Life as an Extreme Sport


* calling your father in tears basically insures three things: 1) your mother will contact you later at night 2) said conversation will include some encouraging story about how someone had to apply to same insane number of schools, but then got in and is now incredibly successful, and 3) your parents will insist you look for masters programs still open for applications, so that they can pay your fees and give you the best possible chance to go somewhere

* I’ve picked up Dorothea Brande’s book on writing. While she’s talking about fiction, it’s applicable to research papers because she’s talking about the psychological things that stop us from writing and how to get around those, not telling you how to structure papers. It’s from the 1930s, and utterly charming in its tone – she’s sarcastic and sharp, and not at all dated. It’s something that makes me smile, and I’m taking any of that I can get right now.

* President Jimmy Carter is an amazing speaker, and his talk about William Foege was so inspirational. Foege has done so many awesome things – came up with the strategy for eradicating smallpox, ran the CDC, has led committees on the next disease(s) to eradicate (Guinea worm and polio), has reduced newborn fatalities across the 3rd world… he is an awesome man, and has been dedicated to the social aspect of medicine long before it was even thought to be something needed teaching in hospitals. Carter continually referred to him as a medical missionary, a wonderful term.

How amazing it must be to have your life work celebrated by your friends, your school. I admit, I felt envy… but the good kind. The inspirational kind. The sort that makes me wonder if I should delay graduation and chase that public health/epidemiology bachelors, or maybe look into a medical anthropology degree, so I can play a bit more in medicine. I guess it’s the sort that gives me a bit of hope – I mean, if one person can achieve so much, so many incredible things, surely I can achieve even a fraction of that and still be content?

* Following parental advice, I spent a little time this evening looking into other masters programs…and discovered that Jon Moreno, one of the sweetest, funniest and sharpest men in bioethics, has an MA program in bioethics at the University of Virginia…and their deadline is May 1st. This has cheered me up immensely. It’s sort of silly, because who’s to say I won’t get equally passed over for MA programs, but… I met Jon last year. I really enjoyed my time with him; in fact, we got into a very fun debate over how often the Hippocratic Oath is taught, even read, to students. He is utterly charming, and one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. I learned more from him in 50 minutes than I have from many people over the course of an entire quarter.

* I’m nervous about my impending surgery on Tuesday. Large needles and necks – squicks me out. I think when that bit of dread is gone, and hopefully the pain with it, I’ll feel better about life. Thursday night should be fun, though – sounds like people are going to come out. I hope so; as silly and superstitious as it is, I like to see my friends before I go in for risky procedures. So we’re going out Thursday night, and some people are going to join me to watch The Breakfast Club at the Friday Midnight Movie.

* People keep bringing up current/topical issues in ethics, and the back of my mind keeps thinking about how many of the problems arise (again) from our grand focus on autonomy as a whole. And I keep thinking, “I could fix this, if people would just give me the chance…”

Maybe I’m slowly crawling to a better state of mind.