Sunday, October 16, 2011

Vivas & Windows







I was supposed to enumerate the causes of giddiness in a female of 85. I had managed a few, but the expectant look on the examiner's face told me he wanted more. I knew I wouldn't be able to come up with many. Even on thinking hard, the chances of any significant improvement in the number seemed slim. Besides, I was exhausted from the supremely hectic week that had gone by. But he wanted me to think. Argh! I glanced up at the teacher for a split second to detect any signs of a change of mind. But argh again! He seemed determined to extract more causes out of my empty head. If only he could see that nothing was going on in there!

I wish I could just tell him that I didn't know more. But over the years I've learnt that teachers in a medical school are exceptionally easy to offend. From bright slippers to unkempt hair, anything can be misconstrued as arrogance. And in the final 10 months of my graduation, I accidentally have managed to offend far too many of them. So I decided to shut up and try.

Fixing my gaze at the window behind the examiner, I screwed up my face in concentration hoping that the extra effort will help my brain grind back into action! Who was I kidding! My exhausted neurons had given up already. I could feel the jammed machinery. I needed a miracle to get it moving. But deep down, I didn't really care for those extra causes to ask God for one.
Okay. Giddiness. Maybe I felt a little giddy right now. Everyone feels it. This lady isn't here for that. She's got more routine complaints too. Ask me about them na! I was tempted to enter into the "why me?" phase so at least I could enjoy some self pity. I resisted. This was not the time.

No progress.

85 years old. Could it have something to do with her age. The window I had been staring at, had a nice view. A man lay on the grass chatting with a buddy. I wanted that! I'll do it the day my vivas ended. And I'll get a haircut. And I'll throw my birthday party. And I'll watch back to back episodes of friends. And I'll sleep all day long. And I'll write a blog. And I'll get my two wheeler serviced. And I'll chat a lot. And I'll listen to songs all night. And a grunt from the bed behind me brought me back to the 85 yr old giddy lady.

No progress.

Finally the quizzer changed his question. Another not-so-routine question. And I knew he wouldn't be happy with my short list anyway. So why even bother. I was tempted to look out of the window again. But I did speak out. He seemed satisfied. I was mildly amused. I could bet my little detour across the window had something to do with it.

Two more vivas. One pathetic, one surprisingly outstanding!

Two weeks of intermission-free exams were about to end. On the day of my last viva, I hadn't read at all. I just wanted the painful process to end. I didn't care how. I stood beside my patient. We were both waiting. He came. We greeted.
He asked easy. I answered easy.
He asked crooked. I answered crooked.
He asked alien. My eyes began scanning the room.

I needed a window! :)