It’s funny how sometimes life can catch up with you. Usually when you least expect it. Not really funny, but you try to laugh so that the amalgam of emotions doesn’t swell up and drag youdown into it, the sense of being overwhelmed and feeling inadequate, but also feeling like you are up to the task and can and should do it, and you’re worrying about your spouse and your future and the possibility of children and the professor asks you a question about which disorder the patient has and you’re not sure because you meant to study those last night but then you got a flat tire on the way home and it took so much longer to fix it than it should have, your wife was waiting for you when you got home and she had just had a terrible day, you could see it in her eyes, and when you said hello and gave her a hug she just broke down into tears, big alligator tears and sobs, and you talked to her about her day and held her and helped her, all the while realizing that you would never get to those disorders because it’s too late to start now, if you do that you won’t get any sleep at all and you haven’t slept for the last four nights so that wouldn’t be good, you probably wouldn’t even be able to stay awake through that quiz tomorrow, much less get anything out of it, so you decide to go to bed so you can do better tomorrow and you try to console yourself by telling yourself that it’s okay to take time for your relationship and that it’s important and that you don’t want to get divorced so you had better give your relationship time because so many doctors get divorced and you don’t want to go through that, no, not again, and so you go to bed so that you can do better tomorrow but you’re so worried about doing better tomorrow that you don’t actually sleep and so tomorrow comes and you’re just as tired as you were afraid that you would be and you’re trying to stay awake in the group discussion, only someone was asked a question, oh no that was you that was asked the question, maybe it’s a question on one of the things that you were able to cover before you left to go home last night, oh no, it’s on those disorders that you didn’t get to and how long can you wait to think through this before you give an answer, oh no it’s already been too long, everyone is looking at you and they probably know the answer, in fact you can see it in their eyes and you know that they must know and must know that you don’t know and it’s been far too long and your professor is staring at you and you have to answer and it’s been too long but you still don’t know but you have to answer so you say, “Umm… C.” “No, Mr. Smith. C is not the correct answer. Does someone else know the answer? Ahh yes. That is correct. You see Mr. Smith, this one is obvious if you had just caught the second line there glaring out at you from the question stem. Yes, very obvious. It was covered in the disorder readings you should have done last night.”
A fictional short story inspired by life events. This piece represents some of the challenges involved in adjusting to medical school and striving to maintain a balance between a career and the rest of life.