NUS Medicine Welcome Tea

Just a quick update, I have gone for the NUS Medicine Welcome Tea a few days ago and was hoping to share my experiences here. Despite the increasing involvement of technologies, I have yet to see anything regarding NUS Medicine Welcome Tea to prepare myself better.

Hopefully, this short post would give you an understanding of the Welcome Tea!

First and foremost, CONGRATULATIONS to those who have made it to NUS Medicine :)! Getting here is not easy, and that is just the start of a lifelong journey!

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Anyway, once you are made an offer to study NUS Medicine, you will be invited to this event regardless of whether you accept this eventually or not (I mean who will not accept it, right? But still, there are some people who do!).

Once you’re there, you basically wait for the Professor of the Medicine school to come down (I think the Dean or Assistant Dean came down) and he will be giving you the reasons why you should join NUS Medicine.

A few initiatives they were going to implement this academic year is the opportunity to do caregiver training! Sounds exciting right? Apparently, the majority of the people there (~90%) said they would go for this training. For me, not really! I had these training in my nursing attachment!

Nonetheless, he also mentioned a few changes that are going to happen in the school and how we will be the caring doctors the society needs. After that, the seniors from NUS Medicine gave a sharing about how life is as a Medicine student and how Medicine is not just about books (I mean why would people have that misconception? Okay, maybe being too long in Nursing helps me understand the Medicine students schedule better, and hence that dissociation from the mainstream perceptions), but also fun!

Once the sharing was over, we were split into groups (tagged right from the start at the registration counter) and we moved around MD6 for a tour! The tour essentially is like what HOP2016 is! They showed us the simulations that we will use in the future (labor simulation, Harvey, resuscitation, dummy machines that can recreate conditions, intubation and blood drawing simulations). Got the opportunity to do intubation again and also to draw blood! Looks easy, but there are definitely a lot of consideration when it comes to applying the theoretical part to it.

Besides the simulations, we were also showed how our batch might be the first to use virtual reality for anatomical dissections and how these exposures can be effective and beneficial for us.

Once we were done, we headed off to the BUFFET! Haha, honestly, the fried fish was super delicious! I think that was my highlight of the buffet haha.

Managed to meet two new friends who will be accepting NUS Medicine, and will be going for MEDICAMP! MEDICAMP is going to take place in the first week of July and I cannot wait for it! So excited!

10 minutes before 12

A few days ago, I was hanging around Brightsparks forum when a noticed that people had already been given an offer to study Medicine in NUS. I was so anxious (and excited) at the same time thinking that my results would have been released as well.

I headed over to the Joint Acceptance Portal and log in.

Nothing, no offers.

I then start to feel sad and worried that my dream of studying Medicine in NUS is going to be crushed. Again and badly.

I was hanging out with my friends til late at night until one of my friends came to check on me. Curious, I asked why that sudden concern. It was later revealed that another friend had been accepted and because one of my friends did not hear back from me, the assumption was made to be a negative one.

I headed over to the forum and checked the board again.

Turns out, I was supposed to check it from myaces portal instead of the Joint Acceptance Portal given that transfer applications would be notified differently. Knowing this, I immediately reset my password to myaces portal (because I have forgotten about it) and logged in.

After clicking the “Application Status” button, my anxiety and nervousness were greeted with a huge dismay. The page was seemingly the same as what I had a few days ago. I headed back to the forum and one of the transfer students asked me about my application status. He asked if my status was changed to “has been processed” and I told him that it had always been that.

His reply threw me off.

Mine was processing but changed to processed around 6 I think! No results though as the myaces page is not update yet >< let’s hope for the best 🙂

Oh! No wonder mine looked a bit different when I logged in.

Turns out, my application status when I checked that time was “HAS BEEN PROCESSED” and it had been changed from “Is processing”.

Further digging and information provided by this transfer student made me realized that the portal will update at 12 midnight and the results would be out.

Turns out, application status does indicate something. “HAS BEEN PROCESSED” tells you that either you have been accepted or rejected. However, you would need to wait til 12 midnight for the myaces portal to be updated to view.

Thankfully for me, I didn’t have to wait very long. The time was 11.50pm when I made this surprising discovery.

Let me tell you.

That 10 minutes wait was surely not the most pleasant feeling. I knew the outcome was either an acceptance or rejection. No in between.

Multiple thoughts flooded through my mind, recalling the days of my interview.

Did I do so badly that I got rejected? But I remembered the interviewers being quite impressed? Maybe it was that few stations which had little impact?

For some reason, I already knew at the back of my head that I would be accepted. However, I don’t want to hold onto this thought, only to be smashed in the face with a rejection. This was my form of protection.

5 minutes left.

My breathing was going insane. If you were to take my vitals, I think my heart rate would hit above 100, blood pressure exceeding 140/90, respiratory rate above 20. Maybe it was high. But I know my heart was going to come out and I felt difficult to breathe.

Nonetheless, I managed to calm myself a bit just before I go into shock.

When the clock struck 12, I quickly alighted from my bus stop and logged in.

Initially, I thought I the application status would be changed to “Outcome has been released”. However, seeing that the “application has been processed” made me kind of sad.

But, I noticed that application status page was slightly longer than usual.

Guess what?

I GOT ACCEPTED INTO MEDICINE!

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After 4 long years, 14 rejections, thousands of dollars spent on various entry examinations and applications, days of being so sad and depressed; I finally got in!

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I think Jeremy Renner’s gif definitely described how I felt that day.

I wanted to accept my application immediately. However, to play safe, I headed back home to do it.

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Oh boy. This was one intense night. I had to spend 30 minutes logging in and out to check, taking screenshots sending to my friends, making sure that I did not read it wrongly.

I FINALLY GOT ACCEPTED!!!! AND I AM SO HAPPY ABOUT IT 😀

With both feet into Medicine, now it’s time to focus on being the best doctors I can ever be and achieve the many goals I’ve set!

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Lost sleep for the entire night form the excitement, but I guess all is worth it :)!

 

Removing the dust that settled a month ago

Hello everybody! It has been almost what, a month since I’ve updated this blog. This month definitely felt a lot longer, and I’m sure the dust that accumulates in this blog is almost a year’s worth. Regardless, this one month has been a hell of a ride for me in my journey as a student and an applicant for my Medicine studies!

Previously, I was shortlisted for Southampton’s Medicine and Birmingham’s Medicine and I was jumping around in joy! Finally, 2 opportunities for me to showcase my passions and qualities that I have to become a doctor!

However, those firmed dates that fell on my Anatomy and Physiology II Common Assessment worth 40% of my grades (Birmingham’s interview) and one week worth of school (Southampton’s interview) meant that I would need to make decisions. To make the right choice and find a balance between skipping school (without affecting my grades) and grabbing onto those opportunities.

With my end goal of Medicine in mind, I applied for leave from the school and seek approval. Approval was tough to get because I had to go through a few rounds of consultation with my module coordinators as well as the school’s curriculum professor for discussion. Thankfully, the leave was approved. But, the 40% worth of grades for my Anatomy’s exam would be awarded a nice fat zero.

Nonetheless, I went for Birmingham’s interview.

Prior that, I had bought air tickets over to the UK (for Southampton) and paid for my accommodation as well. It wasn’t until a few days later that Queen Belfast sent me a shortlisting email. Since the interview for Queen’s is located in Singapore, and that I will not be missing important lessons (which are tied to several consequences), I decided to cancel my flight to the UK. I know, silly me, maybe that was not a good decision, or maybe it was. Whoever that took over my slot for Southampton, I sincerely hope you would get it! 

Belfast’s interview came first and it was an MMI format. First station definitely gave me the confident boost I needed. However, when I was at the 2nd station, I felt completely trashed. By the time I was at my third (and last station), I felt terrible. As I was looking at the theme of station’s 3 question, I was elated! I knew I could slay the last station and make up for the loss I faced in station 2. Guess what?

Station 3 completely slew me. I ended up stumbling my words and thought process, which cost me my “average” grading to a “below average” for one of the marking component. Sigh. This interview definitely made me reconsider a lot of factors and boy was I glad that I went through Belfast interview. Without this, I would not have developed the resolution to further train and prepare myself for Birmingham’s interview.

2 weeks later, on my time slot for my Birmingham’s interview, I was hoping that standardized questions such as “Why do you want to study medicine” and all did not become the main heading for the interview. When I was escorted into the preparation room, two sheets of case study greeted me.

I WAS SO DAMN THANKFUL THAT THEY WERE CASE STUDIES, AND THEY DEFINITELY HELPED ME TO PREPARE MY ANSWERS A LOT MORE, AND BETTER.

By the end of the interview, excitement was filling in quickly than quicksand swallowing a struggling animal. I hopped my way back to my rented apartment, cheering myself and letting that excitement and sense of fulfillment pour out.

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Subconsciously, I knew I did well.

Less than a month later…

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OH MY GOD! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!

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I DID IT! Finally, my first offer to study Medicine!

Currently, I am still waiting for the school to send in their official offer via snail mail as well as UCAS. Hopefully, I should be hearing back from them soon!

Good news aside, this is also the crucial period for NUS Medicine. Their interviews are held on the 30, 31st March and the first week of April. However, even up to today, I have not heard back from the school.

Despite my friends trying to help me, or my writing in to the Prime Minister’s Office, I heard nothing. I really do hope I can hear back from the school soon! 3 years of rejection definitely has not made things any easier.

Otherwise, I might spend one whole day crying for the loss of this wonderful opportunity to study in NUS Medicine. Nonetheless, Birmingham is one school that I really really want to go! Still, so long as the official letter does not reach me, there is a chance that my application might not turn out to be as expected.

Still keeping my hopes up! Otherwise, I am going to spam the school with my questions should my acceptance for Birmingham doesn’t reach me. *cross fingers*

Throughout this one month, what I have really learned when it comes to Medicine interview is that:

  • Always prepare yourself for the interviews (Be it standardized questions or thinking questions).
  • Reaching early and giving yourself 5 minutes to calm down and be confident.
  • Talk to the other candidates or staff if possible, it helps to relax you down and be more confident when you are tackling the questions posed.
  • Always THINK through what you wanted to say. I remembered blurting out “why is this question being asked” instead of “can I ask what is the rationale being this question”. I guess I got kind of marked down for that.
  • Subconsciously, our minds know how we fare. Generally, the feeling you experience post-interview tells you about your performance. (I am not sure how true is this, but for me, I guess that’s true).

These are pretty cliche tips, but are very useful! For those who have been through interviews and have more tips to share, feel free to comment them here!

Moving away from my interviews and medicine status, school has been hectic for me since I came back. Examinations take place week after week (and I have one more skill assessment to go this coming Friday) and every day is like a study day.

Regardless, I felt that I had done well for my Pathophysiology and Pharmacology module and I did (Grade: A)! But today’s skill assessment was horrendous.

I was supposed to interview and conduct a physical assessment on my standardized patient with burning abdominal pain. For those who have the prior knowledge, the first thing you would be more likely to suspect is gastric related (because burning sensation tends to link with gastric juice problems). Instead, such an important clue got thrown to the depths of the Forgotten abyss in my mind and I started performing examinations related to intestinal obstruction or infection of the GI system. Oh god. Why.

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Worse still, I was made known that the patient had not been eating and that could be an obvious cause of his gastric pain. A link so obvious that I was oblivious to. 

Also, I have been so task oriented that I left out the feelings of my patient. Oh well.

I guess this is a good learning opportunity that I should keep in mind. Always engage with the patients and use my brain properly (and not missed out on any important clues).

With one more skill assessment to go this Friday, I hope whatever I have learned from today will be brought into great use.

With that, I shall end my update here and start indulging myself in the new books that I’ve bought on impulse from the cheap book sales! Otherwise, the number of new books would pile up into a Mountain taller than Everest (just kidding).

Hopefully, I would be able to hear good news from myself on Friday, as well as from NUS (soon) and receive my official letter from Birmingham too!

 

My first Medical Interview

School work has been piling up ever since the day for my NUS transfer application opens. More time has been spent preparing for the interviews compared to my studies. I think I must be lacking behind quite a bit in my studies. Hopefully, I would be able to catch up amidst all these happenings.

Least to mention, the amount of time I had is significantly lower so I would not be able to write as often as before. However, today marks a special day for my progress into my medicine journey – my first interview.

As I have signed the confidentiality agreement, I am not supposed to share the details of the interviews that Queen’s Belfast had set. However, I will be sharing my own experience.

This was one interview that I would not have expected.

There were 3 stations, and we were given 5 minutes per station to talk about how a particular topic.

Station 1: This was my first station and I was glad to say, I enjoyed it a lot. This was definitely one station you can prepare for and I believed I did my best in this station. Thankfully, the interviewer was nice as well.

Confidence score: 8/10

Station 2: I thought this was quite a killer because I seemed to be beating around the bush instead of directly addressing the question. Felt that I could have done better, but this was one area that I never expect to be able to prepare for. Maybe a wider reading would cover such topics. Because I finished this station with a minute to spare, the interviewer asked if I got any question. Instead of asking how I could improve my reasoning, my brain decided to blare out a question which I think was quite ridiculous (stupid, and maybe even rude). I think that question shot down the already bad impression. Oh well, that goes my points.

Confidence score: 4/10

Station 3: When I first saw the topic, I was excited because I knew I would be able to slay this interview. That is until the first question came out from the interviewer’s mouth. Got stumped for awhile, but managed to pick myself up. Halfway through, I realized that my lack of pointers to support my stance caused a major downfall. Honestly, I did not get to finish the station because the time was up. How I thought I could improve on this was to fall back on knowing what the interviewers are looking out for. Truthfully, I could have made my answer a lot more outstanding following that self-reflection moment.

Confidence score: 2/10

The 4th station was a rest station, where we get to consolidate our thoughts. That was when I start to think about how better I could improve.

However, when the bell rang to signify the end of the interviews, the other two students in the interview rooms did not come out. That caught me off-guard because I thought the students would be chased out of the rooms. Long story short, turns out, that was an informal dialogue session and the interviewer from the 2nd station was not keen to talk to me, so I had another interviewer instead.

I guess my confidence for getting a slot in Queen’s Belfast is a low 1.

Apart from my damaged confidence and disappointment, I think this was truly one of the experiences that would really enhance my interviews for my next school (And hopefully in NUS).

2 more months to go before the school gives a reply, but I am not hopeful.

Now, it is time to focus on my school work as well as my Birmingham’s interview.

Sometimes I wonder if I make the right choice going for Queen’s interview instead of Southampton’s. Maybe things would be better.

*Sigh*

Life changing 4 months.

Hello, everybody!

2 weeks has passed by quickly since the start of the year and things have started spiraling into a direction that might possibly land me into my dreamland. Or a reality where my dreams are starting to materialize.

First and foremost, I have received two shortlisting from the Univesity of Southampton and the University of Birmingham.

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Wait a minute, wasn’t I rejected by the University of Birmingham shortly after my UCAS application?

Beats me.

Ironically, they were the ones who sent me the shortlisting interview first.

Nonetheless, I was so excited that I am given this opportunity to go through the interviews and show the admissions team on my compatibility with Medicine!

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Both interviews are not done locally, so I have to buy tickets to fly to the U.K. as well as K.L. for the interviews. But that is not the problem. The main problem I am facing now is conflicts between my schooling schedule.

Going for interviews in the U.K. would consume at least a week of my schooling time thanks to the difference in time zone. Thankfully, based on my timetable, my lessons take place on 3 days instead of the usual 4. As such, I would not miss out on too many classes and can still catch up. My appeal to seek approval for my leave by the various module coordinators have been great so far. Except for one. I needed to get the school’s approval. Otherwise, a small percentage of my final grades would be taken away instead (sigh).

The biggest problem for me is the interview at K.L. for the University of Birmingham. The date coincides with my common assessment for my Anatomy and Physiology module. The common assessment is worth 40% of my grade. After a mini-consultation with my tutor, I have two outcomes. Either risk that 40% being 0 marks, or have my final 60% to replace the 100% grade for my module (that is if the school approves of my leave). Risking 40% is an extremely stupid thing to do considering that I can get A+ (i.e. above 80% in total) and that 40% of my grades is thrown into the sea because of this.

However, as much as I really want to sustain my GPA above 4.9 (i.e. to get GPA 5.0 this semester 2), I do not want to miss any opportunity of me being able to get into Medicine.

I do hope that I would be able to join the discussion with the Dean to reach an outcome.

I’ll update on the progression of this, but chances are, I’ll go for the 2 interviews.

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And guess what?

NUS transfer application is going to open soon and I cannot wait to submit my application! Hopefully, all is well and I do get shortlisted!

Regardless, generally speaking, I am still quite worried about my preparations for the interview. Hopefully the practices I am going to do a few days prior the interviews would be sufficient to bestow me the confidence I need.

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Moving on, school has been really fun for me! Especially knowing that the 4 modules I’m currently taking are all interconnected and will serve me well in building my foundations for Medicine.

Anatomy and Physiology II covers the normal functioning of the body on systems we had not covered in semester 1. We are covering the reproductive systems and will move on to the musculoskeletal system, nervous system as well as the special senses.

Pathophysiology and Pharmacology I builds on our knowledge from A&P I, where we are moving towards heart disorders and drugs used for treatment. This is so exciting because it correlates with the next two modules.

Medical/Surgical Nursing I provides more insights to chronic conditions and how to care for these patients. Conditions range from hypertension to bronchiectasis to allergies, and procedures such as oropharyngeal suctioning.

Lastly, Comprehensive Health Assessment equips us with the knowledge to conduct a basic health assessment of the body from head to toe and links up diseased conditions we will see in P&P I and Med/Surg I.

Sounds exciting right? I know!

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School has started and the pace of school is slowly accelerating. Together with those interviews that I am shortlisted for, I am not sure how things will turn out.

Friends have been supportive of me, and I am very lucky to have them to give me feedback and being so encouraging despite them not wanting me to leave the course.

I have no idea what will happen, but the huge part of this year and the subsequent years to come will be determined by the things that happen from now until May, where the NUS shortlisting results will be released.

I do hope everything goes well.

I wish for them to be good and for you readers as well.

Clinical Attachment – Community Hospital

I dreaded this 2 week period of attachment in the community hospital – as a nurse. Being a nurse was not part of my detailed plan of becoming a physician in the future. That was why I hated wearing the neatly pressed white uniform and walk around the hospital, sending a subconscious message that I was a nurse.

I do not despise the role of nurses, but I can never see myself being one for the long run. However, my perception of nursing changed quite a fair bit throughout my 2 weeks posting. Yes, I understand nursing more now, and I admire all those who decided to join this field, but I grew more determined to be part of the medical team of doctors. As much as doctors should be respected, I think nurses deserves more recognition and respect, especially after going through what nurses have been though.

My first day in attachment was more of orientation and briefings rather than the actual posting. Thinking back now, made me realized how quickly time flies.

My first shift started out in the afternoon and ends at night. During those times, I was quite scared and timid. For someone who gets thrown into a completely new environment, such feelings are inevitable. I was not as proactive as I am when comfort kicks in, so tension definitely arises and I am less participative of the happenings. My first shift was basically trying to understand what was basically going around and learn the basic skills. As we have certain objectives to achieve, my buddy and I had to plan out which skills we need to satisfy before we break off for the first week.

On the first day, I did not do much except getting to know my patients.

One of the first patients I met was an elderly man who had dementia. He was not agnostic or had aphasia and had a good command of English. Despite his poorer hearing abilities, he was able to communicate well. I really liked him a lot because of his cheerfulness and his smile is really contagious.

The second patient I met was one that had glioblastoma (a type of brain tumor) as well as an intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain) due to a fall. He was not responsive and always seems to be very tired. Occasionally, he would talk about things people don’t understand. However, when I was caring for him, I noticed that he had this habit of inserting his fingers up his rectum, pulling stools out.

After cleaning the mess and him up, we applied mittens on his hand to prevent that from happening again. Then again, he would try all means to untie the mittens and insert his hands to pull out the stools.

Initially, I do not understand why he was doing that, and that putting mittens on him was not solving the issue. However, a few days of observation and analysis, he had compacted stools that gave him a lot of discomforts which he cannot verbalize. Only after given laxatives to help soften his stool and increase motility did he stop pulling out stools from his rectum.

This incident became another reason why I wanted to do medicine. This patient taught me how things always happen for a reason. Even though we encountered a bizarre behavior, we did not provide interventions to help solve his root problem. What we did was to prevent the patient from self-intervening. Also, as nurses, providing non-pharmacological comfort and care is what we can do to relieve symptoms. However, symptom-relieving is not sufficient. This is why I wanted to be a doctor. To be a doctor so that I would be able to collect pieces of information and putting them together like a jigsaw puzzle to identify root problems and tackle them instead of relieving symptoms which play absolutely no change to removing the malady.

Another patient I met had a 4 piece transverse intertrochanteric fracture of the femur due to age-associated osteoporosis. He is a very nice guy and shares a lot of information about his life with me. Sometimes, when he is bored, I would entertain him and learn a bit more about his history. Sadly, I was working on the PM shift when he was discharged so I could not get to say my final goodbye.

One more patient who had impacted me a lot was this uncle with COPD. He was on oxygen therapy and he is a very mischievous patient. As much as he tries to ”disturb” us for fun and laughter, he would always teach us a thing or two and constantly engage us.

In fact, the final two patients mentioned above have this trait which I do hope to see in many of my patients to come – they look after the safety of other patients as well. For those patients on high fall risk, they will notify us that these group of patients are going to the toilet and made sure we supervise them. This is the kind of kinship that you don’t really see elsewhere.

These patients have been wonderful to me and they provided a lot of learning experiences. From the execution of skills to perfecting the art of communication. I will never forget how they allowed us to perform certain procedures because we needed to practice them. I would really miss them a lot and do hope that they recover, while I fight my battle into medicine.

Besides the patients, the nurses in the ward have been super accommodating and nice (Except for one or two who were extremely rude [I understand they are busy, but isn’t there a nicer way to inform us rather than to brush us of like that]). They gave us plenty of opportunities to try out skills we have not performed before to clear objectives stipulated by the school.

Also, without my awesome classmates that are in this together with me, I am sure my experience here would not be as fantastic as it would be now.

Besides the people around me, I have learned a lot about myself (and also thanks to the thoughtCatalog article and an Instagram post by one of my friends).

It all started out with me doing a procedure and then having comments being thrown at me for questioning my techniques. Instead of going together with the flow, I protected myself and justify my actions. This incident happened a few times and I did not give much thought about it until I was scrolling through Instagram one day and saw this.

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I used to be an extremely agreeable person, probably a deeper level of me wanted acceptance by going with the flow. I knew I had this problem of not being opinionated enough and I wanted to do something about it. I tried, I failed and never give up. I am still facing the same problem, but I think I am trying my best to over this shortcoming. Improvements definitely can be seen, but more still needs to be done. Nonetheless, I am sharing this to you readers to convey the deeper message behind this paragraph of epiphany.

Essentially, everybody is different and we have characteristics that others do not like. And that is okay. You do not need to shape the way you behave, talk, and interact, to fit into the society to gain acceptance. Gaining acceptance is not important, and ironically, it is a hindrance to the development of your character, the development of the authentic you.

When you go with the flow too much, you tend to lose a sense of self and eventually, your identity would be lost.

This really made me ponder over a lot of things about how I should be more confident of my own personality and embrace my own flaws. Nobody is perfect and that is what make us unique. No point trying to make others happy if happiness does not start from you.

However, I came across this article on thoughtCatalog:

10 Things You Don’t Realize People Are Doing Because They’re Ridiculously Insecure

I guess I still have certain aspects of insecurity being displayed by how I justify my actions, which I really need to work on. This is a really interesting article (and a short one) that I recommend you to read.

Despite having a short 2 weeks attachment, I really enjoyed myself a lot over here. I do hope that this experience will help me with my future experiences as a doctor, and as a person.

I shall conclude here with photos of us on the last day!

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Before we left, one of them suggested to make a Christmas tree out of Kisses chocolate! And this is the end product!

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A selfie with the same shift of friends who we grew closer to each day!

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Here’s a sneak preview of a photo I will be uploading to Instagram! Look at how cute the snowmen are!

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And lastly, here’s to the best group!

I hated my dad…

I have never been this demoralized before.

Growing up, I must admit I am not really close to my dad. Whenever I have problems, I would run towards my mom and seek solutions from her. My distaste from my dad stemmed from the seeds implanted as I was growing up. In fact, I hated the way he drinks, the way he throws his tantrums when he did not get what he wanted, or the way he was being superstitious.

Being a devout Buddhist, my dad often burns some incense at home to show respect to his religion. As a rebellious kid who favored science more than religion, I hated that act. Especially when the fumes from these incense never fail to suffocate me badly. I raised this issue to my mom, but nothing was done. Hence, in order to bring my message across, I threaten him I will injure myself badly if he doesn’t stop.

The threats didn’t seem to scathe him, and I got injured pretty badly.

I guess that was the turning point in which the seeds grew exponentially, increasing the hatred I had for him. As a child, I was unable to deal with his conflicts so I decided to shut him out.

Eventually, I shut out my mother too.

I don’t recall the reason why my mother was implicated, but I cannot stand how she wanted to always be involved in my life.

I want to have a life of a bird, where I can spread my wings and fly without being tied. Sometimes, I am really glad that my grandparents were not involved in my growing up progress because I have lesser strings to worry about.

However, going through army completely changed my mindset about them. I remembered crying during one of the field camps where we had to reflect on our lives in the jungle because of the nasty things I did to them.

Instead of being sympathetic and be more receptive to them, I build even more walls. Ironic right? I tried to tear down the walls and let them in, but with each attempt, I tried to isolate myself even further.

I guess that tired me out and I stopped trying.

However, only recently in this year, my conscious starts to bite into me. I had been a heartless kid in the past who showed absolutely no concern when my dad had a stroke (and twice) and landed up in the hospital. I ignored him and pretended that everything was fine when he came back home a few days later. You can call me an asshole again if you like.

One day, while I was out with my boys from the army camp for a nights out, I received a text message from my aunt.

“Your dad is in the hospital.”

Honestly speaking, I have no idea why that struck me so hard and my mood was totally ruined – I was dumbfounded and scared. I did not want to lose my dad despite what I have done to him and shutting him out from my life.

That was when I decided to look into his condition and find out more.

I have no idea why I was concerned. My aunt has been telling me over the years that my dad’s heart health is deteriorating and her words keep falling onto my deaf ears. If I could turn back time, I would probably bite the bullet and showed more concern to my dad. Maybe this would have prevented whatever he has gone through now.

Moving back to the topic, I called my aunt and elicited more information. I then called my dad to show some concerns and headed back home to see if he was alright.

Apparently nope. He wasn’t okay.

I took leave for a few days and decided to accompany my dad to his consultation at the doctors. Somehow, I did not realize my dad was scared and afraid about going through this ordeal by himself. Yet, I still showed absolutely no sense of empathy.

I acted like a snobbish little kid and showed off my medical knowledge, leaving his fears hanging in midair.

As time goes by, I understood his condition more and more. Seeing how he transitted from consultation to being sedated for the operation and then recovering from the operation made me realized something – my dad was aging and this was not a reality I was ready for.

I was still shutting him out from my personal world when one day, he came home and started complaining to my sister how he was going to die and how the pain was killing him. I admit I overheard him saying about dying, but I did not probe further nor go and solicit information about it. I feigned ignorance and decided to continue with my studies.

If it wasn’t for my sister, I would not have spoken to my dad to find out his concerns and I would not have realized how afraid he was. And more importantly, how much he had wanted to talk to me.

Minutes ago, he knocked silently on my door and asked if I was free. He handed over a package of Panadol, asking if he could take panadol for his fever.

That was when my morale took a dip down the black hole below. I am not equipped with the knowledge to help him check whether panadol has any drug interaction with the long laundry list of drugs he was consuming. I felt totally useless.

I guessed I missed out some parts here and there, but since the time I accompanied my dad to the specialists, he has been consulting me about his heart conditions. So I took my time to study and help him understand his condition more. I will never forget the day before the operation when the surgeon asked him: “Do you know what is happening to you now?”

And my dad says: “No, they always communicate in English which I cannot understand.”

That moment struck me so badly that my dad has become one of the main reasons why I wanted to pursue medicine so desperately.

I want to use my knowledge to help other people who is suffering the same condition as my dad. I really don’t want anybody to go through what I had saw when my dad suffered and then not knowing what is happening to his body.

I really want to prevent that.

And tonight’s case highlighted one important aspect of why I wanted to become a doctor.

I want to be there for my patients, especially when they need help and have no one else to go to like my dad, who wants to check for drug interactions before he consume that panadol.

I swear I will make my medicine dream a reality.

I will fight this war.