Monday, October 11, 2010

The Clubhouse Turn

It's been a long time since I've had roommates and the past four weeks have involved some adjustment. The kitchen in our apartment is large enough for two to cook, three to socialize, and on those occasions when all four of us (and we're big guys) crowd in at once, it approximates a mosh pit. We have individual bathrooms, thankfully, and our schedules vary sufficiently that coming and going is never a problem. But it's the conversation that I've come to appreciate the most. I've missed my classmates the past few months and being able to talk with like-minded souls at the drop of the hat has been really nice.

Since classes begin early here, around 7.15 AM, late night conversations are restricted to the weekends, but their detritus may last for days and stirring oatmeal in the morning can just as easily stir up concerns about insurance, patient care, and when is potassium at its greatest concentration in the cardiac cycle. Life and school intermix as smoothly as coffee and Splenda in my cup.

Sitting out here in my airy third floor patio perch this morning, the sun is already warm and it will hit near 90 before the day is out. Contrast that with Maine where fall is in full bloom and my dog will take his walk this afternoon along a lane enshrouded with pine needles and temperatures in the upper 50s. I've noticed colors are starting to slightly shift toward the yellow end of the spectrum and the high cirrus clouds I associate with autumn are streaming by more and more frequently.

I've come to really value mornings out here for the chance to maintain some sense of flow. As in medical school, it's terribly easy to become so engrossed with material we're reviewing that one loses track of time. Tunnel vision is our common opthalmic disorder and everyone is infected. Being able to disconnect for a few minutes reminds me that I do have another life and in a few weeks I'll return to it. My dog and I will take his walks together, he and the cat will curl up next to me for naps in our chair, and I'll build a fire in my study to take away the chill before settling down to write.

Those weeks before rotations begin in January are going to be a blessing. The last few have been wonderful, overwhelming, intense, and enlightening. The ones to come, the ones intervening between Friday's final lecture and my exam, are going to be devoted to interacting with my physician-tutors, practicing exam-taking skills, and wrapping my head around all that I've learned. It's not exactly the home stretch -- more like the clubhouse turn -- but it's going to be good and sometime or another, I don't know when exactly, I'll write about it -- thanks for bearing with me through all of this. For now, as usual, it's back to the grind. Have a good day.

(Photo copyright 2010 by the author)
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