The first week of gynaec residency! I was in a mess. Somehow, the theoretical knowledge I had gained during medical school and internship did not suffice to cope with the rigorous demands made of a lowly first year resident.
A municipal hospital in a busy city like Mumbai is like a crowded railway station at rush hour. Patient admissions, discharges, paperwork, blood collections, dressings and a million other odd jobs vied for my attention. Day and night merged into one.
The busiest days were Mondays and Thursdays which were the O.T. (surgery) days. The O.T. in municipal hospitals works like a busy conveyor belt with patients being wheeled in and out. In the midst of this cacophony, I noticed the quiet efficiency with which a junior anaesthetist was doing his job. I looked up to see a pair of intelligent, warm, brown eyes meet mine over a surgical mask.
Thereafter, every O.T. day, our eyes would meet and exchange smiles before both of us got immersed in our work. I was fascinated by the precise movements of his hands, the look of intense concentration in those eyes and his confident body language when a difficult case was on. Very soon, Mondays and Thursdays became my favourite days of the week and that special pair of eyes my anchor in the mad,mad world of first year residency!
When it was my turn to operate independently, at the start of every surgery, I would look into those eyes and be filled with confidence.
Today, 25 years later, the story remains the same. My eyes meet my husband’s eyes, still an intense, warm brown; I pick up the scalpel and begin surgery.
I know, all’s well with my world…