Medicine and mortality


in Daily updates

Emily behind the Turf

After a potluck dinner with some Wadham graduates and Rhodes Scholar friends of Joelle’s, I went to St. John’s with a group of them to watch Gray’s Anatomy. I should have known that it isn’t the kind of show with which I deal well. Such reminders of the vulnerability and ephemeral nature of human life leave me intensely anxious, sometimes for days. It’s terrifying to think that the entirety of one’s continued existence depends on a few narrow passages staying open, a multitude of chemical reactions taking place in the right way, membranes remaining intact, and all the rest. For someone who tends to make triplicate backups of papers he is working on, the sheer absence of independent alternatives is very scary.

Hopefully, I can channel the energy generated by such anxiety into things like a focus on eating better and getting more exercise.

For my part, I can entirely understand the motivation to treat doctors as shamans who are somehow instilled with mysterious and unknowable powers. I have enormous respect for doctors, but would rather remain largely ignorant of the visceral details of their craft. While biochemistry, anatomy, and medical technology are fascinating in the abstract, the applied variants I would much rather not know too much about – an unusual contrast with my general enthusiasm for knowing how things work.

Qualitative methods test

By Monday, I need to create a mock introductory letter and mock interview, similar to ones that I might use for research. It seems sensible to create something actually akin to what I would use if I decided on formal interviews as a methodology. As such, I will probably write something directed towards a hypothetical policy maker, with questions focusing on how interaction with the scientific community guided negotiations and decisions. It seems like a good idea to get the great majority of it done tomorrow and perhaps Saturday morning. There is some kind of event at New College on Saturday night that a lot of the IR people are attending and where I would prefer to not have to worry about this assignment.

PS. I met another of the Oxford bloggers in passing tonight: Ruth Anne of the appealingly named Beer, Bikes, Books, and Good Eats.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Anonymous March 10, 2006 at 2:05 am

The Cassini probe found strong evidence of liquid water on Enceladus, a moon of Saturn. I thought you’d like to know.

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