(A glimpse into my life as a Vanderbilt medical student)

Monday, September 13, 2004

Lifting Weights and Lung Cancer

I stereotype. I know it’s wrong, but come on, who really wants to interact with strangers on a personal level. Unfamiliar engagement is dangerous. I might be forced to confront something I hate about myself, or worse, make a friend. By cheap classification of unfamiliarity, I can safely float along in my bubble, oblivious to outside culture and society. Now that we have that justification out of the way, on to Exhibit A.

Mr. Smith is a 55 yo obese white male who is experiencing extreme dyspnea upon exertion. Upon closer examination (by me in the locker room of my gym), he is noted to reek of cigarette smoke. After stereotyping his case as a classic “what you smoke is what you get”, I went on with my happy healthy day, congratulating myself on a successful diagnosis.

It never occurred to me to consider the circumstances surrounding our meeting, namely, a health club. It wasn’t like the guy was sitting at home smoking camels and eating nachos on his couch. So what if his clothes smelled. He might have been smoking since the fourth grade and trying desperately to quit. In reality, this guy cares just as much about his current health as I do and deserves nothing but my respect for his efforts. So here’s to you Mr. Smith; without you, I’d have nothing to write about today.


Blogger Busy Mom said...

A wise realization, always remember that long after you become a doctor.

10:18 PM

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