Things have changed since Y was a wee first year, when the first few notes of “How to Save a Life” were supposed to elicit excited goosebumps and he didn’t know just how bad a day spent cutting open a dead man could smell. The good old days when he used to laugh at those unfortunate third years who had to *gigglesnort* perform rectal exams.
Here’s what’s changed: we are at that oh-so-pivotal point when Y can say “so then I put my finger in his rectum” without flinching and I, most certainly, cannot.
Scholarly Ike says: So immature. Rectal exams save lives.
Another example: medical school textbooks used to make us laugh. They still make me laugh; they seem so familiar and juvenile and make med school seem like third period or something. They remind me of the textbooks we used in high school, with bright colored boxes that separate the page into sections, including insets on the margin that explain key points and bolded vocabulary words. It’s the pictures of diseased genitals thrown in there that catch me off guard.
This one’s my favorite. No diseased genitals here, but check out those germs… your doctor is probably looking at your lab results trying to remember whether the disease you’ve got is the Giant Billy Ray Cyrus affliction or Slimy Raspberry Blob-itis or Suspenders McGee.
The pictures used to throw Y off too. At first he’d turn to the wrong page and jump backward a little, not expecting the full color, graphic images.
But now, Y and his classmates probably see so many diseased genitals that they’re wondering why they’re not in every book. “The Girl Who Played With Fire was great,” they say to each other, “but what it was really missing was a picture of a rashy testicle.”
It’s weird that Y and I have gotten to a point where our days consist of such drastically different things (his, rectal exams and surgery; mine, editing, stapling, and filing) — yet it’s interesting at the same time. Well, I find it interesting at least. The recap of my day that Y gets must bore him to tears — “…so then, my printer ran out of ink. I had to go down the hall to get some more. On my way down the hall I happened to be right behind the SlowWalker. When I moved to the left, so did he. So I cut to the right. And he did at the same time! Can you believe that? And then, the elevator went up when it was supposed to go down.”
I think at the beginning, I was worried that seeing the sobering things a medical professional sees would turn Y into a serious shell of the person he once was.
Above: the person Y once was.
And sure, maybe he doesn’t laugh as loudly at bodily functions as he used to. But listening to him and 10 other med students scream South Park quotes across a crowded Hibachi restaurant has renewed my faith in his sense of humor. Do not fear, newly minted med school spouses. Unless you hate South Park. They never grow out of it.