Metamorphosis is a term used to describe ‘change’. For instance, a caterpillar becomes a coccoon and subsequently change or metamorphosize into a lovely butterfly.
Unfortunately, not all change are for the better. When I first joined this hospital about 3 years ago, a certain consultant just came back from his further training in UK. Before he left for UK, he was an easy-to-approach person. When he came back a couple of months later, I guess he also learnt the stiff-upper-lip attitude which typifies the Brits. He is now a consultant. He is no longer the jovial, easy person that he was. He metamorphosized. And, in our opinion, he changed for the worse.
No one is immune to change I suppose. Right after our specialist exams, we all changed one way or another. I have changed. I no longer do the work of a medical officer. I now carry different and more responsibilities. I now have medical officers who work under me. One nurse in the emergency department claimed that I have become “sombong” (arrogant), which I felt was untrue. Others will testify to it. 50 other nurses said I am still the same. So I guess it’s not statistically significant (p>0.05).
But some of us undergo accelerated metamorphosis! I have seen one medical officer who used to wear drab colored clothings and shoes that would have made Steven Chow proud (kungfu hustler shoes!) suddenly taking to wearing dresses (with slits mind you) and high heels almost immediately after she passed! And she had this new attitude to boot! The attitude says “I am now the boss, you kow tow to me, you vermins!!!”
Well one of us definitely went on an accelerated metamorphosis right after passing. She now orders people around, demands this or that, walks a few feet taller, and generally makes everyone’s life miserable. We call this the Consultoid Syndrome (meaning: one who behaves like a consultant when he/she is not anywhere near being one; an imposter of the most malignant kind). And today I was stabbed by one who was afflicted with this syndrome. That’s really sad, for her I mean.
I sincerely believe that if one does not forget his/her roots, the change will not be so drastic. I always try to remind myself that my ‘success’ did not come easy. My success was not my own. It was, first and foremost, by the grace of the Almighty God. It was also by the many sacrifices my fellow junior colleagues had to make for me in order for me to have time to study (they willingly took on some of my work…thank you guys!!). It was through the prayers of family and friends. It was through the support of many many people.
I also remind myself of the time I was a mere house officer slogging away miserably in the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital (my senior then dubbed it the “hell hole of Malaysia”; a dubious distinction which I feel still holds true). I remind myself of the sacrifices my parents have to make to put me through medical school. I remind myself of the years of hard work and the burning of midnight oil; the lost opportunities to see my children grow up (and they did grow so quickly!!!), the hardship my family had to go through….
And when I remember all these, I am deeply humbled. And I am thankful, to God, to my family, to everyone who have ever contributed even a little bit to my ‘success’. And when you remember these things, changing for the worse is unthinkable.