What are you good at? / What do you want to specialise in? / Doktor, lepas ni buat MO di mana?
When I was in Form 2, I wanted to be radio announcer. The Fly Guy and Patrick Teoh was so cool on the air. Malaysians had very good mornings because of them.
When I was in Form 3, I wanted to be a journalist or columnist, a magazine editor – it is cool to have people reading your thoughts, your views, and your name published nationwide.
When I was in Form 4, I wanted to be a creative agent in an advertising firm, preferably where Petronas ads were made ( Leo Burnett with Yasmin Ahmad). The art of short films, big and fine prints and the art of persuasion – it was cool.
When I was in Form 5, I wanted to do well in SPM , would settle for any scholarships that would come my way, because I was desperate to graduate and finish school, for a good job. Applied for Renong scholarship, in which I would be pampered to a good education in a pre-U college in Lembah Beringin and probably then fly to UK for a business degree and come back as a Renong executive. Applied for a scholarship with LimKokWing. Got none.
Then, the wahyu came: - I’ll be a doctor.
So, I joined Form 6. Being a form 6 student, very much a pre-uni versity experience was really good. Many of us set sight on a place in one of local medical schools. We worked hard, we played hard, we were independent and motivated. Being a doctor would be cool. Working night shifts would be cool. Performing CPR and emergency thoractomies would be cool, just as how it was depicted in ER and sometimes Chicago Hope. Being woken up at night and attending to emergencies, dealing with difficult patients would be cool. George Clooney looked cool.
When I was in first year of medical school, wearing the lab coat was quite cool. Learning and being lectured about doctor-patient communication was cool. When I was in second year of medical school, getting to go to the wards wearing our tags and labcoats was quite cool. We saw medical officers and specialists doing rounds with their house officers. That’s what we are going to do next time! Cool! It is cool to be a houseman.
When I was in third year of medical school, we sacrificed sleep for the casualty on certain nights. Getting to needle some unexpecting patients and being successful in it can give a sense of satisfaction and achievement that last through the night. There was a night in casualty, where this guy had bad accident and the abdomen was distended and off he went into the operating room for an exploratory laparotomy. We were allowed to observe, that was my first time observing an operation close up. And it was cool! To see my surgeon cutting up the abdomen, and exploring the bowels and organ.
When I was in fourth year of medical school, the Klang hospital was not as cool as the UMMC. Walking through the roof of crows every morning for our morning teaching was not cool. Being an unwelcomed space occupying lesion in the wards, having minimal knowledge and being not very useful to the nurses, the patients, and the house officers was not cool. Seeing our my friends in our courses graduating and started to earn and drive their own cars was not cool.
When I was in the final year of medical school, I thought paediatrics and internal medicine was quite cool. It was nice to move up a level of the medical foodchain, being more sure of things, of being able to pick up signs and make diagnosis confidently was a good feeling. It was cool to hug my dean on graduant’s night, to dance with my professors, knowing I have passed my exams quite substantially, and finally having the MBBS degree.
When I was in my first week of housemanship, I suddenly felt that the MBBS was nothing but a token qualification to be a house officer. The real thing just started. It was not cool to be woken up at nights, it was not cool not to be able to have family dinner on Sunday nights.
When I was into my sixth month as a house officer, things get easier. Nurses finally give you their respect, bosses begin to trust you, the healthcare system was figured out. It was cool, but still, cannot wait to finish the training as soon as possible. Housemanship is ending soon. Now that I am trained, empowered with skills and ‘scars’ of experience, should I continue the horrendous working hours and train and gamble for a chance to specialise – deepening into a career that I have new perspectives of, both good and bad. Or should I diversify, define my own terms of success, vocation and the kind of life that i want.
Where am I heading to? Would MixFM take me as a radio deejay?