A lot can happen over coffee


 After having finished our medicine and surgery postings, its that time of the year now where we are posted in OBG (Obstetrics and Gynecology) for two months. Yes we get to observe surgeries and deal with hormonal patients now! We’ve seen a myriad of people in the wards, the anxious mother, the excited mother, the I-Google-everything mother, the this-is-my-fifth-time mother, the hopeful mother. It has been swell! It is always a different learning experience each time you meet a new person. Needless to say, we have a lot to share! But my post today isn’t about a new surgery technique they showed us nor is it about something I learnt from a patient. It dawned upon me today that there is so much room for me to grow as a person.

Here’s what happened. As we’ve been doing in the other postings, we had to take a patient’s history. After which we had to present the same to a resident doctor who would make corrections if any and then we’d discuss the case. By unanimous decision, two of our classmates had to present the case. By lack of preparation or out of nervousness, I do not know, they did an unsatisfactory job. The resident doctor had a lot to say about our case sheet. Annoyed as I was (because this would reflect badly on the whole unit, which implied it would reflect badly on me) I turned to (not really) Watson and told her “They had ONE job. We’re doing this the next time. This is so embarrassing.” With that we left to get ourselves a cup of coffee.

Now I must mention here, we don’t get coffee after every case discussion, everyday. It just so happened that on this particular day, we had left our bags in a classroom and when we went to get them at the end of our case discussion, there was a lecture going on for another group of students and we felt it was wrong to disturb them. Hence the wait until the lecture got over. Hence the coffee.

As I sipped on my hot coffee and cribbed on about the very hot weather, the two classmates I just spoke about, came along. And brought with them our bags. “We got our bags and we were leaving. We thought y’all might need yours.” I instantly felt ashamed of myself. These were the two people only minutes ago, I had said in a way, had embarrassed me. They had absolutely no obligation in bringing my bag for me. They could have left and gotten ten extra minutes of lunch. There was no need for them to climb down two extra flights of stairs to return our bags to us. I realize it is no big thing to talk about. But here’s what I learnt from the experience-

It’s so easy to make snap judgments about people. He didn’t score well on a test: I’m sure he didn’t study for it. The lady there wants an abortion: ohmygod, what kind of a woman does that. She chose to get a spinal epidural to make her delivery easier: gosh, what kind of a mother is she! It’s so easy to not take the time to understand someone. So they didn’t present the case well, so what? There’s so much more to people than what we see. And I’m just beginning to grasp that. And that’s okay. I’m at that point in my life where I have new found realizations about life in general on an almost daily basis. I’m learning to become a better person. Because I want to be a humane doctor.

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