I have been ‘expected’ to study Community Medicine since my first year of MBBS.
Community Medicine, also known as Social and Preventive Medicine or Preventive and Social Medicine is basically everything under the sun.
- We are expected to know about all the diseases in the world – Their significance, prevalence, symptoms, management, prevention. Basically, almost everything about the diseases is ‘within curriculum’.
- We are expected know all about pollution, noise control, measuring humidity, temperature, environment and all its influence.
- We are expected to know about all the insects that can spread any disease known to man. Their morphology, how many legs they have, how many pairs of eyes they have, how we can differentiate them from some other unheard of insect. And as far as their names are concerned – it is Greek and Latin – and I mean it, quite literally.
- We are expected to know how high the roof of a factory is supposed to be, the measurements of a sanitary toilet, the requirements of a sanitary well, how to build wells, how much chlorine to add to purify water and what pesticide has what effect on which pest.
- We are supposed to know the nutritional requirements of every age group and every sex (male/female/in betweens). We are supposed to know the amount of calories in all sorts of food items – half of which I haven’t even heard of. Pulses, fruits, vegetables rich in particular vitamins and minerals, of which we are supposed to know those that are cheap and those that are not cheap!!
- All sorts of national programmes that have been implemented for the prevention and control of every disease in the world, when it was implemented, its objectives, who it caters to and what it has achieved till date – which is usually nothing much.
- Every organisation that is working for the betterment of the human species, what they have done, who they have collaborated with and why they do what they do not actually do.
Community Medicine is not an easy subject.
I like the subject though.
We are expected to learn from a book written by a very learned lady, Dr. Park.
It is an amazing book. It puts me to sleep sometimes, but I think she has done an awesome job with a subject like Community Medicine.
Now this post is not about the subject. It is about my university exam which I gave on December 5th.
I tried cleaning my room on the 3rd of December and then forgot to dry my hair after a shower – this in my world means sure shot monster cold.
Monster cold struck on 4th December. I had miraculously run short of my cetrizine supplies. Cetrizine is my sole hope for survival, my hero in times of distressing leaky nose. At eight in the evening I decided I was fighting a losing battle and got a couple of tablets of a first generation anti histamine – which has proven sedative effects.
I have a very weird system.
Sedatives don’t really work on me.
I have to be given elephantine doses of anaesthetics for them to take effect – which is quite a pain – again, literally.
So while taking the anti histamine the sedative effects were the least of my concerns, even considering that I had finished reading only one chapter for my exam the next day. Half an hour and the words seem to be blurring.
I wake up at four in the morning – my elder sister’s extreme concern about the exam I was supposed to give the next day irritated my beautiful slumber. I learnt the next day that I told her I had actually charted out a time table and was timing each page – Yes; I have the uncanny ability to lie believably ONLY when I am asleep.
At eight in the morning, after almost twelve hours of deep, dreamless sleep, I woke up – sneezing.
I still had the freaking cold.
I had an exam to write in two hours time.
And I had read one chapter.
I had read that one chapter pretty well though, but considering it contributed only four marks out of sixty I had every reason to freak out.
And so, I freaked.
After half an hour of freaking which includes cracking my knuckles a million times, biting my already cut nails, walking back and forth like a mad woman and screaming out in a language I do not understand myself; I calmed down.
I had breakfast.
I read two random pages from the text which has around 750 pages and got dressed.
On the way, while walking towards the college examination hall my friend tried to teach me.
Most of the questions were totally unexpected according to those students who spend 23 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds of every day slogging.
I could not have been happier.
I am not a sadist – but I cannot imagine what I would have done to myself had I sat up all night and studied to attempt an ‘unexpected’ paper.
The prayers and the good luck worked.