Yuva Vishalini Ravindran, haileyjaden@gmail.com

I am Yuva Vishalini Ravindran, a fourth year medical student from Velammal Medical College Hospital and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu, India. I am elated to share my experiences here.

Like any high school student with a love of biology and seemingly good scores, I entered medical school. My transition to medical college from school was mostly smooth with a few bumps.

The first year of medical science was hectic with voluminous content to be learnt and remembered. Contrary to what we thought, none of us ever had an attack of syncope at the sight of cadavers in the dissection sessions, which were actually fun, apart from the mephitic odours of formalin that never failed to greet us and linger in our mucosa for the rest of the sessions. The first year passed with astonishing speed between the anatomy dissection hall and experiments in the various labs and lectures. Understanding concepts became more important than scoring marks.

The second year began with OP and IP ward visits with our professors.

Panting, short of breath, agony-filled eyes with a desperate attendee by her side was the first patient I met in the ward. The woman was diagnosed with bronchiectasis. I was supposed to examine her and the revelation that I was a medical student and she was being used to teach us gave her a new frisson. Though I was capering about the wards triumphantly on making a right diagnosis in my first presentation, the anguished and frantic look of the patient which symbolized that doctors and medical care were the last resort to restore her health, continued to haunt me and that’s when I realised the medical profession was much more noble and requires a lot more compassion and commitment than I thought it would.

The world of microbes and the pathological basis of diseases gave insight into the reasons behind a patient’s suffering. Learning the name of drugs made me feel like a polyglot. Dead men did tell tales in Forensic Sciences, shaping a Sherlock out of me.

My fascination with research started in second year. Most aetiology was not definite and this made me curious. Asking questions, seeking answers and raising further questions became routine after reading various journals.

The first research paper I published was about neurological complications in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus under the guidance of Dr Subramanian Nallasivan. I felt really fortunate to be the presenting author of my first research paper in EUROLUPUS, an international conference in Venice.

We started attending a lot of conferences and volunteering for such events. The annual physicians’ conference MEDICON 2015 and 2016 hosted by our college cast light upon the various new modalities and updates in internal medicine and its specialties. I also presented rare diseases such as ‘Vasculitis in a patient with Rhupus’, as case reports at various conferences across the state.

I worked enthusiastically as the Students’ Organiser for the International Conference of Echocardiography 2016 as well as the International Federation of Emergency Medicine EMCON 2016 at Madurai. Most of the speeches and lectures were like Latin initially, but became interesting over time. The more I learnt, the more it drew me in.

Recently I presented two research papers along with Dr Subramanian Nallasivan on paediatric rheumatology and Lupus nephritis in the south zone conference at Hyderabad named SZIRACON 2017 and at the Asian Pacific League Associations of Rheumatology – APLAR 2017 at Dubai.

We felt privileged and blessed at these conferences to meet doctors and researchers from across the globe and listen to their lectures.

Visiting the wards daily made me realise that the symbol of hope and better health for the sick and interaction with patients made me more resilient and empathetic as well.  The beauty of life was shown when I witnessed the natural birth of a tiny human. As I saw more patients in the various wards I learnt to be happy with simple pleasures like walking, talking, breathing and simply being healthy and hale. Had I not taken medical science, I would not have known the importance of little things which we take for granted.

In all, my medical school/college and hospital may look crowded, and the weather very hot and tropic with tiresome working hours, yet the smiles and gratitude shown by the patients never fail to make my day. I am truly blessed to call myself one among the medical professionals and look forward to what medicine has in the future for me.