Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A lament

I have one crib with the field of medicine. It gives one very little scope for creativity. I mean that from the point of view of the everyday, average student of the science. Medicine is all about absorbing facts, facts and some more facts. Or, it is about understanding bodily processes which is indeed very fascinating. But in medicine there is no place for the abstract.

A student who studies fashion designing, must, as a part of what he does, come up with a new design each day. Can you see how tough that can be? A mehendi-wali must think up of attractive ways to fill up the palm and nowadays designs stretch all the way up to the elbow, not to mention the feet. An artist can make blank paper and mute canvas into a picture that conveys a thousand emotions. A make-up artist must know exactly how to enhance each face, each bone-structure. Most music directors are geniuses. How do they create melodies and tunes from nothingness? I tried it the other day… to come up with a tune; beyond the first few notes I hit a roadblock. And it was extremely forgettable… I’ve forgotten it myself. Oh, I forgot to mention jewelry designers… shining rock turned into such exquisitely beautiful treasures. People who conceptualize advertisements, movie directors, authors, poets… All these people’s work may seem frivolous to some. But thank God not everyone is out there saving the world! All these jobs require talent. Something works inside the head of that person alone and comes out in the form of art, a lasting legacy for the world to enjoy and sometimes even revere.

The next lower rung on the creativity ladder is made up of people who know certain facts and apply them in ingenious ways. A civil engineer who builds a brilliant sea-link, an electronics guy who engineers a new technology for the mobile phone, a surgeon who opens up the patient and figures out new ways to deal with anomalies, a scientist who comes up with better fuels, a chemical engineer who develops a new drug molecule. These people actually bring the civilization forward in their own small ways. Is that why these people are looked upon in society with great respect?

The people who are way down this ‘smartness order’, I believe are us junior medicos. We are (and will be for some years to come) so lost in absorbing facts that we don’t ever really apply our heads or think. What we do, when we are not learning skills is, retrieve facts from memory. And as we move into the era of ‘evidence-based medicine’ we will use innovativeness to a lesser degree. There will be studies and guidelines for everything! This may be excellent for the patient and therefore it is the right thing to do. After all, no doctor is above the patient. But, it leaves very little scope for originality. That is my lament with this field.

So before our noses inadvertently go up a little higher, before we say ‘I’m a doctor’ with too much pride, maybe we should try composing a tune.

On a lighter note, I have several other laments for the day. The following evoke the emotion called Aaargh :-

  • Teenage girls who come to the gym with cell phones growing out of their ears and who only stand in the passage and have loud fights with their boyfriends.
  • Rickshaw walas who don’t give your one buck back.
  • Aunties in first class ladies compartment. They ‘adjust’ to give you only so much place to park your butt on the ‘fourth seat’ such that it is more uncomfortable than standing.
  • Thin women who come to the canteen and eat cheese pau bhaji! Here I eat a single chappati and sweat my life’s blood out on a treadmill to lose 50gms. And these women look as svelte as ever.

Metabolism can be so unfair. Well, but so is life sometimes.

I must end with a PJ which I'm quite proud I came up with.
Q: What is a beggar’s favorite music genre?

A: Metal. Ha, ha.

PS: The unused creative energy must come out in some way, sadly, for those who read up to this point.


Satyajeet said...

Hey - I got another pet peeve for you:
Guys who come to the gym and spend 80% of their time admiring their oh-not-so-there physique and only 20% in actually trying to improve it. All gyms should get rid of the wall to wall mirrors so that these people can work out for a change - or just sit at home.
You are right about the metabolism bit - I have pretty much hit a wall (and keep hitting it on a daily basis) in terms of weight loss. To think that I am almost killing myself running 3 miles thrice a week - if perseverance pays, it better start doing so soon !

Ananthakrishnan said...

A sincere medico is the seed out of which comes the banyan tree which sustains all life in the world. So Veena dear, don't despair if you cannot compose a tune,(or be a fashion designer, for that matter. We all saw 'creativity' in the Lakme Fashion Week few days back.Do we need such creativity?)
So I admire you junior docs for your tenacity, for your relentless march forward, to ensure the happiness of humanity.

Veena said...

thanks so much ananth! yes, a patient's smile is very rewarding, and we all hope that one day we will make a big differnce to people who come to us. But human nature must crib!
As for more gym weirdos, yesterday this guy next to me while running on the treadmill, suddenly starts punching the air, like a scene straight out of the movie 'rocky'. Only, no stallone physique. I have discovered that it is very tough to control laughter and maintain balance on the treadmill.

Swati said...

Hey this one can go into the mag too...albeit with a few modifications.
Btw you should that pic to a new one with the highlights and all that;-)