Billy Rubin

The adventures of a pre-clerkship medical student.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

If I asked you about art...

I've been in school a very long time. More than eighty percent of my life has been spent in a classroom. Preschool. Elementary School. Highschool. An undergraduate degree. A year of honours research. Two years of masters research. And now a couple years of medicine. It's been a long time. And at moments like this, when it's Saturday night and I have spent the entire weekend studying and there's seemingly no end in sight, it feels even longer.

I want to be doing something. I don't want to be reading about medicine; I want to be practising medicine. I want to be able to feel the lump in a person's neck and not just read about the cytogenetics of lymphoma. I want to diagnose a patient and not just study the tests to order. I want to write a prescription and not just sit here reading about drug-drug interactions. I want to be a doctor and not simply be reading about what a doctor does.

I do realize that studying is a necessary evil. That before I can examine a patient's neck I have to know what I'm looking for. Before I make a diagnosis I have to know what the test results mean. And before I can put pen to prescription pad I have to know the drug, the dose, and the side effects. I understand that the books are necessary before I get to real deal, but that doesn't mean I won't be glad for that day to come. And hopefully all this studying will be put to good use.

So, if I asked you about art, you'd probably give
me the skinny on every art book ever written.
Michelangelo. You know a lot about him. Life's work,
political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual
orientation, the whole works, right? But I bet you
can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel.
You've never actually stood there and looked up at that
beautiful ceiling. Seen that....If I ask you about
women, you'd probably give me a syllabus of your
personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few
times. But you can't tell me what it feels like to wake
up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You're a
tough kid. I ask you about war, you'd probably
uh...throw Shakespeare at me, right? "Once more into
the breach, dear friends." But you've never been near
one. You've never held your best friend's head in your
lap, and watched him gasp his last breath looking to
you for help.... I can't learn anything from you I can't
read in some fuckin' book.
-- Sean speaking to Will in Good Will Hunting



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