Going through a short, difficult route together

The third fit of the pain started at midnight. It was as though an invisible hand had seized my abdomen and was squeezing with all its strength. I was out of breath. When the doctors came in I regained my ability of speech. In no time they stuck the needle into my vein and some liquid started to flow into my body slowly deadening the pain immediately. After some minutes I was able to take notice of the doctor.A tall, handsome man who was about 30, was smiling so kindly that you might think we had known each other for years.

—An operation must be done. We’ll remove the gall-bladder without opening the abdomen.We will go through a little difficult time together

. —Who are you?

—I am Sevak Shahbazyan – the head of the surgical department of the Central Hospital.

A doctor must love his patient and his profession. That love must be so great as to make him devote himself unconditionally and with self-sacrifice. If the patient does not become a person who is dear to you, if saving your patient’s life does not become the supreme goal of your life then you are not a doctor. Being a surgeon is not merely a job for me, it’s a matter of professionalism and honourableness for me.

There have been no doctors in my family and sometimes I ask the question why should a 13-14 year-old boy decide on becoming a doctor. What drove me to that responsible and difficult profession. There is only one answer to this — the image of the doctor I had in my mind:unselfish, kind, all-mighty; the second God of the patient.

Then I call to know the authoritative opinion of the head of the neurological department of the Central Hospital Arman Hokobyan who is an unequalled specialist in the whole region.

– I would recommend that the operation be done by Sevak Shahbazyan, – says Arman Hakobyan. My next step is to unearth Sevak Shahbaztan’s biography. He graduated from Yerevan State Medical University, faculty of military medicine.He graduated the University (internship and residency) with honours, was named the year’s best student in his 5th year of studies and in the 6th he was awarded the title “Excellence of Armenian Army”.

He started his army service as the head of the military unit of the medical department.

Afterward he has been a senior resident, then head of surgical department of a remote hospital in the front. In 2014 he was appointed head of the surgery department of the Central Hospital. With the most generous calculations he has a medical experience of only 8 years. If a surgeon who has only experience of 8 years has been appointed head of surgery department of Central Hospital, then he definitely has a talent… But how could I entrust my life to such a young doctor.

Sometimes my parents had an argument. My father used to say that in character I was like his father Harut who came from Mush, and my mother insisted that I was the exact copy of his father – Koryun Aghadjanyan, whe was the party secretary of Tsalka. When I grew up a little I fount out that my grandfather Harut was known for his unwavering persistence and incredible courage. Even the Turks avoided mad Harut. As to my mothernal grandfather Koryun Aghajanyan, he has been an educated, intelligent and honest statesman.His huge library is still preserved. Now you will ask why should a doctor need mad Harut’s courage and Koryun Aghadjanyan’s books… But it turns out that a doctor needs them. You need it when at the age of 28 you go into the surgery room and you have to fight against the death and there is no other surgeon around you in the radius of 100 killometres.

I have two phobias: I am afraid of doctors and open space. At night I had a nightmare: I was with my doctor in the elevator and the door wouldn’t open. I woke up in terror. The pain was killing me. The doctor entered without a nurse. He wasn’t smiling.

– I won’t anesthetize you. You’ve already got high temperature. Your condition is going worse any time now. Whether you like it or not an operation must be done in a few hours. We have no time.

There is silence. Then I hear Sevak Shahbazyan’s quiet voice:

-If you do not trust your doctor, we both will lose. And one more thing, it’s not important how many years I have lived but all that matters is how he lived those years.

My father is an engineer by education and as soon as the national army was formed he joined the Armed Forces, participated in Karabakh war (now he has retired with the rank of a colonel). When I say childhood I imagine darkness, cold days, people with military uniforms and weapons.

My path has not been an easy one. When I was a student I studied insatiably trying to “pick up” everything. I did not miss the opportunity to get into the surgery room. In internship I was already doing operations on my own. I thank fate for giving me the opportunity to practice my skills in a remote frontier hospital. Aram Asaturyan, the head of the hospital made every effort to help me become mature, gave me freedom, trusted me.

I go to the surgery room with Sevak Shahbazyan. We are accompanied by others who have surgical coats on and whose faces I do not remember. I go with my doctor. The doors open, I look back, try to smile to my mother. Then I notice that Sevak Shahbazyan is not beside me. An unexplained, unnatural fear strikes me. I quickly go back and sit down on the windowsill.

-Go into the room,- says the doctor.

By a movement of my head I refuse to go into the surgery room without my doctor. After a while the doctor comes up smiling. All of a sudden an image appears in front of me: I see Sevak Shahbazyan’s gloomy face. He goes out of the surgery room and says to my relatives “I did everything that was possible… I am sorry… I shake my head to push that image away and my heart gradually beats faster and faster.

“Do not be afraid”,- Sevak Shahbazyan’s voice echoes unnaturally in the room. In sliding images I try not to lose track of my doctor’s eyes. But his smile swings in the air… “Jesus Christ” I hear myself calling, and then everything is shrouded in darkness.

On the following day of the operation I can already walk. I feel so much better that I make a secret journalistic investigations the surgery department. I check the cleanliness of the wards, the military attire of the soldiers. I even manage to have a conversation with the soldiers. They do not know that I am a military journalist but they only praise the doctors and the nurses. It appears that besides the surgeon I have another treating physician too – Armen Sargsyan who pays me frequent visits during the day, inquires about my health and gives advice. There is always someone in the corridor who gives answers to my questions.

I am a restless and ambitious person. I must do my best so that the surgical department I am guiding is the best in the republic, so that our surgeons are the most demanded, the most experienced and that out nurses are the most sensible and considerate. I have strong professional jealousy. Medicine develops rapidly and we must be able to keep up with that rhythm, we must have the will and courage to walk with the world.

Two days have passed since the operation. I am at home. I miss my doctor. I look through his facebook page, I look for photos. I have found some wedding photos – the doctor and a tender, pretty girl in a wedding dress are dancing together. Then I see a photo of a little 9 or 10 months-old boy who has the features of my doctor.

Women have always loved me. I am lucky in that regard. A woman must love me very much to be able to tolerate my absolute sovereignty (as gentle as I am towards my patients as much strict can I be in the family). A woman should be beautiful, clever and mysterious

My son is my happiness. I want him to become a good man. A boy must become tempered in the bustle of the yard. He must learn to protect himself, to be responsible for his actions.

I am sure that our country will have a wonderful future. Today we must solve as many problems as possible and leave little worry to the future generations. We must bring our children up in a right way so as to have a sustainable future.

I am still afraid of doctors and closed areas. With just one exception: now I have my doctor with whom I can enter any closed area, even a surgery room. It’s because I know that my Doctor will fight for my life with all his strength, until the last hope… my confidence is ensured. I already know that it’s not important how many years a doctor has lived but all that matters is how he has lived those years