I was just thinking today, imagine if someone interviewed Dr. Sarah Shah, the main character of Lifelines, what would she say? Well, I did ask her and this is what she said to me when I asked her when and how she was inspired to be a doctor:
“I have always wanted to become a doctor. Yes, it sounds cliched, but I really did want to become a doctor, obsessively so, and wear that cool “thingy” called a stethoscope around my neck, ever since I was four years old. Whenever I would see a falling star, I would shut my eyes tight and pray with all of my little being to whatever supreme power was out there, to help me become a doctor. The passion to be a healer in such a small person was at times simply overwhelming.
What inspired me? A four-year-old? Nothing quite as dramatic as one might think. It just so happened that I had my tonsils taken out at the Great Ormond Hospital for Sick Children in London. Yes, the same hospital that receives all the Peter Pan royalties. There was this gorgeous rocking horse at the foot of my bed…. he had real eyelashes! In those days where even minor surgeries warranted a week-long stay in the hospital, I would wake up every morning just to look with adoration at that vintage rocking horse.
The bustle of the nurses, the symmetry of the cots in the children’s ward, oh, yes, and the smell of disinfectant (weird, isn’t it?), did make an impression on me. After all, I don’t think a life’s path is based on a Horsie with beautiful eyelashes. Or is it?
I was devastated when I had to go back home. My mama said I could go back if I wished, but not as a patient. I had to grow up, be good, go to school and become a doctor. Then I could go and play with Horsie in the children’s ward (From then onwards I would always ask “Oh, when will I grow up?”).
I guess I was a determined little thing, even at four. So, I pulled up my socks, tied my laces and marched resolutely down the path Horsie had set for me, and went to conquer and tame the dragon of education. To ultimately swing a red Littman stethoscope in my hands, with a magnetic miniature lion clinging on it for dear life. That I heard the siren song and felt that inherent calling to be a healer did definitely count, I suppose.”
Wow! She was a determined child wasn’t she? Well I am sure you will find out more about her journey through medical college, her dedication to her profession as well as her true love when you read Lifelines.