Thursday, November 26, 2009

I cried on my birthday

Warning : This is a long post.

I cried on my birthday. Yes, it's true. And it's not tears of joy either. It is tears of sadness.

I never really expected anything much on my birthday this year, I mean, I've been in a bad, foul mood eversince the clinical examination for surgery with Prof Meah, where I seriously performed badly. (That was two weeks ago by the way) It made me rethink what I've been doing for the past 8 weeks in surgical posting in HKL, whether I spent too much time thinking that I've been reading and doing short cases, when in deed I have not.

That's why I started having this obsessional doubt, again and again, wondering whether I really am destined to be a doctor. I started thinking about what else I could do, be a professional blogger? A film director? A teacher?

All these ideas came streaming to my head, but I could not deny, although I'm forcing myself to move on from the concept of quitting medicine, it seems so appealing at times when I'm down.

At the same time I'm in such a bad mood, I have to move to Serdang (yet again, moving, packing, unpacking) and prepare for the starting of a new posting : Anaesthetic Posting, signifying the fact that 1) not only it's already the end of the first semester of the 5th year and 2) that I'm left with about 5 months more to prepare for the final professional exam before getting the DR title in front of my name and go out in the world, saving lives and people from devastation.

As my birthday grew nearer, I noticed that I actually have an exam on the day before my birthday, and an exam the day after my birthday. 'Great' I thought. Double exam. And my birthday would definitely be spent with books, reading and reading, not knowing if any of the knowledge would actually stick to my head when I head towards the examination hall. In addition to that, on my birthday itself, I had lectures in KL from 8am up to 12.30pm, and I had to rush back to Serdang to attend a case discussion with Prof TA L. *sigh*

On the eve of my birthday, I just decided to lay back on my bed and get to sleep, at about 9.30pm. I know it's so freaking early! I just finished my surgical mcq and meq exam that evening, and the CPR practical exam in the morning. I just needed to chillax, or so I thought. I just wasn't in the mood to do anything much, like I said, I didn't really expect anything much to happen on my birthday. Suddenly, my dear friend came knocking at my door, telling my roomate and I that our cars have been given summons by the security, and my roomate's car was much worse, it had been clamped. Damn. Such a way to start my first day of being 23, seeing the summon on my car.

I decided to just roll over and sleep. Upon waking up, everything feels like normal, it was already 25th November, my birthday.

In class that day, I had many birthday wishes from my friends, and also texts from those who cared enough to wish me happy birthday.

Then our surgical lecturer, Prof Myint Tun came in. It was a well known fact that he will be giving his last lecture on surgery that day, I was actually half asleep during the lecture, but my friend Heng decided to give me a nudge to ensure that I actually had my eyes open to see what the slide show given by Prof Myint Tun is all about.

As the slide show ended, he started saying stuff like how we're so lucky to be Malaysians, and how not many people can even afford food. At this point, I noticed he was actually choking up tears, his voice changed, and he actually took out his handkerchief to dab his tears.

His slides changed from notes to pictures, pictures of how we should be answering questions during our professional 3 later on, and how he told us on the morning of the exam he would pray for us, and then the pictures turned to pictures of a child, eating rice on the floor, looking as thin as can be. At that point, my eyes started tearing up.

How lucky we are here, where food is ample, and we could actually purchase it!

The next few slides were pictures of him and his family, where he told us what he would be doing in Myanmar later on, where he would be playing with his grandchild and would be travelling the world. At this point, I guess my tears just could not be held back, and I started crying.

Crying mainly because I could feel sadness that this lecturer would not be with us for our exams, we would be losing out a person who is not only teaching us to be a doctor, but to be a human being, to respect others, and to live life at the fullest. Prof Myint Tun is like a father. He never fails to entertain us with stories about his life, about how it is like to be a doctor in Myanmar. He is like a walking surgical textbook for God's sake!

He ended the slideshow, with lots of people actually already crying, saying "Many people would not know that this is my last day with UPM. At 5pm today, my contract is finished. For 43 years I've been a doctor, and a surgeon. And now I'm retiring" *I don't remember the exact words but it was something like this*

At that point, he started dabbing his tears again with the handkerchief.

For 43 years he's been working as a doctor, and he has been teaching students surgery for almost 20 years, teaching medical students all over Malaysia, from those in UM, USM and UPM. How fortunate we are, to have him.

He mentioned once a house officer in HKL, on his first day as a HO in his entire life asked him "How do I survive being a HO?"

He just smiled and said "I've been a house officer, almost 43 years ago. I don't remember what it is like anymore"

43 years as a doctor. It's like a lifetime.

We gave him something from royal selangor pewter to commerate his time with us, and also a scrapbook.

But what is that actually compared to the life lessons that he provide us??

That is why I cried on my birthday, because a great lecturer, a great educator, THE Prof Myint Tun decided to end his career as a doctor on my birthday.

He will be greatly missed.

p/s : I'm still a bit teary eyed as I'm writing this post.

p/s/s : Eventually I enjoyed my birthday, people gave me birthday wishes through out the day, and lifted my spirits up. That's what the world needs, more people to cheer and brighten people's day and definitely are angels. :)

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