I feel like I’m in over my head again and kind of want to shut the world out. Or at least the med school part of it. I just want to flit from one social engagement to another — tonight I’m going to a play, tomorrow to a dance — instead of being holed up in my room or the library wondering why, exactly, apical ENaC channels are so important. And because my heart isn’t really in it, my studying is very unproductive. I stare at the wall a lot.
It snowed today, you see. Snowfall is always beautiful, but in New York the beauty is fleeting. Already, the streets have turned to brownish slush. I really wanted to make it down to Central Park to take pictures, but, like I said. Studying. Death.
Sometimes, I wonder if I’m missing out on life. I am living in the greatest city in the world, and I feel like I can’t enjoy it because I have to study. And I know that these demands on my time will only get bigger as I move through the ranks of medicine.
I am reading Jerome Groopman’s How Doctors Think at bedtime, and it’s wonderful. I wish that this, rather than The Spirit Catches You, had been our summer reading. The cultural dynamics of Spirit were fascinating and obviously relevant, but Groopman’s book is more immediately applicable, I feel. Also better-written. Like Oliver Sacks, he revives the case study as a narrative form. Although it’s billed as “how to avoid misdiagnosis,” it’s really just about listening to the patient and the patient’s body. And zebras.