Friday, July 31, 2009

All Shall Be Well

They say smell is one of the most ancient and primal senses. A scent can recall memory forgotten by the other 4 senses. In its own way, smells remind me that things will be okay, that all shall be well.

A while ago while leaving a friend's apartment, there was this scent in the hallway. A memory long forgotten resurfaced. I was 3 or 4, in the old apartment my family used to live in. There was a long hallway. One end opened up into the living room and a nook area where my grandma kept her plants. I used to walk around that area amongst the small trees, pretending I was exploring a forest or some exotic jungle. I remember these ceramic bird figures, there was a blue one and a pink one, in the soil. Sometimes I would clean them and replace them back, after playing with them for a bit. My grandma got annoyed at this.

The other end opened up to a long dining room and a kitchen. There was a long table in the dining room with many chairs, probably capable of seating 8 to 12 people. I would crawl under the chairs as if they formed tunnels. There were 3 bedrooms. One next to the kitchen that my uncle and aunt took, one in the long hallway near the living room that my parents took (and I as well), and one on the other side of the kitchen that my grandparents took. There was one small bathroom in the hallway. I can still vaguely remember the blue floor tiling if I tried.

I remember my small pink blanket with my name sewn in one of the corners. I always chewed/sucked on an opposing corner. I was told I couldn't sleep unless I orientated the blanket such that I could suck on that particular corner. Where that blanket is now I do not know, but I believe it's been absorbed into a quilt somewhere.

While driving home from seeing my friend today, I rolled down the windows as I entered my hometown off the freeway. There was this smell, of the surrounding trees and grass. And I knew, even if I ignored all my other senses, that I was home. It was familiar, it was warm, it was home. It's been my home for the last 17 years or so. It made me smile. And now I'll backtrack a bit.

Earlier today I went to go visit my friend, RZ-F, who just came back from China about 2 days ago. She's staying with her cousin (who lives in a city about 30-45 minutes away) until tomorrow, at which point she'll be heading back to her med school. SR-F was back on campus, where we all did our undergrad, for orientation for her pharmacy rotation, which starts on Monday. So she joined us for a movie and dinner. We watched The Proposal starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. It was a funny movie, better than I had expected. I don't usually watch romantic comedies. I must say, the one scene where Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds were nude (no frontal, alas) was HOT. Ryan Reynolds being hotter than Sandra Bullock. >.>

Afterwards, after SR-F had to return home early, RZ-F and I talked . . . about med school and the future after that. We talked about what we wanted to do after residency and where we wanted to end up. It was good to talk to someone and work out some of my thoughts. We both agreed that times are truly rough for primary care physicians. In fact, I was listening to the radio and someone said that many primary care physicians are leaving my state because so many people are uninsured (due to the downfall of the Big Three). These doctors are barely surviving off Medicaid/Medicare, and they were going into debt because of it. Primary care physicians are actually quite poor, when all things (such as malpractice insurance, clinic office upkeep, and med school loans) are accounted for.

Too bad primary care is what I'm most likely doing (because pediatrics counts as primary care). However, I think I'll continue on with a fellowship in either medical genetics or endocrinology immediately after residency, so I have a specialty in something and it won't be so bad. Medical genetics is rather obscure, but it's fascinating and is becoming more useful/important (thank God for the Human Genome Project and the HapMap, lol). But throughout all our conversation, I've reached upon a conclusion that I've always known. I will be okay. I will survive. I can still have all I want. Some of it might take a while, but that's fine. I'm doing what in the end will make me happy - maybe not on a day-to-day basis, but in the grand scheme of things. I know my limits pretty well, I know my capabilities pretty well, and I know my study habits. Med school won't be so bad. Residency might be hell, but I'll just bear and grin it. Delayed gratification, it's a bitch.

On my way back home, I felt a small smile creep along the side of my face. In the end, all shall be well. :)


Seth said...

It is amazing how the simplest scent or hint of a smell can bring back such vivid memories of the past. Sometimes a good memory, sometimes a bad. But the good ones are usually comforting.

You're so positive about things in the future - such a great mindset!


Anonymous said...

Just keep that frame of mind, man.

naturgesetz said...

It is good to realize all that about yourself and your abilities.

Jason Carwin said...

That was a good post. I liked the imagery you used. I have never experienced a memory recollection through smell, but it happens to me all the time through music or sound.

Aek said...

Jason: Yeah, it happens to me with music too. But it's less powerful, usually, unless I've played the piece I listen to. There usually needs to be some kind of physical connection linked to it for me to remember.

Teddy Douglas said...

Best of luck in med school!