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Dedicating Life to Medicine: A Thousand Reasons to Smile at Age Fifty

Submitted by on August 8, 2013 – 3:40 PM

gratitude (1)It’s another regular day when whilst routinely checking my Facebook notifications, a characteristic “pop” draws my attention to the lower right end of the laptop screen bearing a message from a friend with whom I had been out of contact for quite some time. I impulsively open the message and start conversing with her:


Friend: Hey what’s up? I completed my Masters and I’m about to start my professional life.
Me: I am doing M.B.B.S, in 3rd year right now
Friend: Wow! You’ll grow old becoming a doctor, when will you find time then to enjoy life?
And there I paused, not because I agreed but because that statement stimulated a chain of thoughts.


I was born into a family of doctors. My father, a renowned physician of ophthalmology was my first inspiration, since the time I didn’t even know the existence of the word ‘inspiration’. What was it that made him so content with his life? Why was he ever so humble despite being adept at his skills? These were few of the questions I used to ask myself when I looked at the devotion with which my father attended to his patients. Their answers I started to comprehend when I myself got into  M.B.B.S program in 2010.


Before the start of clinical years, M.B.B.S. seemed just like other undergraduate programs with lectures, demonstrations, practicals and theory exams. Once I cleared my “theoretical” years my excitement to start my clinical education was sky high. What I hadn’t anticipated was that besides being a source of education on various clinical methods, the clinics would also serve as a means to emotionally mature me regarding my profession in a way I never expected. I learned the values of health, wealth and the beauty of being a ray of hope to someone.


Now I have begun to relish the satisfaction of bringing a smile on my patients’ faces and their families. I have come to know the immense power held within the words of a doctor on a layman. One of my Professors once said
“Do you know that if you ask your patient to offer five time prayers a day to become healthy, mark my words he will obey that without questioning!”


Once on a medical camp in a village, I was approached by a pregnant female. Before she could ask me anything I said : “Look I am just a medical student and unfortunately today no female doctor has accompanied the volunteers so I am sorry. I can’t suggest to you anything on my own but you can get checked by the male doctors present here”. She however had reservations regarding being checked by any male doctor so she stood there and after a while said :
” Then can you be kind enough to tell me how to take care of myself from the knowledge that you have?”  The hope and trust in her eyes when she asked me is something I can never forget.


I was amazed at how keenly she listened to me when I told her to eat fresh vegetables, fruits, take Iron and folic acid supplements etc. In the end she smiled and thanked me and started repeating what I had just told her under her breath! And it was that moment when I paused. I paused and then replied to my friend.


” We will all grow old one day, even you my friend, even though we so despise it but yes we all will age  eventually, and that will be the time when we will reflect back upon our pasts, to look for memories worth remembering. There I shall be glad with the satisfaction of being a reason for a million dollars’ worth of smiles, prayers and trust earned from all the patients I ever attended to and that shall be the joy of my life.”


About the Author: Kaneez Fatima is a 4th year M.B.B.S. student at Army Medical College, Rawalpindi, a campus of National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Pakistan. She is an active member of AURF (Amcolian Undergraduate Research Forum), IFMSA and is affiliated with various social trusts and medical camps. Kaneez can be reached at [email protected]


About this article: This article is competing for the JPMS International Medical Writing Contest 2013

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