don’t want to be awake without getting lost in my dreams… because the reality is far… far away from my dreams.
I’m a medical student. I’m not supposed to do some initiative or creative work. And I live in a place where… where leave apart the synaptic studies or fMRI studies… simple mRI is not possible. There is a closed room in our hospital… they say there is a damaged mRi machine is sleeping inside. But the room never opens… it has not been opened even once since last four and half years. I can’t break the lock. I can’t change the situation.

Monday, January 4, 2010


It was as if I was getting raped by the exam. Now the trauma is over. I’m in an attempt to heal the wounds. Three days of vacation acted as a pain relief. I have almost forgotten it. But I can’t forget the live patients kept in exam as my cases. Well, I can’t do anything to help them. I don’t know what to do… and I don’t know how to do it. I’m zero; I know nothing. Bookish knowledge is there but it is also not complete. I can make mistakes… gross mistakes and can kill the patients who suffer from nothing serious. I don’t know how to insert IV… and I don’t know cardiopulmonary resuscitation. And I’m not supposed to know it.

In vacation I happened to watch a Hindi movie 3 idiots .It was funny; it described the condition of students who act as parrots and remember things without understanding. It was about engineering students. If it would have described same condition for medicos… it would have been a horror movie… a horror show rather than funny. Can you imagine students like us dealing with real patients; prescribing drugs, giving injections… without diagnosing the disease?
And we are going to do it… in one month or two if we pass the mindless exams… to prove your mindlessness to do such atrocities without feeling guilty. And I want to pass. I need to pass. I won’t be able to achieve my future if I don’t pass. If I don’t pass I have to pretend to be mindless once again for the period of exams… and have to stop thinking.

I don’t hate books… I love bookish knowledge. But I also love practical knowledge which is not impractical (as given in some practical books… you can’t shake a patient with fluid in chest violently enough to hear roars like sea waves…. You just can’t percuss on painful ICD.) And I hope I’ll get it when I become an intern. I must know what is the best thing that I can do at present to save the patient… in this situation? I must know how to do it… and I must be able to apply it in an emergency… but not as a profession.

I know today’s knowledge is not complete… not even sufficient to treat all patients. Sometimes you have to treat the patient when you know nothing about the disease… even if you are an expert… you try to give life support all rest is patient’s luck. I must be able to do it in case of emergency till I handle the patient to a professional life support machine doctor… I don’t want to make it my profession. I just want to increase the knowledge level we have… I just want to find some better solutions… to treat the disease, to diagnose it… to make the patient better, to understand a human in the patient. And that’s why I want to become a scientist.7 Healing

Saturday, January 2, 2010

before the vacations

I was away; was banned from thinking. My heart was banned from beating. The only purpose it was allowed was to circulate blood in my machine like organs… with no emotions, with no feelings and hopeless.
I was having my final year MBBS practical exams. And I was supposed to forget that I have a heart. I was supposed to regurgitate and then vomit undigested, not understood paragraphs from books, lists of diseases and conditions and bookish treatments mimicking lists of grocery or things for garage sell. It was supposed to come out in sequence that was given in books.
This wasn’t the examination of my skills; it didn’t test my knowledge. Feelings were contra- indicated. I think what it tasted was mere short term memory and limits of my hearts’ patience.
Live patients were there. But for us they were mere ‘cases’. Not ‘live human cases’ but mere plain ‘cases’, because the ‘live human’ component was supposed to be ignored. They were mere collections of signs, a pile of derangement. And things were supposed to happen as they are given in the books [in small question- answer booklets not in standard books]. And if they were not according to the booklets, we were supposed to mold them and modify them and finally tell them as they are given in books. Let the patient go to hell. Neglect the patient… remember its [the cases’] name; neglect the complaints… remember the diagnosis; neglect the situation… remember things of academic interest.