I have been insanely insanely busy these past few weeks, courtesy of the selective rotation I was doing at my university. We get this time in our uni in which we can choose any department to work in for a month and due to lack of foresight or my usual tendency to get myself in pickles, I picked the daddy of all departments – cardio-thoracic surgery. Aaaand I picked the toughest, most hardworking surgeon in that department to work with – Dr Saulat Fatimi.
Picking a surgery rotation is in itself giving yourself up to hectic rushing, early morning rounds and long, long hours in the operation theatre. Picking cardio-thoracic surgery is like signing a contract stating you will not see sunlight on several days because you will spend all day in the OR or working in the wards. Picking an elective in cardio-thoracic surgery with Dr Saulat Fatimi, however, is whole new level of torture. It’s like handing your soul over to the devil willingly, except the devil would be satisfied with that, whereas Dr Saulat wants us to work our bones loose in addition. 😛
But don’t get me wrong. It’s been fun and it’s still fun and though there’s a week left I know I’m going to miss it when it ends. Dr Saulat is an amazingly inspiring person, his hard work and sheer energy is enough to make even the laziest of students wake up and start working. And everyone else too, from the OR staff right up to the chief resident Dr Taimur, is awesome. I love them all and I enjoyed every minute of it, even the back-breaking work and long hours.
The first week was pretty much intro but a lot of people insisted on giving us advice and I collected some of the quotes here because I liked them so much. Dr. Saulat has the most, of course. Here they are:
“This is a thankless profession. There will be one patient in a hundred who will thank you genuinely or be satisfied with the treatment you gave, or whose smile or look will make it worth it. We don’t do it for the thanks. We do it for the kick we get out of it. Surgery is about the kicks you get out of working hard at it. Understand that. That’s all.”
-Dr Taimur Asif Ali (who apart from being awesome is also to-die-for cute :D)
“There are three things in life you should follow your heart in – don’t listen to anyone, just follow your heart. The first is, obviously, who you marry. The second is what work you want to do – what field you specialise in, your job. The third thing is where you want to work. I wanted to work here, in Pakistan, so I’m staying despite tremendous pressure to go back to USA. But you shouldn’t do anything except what you want in these three things.”
-Dr Saulat Fatimi
“Always treat your patients like you would treat your mother, father, brother, sister, cousin, whatever. Never recommend any treatment for them that you wouldn’t for your own family.”
-Dr Saulat Fatimi (and the best thing is, he actually does treat them that way. More than any other doctor I’ve seen. He’s a great example)
“He might come or he might not: the thing with Dr Saulat is, you never know. Be on your toes. Be prepared. Brace yourself.”
-Dr Durriya, our intern (most important advice we received :D)
“There will be times when you think it’s you doing it, but it’s not, its something else. By third year of medicine I began thinking about what the hell I’d gotten myself into, and I lost heart. But there was always something else that wanted me to get through, that wanted me to pass. And its happened several times. There were exams I never studied for, interviews, that I passed without knowing how or why. All I knew was that it wasn’t me, it was that something else. Its given me great faith in that ‘something else’ and over the years I’ve come to believe that this is really the right thing for me.”
-Dr Abdul Rab, also an intern
(To each and every patient) “I will advise the same treatment for you that I would want for a member of my family. I will give you the same treatment I gave in St Louis or Long Island, or I would give the prime minister, or a member of my family. If you need me at three at night or at two in the afternoon, you will find me by your bedside. If I touch you, you are only my responsibility and no one else’s.”
– Dr Saulat Fatimi
“You don’t have to decide what you’re going to do right away in third year. Third year is for smelling. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, oo waffles! I like the smell of waffles! Then fourth year is for tasting, getting your fill of things. By fifth year you start to really eat, and decide what you really want to do as a specialisation. But by fifth year you need to decide.”
-Dr Taimur Asif Ali (*sigh* cute-ness)
Siddiq bhai: Sir, what’s the best music in the whole world?
Dr Taimur: SHANIA TWAIN!
(he said that because Dr Saulat loves Shania Twain and never listens to anything else in the OR)
“When you run in the Olympics, you need to be an Olympian. You need to train for it, you need to work hard. Not everyone is an Olympian. But if you are selected, you need to prove yourself worthy.”
-Dr Saulat Fatimi (on our failing to answer his questions ‘like an AKU student should‘)
“Never ever correct a senior if you’re in surgery. Never ever answer a question correctly that your senior answers wrong. You may get that momentary glory, that little over-smartness in front of the consultant, but in the long run you’ll suffer. That senior, that resident or intern you put down in front of the consultant, he’s going to be the one teaching you stuff. And he’s not going to teach you if you don’t show him respect. So don’t ever put him or her down in exchange for that little moment of glory. You can do that stuff in Medicine rotations maybe, but not here, not in Surgery.”
– Dr Saulat Fatimi (when we answered a question Dr Taimur happened to get wrong)
“Someone who climbs the Nazimabad mountain, you know that little hill in north nazimabad? He would also be a mountaineer, the same as someone who climbs Mount Everest. So which is better? Climbing that little mountain forty times, or climbing mount everest once or twice? Who better deserves to be called a mountaineer? If you think climbing the nazimabad one lots of times is better, that’s fine, but then you can’t stay with me. You need to be great if you want to work with me, you need to be able to want something, achieve something big.”
– Dr Saulat Fatimi
Its been amazing. I don’t want the thing to end. 😦
Anyway. Talk to you soon.