Slow and Steady

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I was going through my records recently and came across an essay I wrote in my teen years. Back then, I wasn’t a fan of writing so you can imagine how good or bad the essay was.

Although I loved scribbling things on anything that was close to me whenever I found myself holding a pen or pencil, I hated writing essays. I never paid attention in class; I found the stories & novels boring when they were read out in class. I prefered to watch a movie adaptation of the novels.

This continued until a friend
of mine who I usually depended on during assessments ridiculed me and this made me angry. I channeled my anger towards learning literature on my own. I would spend time correcting and correcting my essays till I was satisfied.

The first time I actually wrote an article was back in 2008 on a hospital bed and since then, I’ve come ease to myself into it – slowly but steady. I am still learning though and do have writer’s block once in a while.

The mordern world depends on technology and thence built on speed and immediate results. As a result, we are often in a hurry to get things done. Even when it isn’t necessary, we act and feel something is on our heels.

However, the process of learning is a very slow one. Any business, skill, vocation or situation worth learning or mastering, requires time, effort and focus. Philip Stanhope once said “Whoever is in a hurry shows that thing he is about is too big for him.”

It is important for one to have a sense of urgency for whatever s/he is doing however we often mistake hurry sickness for sense of urgency. Sense of urgency is the ability to identify things that require urgent attention and acting upon them ASAP but when one is in a hurry, s/he feels there’s need to rush everything even when there’s no reason to.

Assuming you have been given a deadline to submit a coursework/project/proposal. A person with a sense of urgency will start working as soon as possible, giving himself ample time to finish and go through his work over and over again before the deadline. In contrast, someone who is in a hurry will rush the work and give little or no room to cross-check his/her work.

You can’t get much done if you lack sense of urgency but by doing things hurriedly, we reduce our effectiveness, lower quality of our work and possibly make avoidable mistakes. Take heed to the words of Earl Monroe, “Just be patient. Let the game come to you. Don’t rush. Be quick, but don’t hurry.”

There’s no need to be in a hurry. Be quick but agbana speed. Speed kills. Slow and steady wins the race.

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Hopsital Combat II

The piece which am referring to is a well prepared article by a good author( we all took Mrs. Obiwulu’s English lessons together) and a long time friend. The piece contains a lot of truth which I must say, as a medical doctor by profession, hit the point. But I must beg to differ in some of his opinions because there are obviously two sides to this story, just like a coin.

To start with, I want to make a bold point that we all (I mean doctors, medical laboratory scientists and nurses) all work for a common goal and that is “To care for the sick”.
This “motto” is what should be borne in mind whether you have an MBBS or a Bsc in Medical Laboratory Science or a Diploma or Bsc in Nursing Science.
Everyone knows their role. I must say so because none of these three departments cannot work without the other. As the common Igbo saying goes, “I gaghi aku aku na-agba agba” ,so it is in this situation.

But then I must point out that in every institution, there MUST be a leader otherwise the system will go into anarchy and everything will just be a mere charade. And that leader in this context is the Doctor. It is a well known and incontrovertible fact which is why the Chief Medical Director of any hospital is a doctor. At this point, I must dare to say that most doctors are egotistical, perhaps this is mostly due to the fact that most doctors bearing in mind that “the doctor is the head of the medical team”, take it too far by imposing there authority on others. This, I must say is VERY wrong as it undermines the common goal of the medical team as I have stated above.

Again, I would want to correct the author that it is the Doctors that makes a diagnosis and go further to proffer solutions to the problem. I must make reference to the medical curriculum (3rd MBBS to be more precise), doctors do a full and complete course in pathology which we know is the backbone of all laboratory courses done by the Medical Laboratory Science students. In essence, we are trained to use that knowledge and our clinical skills to come up with a diagnosis. At this point, I must say that the MLScientists still go a lot further to study the technical details in coming up with laboratory results which contribute to the eventual diagnosis. So I think it’s pretty explanatory why a Consultant Pathologist who is a doctor must control the laboratory departments. He is not just a newbie doctor who has passed all his MBBS exams but has gone ahead to obtain a 4 year Fellowship in a specific aspect of pathology.

As I said before, all these don’t matter at all if (and actually if) we have in mind that we are working for the common goal of the patient. Sadly, it is only in Nigeria we have all these problems. Abroad, everyone knows there role and they play it well knowing fully well their target.

In conclusion, I would also, like the author of the original piece and my very good friend, reiterate the Emmy Award winning Peter Dinklage in “The Game of Thrones” as Tyrion ‘the imp’ Lannister:
“Never forget who you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor and it can never be used against you.”

Thank you.
Alex Onyemeh (MD)

Hospital Combat

Recently, I was banned from a Facebook group (Scientists in Development) for dropping provocative yet honest comments on the page.
Yeah, I know some of you don’t know this but I’m actually a medical laboratory scientist by profession and there’s an ongoing war between doctors and laboratory scientists in hospitals across the nation.

The fight for supremacy in hospitals has reached its apogee; the doctors see themselves as the messiah, the laboratory scientists want to be level with doctors and the nurses, well, they complete the triad.

This face-off makes me laugh rather than agitate me, I guess now you understand why I was banished from the Facebook group.

I do comprehend the plight of my colleagues; the doctors are egotistical. I don’t know if it’s a personal thing or they were taught that in Ethics class. Well, I must admit not all of them are conceited; my elder sister and my friend, Oseyi are both doctors but they are among the down-to-earth people I’ve met.

Doctors often feel superior to everybody and expect others to tremble at the sound of their voice. They head a lot of departments in the hospital and they are also threatening to take over the laboratory department too. Wait! What am I even saying! They have already taken over the laboratory. Consultant pathologists control laboratory departments in Teaching Hospitals across the nation.

When I asked a friend why they would boss the lab, he smugly replied “because we are doctors”. Another friend went further and said they don’t hanker for the Pharmacy because they are the only ones who perform, apart from them, of course! Imagine!!!!

Albert Einstein made a very important statement: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” I told my colleagues they are the problem not the doctors and only if they fight the problem would they gain respect. Omo the kind abuse wey I receive no b here oh. Most senior scientists I’ve come by have no masters or doctorate degree; they are contented with just a bachelor’s degree. They feel substandard to doctors, who write exams every year to get to the acme of their profession and often shudder with fear in the presence of doctors. They are yet to recognize their worth. I mean, diagnosis is the bedrock of medicine. When I did my internship program, I squared off against a Consultant; you don’t come to my duty post and tell me what to do. I know my worth, my role and I play it well!

Some of the male scientists lie about having an MBBS when they woo girls because they already have it at the back of their minds that doctors are better than them. British actor, Peter Dinklage alias the Dwarf/Tyrion Lannister in the TV hit series “The Game of Thrones” once said “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor and it can never be used against you.”

The title “doctor” doesn’t make one better or more intelligent than you; forget all these medical jargons they spit all the time – even in clubs/bars. For instance, a proud doctor would rather use the word ‘masticate’ than ‘chew’ just to let you know a doctor is in your midst. One day, I was out drinking with some colleagues and a doctor friend. Suddenly, the doctor deviated from our gist about money and women and started talking about the link between alcoholism and cytochrome p450, an enzyme that catalyses the oxidation of organic substances in the body; I hate when people do that, life is not all about medicine you know. One of the scientist guys cut him off midway and gave him a proper lecture.

In spite of this, we all can learn from one another and need each other for the betterment of the patients but here we are, fighting over nothing. When a patient visits a hospital, a nurse takes his or her vital signs and sends him/her to a doctor, who clerks the patient and sends him/her to a lab scientist to diagnose and ascertain what’s amiss; after the diagnosis, the lab scientist sends the result back to the doctor to prescribe some drugs, after which the patient heads to the pharmacy where the pharmacist dispenses the drugs to him. You see, it’s an interwoven web or should I say, a merry-go-round and they all need each other.

Peer Pressure: Good or Bad?

 

It is a natural phenomenon for us to copy and want to be like the people we admire in life. The struggle to fit in at all cost has made a lot of us to do what we wouldn’t do on a normal day. Peer pressure is tantamount with the youths; after all we spend most of our day in the company of friends more than our parents and siblings.

As kids, our parents choose the kids we hang out with; preferably kids of their friends. As we grow, we fight to remove the shackles our parents have on us and choose our clique of friends. Most times, we choose people who have similar interests, beliefs and experiences to ours. Together, you and your friends make decisions and influence each other every day.

Making decisions on your own and standing your ground is worrisome; but when other people are drawn in and try to pressure; it gets more worrisome. Friends affect and influence our lives even without us realizing it, just by spending time with us.

Psychologist Wendy Treynor described peer pressure as “Identity Shift Effect”. One’s state of harmony is disrupted when faced with the threat of external conflict or failing to conform to a group’s standard. Thus, we conform to the group’s standard but as soon as one does, eliminating this external conflict, internal conflict is introduced. To rid oneself of this internal conflict, an identity shift is undertaken where one adopts the group standards as one’s own, thereby eliminating internal conflict; returning one to a state of harmony.

To me, Peer Pressure is the hassle by friends for us to do something we don’t want to do. It doesn’t have to be  negative; it could also be positive .

For instance, on the negative side, most of my mates started lighting a cigarette as far back as JS2/3. Even though some didn’t want to be part of it but because they were scared to be labelled a Jew man, they gave in to peer pressure and they are hooked. Others started snubbing some people because their clique frowned at the sight of them talking with the unpopular ones alias nerds/jew men.

Positively, friends’ pressure can help us learn a lot of things like a new skill. In my primary school days, after watching soccer stars like Diego Maradona, Roberto Carlos, Raul Gonzalez and Savio; I believed left-legged players had more shot power than those who play with the right leg so I pressured my friend Chife for us to learn how to play football comfortably with both legs and we did it!

Some years ago, I had a near death experience that left me incarcerated in a hospital for some months. Then, I was an under graduate in my 400L. With exams lurking, I lost hope of writing the exams and made up my mind I was going to spend an extra year in school but my friend didn’t want to hear any of it and sent me an SMS I will never forget. She said “if there’s anybody I know that can pull this off, it’s you”. Those eleven words urged me to read and instantly, energy from nowhere sprang up in me and I started flying like those men you see in Red Bull commercials. I wrote that exam from the hospital and came out with flying colours.

As we grow older, peers naturally play a greater role in our lives. Due to the amount of time we spend together, we develop close bond with our peers and may feel so connected to them that they are like an extended family.

So do you think peer pressure is good or bad?

Why (Just Curious)

Why does a poor man want what he can’t have?

Why isn’t there a cure for AIDS, cancer, diabetes et al?

Why do we always complain about those in power and yet we don’t come out to vote?

Why do “prayer warriors” directly or indirectly demand for money to pray for us?

Why can’t our President set his priorities right?

Why is Farouk Lawan still a free man?

Why do people pledge allegiance to those in power but flee & curse them when they relinquish power?

Why did the Anyene family board that Dana flight?

Why are we all afraid of the Boko Haram sect?

Why do people (especially girls) go gaga for expensive things?

Why do people (the elderly inclusive) lie because of money?

Why do people complain about those in power but when they get into the same office, they do worse than their predecessors?

Why can’t the Government pay workers well but loot money for their families and philandering acts?

Why was Dame Patience Jonathan appointed a permanent secretary in her state?

Why do men ‘kill’ themselves to make money just to please a woman?

Why do parents lie to their children about sex?

Why do we neglect the things of God?

Why do girls lie to each other?

Why do men love alcohol and women clothes & shoes?

Why do patients hate & fear nurses?

Why do we ‘hate’ people who don’t notice or talk to us?

Why do we ‘kill’ ourselves to belong?

Why are the lawyers paid more than the hospital workers in our country?

Why do doctors head Laboratory departments (in a hospital) in this country?

Why do patients get irritable?

Why is the nouveau riche always arrogant?

Why does a brother always lie about a sister that he can’t have?

Why do they say the beautiful ones are not yet born when they are everywhere?

Why do people easily forget the things you did for them and remember those you didn’t do?

Why do men lie & brag about the number of girls they’ve had?

Why do women lie about the number of men they’ve been with?

Why do we waste a lot of time writing out a list of New Year resolutions which we will never keep?

Why do we love social networking sites (facebook, twitter, tagged, flikster, yahoo, 2go, nairaland, morange, hi5, ebuddy, nimbuzz, badoo) so much?

Why do some of us need the approval of others before they can do anything?

Why do people expose all their secrets in bed?

Why do we expose our friends’ secrets to our lovers?

Why are Chelsea fans, touts; Arsenal fans, women and United fans, zealots?

Why don’t we ever tire of comparing Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo?

Why do people ‘hate’ you when you are successful?

Why do we rejoice when there’s a problem in another man’s relationship?

Why do people respect you when you don’t talk to them & take you for granted when you do?

Why can’t we have mad fun supporting our local teams?

Why does a guy/girl have to be the problem between two friends?

Why do we compare & want to be like Mr A when Mr A really wants to be like us?

Why are people so easily intimidated?

Why do we spend so much time facebooking, tweeting and reading a novel and less time reading the Bible?

Why do we get jaded when we spend only two hours worshipping God?

Why does music influence & affect us?

Why can’t a brother/sister tell you how big/low his/her pay check is?

Why do Pentecostal church goers dress & imitate their pastors?

Why do we only remember God when we are sick or heavy laden?

Why do most booze hounds smoke?

Why are you even alive?

Why are you forcing yourself to be hard?

Why do we take people for granted and try to take advantage of them when they are good to us?

Why do we call our lovers more than our families?

Why do we do things we can’t even do for our parents/siblings for our lovers?

Why do people look forward to the NYSC Orientation camp?

Why is the average Nigerian superstitious?

Why do our leaders rely solely on Oil as our export?

Why can’t we have a two-party system in Nigeria?

Why is Nigeria, a failed state?