Life (and death)...
My life as a Malaysian doctor in the United States.
Sunday, October 31, 2004
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Halloween's tomorrow. And I'll be oncall. Never been one to be superstitious, but being oncall on Halloween, or Friday 13th, would make many residents nervous.
Will be babysitting the surgeon's patients for the month. They better not give me a hard time. That's the problem with this place. They spoil the surgeons so much that the surgical trainees end up having this 'I'm God' attitude and feel entitled, and this results in them being excellent at what they do, but totally useless when it comes to managing simple medical problems.
That seems to be the mantra of many. Even that smug surgical intern I crushed last year when he tried to push me around.
Circle of life...
My friend and colleague, Monique, lost her uncle yesterday. She was pretty close to him, and he passed away suddenly back home in Jamaica. She's trying to see if she can fly home to be with family.
At the same time, Alison gave birth to her baby boy at 5am. Being in the same class, that got me thinking about the circle of life. People are born. People live. People die. In the medical profession, it's easy to think of things so objectively. Of how it is not inappropriate for an elderly person to leave. But having said that, it's never easy when it's someone you know personally.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
My research month is almost up. No overnight call for 2 months; it'll be hard to start calls again.
Been thinking of late. My advisor's trying to interest me in his field of expertise when I begin my fellowship next year; pancreatic islet transplantation for type 1 diabetes.
Digression: The people who thought this up must have been geniuses. I mean, take cadaveric pancreas. Isolate the islets. Infuse the islets into the hepatic system. Let the cells colonize the liver to allow endogenous insulin production. Low-dose steroid-free immunosuppression. I mean, how more far out can you be?
Problem is, while this is interesting... there is no islet transplant program in ALL of Malaysia. Will I be able to apply my training back there at all? Will I be wasting my time with this instead of something more applicable to home? Or will I be able to carve my niche in this area in Malaysia? If I do go into this field, undoubtedly, I would end up being the only person in a country of 20 million qualified to talk about this subject.
Monday, October 18, 2004
Just read in the Star Online, about how some people were buying fake degrees, Masters and PhDs online. Seems like everyone wants to be called a doctor these days.
It sickens me. I spent 8 years of my life so far, training, with another 4 years coming up (subspecialty), and to think you can get a PhD for as little as $400?
I guess people in Malaysia like to show off. I've met so many PhD holders here, and do not recall one, who introduced himself or herself as Dr so-and-so publicly. It's protocol, for many places, to use this term only within academic institutions if you carry a PhD.
However, it seems like every Tom, Dick and Harry in Malaysia who has a PhD in business and other non-science field is calling themselves doctors.
I remember A's father, who calls himself Dr. M even though he has nothing to do with the medical field.
Don't get me wrong. I'm happy with my life. In a way. I feel privileged to be where I'm at now. I make a decent living, and have a good career. But sometimes, being so far away from home, and not finding that person to 'click' with here, I catch myself wondering.
Yes, my advisor is trying to get me interested in pancreatic islet transplant for type I diabetics. And should I decide to go into that, I'll be one of the handful physicians in the world qualified to talk about it.
But on the other hand, I feel like so much is missing in my life. My older brother recently had a son. The cutest baby ever. Why do I feel like I'm making so big a sacrifice of my social and personal life, in the name of my career?
Why do I feel like something's missing from my life?