Before Medicine (The WAPT)

With the 2017 WAPT (Wits Additional Placement Test) just a few days away and having interacted with some many applicants over the last few weeks, I found myself reminiscing a lot about my own personal experience.

Most people talk and blog about their medical school or working experience but it’s quite rare to have someone share their ‘before medical school’ part of the journey. The waiting, the stressing, the doubts and just everything building up to that response letter. So I thought I’d start a new series of entries going back about 3 years or so sharing my thought processes, my fears and my emotions at different points of that journey. What I’m hoping for is that it may resonate with some of you and maybe even inspire and motivate you a little.

I was a late bloomer, even though I had grown up wanting to be and dreaming about becoming a doctor, it was only in my third year of my B.Sc that I decided to pursue the dream. To be honest I don’t know why it had taken me so long to go after it, but the one thing I know for sure is that fear of being rejected was a really big part of that.

After I completed my B.Sc in 2013, I was forced into taking a gap year. I still owed the university quite a substantial amount so 2014 was really the year to work that off and take a step back to reflect on what it is I really wanted to do with the rest of my life. That was the year I decided that I was going to see this medicine thing through. Around May, I had finally gathered the courage to send my application through. I had one option; it was GEMP and nothing else. A few weeks after that I started reading on the WAPT. I didn’t really know anyone who had had a successful GEMP story but I remember having to continuously tell myself, that wasn’t my portion. I printed out the objective list and downloaded the prescribed textbooks. I spent about a month or so compiling summaries and study materials I’d use closer to the test date. I’d work from 9am to 7pm or 11am to 9pm depending on the shift about 5 or 6 times a week so I was always really tired but I’d come home every night and spend at least 3 or 4 hours trying to teach myself anatomy and molecular medicine, which I had no background in.

On the 7th of July I woke up to my invitation to write the WAPT, I was over the moon excited. It all of a sudden felt so real. I had found that motivation to keep going longer every night. Unfortunately this all lasted about this long; it was really hard staying motivated. I wasn’t in school which meant that I was the only person in my circle studying, I didn’t have anyone to explain certain concepts I was struggling with so I eventually just stopped studying all together. Life started happening, I got busy, I got tired and before I knew it, the study leave that I had requested months in advance was about to start which meant WAPT was 9 days away and I had not been studying.

Reality sunk in as I realized how much I had to study and how little time I had. I was anxious, scared but more than anything I was mad. I was annoyed at myself for having been so careless with my future but I knew somewhere somehow I had to make this work, I had to find the beast from within me to make it happen. So as I got home that evening; I changed my alarm to from 6:30 AM to 3:30 AM, I laid out my notes on the table, ate, watch series and went to bed. The next day I was up at my desk by 3:45 AM; I started with molecular medicine, it was the lightest component so finishing it was going to be good for my confidence and motivation. I studied till 12 AM the following day, only taking three 30 minutes breaks in between to eat. That was my routine for a good 5 days. I felt as though I still wasn’t moving fast enough so I started waking up 30 minutes earlier and sleeping 30 minutes later. There was a day where I pulled a 26 hour study marathon. I had lost weight, I had the biggest headache, I looked homeless and sickly but I had a goal and I needed to reach it.

October 2nd, the day before the WAPT. I finished studying at 9 PM. I hadn’t covered all the objectives but I had covered most of it. I went to sleep early, so I could wake up early. I was too nervous to eat in the morning, I woke up to a note from my baby sister reminding me to pray with my mother and wishing me luck.

The venue and time had changed and I had only seen that the previous night so my plans had been disturbed but I tried to stay composed, I hopped on the first taxi I could see and headed out to campus. There was a ridiculous amount of traffic and the taxi was really slow so now a new set of panic started kicking in as I thought I wouldn’t make it on time. I got so anxious that I forgot about the stress of how difficult that test could be, or how ready I was and now I just wanted to have the opportunity to write it. We eventually got to campus 4 minutes before registrations closed and I sprinted down to the venue, that was the first time in years I had ran so I was convinced I was about to die. I made it just as the last lady at the table who just happened to be in charge of last names starting with L was packing up.

She allowed me to register and as I walked into Hall 29, seeing at least a thousand people, still trying to catch my breath. I realized that this was it. Everything I had put myself through over the last couple of months was for this moment. I had never studied like that before, I had never pushed myself like that before, I had never wanted anything the way I wanted this before.

I found the last available seat, I said one final prayer and started the exam. Let me tell you this, the most difficult thing about the WAPT is preparing for it, once I had stopped worrying about how difficult it could be, once I had realized just how much I wanted it, once I had felt just how ready I was for it; it automatically became the most pleasant and easiest exam (experience) of my life.

FIN

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Let’s GRADUATE together (Useful tips that have saved my clinical year thus far)

Here are some useful tips I’ve picked up on that have truly saved my clinical year thus far.

1. Take a deep breath, I know clinical years are intimidating but it is going to be okay. It’s a new space, there’s a lot of pressure and a lot is expected of you. But what you need to remember is that you are there to LEARN and learning means that there are going to be days where you won’t know the answers, there are going to be days where you’re going to make mistakes either with a patient or paper work, there are going to be days where your consultant is going to be annoyed with you. It’s all part of the learning process. Some days you’ll love medicine and some days you’ll hate medicine.

2. No man is an island, for every rotation you go through thousands have gone through it before you. Put your pride aside and ask for help, ask which consultant, registrar, nurse or intern is very helpful and eager to teach, which textbook did they use, helpful resources, summaries, what was the exams like etc. I cannot tell you how many times just talking to my friends has calmed me down, motivated me and saved me throughout the last 8 months.

3. Share! Your textbooks, your resources, your tips, your knowledge and your time. At any given time I’m chatting to a friend or colleague who’s going through a rotation I’ve gone through before. Sometimes I get a little frustrated, I may be stressing over my own issues or struggling with my own work but I always offer help. A few texts, voice notes, emails, maybe meeting up and even tutoring them, anything is better than nothing. I know exactly what they are going through and the type of help they need, so if I can offer it, why not? I have a list of who has which summary or textbook of mine. I’m lucky to be on a bursary so they provide the prescribed textbooks for each rotation but what good is having an Internal Medicine textbook when I’m busy with Obstetrics and a friend is in Internal Medicine without one. So SHARE. Also your network isn’t limited to students in your university or students in your year, make friends with medical students from all over. I’m always talking to the final years, I study with final year students because they’re able to provide that insight and refer me to good summaries or notes. They can test me right there and can simplify concepts I’m struggling with.

Also share good series websites, eating out spots, movies to watch, events, hobbies etc.

4. Food, sleep, exercise and family/friends. You need at least a support system that is both an escape and/or a place you find motivation. Clinical years are busy and tiring, so always make sure that you’re eating, even if it’s a snack in between tutorials or seeing patients, EAT. Try to get some sleep, some days you’ve just got to clock out and postpone the reading to the next day, REST. Go for a jog, do some push-ups or go hard at the gym, it helps keep your energy levels high. It may seems as though you’ll be using up the little bit of energy you have left but it actually has the opposite effects after a few sessions, EXERCISE. Spend time with your family and your friends (especially those who aren’t in the medical field – don’t hang out with people that are going to ask you about exams when you’re trying to relax). My family loves hearing about my experiences, my crazy workload and they’re always around to motivate me when I feel low, and believe me you’ll feel low. So having a good and reliable support system is EVERYTHING. Especially when life outside of medicine starts falling apart, we unfortunately or fortunately don’t live in a medical bubble, life happens and it has to go on.

I am quite a spiritual person so going to church, praying and reading the Bible is also a very important part of my escape list.

5. Find a mentor, I reached out to one of the current final years late last year. I just needed someone who had gone through it to walk me through it, especially right in the beginning of the year. She’s been such a blessing, she’s always available to help me out with information, cheer me up with random stories and remind me that I can do this when I’m feeling doubtful. She advices me on which material to use, approach to rotations etc. She’s also the main reason why so many people come to me for advice because I’ve been learning from her since before 5th year started. She’s good people and has my best interest at heart plus she’s really smart so I trust her, even more than I do some of my consultants.

6. This may be a tad extra for some, but teaching one. One of the organization on campus asked me to conduct a GIT bedside tutorial for some of the junior students in third and fourth year a few weeks ago. It was a really amazing experience; the benefit in this is that you find yourself a leader’s and teacher’s position, it forces you to be on top of work, it’s great for revision and it also allow you to remember or be taught a few concepts you might have forgotten from the junior years from the students you’re tutoring. It’s such a fulfilling feeling when you can see them understand a tricky concept simply because you’ve taken the time to explain it. It’s a really worthwhile experience, shout out to Wits BHPA for putting together this initiative.

No man is an island, let’s graduate together.

I am yours and you are mine (A letter to my unborn child)

I thought I had discovered all the different forms of love until you. I thought I had felt the purest form of joy until you. I thought I knew what life was about until you. You're nothing more than a seed tossing and turning making your mama sick and yet you already mean the world to me. We were never ready for you but we are over moon now that we know you're coming. Never in my life have I felt the need to be better then the way I do now. I'm already in love you and you're not even a person yet.

I am yours and you are mine.

I don't know why but deep down I know that you're a girl, maybe I'm just hoping but it doesn't mean I'd be any less excited if you were a boy. I hope you have your mama's eyes, nose and forehead. I hope you laugh, give and share just like her. I hope that as I look at you grow as a small bump on her I'm able to appreciate that it's our love that has been conceived. I swear my heart skipped so many beats I thought it stopped when I first heard yours.

I am yours and you are mine.

I've been talking to God about you everyday since we found out about you. I'm terrified by you, I'm afraid that I may not be the best father as I may lack the example and so I've been praying; asking God to teach me patience, resilience, understanding but above all things to teach me love. I pray that you're okay, that you're healthy and I pray for your mama too. I pray that you may inherit both our graces and that the Lord's angels may never leave your side. And as you grow inside the womb so does the love I have for you. 9 months is too long, I wish you were here now.

I am yours and you are mine.

I've been talking to your mama about you, we discuss what your name will be, who you'll look like more and all the things we need to get for you. We discuss how much we love you and how we can't wait for you. She still makes fun of me for crying the day she told me we'd be expecting you. She's a little jealous because we both agree on how much like me you are, all her new cravings are my general cravings and I laugh at the fact that all of a sudden she cannot eat what I don't eat without throwing up. She's feeling a little self-conscious though because you're making her gain weight but she loves you, sometimes I think even more than I do. To be honest I'm a little jealous that she gets to spend her every moment with you, even with the morning sickness and cramps, I'd give anything for that.

I am yours and you are mine.

I talk to you everyday which is funny because you're still but a cell growing in your mama's womb. Everyday I tell you that I love you. I can't wait for you to show me who I am, I can't wait to hold you, I can't wait to look into your perfect eyes and discover the meaning of life. You are my blessing, my gift and I'm already so in love with you. I can't wait for you to wrap your fingers around my thumb and change the person I am forever. I can't wait to have you fall asleep on my chest, I can't wait to be woken up by you at 3 in the morning. I can't wait for you to cry for me. I can't wait to see God every time I look at you.

I am yours and you are mine.

CONVERSATIONS

I had a conversation with an old friend. The more we spoke the weirder it felt as we realized how close we once were. She once knew everything there is to know about me, I was an open book with her, I shared all of me never doubting or second guessing myself. Never in my life had I felt so free, so real, so safe and so naked. She knew me better than I knew myself, she understood my fears, guarded my dreams and kept my insecurities secret. She was my safe space and my escape.

As I stood there remembering all of the things she once meant to me I just couldn’t recall why we had drifted apart so much, it couldn’t be distant. I couldn’t recall why we spoke less and less, it couldn’t be that we ran out of things to say. I couldn’t understand why we both had our guards up, I couldn’t understand why I felt the need to protect myself from someone I once considered my protector. What had happen to us? Who did this to us?

As I questioned her, she paused in confusion wondering why I couldn’t remember. They did, she said, they broke us; first into 2 pieces than 4, then 8, then 16 etc. They lied to us, they used us, they abused us, they cheated on us, they manipulated us, they disappointed us time and time again. And we allowed them, we allowed them because we wanted so badly to see the best in them, we allowed them because they made us believe that we couldn’t be without them. We allowed them even though we knew better. They broke us and when they tried putting us back together the pieces just never fit quite right. What made it worse was that after every shatter, pieces of us got lost and no matter how hard they tried they just never managed to recover it all.

We haven’t been together since and that’s why you haven’t been yourself. Look how doubtful you’ve become, listen to how paranoid you now sound, this isn’t you and it was never intended to be. The saddest part isn’t that you no longer believe in them but you’ve also stopped believing in you. You’ve stop believing in what you could bring to the table, in what you could achieve, in what you could become. Even though I hadn’t seen her in awhile she made so much sense and provided a clarity I didn’t even know I needed. I asked her could we be together again? how we could be us again?

She told me that I needed to realize that it is more about me than it is about them. They can’t heal us not even with their effort or honesty, only I could heal us. Although there’s no secret formula to finding my way back to her. Forgiving them and more importantly forgiving myself for allowing it to happen, learning to prioritize and take better care of myself would be a good start. This will take time and effort. I would need to step out of my newly found comfort zone. I would need to stop using her as a protective mechanism, stop using her as an excuse to hold back. For as long as I have human interactions we will be tested, we will be stretched and maybe even broken again, I will be hurt and disappointed but I need to learn how to differentiate between who’s worth us and who isn’t. Find faith, find insanity and find courage then I can come find her.

“It isn’t unfixable, yes it is going to hurt and yes it is going to be feel uncomfortable. I know that she hurt you and she hurt you and he hurt you and she hurt you again but she came back and he apologized. She begged you and he tried making it right. Life will hurt and disappoint you but it doesn’t mean you should stop believing in the journey. Humanity is flawed but no man is an island, find me my friend, find me.”

My friend’s name is TRUST and I didn’t realize I had lost her. I needed to trust Trust before I could learn to trust anyone else.

TRUST | FIN

my pain is no more

You won’t understand why, you’ll think I was selfish. You’ll say I had so much to live for. You’ll say you never knew but the signs were there. I didn’t become withdrawn because I was mad at you, I didn’t start covering myself because I was cold. I didn’t stop eating because I was on a diet, I didn’t stop talking because I had nothing to say. I just got tired of not being heard, I got tired of screaming but feeling as though I was simultaneously put on mute. I got tired hurting, I got tired of crying myself to sleep every night. I got tired of pretending I was coping. I got tired of trying and that I did, I tried, I really did but I’m sorry I failed. You won’t know how to mourn me because you’re hurting and you’re angry but you’re also confused. It was never my intentions to cause you any hurt and I’m sorry that my liberation has become the source of your pain. Maybe now you’ll understand why I hugged you longer and tighter than usual the last time I saw you, maybe now you’ll understand why I felt the need to keep telling you that “I loved you” over the last few days. Maybe now you’ll understand.

My name is Yannick Leyka*, I’m 25 years old and I’ve suffered with depression for as long as I can remember. It was my secret and I guarded it with my life, the very life it has now taken. I guarded it because depression is weak and how dare I as a black man ever portray weakness. It was my secret until it wasn’t, it became too big to keep. I thought that maybe if I spoke about it, it would make a difference but no one understood. So often it was brushed off with comments like “it’s just a phase, you’ll be fine”  or “stop mopping around and be a man about it.” You just didn’t understand but I don’t blame you. From the outside looking in, I had no reasons to be sad, to be demotivated or to feel broken or empty. My life showed so much promise and being unhappy always made me feel as though I was being ungrateful. It didn’t help that I just never learnt how to express myself effectively so I shut the world out because words always escaped me, in a similar way to how they’re escaping you right now. It isn’t your fault and I don’t ever want you to think that it was.

I tried, I really did but to feel sadness without cause and to try fill the void to a black hole created a paralyzing frustration. I remember sitting alone in my room staring at the wall for hours on end, wondering what life would be like for you if I was no longer around. I cried everyday because I was in pain. Sleep was my only escape and even that was taken away from me, as I’d lay in bed for hours before eventually dozing off, sometimes dawn would come without me shutting my eyes at all and wondering off to my perfect world; to the world where my pain was null and void, the world where I didn’t have to hide myself, the world where I was free. Maybe if the sleep was permanent, I’d finally know peace, I’d finally know happiness.

Every 1 in 10 persons you meet are suffering from depression, you may have missed it with me, you may have overlooked the signs with me but now I need you to learn to pay attention, it may just be what saves a life.

FIN

Mental Health


I want to do a series of entries all in the hope of raising awareness around mental health. The hope is to challenge the stigma and ignorance around the matter.

While I was in one of the wards of the Sterkfontein Psychiatric hospital I met two very interesting patients. They had both been diagnosed with Schizophrenia and were both on medication and that’s where the tales of 2 cities began.

The first patient, lets call him Peter. White male in his mid 30’s, he was diagnosed 10 years ago after weeks of bizarre behavior. He was brought in by his family and Schizophreniform was the diagnosis made at the time and treatment was initiated. He responded well to the medication, his family participated in counseling and he is now an outpatient who just comes in for his scheduled check up. He seemed well groomed, euthymic and reactive (this is how you say normal in Psychiatry), however there was a sign or two of residual symptoms I was able to note but nothing alarming. Peter works for his family and lives what he calls a ‘relatively normal life‘.

The second patient, lets call him Tshepo; a black man, also in his mid 30’s. He was brought to the hospital by the police after he was involved in an altercation with a security guard. He’s convinced that the security guard had been following him and trying harm him for years and he was just defending himself. On further investigation, Tshepo tells you that he’s been living on the street for 8 years now. His family and community chased him away as his behavior, too, became bizarre. They believed that he was possessed by demons and would harm the people in the community. He spent years on his own moving between neighborhoods, where his symptoms worsen. The diagnosis of Schizophrenia was made upon admission and he’s had a poor response to medication, including Clozapine.

Risk factors, socioeconomic status and genetics asides. These two cases started off in an almost parallel universe to each other. Both man developed Schizophreniform in their mid 20’s, elicited bizarre behavior and eventually found their way to a hospital. There’s no telling that if Tshepo had been brought in sooner, he would have responded to medication better, or that he would, too, be an outpatient living a ‘relatively normal life.’ The sad part is that we will never know. I was saddened by his history but the inspiration to write only came after I made my way home that day to tell my family about my first day in Psychiatry and my very well educated sister asked me if black people also suffered from mental health, in her words “no, it’s a white people disease, isn’t it?”

Unfortunately that is the general perception in our black communities, mental health isn’t something that is accepted or even seek out. Parents hear that their children are performing poorly at school and start calling their them stupid or get frustrated with them. Never realizing that it could be because they have ADHD or an Adjustment disorder. We distance ourselves because of the stigma and ignorance we continue to perpetuate. I’m not disregarding cultural and religious belief, but I’m challenging every person reading this to find a way to bring awareness to our family, friends and community. Mental health doesn’t discriminate, it can affects anyone; any age, gender, sex, race or religious background.

How many people are roaming our streets everyday with undiagnosed Schizophrenia, Delusional disorders, Schizoaffective, or mood disorders with psychosis that we have separated ourselves from because we want to protect family names, the community’s dignity or refused to deal with the burden of the disease. It’s nobody’s fault and instead of rejecting mentally ill individuals and leaving them out on our streets where they may post a danger to themselves and to others, where they are vulnerable to mob attacks and other form of abuse, we should take them to hospitals and mental facility that specialize in aiding them, just a Peter received aid.

Let’s educate ourselves and let’s educate our people.

They are patients, not disease presentations.

Having Family Medicine as my first clinical rotation felt like a cursing and a blessing. A curse because of the extensive gap in my clinical knowledge and reasoning, and a blessing because it’s a rotation that really makes one think about the type of doctor and ultimately person they want to be. It made me question everything I thought I knew about doctor-patient interaction. It was an amazing experience seeing the actual practice of Mcwhinney’s principles; a doctor who knew his patients’ names, history and diagnosis before he even read through their files. Being committed to the patient, the patient’s family and understanding the psychological, social and environmental background from which they come from. Both the acute and chronic management was founded upon a relationship where the patient’s opinion and views were considered and discussed, allowing for the decision and commitment to be mutually made by both parties.

However the high of the experience only lasted so long, shortly into my first day at the general practice I was allocated to, I started feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness. I had seen sick patients before during hospital practice day in third and fourth year but somehow it felt differenct this time. I guess I realized that my experience of sick patient was mostly being told to percuss their chest for a pleural effusion after 3 members of my clinical group had already done so. I’d greet and ask for consent all the while knowing that the choice has already been removed from their hands. For as long as I can remember I’ve always looked at a disease as an isolated organ or a system, imagining the changes, breakdown and death of tissue. The way the drugs would interact with receptors, how systems would get blocked and how pathways would proceed. As I stood in that consultation room, all of a sudden it wasn’t an organ or a system that I saw, it was a 65 year old woman named Marie* who had gotten diagnosed with hypertension 10 years ago, her blood pressure has been getting worse in recent months and it’s not because she had been defaulting on her medication. She also reported getting this left sided chest pains for the past month, but the hypertension and chest pain were not her reasons for encounter. Today she brought with her 3 year old great granddaughter, Sarah*. Sarah’s mother and Marie’s granddaughter died from Tuberculosis after months of struggling with AIDS two years ago. Marie has been looking after the child since. She’s complains that Sarah has been acting different for a few weeks now and just two days ago while bathing her, she noticed vaginal discharge and a swollen labia. She’s been having nightmares and more frequent chest pains since then. Although she’s suspicious, she refuses to believe her own gut feeling because the only male in Sarah’s life is Marie’s son 38 years old Paul* who moved in with Marie 3 months ago to help her out financially. I quietly sat in that consultation holding back tears, feeling helpless as I realized that I lack the emotional maturity to handle such a delicate situation.

I found myself asking a very important question, ‘do we receive the proper psychological training to deal with our clinical years?’ Or is it just estimated that in a difficult situation we will know what to do, that our skin will be thick enough and that the decision we will make will be the right one. The only conduct that I have is that I must respect autonomy, make sure that my practice not only uphold justice but is also non-maleficence and therefore completely beneficent to the people I serve. I’m supposed to be patient-centred but what happens when my baggage becomes too much to bear, how do I tell Marie that her only son and household provider is also abusing her great granddaughter? This is the part where I should rely on my community resources; refer Marie to the Teddy Bear clinic at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital or an equally equipped organization to deal with the matter. How do I even say it out loud? I’m supposed to follow queues but she has a blank stare on her face. What do I say? How do I go on with my day and see another patient after this? I do not know how to keep going and ignore the feelings that I’m not supposed to have. I don’t know how to smile when I really feel like crying. I don’t know how to tell you it’s going to be okay when I can’t begin to imagine what you’re going through. I can’t minimize your situation, pain or anxiety to a statistic.

I was never told and I was never ready. How could medicine hurt me so much? We are taught everything from a scientific point of view, it isn’t infertility until you’ve been trying for longer than a year, HIV is not a death sentence if you take your ARVs, changing your diet and exercise reduces morbidity in hypertension etc. We’re so focus on dealing with the disease but we fail at addressing the illness. We don’t know what the inability to conceive, even if it isn’t scientifically diagnosed as infertility means to a couple or the family dynamics. We don’t understand a person’s ability to grasp that their lives will never be the same because of their status. We don’t understand that sometimes it isn’t a lack of will but rather the feasibility in having dietary changes and exercise, especially when we don’t engage the patient in details; substitute for food types and what type of exercise to do. We’re told to be biopsychosocial doctors in a biomedical setting.

Over the past two years, I’ve learned about diseases’ pathophysiology, presentation, complications, differentials and management. My main priority has always been to remember it in that order, essentially make a diagnosis and treat the disease. I never learned to remember a patient’s name, I never learn to address their illness, help them understand or come to term with their condition and how it may be impacting their livelihood.

I also understand that it doesn’t help me to point fingers at the ‘system.’ I am a student doctor and it’s time for me to take responsibility for my learning and the type of person I want to be. At what point do I stop allowing myself to be a product of a system I consider flawed? I needed to ask myself ‘what makes a good doctor?’ is it someone who has the highest possible marks in pathology but struggles with the patient interaction and expressing empathy or is it someone who’s great at expressing empathy and social interactions with patients but struggles at pathology? In my opinion, we have to thrive at both, we have to be socially aware, trade with caution and understand that we are trusted to deliver healthcare, to promotes health and rebel against the mediocracy seen in the public setting, in our schools and even amongst our peers. How long are we going to continue to hide behind the lack of resources as an excuse to continue providing a poor service?

A good doctor is more than a healthcare professional, a doctor is a teacher, a leader, an advocate and an agent for change. We need to stand for the very patients we treat, we need to promote ethical and moral behaviour. Challenge structures that we disagree with in the hope to transform the medical world not only for ourselves but for those who are coming after and those that are coming to us. Academics will make me a great scientist, social awareness makes you a great socialist and empathy makes you a great human being. As an aspiring doctor I need the all package, I need to pursue and learn more than what is made available to me in the classrooms and in the ward setting.

I am truly grateful for this experience, I’m grateful for having learned how to look at patient as a whole rather than a disease. I found myself trying to remember at least one detail about the life of every patient I saw, their spouse’s name, what their children are studying etc. And after a patient had received a negative prognosis, I’d sit with them in silence and let my presence represent a sense of support. I do not know that I’ll become a family physician, but I know that I’ll take their values with me everywhere I go.