This is a blog about the experiences of a Kenyan doctor who is on a 1 year Hands on Training in AIIMS within South Delhi. I am with my family. It will try to describe the experiences at the hospital - AIIMS and other social experiences of settling down with my wife and 2 young children, finding a house and dealing with official bureaucracy. Enjoy and I hope it will entertain and inform.
I wake up at around 6 am, to the rumblings of my daughter M saying ' Papa, lets go make breakfast'. She tries really hard to make it a whisper but if I do not respond the first time, it gets louder and louder. My clock is always set for 6.30am but sometimes I wonder, " whats the use?" If its not M trying to get into the covers at 6am, it will be my other gal N, yelling at 5.30am ... listening to her, you would think someone had inflicted severe pain on the one year old tot, only to discover that that is her way of saying " Goodmorning!" and "You better come for me quick or else I will wake the other tot in the room"... its pure black mail I tell you and she has perfected the art. I will usually take breakfast at 7am but because M & N are awake, they will eat half my breakfast ... never mind that there breakfast is on the way. I walk to AIIMS which takes about 20 minutes. In the morning, from 8 - 9 am, there is a sort of lecture where the cardiology student at AIIMS presents a topic and discusses it for about 30min. Then follows questions from the consultants and sometimes these can get so heated among the consultants that the presenter is forgotten and it becomes a face off among consultants. pure nail biting adrenaline I tell you. studies are quoted and experiences expounded. 'Simple' questions are asked that have no 'simple' answer yet the person asking it wants a 'Yes' or 'No' answer but the responder says 'Yes and No'.They turn red in the face and the we (the students) are left wide eyed, reaching for the popcorn, not knowing who to believe. The presenter, meanwhile, breathes a sigh of relief. he has been forgotten for the moment. Soon, the moments will pass and we will move on to the next topic. Woe unto you, if you are the presenter and the consultants are in agreement that you are wrong and they are right.... you become cannon fodder and your presentation is torn to shreds. The minutes don't seem to end as you are called to justify slide after slide, and you begin to sweat...on the nose... then you know its bad. Thankfully, it only takes 30 minutes. Then someone else presents difficult or interesting cases encountered in the cath lab the previous day. Since the case itself will be difficult and the solution controversial, there is always debate at this point in the day. They don't make them better in Hollywood guys. The consultants rip at each others' ideas and opinions and draw blood. Its just spectacular to watch and listen... of course these things also happened when I was training at UON but not at this intensity. Here, there seems to be no fear of who ranks higher in the department, or who is a Prof and who isn't. In fact, they don't use titles, everyone is just plain old Dr. So the intensity and professionalism in the discussions is to be admired.
We then breakoff to cath lab or other duty stations as per different assignments. I started my rotations in cath lab. One has to dash and try get the scrubs before they run out. The scrubs themselves are old, worn out and torn and just like plain old KNH, the nurses in cath lab seem to have a stash of the good ones saved away somewhere for themselves and their friends. Very annoying this habit. Once I change into scrubs, I begin to observe the different procedures.There are four cath labs and they perform 30 - 40 procedures per day. The work ethic is excellent bearing in mind that this is a public hospital. Though the cardiology students do most of the procedures, the consultant in charge of the patient is always in the cath lab from beginning till the end of all his procedures even if this is 8pm. These guys work hard and its commendable. I have never seen consultants work this long in a public hospital, constantly available and stepping in to make the final decision about every one of those patients undergoing the procedure before they leave the table. I have been observing for the last 1 week and already, I appreciate just how wide the topic of cardiac catheterisation can be. They usually work, sometimes non- stop untill 4 pm , but some may break for lunch for 30 minutes and resume. All cases planned for the day must be completed even if it means that they end at 8 or 9pm. I usually leave at 5pm. I go home to find S has had a rough day with M and N, the house is like an oven and the kitchen is the source of the fire (literally and allegorically). I take the kids out to the park for about 1 hr to let madam cool off and then come home. We have dinner, M is all over the place wanting to be fed and carried. We read the bible, pray and the kids are asleep by 8.30pm. I begin to fill in the knowledge gaps until sleep overtakes me.