Ten years ago today, I started working as a doctor.
Ten years of service, the biggest lesson I learnt is, the greatest regret a person could feel in his life is because he was not good enough to his parents. Did not spend enough time, did not act kindly enough.
I learnt that, no matter how stressed I become while at work, it is often reduced when I listen and talk to the patients.
I learnt that we understand more about life when we understand death. We live life better when we embrace that death is surely a part of life.
I learnt that positive thinking attracts positive surrounding.
Ten years in service, I realize that no matter how advanced technology is, sometimes we need to rely on our instincts, an our patients’ instincts too.
I learnt that, if we really wanted to help, we could always find the way to help, even if it is not what we planned to do at the first place.
I understand that everyone has 24 hours, but you need to be wise to use it fully.
It is from the early years of service that I learnt, if we wanted to do something, there is no such excuse as ‘being post call’ or ‘too busy with work’. If doctors use that excuse all the time, the only things we see are patients in their beds, and our own beds. I learnt that we should go wherever we needed to go, whenever we needed to.
I learned that every specialty has its importance, and we should never look down on others. If we think we know more, then we should educate. If we think people look down on us, perhaps there really are things that we should learn about more.
I learnt that doctors are fighters because we see too much suffering with our own eyes. Even when others don’t appreciate it, even when people call us names, we still fight for them.
I learnt that anger consumes energy. Too much energy.
I learnt that humility and gentleness goes a long way, even when many fellow Asians don’t agree with being gentle, thinking “people won’t listen to gentle people”. Trust me, being humble, kind and gentle is the right thing to do. No matter what the outcome is, people will never be able to blame us for being just that.
And I’m still struggling.
I learnt that honesty is the best policy. An honest doctor, an honest nurse, and yes, an honest patient. If a patient lies to a doctor/nurse, he would bring detriment to his own health and people around him.
I learnt that there is no point doing something if you expect something in return from that person. Help someone because it is the right thing to do. But he will never be able to pay you back, because of his imperfections.
Ten years in service, in a field where science is supposed to top others, I believe in God even more than when I started off.
Yes, science could cure some infections, detect cancer early, open up blood vessels, make a blind person see again.
But like all else in this universe, science is limited. Science helps but is not the answer to all.
Science can’t help a daughter to feel at peace while she’s caring for her mother who has dementia.
Science can’t tell you why this four-year-old has to die because of cancer.
Science can’t tell an octogenarian to get up and walk after antibiotics have cured her pneumonia, because she refused to walk as none of her children visited her.
Science can’t tell why a mother of five did not survive the breast cancer but that single lady lives on intact.
Science could not tell which ‘20%’ is not going to be cured from cancer, and why.
Science won’t tell you why this life is imperfect.
Only Allah does. Allah tells us how to care for our parents, why some people don’t survive until age 20, that life is imperfect that everyone will go through some kind of suffering in this life. Allah tells us that different people could overcome different kinds of challenges, we need His help to do that. Allah told us about death so we could live this life as better, gentler, kinder, more generous, and contented people.