If at the end of 1st year, you thought that you were done up with mugging you were entirely in wrong! Just across the anatomy department on the other end of the building was the pharmacology department which was out of bounds for us as 1st year students. If you found the reactions in biochemistry difficult, the innumerable drugs in pharmacopeia were just mind numbing. Memorizing the names is one thing but knowing each and every thing about that particular drug right from how they are absorbed into your body, and then metabolized and excreted, to what effects it would have on each cell and organ of the body, and not to forget the side effects and adverse effects, in addition to the mode of administration and the dosage was a totally different ballgame. In addition, you also had to learn how one drug interacted with other. And believe me, if you have once read all the side effects and the lesser known adverse effects, you will rarely take a medicine again. Not surprising, doctors themselves are the worst patients.
Having just managed to pass the 1st year, scoring the lowest I had ever got in my life, I had decided to be sincere right from day 1. Yet, however hard I tried to learn these, I would end up being more confused. You may try mnemonics like the world famous for OOOPTFAGVAH for the 12 cranial nerves, or you make up your own, it was a daunting task. As if the number of drugs on the list was less, each year pharmaceuticals industry would churn up millions more with lesser side effects and better action. In the end, most of the doctors remember only the ones in their field of practice. Yet, this is no solace for a 2nd year student who’s struggling to remember all.
One of my friends had pharmacophobia. She was one of the most organized and sincere students. She had somehow started believing that she was going to fail in pharmacology. All through the final term of 2nd year, she would go into these self doubting episodes and would become sad at the prospect of failing. We tried to cheer her up, comfort her and reinforce the age old wisdom passed through the seniors. ” Do not leave any question unattempted, and you will pass.” Yet, we were at loss. Finally, the dreaded examinations arrived. We were already an exam older and were better accustomed to sleeplessness and the last minute hacks. I remember pharmacology to be the last exam. She came out of examination hall teary eyed and immediately disappeared from the sight of everyone. Since it was the last exam everyone got busy with their own mini celebrations and no-one noticed her absence until too late. She passed the exam with flying colors and today she is an anesthesiologist, in a branch where she remembers not only the drugs she requires to put her patient to sleep while another doctor operates on him/her, but she knows about almost every drug as drug interactions can help or jeopardize her efforts. Probably, its in your early days in a medical college where you learn never to give up however high the stakes may be, whether its personal life, professional or whether it is for the patient life.
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