I remember it was a cold morning in Hong Kong. The year was 1992 and I had just entered the big hall in Prince of Wales College, meant for the practical training session of basic laparoscopic surgery. As my instructor finished with the illustrations, I held the laparoscope with keen eyes and fearful fingers. It was a bit uneasy to absorb the concept of minimal invasive surgery being really hit the jackpot with its potential applications. The experience was very strong. As I was guided by my instructor, I started making use of laparoscope with my gaze fixed on the monitor. Seemed unreal, but it was happening. It took me some time to not to stare at my hands but to focus on the screen. Those 10 days taught me the most magical aspect of surgery, performing big procedures with small incisions. I think, it took me my share of time to become relatively adept at. But I enjoyed the process and my learning curve.
Days passed by and I started doing laparoscopic (minimal invasive) surgery at my hospital (Khetarpal Hospital started functioning from year 1992 itself) with overflowing vigil. I learnt with every procedure; to be honest it used to take a lot of time in finishing one procedure and most of the practice spanned in removing gall bladders. I was feeling good to have adapted relatively very new concept and technique of surgery in my own practice. Those were the days when very few organizations in India were performing laparoscopic surgeries. As some more water passed under the bridges, the words spread and I started getting more patients who were keen to be performed minimal access surgery. But one thing remained unchanged, the sight of laparoscope infusing the vigor in my inner self. I remember, I went to Muktasar (a small town in Punjab, India) with my team and performed 32 Gall bladder removal operations in a single day. It was such an absorbing and full of beans experience. Life has in its stores to teach you and to make you efficient, only if you know the real meaning of being efficient.
Even today, as I enter my OT (Operation Theatre), the very sight of display of scopes and other minimal invasive instrumentations, gives me a cause to reinvent myself. I love to perform surgeries; in fact I don’t think I could have done anything in my life with such quantity of interest and gusto. I owe a lot to the laparoscope; it is my joy stick, my pillar of strength, my pal.
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