I have two exams this week for our musculoskeletal, dermatology, and rheumatology block. It’s one of the hardest anatomy blocks in the curriculum (did you know how many muscles are in your arm? it’s too many), but we’ve been isolated from campus for eleven weeks now and so we haven’t been able to dissect. Oddly enough, I miss my cadaver, but more I miss being able to study with friends and being able to study somewhere other than my apartment. It’s a little bizarre, being a medical student in all of this. I followed this path because I want so deeply to help those around me, but I’m so early in my education that I’m fairly useless. I have signed up to do contact tracing locally, through my medical center, which helps with that feeling, but still. It doesn’t feel like I’m doing a whole lot as I sit on my couch for hours everyday watching pre-recorded lectures and trying to cram muscle names into my brain.
Yesterday, I opened twitter to try to procrastinate for a moment, which was a mistake. I came across a video from AJ+, an animated “day-in-the-life of an NYC ER doc”, and then I came across the NYC Times front page. The one with all the names, and half a sentence within which to condense the life of a loved-one. I sobbed for a while, but it was almost a relief. I don’t want to become inured to the death toll, to what’s happening. In some ways it’s become a bizarre new normal, not making eye contact with the headlines that pop up on my phone. I want to feel the grief that is appropriate, but I also have to survive this myself, and we’ve got months yet at best.