Archive for February, 2009

Hi everyone! You may have noticed that I’ve been absent from the blogosphere for the past 4 weeks. And, in a remarkable streak of sheer co-incidence, 4 weeks is exactly how long I’ve been back at med. So far, 5th year has been an eye-opener, to say the least. I’ve learnt so much about different hospital protocols, the various multidisciplinary teams and how they interact and the bizarre behaviour of a few surgeons and their unfortunate colleagues. One would have thought that having ascended the educational ranks – through school, university and post-grad training that they would’ve left their childish ways behind. But, in a surprising twist (that seems to prove my theory that people often mature in circular, rather than linear fashion), you’re likely to see more foot stomping and name-calling amongst surgeons than in almost any kindergarten classroom the world over. Maybe they could start incorporating field-trips to kindergarten and prep classes into surgical fellowship programs.

Anyways, I’m digressing.

I was pooed on by a baby today. Yes, you heard it right folks, pooed on. And, you’ll be surprised to know that I wasn’t sitting in the paediatrics ward, but at church. I had little Ethan on my knee and was thoroughly enjoying the clucky feeling and the comments about how natural we looked sitting there at the table (even if Keags was sitting beside me looking unusually pensive). Little did I know that Ethan was actually feeling a great deal more relaxed than I, and a few minutes later I stood up to a collective ‘ewwww’ from the remainder of the congregation (and a horrified apology from the Walkers). Exciting stuff.

Hmm…I’m digressing again.

I’ve been feeling fairly overwhelmed lately by what I like to call the ‘culture of cynicism’ that exists so ubiquitously in western hospitals. It’s quite ironic, that in a seemingly benevolent profession that strives to do good, there exists such a disparaging sentiment that seems to permeate every facet of modern healthcare. It is a sterile, sometimes unkind and frequently Godless system in which the patient is key – provided they are submissive, socially acceptable and take up very little of your time. If however, they don’t fit nicely into a quiet niche and – God forbid – reveal some aspect of their flawed humanity in their hour of need, then they are turfed out as quickly as you can say ‘House of God’*, and given to someone else to sort out their problems.

This has been getting me down lately, to the point where I have been questioning my ongoing motives for wanting to study medicine, and asking myself just how long I can exist in such an environment, until I either go foetal or become so hardened and cynical that I make Lunch Lady Doris look like Ned Flanders.

Luckily for me (or rather, thanks to the ongoing grace of God), I had an epiphany at church today which helped me see this problem in a new light. We were talking about Joshua 6 (the fall of Jericho), in which the LORD tells Joshua to march around the city for 6 days with loud trumpeting and shouting and on the seventh day to march around Jericho seven times, after which, the walls will collapse and the Israelites can march on in and take the city.

Sure enough, God was true to his word and on the seventh day, the walls came down:

When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city.  They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.

(Joshua 6:20-21)

On this passage, Dave made the helpful point that sometimes we focus on the wall, and not on the task that God has appointed us to do. The Israelites weren’t focused on the fortified wall in front of them, but were rather trusting in the God-appointed task at hand, to march around the city walls for 7 days, trusting that they would come down when God said they would.

It occurred to me, that by focusing so much on the Godlessness and pessimism of the world around me, I failed to realize the task God has appointed – that is, to give him glory and proclaim the gospel to those who have not yet heard it. It is so easy to be blinded and overwhelmed by the world around us, in all it’s woeful waywardness, and to not trust our sovereign Lord, who achieved his purposes through the Israelites and likewise achieves his purposes through us. God is just as much at work in our hospitals as he was in the city of Jericho all those years ago. We are to remind ourselves that the God we serve is the God of Abraham, of Joshua, of 1st Century Christians and of us, and his sovereignty is not limited to one people group or generation.

So, no matter how many foot-stamping surgeons I come across, I can be confident that the Lord is still very much at work in my life and in his, working for our good and His glory.

[I am] confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus

(Philippians 1:6)

* House of God is a famous, very cynical novel about the medical profession I refuse to read



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