I have been documenting a novel syndrome. It’s not rare, yet has not been thoroughly described in medical literature. How exciting to be pioneering this! I shall call it Primary Medicine Exposure Romantic Block Syndrome. When exposed to a new environment and cognitive concept that leaves their fundamental confidences shaken, patients find themselves with an inability to manage their romantic faculties. I have seen it with my own eyes as one relationship after the other falls apart amongst my fellow classmates. An anonymous poll for prevalence rates is tempting. I’m still working on more marketable nomenclature for this syndrome if you have suggestions (whoever coined Restless Leg Syndrome, feel free to comment this post, I respect your opinion).
After the first week of tests, this weekend has served as the very cure to my constant, controlled, yet gnawing fear of both the medical knowledge and romantic abysses that seem somehow anastamosed.
This weekend was the Pine Springs Ranch retreat for the School of Medicine, where newly relieved first year students, still shaken second years, rebellious third and fourth years (sneaking away from their rotations or setting aside their review books), got together for some good ol’ campfire tunes. While there was no actual campfire, the stars were scintillating and the bugs were chittering along our harmonies.
Muita calma pra pensar, e ter tempo pra sonhar. Calmness to think, time to dream. We all stopped to think and dream on Friday night. Paige, Ben, Linden, Chris, Morgan, Justin, and I plopped down on an inclining rock clearing and watched the quiet stars as Mike played quiet chords on his guitar. We sang, we laughed out our fears and thus renewed our courage.
It was an especially exciting weekend for me, because I was finally going to sing one of my favorite tunes at the talent show, Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars), by Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz, a song that has stayed in my mixed CDs since I was 11. Did I mention it was to an acoustic guitar, alto sax, and electric bass? I felt like the luckiest immigrated Brazilian who misses the raw and relaxed sounds of a typical Saturday night in a bustling musical neighborhood back home. Thanks for the opportunity Drew, Daniel, and Mike (see his take on this weekend, at Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars)! Whether it was rushing through my books to get to practice on Friday afternoon, ditching the hike up to the mountain ridge in order to refine my egg shaker skills, finally singing that song on Saturday night was my cure for Primary Exposure Romantic Block Syndrome.
Medical school is not the bitter, tragic joke, some fall into believing. Did I hear this weekend of a 70% divorce rate amongst physicians? Maybe these bitter folk haven’t taken quiet walks by quiet streams, or looked out the window that looks out on Corcovado, where the Redeemer stands. Now that I have taken a step back from my past month of academic agony and romantic fear, I realize that this is possible and I could even thrive. You see, the art of medicine illustrates Joao Gilberto’s fundamental mistake of claiming the meaning of existence in romantic love. Romantic love is a little selfish in its expectations of returned affections. Love practiced in medicine reaches out to miserable humanity, giving it a hand in the ugliest, dirtiest, most ungrateful and tragic of circumstances, giving one more chance before the final flicker of life’s ember. So learn how to wisely yet unconditionally love first, medicine being a good teacher, and discerning a wise lover will be a skill that translationally follows.