Sunday, January 31, 2010

Abby Normal

Even once you’ve made a hash of the legs, arms, thorax, axilla, and back, a cadaver still looks like a person as long as it has a face. There is, however, a pretty clear moment when it becomes difficult to look at the body and still see a person. That moment is roughly when you’ve finished bisecting the face with a hacksaw. We did that last week. Other than seeing the inside of the nasal cavity and pharynx etc., there’s something else that goes along with bisecting a face. That something is the sneaking suspicion that you're just no longer normal by basically any standards that don’t use other med students as a rubric. From the horror of opening the hazard bag back in September to now, I’ve certainly been desensitized at a pretty steady pace. The rest of my journey away from normalcy belongs to my schedule / social life.

To start with, most people look forward to the weekend arriving as quickly as possible. I look forward to Mondays. Once finished with an exam, I get a blessed few hours of time to unwind. Mondays are great. Thanks to the complete lack of overlap in schedule freedom, this limits my ability to see people outside of my classmates. While that doesn't help in my efforts to retain some semblance of normal, lacking the chance to get out from under responsibility once in a while makes the biggest impact. I don’t find that I’m envious all that often, but here we are. I am absolutely sure that I’ve chosen the right path and I don’t regret my decision in the slightest, but I do occasionally wish I had some freedom. For the majority of my college friends, leaving college meant taking a job with hours and a paycheck. The hours may be fairly extensive, but they are at some point released from responsibility and given time to do other things. The sort of things that require some disposable income and somewhat flexible schedules, like travel. For that, I’m envious. That’s the hardest part of school, the inability to get the occasional release from responsibility. If I’m awake, there just isn’t a situation where my top responsibility is anything other than studying. Not that I study every waking moment but rather that anything I do outside of studying comes accompanied by that nagging understanding. I'm not looking for pity because I knew what I was willfully getting myself into, but if you wonder why people complain about medical school then here's your answer.