Thursday, 16 December 2010

Playing Doctor

Alexander Pope wrote in An Essay on Criticism:

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
and drinking largely sobers us again.

This expression is one that completely exposes me. Having completed one year of a medical degree, I have learnt sufficient vocabulary to superficially comprehend the science of my condition, but am leagues away from fully understanding the implications of the literature that I obsessively research. I do not care to recollect the ridiculous number of hours I have spent exploring possible treatment plans and attempting to weigh up the benefits and risks of these hypothetical courses of action that I have conjured up. I believe that this fixation is due to my acute impatience and my desperate desire to feel like I have some control over my body. I am entirely aware that my ideas are constructed from “shallow droughts” of knowledge, which are “intoxicating the brain”. I am attempting to play doctor within my own life. In fact, it is probably extremely lucky that the sewing kit and tool kit are in parts of the house that are currently inaccessible to me. Otherwise, one moment of supreme delusion and medieval style back surgery could be taking place in suburban Finchley.

The wait, that I am enduring, to hear the surgeon’s advice, although it has only been around 36 hours so far, has seemed like an eternity. However, playing doctor is not aiding me to, as Bob Marley would express, “satisfy my soul”. This experience has highlighted an area of my character requiring growth. A proverb from “Piers Plowman” is beginning to reverberate in my head, “patience is a virtue”.  The question now becomes how does one become patient?

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