I trudged the corridors of the Operation Theatre in my flip flops donning the standard uniform, a blue gown complemented with my hair tucked inside the scrub cab and my face hidden behind the mask, as I searched for a cataract surgery. It was my very first day at the OT in Eye Hospital and everywhere I looked were just strange faces of people who provided little to no solace. I was just a fourth semester undergrad student whom those doctors wouldn’t pay heed. They had more important students to attend to. The students of higher semester, students of postgrad, students of speciality. Plus, there was this impression they had that fourth semester students were too young and reckless to understand their seriousness. That we were free birds flying anywhere and everywhere. It wasn’t their mistake. Rather it was our own undoing. Hardly any fourth semester student was serious about Peripheral postings. Or rather not many were serious about any posting in fact, be it General Medicine or Surgery or ENT or even Opthal.
My friends and I, were kind of lost. Although there were so many people in the OT unit, we were too afraid to talk to any one because we were just ‘fourth sem students’ or maybe we weren’t really the bold ones. I finally mustered some courage and asked the cleaner whether there was any cataract surgery and he replied that no, there wasn’t any. Although we did come to know later that plenty of cataract surgeries were performed that day. But why did the cleaner say so? It was because he was plainly being rude, just for the sake of it. There were all kinds of people at hospital but I would always find people who would usually be rude to the young people, only because the young had no other option but to endure their rudeness. Well, on the sunny side, it does make us, the young people very tolerable. After much stumbling, I came across a soft spoken doctor and she guided us towards the cataract surgery.
Finally! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Oh, eyes. Eyes are such monumental parts of our body. Not only do these tiny globes behold the world and play an enormous sensory function biologically but also they occupy a significant place in literature. Very often they have been a muse for the poets. Such majestic words are written about the eyes and they have been extensively described by the writers in various ways depicting a plethora of emotions. As they say, eyes are the window to our souls. There is something unexplainably imposing about looking directly in the eye of a person. And if I start to put down all the thoughts about eyes that are bursting in my mind right now, I could write on and on, but I guess you get the idea. How important eyes are.
And here he was, the surgeon, sitting calmly on a stool in front of the patient probing into his eyes with the various instruments. The cool air from the air condition gushed through the room making it more chilly for me and elevating my anxiousness up a notch. A couple of us students, gathered around him and watched him perform the surgery delicately and swiftly. He was a very skillful surgeon. I felt as if I was watching art. He gave us a basic idea about the steps of surgery but what made him more awesome was the way he made it sound so interesting and caught our attentions by cracking jokes. I remember how he compared removing the nucleus of the lens to pouring a dosa. And there were many other funny comparisons which were fun to listen to and made those moments of surgery unforgettable. He cracked jokes not only with us, but also the patient. Oh yes, the patient is given local anesthesia so, he can talk. He calmed the nerves of the patient, kept us amused and all the while briskly correcting the defect in the eye. There is some weird magic in Operation theatres. Specially when its a low risk surgery and the mood is jovial. Also, there is something so charming about a surgeon’s attitude. And the best part was, when he got to tell the patient that it all went well and at that moment there’s this happiness on patient’s face. A small magical beautiful thing to witness. Maybe even more magical to experience. Those seven to ten minutes were the best part of my day. The doctor was way too awesome. He not only taught us the subject but also gave us tips. Our level tips, for undergrad students. He told us how he loved to perform dissection on frogs when he was a mere seventh Standard student. He would do it on her sister’s behalf who would be in eleventh. And very solemnly he explained us, how you should enjoy the surgery, find rush in doing it and absolutely fall in love with it, then only you could become a good surgeon. Maybe it does come naturally. It’s like art. At least that’s what I think. But there is some pure bliss in those operation theatres that I can never explain exactly or I can never compare it to anything. Just enchanting.
Happy April you awesome people!