I've just had the last, one year later, make sure we didn't miss anything, blood test drawn to follow up my needle stick injuries from last year. And I'm actually fairly worried it will be positive for HIV. About six weeks after the one stick that concerned me, I got a febrile illness with night sweats and lymphadenopathy, and though the next test was negative, I've remained unconvinced. The next test was too soon after the illness, I think. And it is odd, maybe specific to medical students, that they worry about the diseases they study so much. It is harder here because with something so serious, your best friends and family aren't willing to entertain the idea, and no one knows what to say. Being met with either awkwardness or hearty, but not heartfelt, denial.
We are separated from one another by an unbridgeable gulf of otherness and strangeness which resists all our attempts to overcome it by means of natural association or emotional or spiritual unions. There is no way from one person to another.
Worry is a tricky thing. Though I philosophize a great deal, I'm not very philosophical, and though I know worrying about something I can't change and will know in a week anyway won't do anything positive, I worry anyway. "These are the times that try men's souls" Thomas Paine wrote, and though he was dicussing the acid test of patriotism, I think a similar case could be made for the slightly justifible hypochondriasis of the typical medical student. "The summer student, and the springtime physician..." or something, "will in this crisis" find if they are truly capable of handling the stress. So I will see. I will see if I can take a week of concern, thinking about the family I'll never have, the life which will revolve around the treatment for an incurable, fatal disease. Something my patients deal with every day. Certainly, even hypochondriasis gives perspective.