Stepping into the ward that fateful day alongside my group members, I had this strange and very funny vigour and passion to impress my chiefs during the ward rounds. It was a very strange drive to me because I’m the kind of student that would only answer when you ask me. But that day, I was unusually prepared to put myself out in the light by asking brilliant questions and then shine with them as the Doctors discussed it. Daring right?
It was one of the Senior Registrar’s ward rounds and I was in the General Surgery unit then.
Everything was going on as I had planned. I was the “smart” student in the group that day. I was enjoying my shine.
Then, I set myself up.
We had finished seeing the last patient in the ward so the Doctors took us to their call room to continue tutoring us, before they would finally sign us off. One of our discussions had led the Doctors to take us back to the anatomy of the hip, the psoas and iliacus muscles and their functions. In my hyperactivity that afternoon, I seemed to have been so carried away that my brain became fogged on some basic anatomy knowledge.
I was relishing my moment in the sun and I felt like a Caucasian getting a tan on the beach. In a bid to maintain my shine, I asked a question that exposed my ecstasy-induced lapse in basic anatomy. The question was on the psoas muscle and its function across the hip joint. I know that the psoas flexes the hip, but my question suggested that I did not really “know” what a flexed hip looked like.
While I was trying to keep up with my “smart game”, there had been serious overflow of confidence. It didn’t occur to me that my knowledge on the movements across the different joints had become briefly fogged. It didn’t even occur to me to check my defences again. It didn’t occur to me also that I had handed the Doctors a loaded gun to shoot me with and I was out there feeling immortal when I really wasn’t.
Then, the shot was fired.
Honestly, if I were wearing the most sophisticated protection gear that day, I would still have died as what I did could simply be equated to being shot at close range by a sniper with a loaded shotgun.
One of the Doctors asked me to demonstrate the flexion of the hip. Remember I had asked a question that suggested that I didn’t “know” how the hip was flexed So he asked me the question to be sure I knew what flexion of the hip looked like.
However, poor me, unsuspecting, and basking in the euphoria of my shine that day, did not see the catch in the question he had asked. I thought to myself, “Ah, I should flex my hip? It’s nothing. It’s an easy thing to do”. Then, in a burst of confidence that was very intimidating, I did it. I “flexed my hip”.
Immediately, the Doctors and my colleagues burst into serious laughter. One of the Doctors was almost about to fall on the bed in the call room and start rolling on it. That was when I came off my high and realized what I had done.
I HAD BOWED AS A DEMONSTRATION OF FLEXION OF THE HIP. I HAD BOWED FULLY!!!
It was then that I realized why they had been laughing. I had flexed my trunk instead of my hip. I recovered immediately and quickly tried to correct myself, but my audience were already all over the room in laughter that they were no longer paying attention. One of the Doctors said he wished he had been recording the scene. I felt so embarrassed. My colleagues teased me till we finished that posting. They still bring it up now sometimes.
That was how in a bid to “show myself”, I set myself up and shot myself in the foot. Since that day, I resolved to always resist that urge and vigour to impress anybody during clinical postings and even in class. I would only answer when I’m asked, and only ask questions when it was necessary.