And So Can You.
People pay the doctor for his trouble; for his kindness they still remain in his debt. ~Seneca
When you go to your doctor for a consultation and hand over your medical file to her/him, don’t you feel relieved? I do! I am of the opinion that whatever ails me will be diagnosed and then treated by the kind, capable and efficient doctor. Doctors need to keep this in mind while treating their patients. I am speaking from my experience of frequent hospital visits for my thyroid condition since the early 2000’s. I have met my fair share of doctors in these 15 odd years and the majority of them have been as wonderful as I imagined them to be. There were a few exceptions but I gave them the benefit of doubt. Maybe they had a rough day at home or some other personal crisis was making them deviate from the norm. We are all human and nobody is perfect, right?
And So Can You by Dr. Roopleen is a collection of stories by 17 successful doctors. It says on the cover – A book every doctor and medical student must read. I think it is one book every student should read. The core message of this book is with hard work and determination you can achieve anything you want. Don’t let the negativity of the people and circumstances around you affect your positive mindset. Decide what you want to accomplish in life and work towards it diligently. There are no shortcuts to success and the road is not always an easy one but if you are true to your passion and don’t go astray along the way, you will reach your destination. The success stories in here are proof enough.
This book gives a glimpse of the doctor’s journey of life and how he or she has reached at this point. Dr Roopleen writes in the preface about her motivation for writing this book, to let the general public and see the other side of doctors and how they do their job with clinical precision and resilience their motivation and determination to work hard.
The writing style is simple and the real life stories are narrated without embellishments. I like the fact that each story begins with a quote and ends with takeaways which will prove beneficial to the young readers navigate the journey of life and reach their goals.
‘The most important traits in the medical profession are compassion and a genuine interest in patient welfare. Dedication and sincerity are quintessential. You need to feel for your patients and keep their interest in mind at all times. Medicine is not a money making business. – Dr. Virender
I think I know what it means when he says that ‘All your hard work is worth the pain when you see the happy faces of the patients’ relatives who wait outside the OTs with bated breath and whose eyes urge you to somehow bring their dear one back from the jaws of death.’ I remember when my father had to undergo a bypass operation at Bombay Hospital in Mumbai in the year 2000. I had flown down from Kochi, to be with my family. I was waiting outside the operation theatre with my siblings and my mother, scared and afraid of the outcome. When the doctor walked out after the operation and told us that it was a success and my father was alright, we were so relieved. We thanked him profusely. We thanked God and the surgeon who had performed the operation on Dad. I’m sure the doctor must have felt the positive vibrations and vibes we sent him and our reaction strengthened his resolve to help and serve his patients with renewed zeal and passion.
It is interesting to see that almost all the doctors who have shared their stories in this book have mentioned hobbies which helped them unwind and rejuvenate. Music tops the chart along with sports, writing painting and various others interests. All of them stress on discipline, hard work, positive attitude, and updating your knowledge. Team effort and having clear goals help in being successful. Family support is the backbone of every successful person in any field. They all talk about doing what you feel is right without worrying about what others think, overcoming obstacles and disasters. No two people are alike and comparing yourself with others isn’t right. I liked the part where they say knowledge is for sharing.
Dr. Praveen Murthy has summed it up so beautifully, ‘You never know when your time will run out. Take each day as it comes and appreciate what you have, rather than agonizing on what you don’t have or what was not meant to be.’
Another thing interesting thing I liked was the point Dr. Mahipal made about sharing his skill and knowledge with others in the field, ‘If you monopolize, you cannot popularize.’ – Dr Mahipal S Sachdev.
There are ups and downs in life and most of us go through some experience which makes us question life. There were some tragic incidents in the lives of some of the doctors but they came out of it stronger, determined to get past that tragedy and carry on their noble profession, being of service to humanity.
Women have it tough everywhere and this profession is no exception. Dr. Vijaya has shared a conversation where she was told not to take up Opthalmology as she would be wasting a seat. It is interesting to read about doctors’ wives, (who are qualified doctors themselves) for being understanding and making compromises in their careers to help further their husbands’ career and family life. A wife chose willingly to give up her MS seat and opted for a Diploma, just to be in the same city as her husband. Hoping for a day when lady doctors will proudly praise their doctor spouses for sacrificing their ambitions for their wives careers and a balanced family life. Women have to strike a perfect balance between home and work. Things are changing but at a very slow pace.
Gender bias has reared its ugly head in the esteemed medical department too as mentioned by another doctor in the book, where a woman president of AIOS was denied the privilege to be installed officially. Another incident she talks about is about the appreciation mementos given to doctors at retirement. The men had their names written on theirs and the woman’s momento (her’s) was without a name.
Finally, we come to my most favorite part of the book. I loved reading about Dr. Dhanashree Ratra and the emotional bond she shares with her father. He wrote to her every day for eight and a half years while she was studying medicine. He did this to keep her from feeling homesick and to keep her in good spirits. Hats off to him, with fathers like him how can the daughters not excel in life…
God and the Doctor we alike adore
But only when in danger, not before;
The danger o’er, both are alike requited,
God is forgotten, and the Doctor slighted.
(I received this book from Blogadda under their Blogadda Book Reviews initiative. I have shared my thoughts about the collection of real life stories by doctors in this book.)
By Sulekha Rawat