Operating Room

The Operating Room

Seeing my first aortic-valve replacement surgery with bypass at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, I was intrigued and kept a notebook to record the intricacies of the operation. The doctor cut veins from the foot and used them to bypass a clogged artery supplying the heart. I kept in close contact with the medical community to understand the significance of the different steps in the procedure. The QRS wave of the echocardiogram (ECG) showed that the ventricle was not pumping rhythmically.

My love for medicine started at a young age. At the age of 13, I was giving my mom her vitamin B12 injections while my siblings would hide and be afraid. This gave me kick-start imagining what I could do as a medical professional. As I got older, I had opportunity to join Archangel Michael charity mission. In it I gained confidence, serving the impoverished and sick individuals, especially widows and orphans. I would be a young man stretching my hand giving out money and candy bars to poor orphans. I would see some children shy at first, but their mom would advise them to accept politely and not to turn me down. I learned early on to respect the people’s dignity from my encounters with poor children. While I was serving during this organization, I also got the chance to shadow a doctor. Seeing the doctor investigating a man blinded from uncontrolled diabetes, I would sense the responsibility to learn and read in detail, seeing the ultimate prize of an education laid on a strong foundation. Experiences with poor children and sick individuals sharpened my feeling for these people and engrained in me a desire to heal them.

Not only have I had experiences with the sick and poor people but I also learned the importance of patience, which is pivotal to me if I want to make progress in the field of medical research. My spiritual father had a major role in teaching me to be meticulous with regards to assessing my life. Every day before I go to bed I assess my performance to see if I have acted patiently with myself and others. Thanks to the healing teachings I have learned at a young age, I have been able to learn to love more people. Sometimes it might be difficult to deal with doctors who are stressed themselves, but I have learned to be patient with them. As I deal with tough doctors, I have learned to deal with difficult questions in research. Because of my experience as a scribe, I feel better equipped as a surgeon and medical professional. I will be able to treat hidden parts of the patients often at the molecular, genetic level to bring healing and soundness to the whole body. The internal peace I have makes me develop attention not only for the patient’s physical dilemma but also his and/or her psychological condition. Many of the emergency situations I see at the ER, like strokes, can be minimize, and, potentially, avoided by psychological and spiritual healing of patients as from anger or lack of motivation.

My upbringing also gave me a world perspective, which will be useful. I was the youngest of the three sons, Hany and Samy who both graduated with masters from the American university in Cairo (AUC). Aida, my mom who is a rheumatologist and orthopedic, and Safwat, my dad who is an electric engineer at the AUC would invite people from different nationalities to our house. I loved to speak with them, and I still do. This desire to affect, and be affected, by diverse nations has impelled me to work towards being multilingual in Arabic, English, French, and Coptic and to pursue a minor in English, and, possibly French, in college. My upbringing and service with charity missions has made me want to serve in diverse cultures as a medical professional.

The surgery was still going and the doctor had started stitching the new mechanical valve in place of the old, stenotic one.

I loved the heart when I was twelve years of age when my dad was treated in the hospital from atherosclerotic coronary artery. I started to love the heart even more after being diagnosed with type I diabetes because several heart conditions are initiated by diabetes’ complications. My diabetes helped me relate to sick widows and elderly people and see the contribution of basic medicine to the simple, uneducated people’s lives. In-depth Education would serve those people and improve their health. During my time with the Archangel Michael I saw a man who was blinded and lost a limb because of his diabetes. Had the doctor not enforced on him a strict diet with insulin injection and exercise, he would have lost more limbs. From the simple education, which I already know being diagnosed with diabetes, I could see myself doing many good deeds of this kind to different people. Similarly, due to lack of education in one of the poorest areas, where health care is inaccessible, one husband found his wife showing signs of sickness, and he started giving her diluted sugars, thinking this would make her more active. Not knowing that she was symptomatic for diabetes, the woman’s blood sugar peaked that she died shortly thereafter, leaving behind two children. How much more could I do with more in-depth education through a career in medicine combined with research in the genetic and biochemical fields?

Coming to the USA, I quickly sought experiences where I can assuage my love for serving people who are medically disadvantaged. I started volunteering at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center at the youngest age possible, 18 y/o. I also volunteered as a scribe writing procedures for operation. Some of these experiences made feel as if I were forging my way through barren and dry grounds, but I have set my heart on becoming a doctor and bringing hope to those who have no hope.

Before the surgery, the R wave in aVL plus the S wave in V3 were greater that 24cm. The patient suffered from ventricular hypertrophy as a result of the increased force needed to pump the blood through the aorta. Had the patient remained on that condition, he would have died from angina pectoris. That patient needed an aortic valve replacement that would allow the valve to open more smoothly, regaining the stability of the QRS complex of the ECG. Additionally, the heart needed a pacemaker replacement because the av node was excited at irregular intervals. Had that patient remained on that condition, he would have ended with a completely absent ventricular depolarization, and, therefore, contraction. And he would have died. This is one more experience that reminds me of why I want to be a doctor. I know all the training the doctor went through is what saved that patient’s life. I similarly want to have such training to be able to do the same to someone else someday and possibly even to save someone from a disease which have no cure yet.