Remembering teachers who taught us
Dr. Frank Garlick taught us Our first surgical skills. He had a wooden board on which he used to have screws nailed in and tape threaded through from one side to the other. He showed us the difference between surgical knots and granny knots and made us practise them so well that even now , though I am retired and need only to tie the tape for the disposable garbage bags at night when Sam takes it to throw it down the garbage chute, I still tie surgical knots out of habit, much to his amusement.
Dr. Garlick used to smear grease from his car all over our hands upto our elbows. Then he would make us scrub with soap, till the grease was just a distant memory Up and down and side to side and in between was a ditty he taught us.
He was very keen that we practised procedures on each other . Of course no one crossed the line to internal examinations.
Dr. Garlick used to take us on his house calls . I shared a patient who was an amputee and moved around on a uneven , wooden platform with rusty, squeaky wheels. You would hear him before you looked down and saw him on the corridors outside the surgical office . Murugan was an amazing champion of life itself. He had overcome his disability and had learned to skillfully manoeuvre himself and weave with panache , through ill disciplined traffic lines , giving us heart attacks.
One day Dr . Garlick bought some food, simple fare from Andal Cafe and we went to Murugan’s house for lunch. None of us thought anything of it , when the big Australian Surgeon , who took humility and compassion a few notches up, sat cross legged , on the mud floor of a thatched home and ate a meal with a patient. He seemed so much at home. I will never forget that scene till the day I die .
He taught us so much much more than Surgery . God bless him.