Durban – Intern doctors and twins Ishq and Ashiq Pramchand have themselves delivered twins since their stint at King Edward VIII Hospital started at the beginning of the year.
Whether these babies will one day meet the doctors who delivered them, the way the twins met the man who brought them into the world remains to be seen.
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They recalled that last year, their final year at the Nelson Mandela Medical School, a professor asked at the end of a lecture: “Who are the twins I delivered?”
Ishq recalled: “I was thinking that he must be metaphorical about this because he looked young but then, I thought, if he’s a professor he’ll be in his forties. Then he said: ’Behold, I delivered you at St Augustine’s’.”
Ishq and Ashiq are scheduled to receive their medical degrees at a graduation ceremony at the Westville campus of the University of KZN next week.
In the meantime, the busy blokes have either passed one another like ships in the night, on different shifts, or worked overlapping shifts, even helping out with the same newborns, Ishq in the paediatric ward and Ashiq in obstetrics.
Ashiq said: “If a C-section is required, then Ishq and I have this fun interaction where we can at least meet in the operating room.”
At other moments, they pass one another in the corridor outside the theatre and banter about who’s going to be the Dr Pramchand delivering on the day.
Ishq recalls, in a 3am stupor, picking up the phone to receive a call from theatre wanting information about a mother needing a Caesarian.
“I said, great, I’ve got that information but I want to know who’s exactly speaking here.
“The caller replied – this is Dr Pramchand.
“I said ‘but I’m Dr Pramchand’, and he said ‘no, no, I’m Ashiq’.
“I said, ’Ashiq, I didn’t know you were on a night call today’.’’
The doctor twins who ended their school careers as star matriculants from Crawford College La Lucia have lived a busy life involving music, writing, martial arts, spirituality, philosophy and academics with each discipline contributing to their aim to live a holistic, balanced life.
They’re already well-travelled, a recent destination having been Vienna where they attended piano concertos – both are pianists – and operas.
“Vienna was where there was the first operating theatre and the first musical theatre,” they said, before explaining the link between music and surgery.
“There’s a strong element of fine motor skill (in both). You have to get into a good rhythm. It’s an art form. Every surgeon has his own way of doing things. And I think music helps,” said Ashiq. “It develops an appreciation of rhythm.”
Ishq added: “And you need rhythm to survive those calls (shifts). Sometimes when you treat patients, it often helps to get into that rhythm.”
Kung Fu links to medicine too, they said.
“We started it mainly because of spiritual and physical reasons,” said Ishq, adding that their master often told them that Kung Fu means “hard work and time”.
“That’s rung true. It’s a culture of accepting that life is full of hard work. Once you accept this, it is easier to accept a life full of challenges.”
The Pramchand twins have no idea whether or not they will be in the same place during their year of community service that follows their two-year internship.
After that, both hope to specialise but are not yet sure in which direction. They also hope to work and gain experience abroad before returning to their Durban roots where their two sets of grandparents were once teachers, their father, Mahendra Pramchand, is a medical doctor, and their mother, Nalini Govender, is an advocate.
And the twin’s tip about fitting so much into their lives, including relaxing: “Just give things 15 minutes a day rather than an excuse that you don’t have time for them.”
The Independent on Saturday