Friday, August 20, 2010


“So tell us; why do you want to be a doctor?”
“I have an unquenchable passion to help people and also to save lives, I am hoping that when given the opportunity, I will make good use of my passion and knowledge to help save lives.”
Hold on! That wasn’t my answer to that question! What if it were?
Well, this was the most interesting answer she had heard in years sitting on numerous panels to interview prospective medical students. That is according to the dean of the Medical School. I can clearly remember how much our lecturers used to tease us about this after we got admitted and started complaining about the long hours of lectures and study.
Looking back now, I can understand why it was so amusing to them. In their eyes, statements such as this one were made out of ignorance of what laid ahead of us.
Six years of medical school in this part of the world has given me a lot of experience to understand what my senior colleagues have gone through and also what to expect after medical school; a lot of challenging circumstances and lots of limitations and frustrations. Ironically, it also promises a lot of fun, successes with limited resources and a totally wonderful experience too!
A lot of changes; some good, others bad! Sum it all up and it makes that unique and wonderful experience!! Today is exactly four years after hearing news of my admission to the medical school; ‘the crème de la crème of the country’. That is what they called us. That also makes it exactly six years and 3 days after stepping foot on the land of Legon as a first year university student. Then, only 19 years of age.
From cutting open dead bodies(Cadaver) in the anatomy dissection room to injecting frog heart muscle in the physiology laboratory with all sorts of drugs; from trying to understand signal transduction to peeping into the amazing world of microscopic creatures (bacteria, parasites and fungi) and also seeing cells and tissues ‘with eyes of faith’. Those were the times. I can never forget the unique experience of having to wake up around 5am each day to catch the morning bus from Legon to Korle-Bu for lectures and other academic work. The stress, hustle and bustle of standing in the bus when you’re late and sometimes wanting to be gentlemanly, giving up seats for the fairer sex. Such a memory is hard to forget. As I reminisce, tears of fond memories such as these weld up in my eyes. Ooh… I nearly forgot my experiences in the lecture room! I was popular but for one notorious reason; I was only second to a friend who happened to sit by me everyday. Guess what we were culpable of? I was almost always nearly asleep during lectures! Only my seat partner came ahead of me.
Who can also forget the mighty and lowly all struggling to cross the 50% mark? That was all that it took! Cross the line and you are safe… “Either you blow more or you blow less!” perfect description by a late lecturer.
Soon, we moved on, having had a taste of this different life. We found ourselves getting closer to the ‘interesting’ part of the school.
In a blink of an eye, we moved on from the ‘serious side’ of the school to the ‘interesting side’. Suddenly, we were beginning to look like doctors! Carrying the tool of the profession with us wherever we went, the experience of talking to and examining patients. At first, this was a challenging yet thrilling experience. Then this became a boring cliché at least for me. Having my rotation in the department of medicine got me a little burnt out too; having to clerk a patient today and wondering where your patient was taken the day was not a pleasant experience at all. It was only a matter time and this was to pass too.
Seeing one year group after the other graduate fills you with joy and sorrow at the same time. Joy for your senior colleagues, sorrow for yourself. It makes your mind start working on the number of months, weeks and sometimes even days left for you. Sometimes leaving you filled with so many uncertainties about what lies ahead of you.
Today, I look back and I smile with caution. Cautious smile because there are still mountains to climb on the way. I have surmounted many already but I am yet to climb two of the steepest on the road. I smile cautiously yet confidently! Confidently and gratefully. Gratefully and humbly. I look forward with hope knowing that I have a greater story than this one to write one day. I am grateful to God for today, I have always counted these days and in each of them, I have counted His blessings, sustenance and guiding hand. He provided a way for me and led me on. He planted my feet on a high and promised to let the streams flow from a height. He promised sufficient grace and He hasn’t relented on this and he will not. All I ever am and ever want to be…
Through the struggles through the pain, the period of ‘want’ and dry seasons, through the darkness and the foggy days, I have always felt his faithfulness to me. Reminiscing through those times reminds me of the story of a certain young man.
He loved butterflies as a child naturally as his mother had influenced his early years. Soon he was married and with child on the way. One day while returning from work, he chanced upon a cocoon along the way. He picked it up, wrapped it up in his handkerchief and sent it home. He placed the cocoon in a clear glass jar and covered it with a rubber and made holes in the rubber. He then placed it on a height to keep it safe from the prying eyes of his cat. One fine morning, he saw the creature struggling and shaking violently. The shaking became more intense and the young man thought he had to intervene now. He took out his Swiss Army Knife and cut a slit through the cocoon to release its wings. The cocoon came out, open and spread out it wings, circled around the edge of the bottle and stayed at the same place to the young man’s disappointment. He consulted his neighbor who was a local biology teacher and narrated the ordeal to him. The neighbor smiled and said to him. That was the cause of it.
“You see” He went on “It is the struggling that builds up the energy needed to fly.” That is all the man said to this neighbor.
The butterfly could not fly away because it didn’t build up enough energy to fly off. Sometimes we complain too much and we look for easy ways out. We may not have the best of everything, we may struggle at one time or the other even in our Christian walk of faith. We should not forget what the Holy Scriptures tells us in James 1:2 - 4; “Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into various temptations, knowing that the proving of your faith works endurance. But let endurance have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
It’s been and awesome experience for me and I praise God for everything.
Thanks for reading and I hope you lack nothing!!!

Catholic Hymnal 412
Green pastures are before me,
Which yet I have not seen;
Bright skies will soon be o'er me,
Where the dark clouds have been;
My hope I cannot measure,
My path to life is free;
My savior has my treasure,
And He will walk with me.

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