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Thursday, December 31, 2009

slum doctor aspirations

I have always harboured a secret ambition to be a slum doctor, like in Shantaram. The focus is on the word 'slum', or as in Mandarin they call it 'gangster doctor'. Because I have no formal first-aid, medical or pharmaceutical qualifications, I learnt everything the gangster way. I enjoy doing first aid and for some reason had always been 'arrowed' to do the first aid for our camps and expeditions back in JC. As the years passed I find myself somehow putting together first aid kits for all my mission trips. I learn easily about drug names, dosages and uses and can never forget any medicine that I personally have taken before. I guess it is a blessing in disguise that I have so many sicknesses - psychosomatic distresses that have accompanied my most of my life - because this way I have tried many different kinds of drugs.

I had a vision once of myself tending to child's injured leg in a war-torn country. When this vision flooded over me again during my Myanmar trip, my pastor asked me to bring my first aid kit along to the slum we visited, although we didn't get to use it - good thing I guess.

Lately my slum-doctor dream has been materialising in the veterinary field. Because of the animal rescue work we do in my neighbourhood I find myself learning about medications for animals and how to slum-treat the animals in our care because we don't always have the funds for veterinary fees. I seem to be able to retain information that I research on when it comes to veterinary illnesses, symptoms and types of drugs and the animals we help using our slum-vet information have helped us tide over and save many animals from euthanasia because of simple illnesses.

I think of Shantaram and how the protagonist became a slum-doctor by simply working from his first aid kit, until the slum lord who had illegal ties with a hospital started supplying him pilfered drugs to treat the villagers, and a doctor to refer patients to, cutting through all the red-tape and getting them emergency medical attention. I hope I become a slum-doctor someday; for now, I will start and continue with first-aid for animals.