You got me there

I was sitting in the corner; almost drifted off in my own day dream zone when the voice startled me. I frowned a bit. I should really stop from this habit of frowning - the permanent lines would one day form on my forehead it is not a nice sight, I know that for sure. The voice sounded familiar. That accent? Verbal expressions? I could not quite describe. I managed a weak smile.

"The Underground lied to me this morning! I went to Elephant and was told there was no southbound train - not even to Kennington. I had to take the bus all the way.. ONE HOUR on the bus and at Balham, I realised there southbound trains were running!" the girl who came in to the clinic complained, before asking about management plans and what-not.

The conversation excluded me from first instant. I continued sitting with my legs crossed. I was half listening, half analysing. The style of reply? I wasn't sure. I am not an expert in accents, I have to admit.

It is amazing how I could be physically in one place but mentally in another. I daydreamed so much that I probably could be dismissed as having absence seizure. Maybe it was my brief conversation with Syl this morning. I tend to try to not think about things (or people) that end up occupying my thoughts all day all night. Not only it is unhealthy, it is a complete waste of my time.

But one simple spark and the floodgates were wide open. 

The annoying thing was that old memories got mixed up with the present reality. Well, sort of. Maybe my brain was merely tricking me. 

My brain transcript got interrupted halfway when I was asked to auscultate a patient. I smiled politely and grabbed my filthy, grey and dull stethoscope. 


"What could you hear?"

"Ummm," I probably did the umm bit 20x before I hesistated one last time and answered, "S1 and S2 heart sounds with ummm *whatiswrongwithme* systolic murmur?"

Truth was - I did not know what I heard. I really could not tell. I was just guessing because he won't have asked me to auscultate if it was just a normal S1 and S2 with no added sounds. I guessed systolic because my sister once said if you could hear a murmur, it almost must be systolic. It was a safe bet, shall we put it that way?

Of course, as expected. I was wrong - ish. It had both systolic and diastolic murmurs. HOW COULD ONE TELL!!

Don't blame the lousy tubes, blame the ears and brain for not being able to dissect and translate.

It was past noon when I got so tired with my brain multi-tasking away. He must have thought I am the worst final year student, 4 weeks away from finals ever to appear in the clinic - and probably Malaysian too.

I was let go before the clinic formally ended - but before he could impart some pertinent basic skills/knowledge a final year student well be expert in at this point of time. 

My heart just folded itself into four pieces right away. I am such a huge disappointment - to myself, to the medical school and to my nation.

"Alright? Lub dupp?"

"I really can't differentiate - I just can't make it out."

"Go to the wards and listen to all the murmurs in the world!" [paraphrased, as I can't remember the exact words - I was daydreaming again, you see]

"Thank you so much for having me today." I was full of gratitude.

"You're welcome." And with that, I closed the door behind me.

I left the clinic feeling defeated. So defeated.


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