Truth be told, I don’t really know that I deserve a blog. I don’t write as well as some of the medical bloggers out there, and I’m sure many of you already know what medical school is like. I don’t even start until August.
But I’ve already begun collecting paraphenalia, like a Netter’s Atlas. It’s sitting upstairs in its shrink-wrap; the thought of opening it is mildly frightening, like an acknowledgment that I’m actually going to med school.
We have a summer reading assignment (how very middle school) — The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, by Anne Fadiman. It’s frequently discussed on the SDN boards, where the fashionable position appears to be Cynical Pro-Establishment. One person, who shall remain nameless in the interests of anonymity (and because my memory kind of sucks), stated that as the Cambodian refugees sought out American medical care for their daughter, they should agree to do everything the Western way. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on power struggles in medicine, and so I am loathe to suggest that the balance of power in the physician-patient relationship be so fully given to either party. That seems like less of a solution to culture clashes, and more of a Tarzan-esque chest-beating competition. (”My medicine’s better than your medicine!” “Oh, yeah? Sez who?” “Sez me!”)
That’s not to say that I’m some kind of crazy hippie throwback. I happen to think that magnetic bracelets are in the same category as, say, Chinese tattoos, but I also think it’s foolish to discount centuries-old cultural practices just because they might be unusual. Case in point: Indians have used turmeric for years as a standard home remedy for everything from stomachaches to bruises. Somewhere along the line, the West wised up to this unassuming yellow powder, and a PubMed search for “turmeric” returns 499 papers in 2006 alone, examining everything from cancer to neurodegenerative disorders. Kind of impressive, eh? The moral of the story is: don’t ignore traditional remedies. Sometimes, just sometimes, the uneducated natives get it right.
Er. That was a bit heavy for a first post. I promise I’m not so serious all the time.