#97: When You Put on Your Lab-Coat For the First Time
So, you finally got into medical school. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it wasn’t it. It was definitely worth pleading for the funds, studying long and hard to pass the entrance exam, fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, and all that time you wasted in your local university studying Animal and Environmental Biology. Well, all that is history now. What matters is that you got in, finally, at age 35 and now it’s time to begin the countdown to the day you get to swear the Hippocratic Oath. Problem…you know nothing about medicine; all you know for now is that gonorrhoea is a disease and an injection goes in with the pointy end. It’s time for some lessons…six years’ worth just in case you didn’t know earlier.
To attend class, you need to put on what one of my teachers calls “medical costume” (it’s actually just a lab coat). You know, lab coat, that long white gown the doctors on Grey’s Anatomy wear. You remember mocking them that it makes them look like the transcended version of Jet Li in the blockbuster movie, ‘Fearless’. Turns out it signifies purity and the exaggerated level of hygiene associated to the profession, so it’s quite necessary. You then run to the nearest shop and try to get one, but all they have are size 55 and you are a size 44. You buy it anyways because you can’t get into class without it and time is of the essence. As you walk briskly to class, you begin to silently wonder what happened to all the other sizes of lab coats and why doctors could be as fat as the size 55 in the first place.
You get to the classroom; the teacher instructs you to put on your “medical uniform” and goes on for 15 minutes ranting on how important the white coat is to your future profession as she reminds you that you are now part of a huge legacy of 35 year old first-year medical doctors-to-be. You put on your Lab coat; you don’t even care if the lesson is just Latin Language which you don’t think requires a lab coat to participate in. You walk to your seat which is of course behind everyone else’s because, let’s face it, you’re too old to sit right in front of your teacher; you may just be older than she is. You take your seat with your overly sized lab coat and you begin smiling, because you know that even though you may have reached menopause, or that you are probably older than every living and lifeless thing in that classroom, or that you have a wife/husband at home who may be cheating on you with that whore of a neighbour you have, you are now on the right track to becoming all you ever hoped and dreamed to be. You are now proof to the proposition that the best things come to those who never give up, that no one is ever too old to chase a dream, that even though it doesn’t seem like it now, you will be a medical doctor 6 years from now, and that vibe of expectation followed by a slight quake of shame at your roomy, disproportionate lab coat, is AWESOME.
Victor Enahoro Ohwo