Syedyshev Oleg
Syedyshev Oleg

Humorous Essays Based on students' memories

"All have died
except for those who are alive, and those whom we remember"Confucius

Essay 43. A stranger in medicine

Are there any come-and-go people in medicine? Yes, as many as one likes! And in Soviet times one could meet a doctor with a vacant look, and now... It is difficult for me to talk about this, as I am a former doctor myself with 25 years of practice as a psychiatrist. Though Vladimir Fainzilberg states that there are no former psychiatrists, I consider myself a former one. Many times I was offered to have a surgery as soon as it became clear that I was a businessman; and some doctors even did not react when I hinted to them that I had a degree in medicine and 25 years of experience. So, a doctor at Kiev clinic "EUROLAB" persistently recommended me to ablate a lipoma of a size of a millet grain, which I had behind my right ear. I told him that I was a former doctor, but he continued even more insistently: "It is even better; you can imagine what will happen, if it starts growing." I replied timidly that I had already had it (the lipoma) for ten years like that, and he: "So what? Nobody knows when it can start progressing, and what consequences this will inflict". He was speaking with confidence, was trying to be convincing, was referring to doctors from Canada and America for some reason, but I could not meet his eyes even once. I am not going to start any discussions; I made up my mind that that was a stranger in medicine. I did not argue with him as well, and was listening to him in silence. I was curious how long he would last and how he would finish our conversation and his proposition. He did not last for a long time, he dashed off our talk and also persistently asked me what I decided. At heart I swore at him, and said aloud that I had to think. That was five or six years ago, I have not observed any progress of the lipoma since then. Though, I keep thinking whether I did a right thing when I swore at the doctor at heart or I should've sworn at him aloud.
So Kolya Kovalchuk had decided that he would be the odd man out in medicine even before he became a doctor. Though, I'll talk about it later, first about Kolya.

You just have a look at his photo and you will understand that I am sincere, when saying that he was a handsome guy, tall and slender. By his temper he was calm and had great command over himself. I do not remember any case, when he had a conflict with someone during those three years, he studied together with us. And what kind of study it was! If he stayed at the institute till the graduation ceremony, he could have received a red diploma (a red diploma is given to top students with excellent achievements). And at the same time he was a regular participant of all our parties and feasts, after which he had most awful hangover, no matter how much he had drunk. Kolya even used to say about himself: "I drink in order not to get drunk, but to be sick because of hangover". Kolya was also an active participant of our mischief. Here in the photo you can see our civil defense training. During the training Slavka Sizikov was imitating a wounded in the right arm and as if he had a broken leg. Zhenka and I offered Kolya to tighten knots on Slavka's bandages. And Kolya not only did that, but he even overdid the task. He volunteered to bandage Slavka and not only made the bandages' knots dead tight, but also poured beer on them Slavka was lying with his eyes closed (according to the legend he had lost his consciousness), but when Kolya started pouring beer on his bandages, Slavka smelled beer and opened his eyes. And Kolya also demonstrated good actor skills, he shouted loudly: "I brought him back to his senses, I brought him back to his senses" and gave him a sip from the bottle.

Major Glebov approached them; he reprimanded them for appearances' sake, and then announced that though there were forty minutes left before the end of the class, as soon as all of us were actively participating, he dismissed us; afterwards he warned us that, if we had more classes later, we'd better have no more beer. And he left. From other groups we knew that the scenario would be like that and had brought a significant supply of beer beforehand. And there it started. Part of the students left, though the most active stayed. We were having as much fun as we wanted. It was late spring. It was warm, and the very first birch leaves started showing up. And there Kolya and Valera Kaygorodov, our group monitor, had an argument whether it was possible to climb a birch tree with one's heels over head. Kolya Kovalchuk was stating that it was impossible, and Valera Kaygorodov was insisting that one could do that.

The rest of us were involved in the argument as well, especially when Slavka Sizikov, who was hammered by that time (he always got tipsy quite quickly), announced that Valerka was his best friend, and he would climb a birch instead of him. We made our bets: it was beer against brandy, that he would not climb the tree; he had to climb as high as one's height. Kolya Kovalchuk demanded that his height had to be the criterion, Slavka was objecting. It was decided that the bench-mark would be one meter and fifty centimeters. We did not have a tape measure, so Slavka started measuring with a matchbox; the distance was thirty matchboxes long. Slavka was measuring, and the rest of us were blaming him for cheating and three or four times made him start from the very beginning. Like I said, we had a lot of fun. Somewhere in my photo archive I have the photo of Slavka in a birch tree upside down, but I cannot find it. Well, Slavka lost, to be more exact, Valera lost the bet. Afterwards for quite a long time we were telling everyone how Slavka tried to climb a tree with his legs ahead and even demonstrated that.

Kolya Kovalchuk also excellently shoot Margoline (a small-caliber gun brand), he even had a permanent pass from the Military Department to the shooting gallery of the military unit that was near the Morphology building.

So Kolya believed that he would be a stranger in medicine and did not want to enter a medical institute, but his parents strongly insisted. Kolya loved his parents and agreed to compromise: he entered the medical institute and studied there for three years, but if his opinion about his place in medicine did not change, he would do whatever he wanted. His parents secretly hoped that Kolya would feel sorry for the three years of study, it turned out that they did not know their son well enough. After finishing his third year at the institute Kolya invited our whole group to a restaurant "Kuzbass", and himself paid for the reception (usually we clubbed together to go to a restaurant), and he announced that he had fulfilled his parents' will and was leaving the institute. We sincerely felt sorry, we did not want to part with him, but that was life. Kolya quitted. According to the rumors he graduated from Kemerovo Pedagogical Institute and received a PhD degree.

august, 14 2011

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #21204250876

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content