Sunday, March 12, 2006


At dinner tonight, I realized what an odd group medical students are. As third years, we're talking a lot about specialties and who is going into what, and whether or not that's surprising. Usually, it isn't. Specialties seem to pick their aspirants, as aspirants their specialties.

Medicine takes so much of our time and effort that all our conscious thought is structured around it. When there are five of us out at dinner, we don't talk about the weather, or whether it's a good thing that Milosevic won't face temporal judgement, or even about sports. Favorite cases, interesting occurrences, even our gossip is related to the hospital. When the conversation does drift away from medicine, it is never more than a few minutes before it comes back.

Only with friends I made before this tribulation we've inflicted on ourselves began to affect us can I relax and talk about music, or faith, or nothing, just sitting there in blessed silence. My bent towards introversion is accentuated: not only am I overwhelmed with human contact already, but the humans I can contact only talk about a topic I find exhausting.

The only way I can survive is escape. My escape is usually music, or art. In the simple concerns of line or note, "what is more than human in me [finds] its solace and its hope." Without poetry, without faith, without music, medicine is pointless, for why save a life which is not special, and why dedicate so much effort to a cosmic accident? It would be worse than pointless, it would be cruel.


Thainamu said...

My son came home from medical school for the weekend to celebrate his birthday, and a family friend who's an RN also joined us for lunch. The table conversation seemed to be dominated by those two discussing weird medical cases or making nerdy medical jokes while the rest of us rolled our eyes.

gloria jean said...

It's good to know that there are people like you studying medicine. You need this time of saturation with medical talk, however. It's a way of acclimating yourself. It probably won't change over the years that your 'off-duty' talks with coworkers are filled with work. I've been a nurse for 11 years and every time my I'm out with my RN friends we get off on some tangent about work or disease or some interesting patient.

Alex said...

third years - hehe, it reminds me of harry potter. but really, i like what you said. and i like knowing a nerdy fun med student.