Saturday, July 5, 2014

Valedictory Speech


The following is the text of the Valedictory Speech 
delivered by Danish Henry 
at the 12th Post Graduate Medical Education Graduation Ceremony, 2012 
at The Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi

The Chief Guest, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Dean, respected faculty, learned fellows, exhausted residents, ‘bacharay’ interns, ladies and gentlemen, good evening!

This day marks the completion of a journey that began not so long ago. Let me give you a glimpse of what it means to be intern. It all used to start with being on-call and end with being post-call. Anything and everything in between is what we call life. The evening was spent waiting, not for another episode of “Ishq-e-Mamun”, but for the chief to round, who would always assures to be there in 5 minutes. We were bombarded with pages, few genuine and many bogus. “ap nay paracetamol enter ki, patient ko day do”, I reply, “nahi sunga do”. Another page, “Doctor Danish, mariz chair pe bethna chah raha hai”. I say yes and “aa kay orders likh day”. There are orders for everything, even for patients to scratch their heads. A rough voice exclaims, “Urology intern, come to the counter, outside call for you”. I take the call, “dactor saab, mariz kay peeshab mein khoon aa raha hai, koi tablet bataye”. I ask, “mariz kaha hai?” “woh to Dubai mein hai”. Getting back to work, I generate a consult and I am advised to send CBC, BUN, creatinine, electrolytes, PT/APTT, blah blah blah… and a blood culture stat.  Then comes dinner. Our chefs have the distinction of keeping the taste same, no matter what is cooked, don’t worry, today is an exception. The rest of the night is spent drawing blood like a vampire and patients do not lose a nanosecond to tell you “weakness bohat hai, koi teeka laga dey’, as if though we keep a stock of Red Bull, which will give them wings. This is just the tip of the iceberg, in some rotations, the number of pages per minute is more than our respiratory rate. These pagers are like a complaining wife. You are to listen to her and you cannot leave her. The next day is kicked off with the grand round, where you can easily locate post-caller sleeping and many attendings emailing.

Our internship has been a wholesome learning experience. Long-working hours stiffened our spirits and made us resilient. Cut-throat deadlines turned out to be capacity building measures. There were times when all motivations run dry and fatigue took charge. There came a point where we all realized the value of maintaining ties to the world. Then I came across a placard. It said, “This too shall pass.”

Valedictory Speech
Click by The Aga  Khan University Hospital

A journey that we embarked 353 days back, not that we are counting, is on the verge of completion. It has been a journey of energy and endurance, of dressings and discussions, of ORs and OPDs, of long weekends and weekend calls, of late night sampling and early morning rounds. I call it a journey of metamorphosis. We started off as young graduates bubbling with knowledge and enthusiasm and we are graduating as smarter doctors who know that extraordinary results require extraordinary efforts. We are prepared to move on and bear the tremendous responsibility of being a doctor. Let us promise, to ourselves, that we will never forgo AKU values.

While we take pride in what we have achieved, we do this with humbleness and humility. We acknowledge the contributions made by the AKU fraternity, our families and our friends. We share our success with them. We appreciate those who encouraged us. We also realize that criticism strengthened us, and made us a better doctor, a better person. We owe thanks to the faculty, who guided us and corrected what we wronged. To fellows and residents who helped us with learning. We have had our agreements and disagreements. But there was always a moment to celebrate, happiness to share and a memory to cherish.

To our parents, words fail to describe their affection and commitment for us. But more importantly to our patients, who brave the miseries of life, teach and trust us. Let us seek inspiration from their lives. Let us reflect on our current practices and renew our commitment to provision of healthcare we would expect for ourselves.

My felicitations to graduating interns, for having suffered, o sorry!, survived this challenging and happening year.  We have forged many life-long friendships. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. May we go forth to prevail!

Graduating Interns of 2012

Friday, June 13, 2014

Egypt Travelogue - Pharanoic Thebes - II


Ramses II
Click by Danish Henry

The trip to Luxor could not have been complete without a visit to the many temples of Luxor. The Temples of Karnak are the largest ancient temple in the world. The Karnak complex is a complex of an open air museum, temples, pylons, intact and dismantled obelisks and monuments. All parts are not open to the general public. Signs of graffiti and vandalism by Napolean Bonaparte, the Italians, Coptic Christians and Arabs still linger. In the main hall stands high the statue of Ramses II – his ego frozen into stone. 

At the Temple of Karnak, Luxor.
Click by Omar Shabana
The Temple of Karnak in Luxor.
Click by Danish Henry 

The Temple of Karnak.
Click by Manthan Mehta
In the temple is an intricate network of gigantic pillars placed with the precision of a nanometer and studded with exhausting hieroglyphic inscriptions.  The walls are coated with depictions of interaction between Kings and the Egyptian gods and hieroglyphs – an enigmatic approach to communication; having to do something with phonetics.  Despite significant advances in deciphering ancient Egypt, Egyptologist still is like Swiss cheese – with holes in it. Our guide highlighted the astonishing synchronization of the architecture with the sun. The temple is a true reflection of the enormousity and extravagance of the Egyptian empire.  And finally a day in the power house of one of the greatest civilization ended. This is a place you would like to see for yourself before you die.   

Pictorial representations of interactions
between the Kings and the Gods
at the Temples of Karnak.
Click by Danish Henry 
Hieroglyphics at the Temple of Karnak.
Click by Danish Henry 


The Kings were bizarre yet interesting, unreasonable yet logical, overwhelmingly wealthy with no moral values, obsessed with symbolism and intoxicated with self-glorification with utter disregard for human rights.

The Ancient Egyptians were not just another group of people with an all-powerful King. They left a lasting legacy in many fields of life. They had the management skills to manage a workforce of thousands, were bench-markers in engineers who made attempts (though failed ones) at building a primitive type of a dam at the Nile and established an extensive irrigation system to benefit from the predictable flooding. Also, they were architectural wizards who build the iconic pyramids and imposing temples at Luxor. In politics, they were great politicians who exercised control upper and lower Egypt with peaceful transition of powers. They were biased historians who documented to detail (bar the construction of the Pyramids) and had knowledge about the movement of celestial bodies and placed their structures in line with the sun (Ra – the sun god). Medicine fostered as evident from the earliest manuscripts of medicine. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Egypt Travelogue - Pharaonic Thebes - I


The next day, we set for the ancient city of Thebes, modern day Luxor, before the sun woke up. This was indeed the most interesting part of my journey to Egypt. On our way to Luxor, we had the opportunity to take a glimpse into the country life and I must say the Egyptian rural life is not very different from ours. Our first stop was at a place what locals call Mamnoon. Mamnoon is a place with two incomplete pharaonic statues with archaeological work in progress. 

The Valley of the Kings. Click by Danish Henry

What came next is one of the oldest and largest royal necropolis in the world – the Valley of the Kings. The Valley of the Kings is a set of mountains (with the al-Qurn dominating others) with 62 known underground tombs for the Pharaohs. These underground tombs, as elaborate they can be, have dedicated burial rooms, stone sarcophaguses and security systems against tomb robbers. The walls of the tombs are decorated with pictorial representation of the King’s life.   The tombs are an archetype of fine craftsmanship, artistic minuteness and geologic mastery.  Interestingly, the length of a tomb indicates the life span of a king. We visited the tomb of Ramses II, Ramses IV and Merenptah.


Behind is the Tomb of Hapshetsut.
Click by Marija Abramovic
Close by is the tomb of King Hapshetsut – paradoxically a female and a King. The Tomb, unlike other tombs in the Valley of the Kings is not underground, has recently been preserved by the Polish government.