There is a book club organized by attending physicians in my department and tonight I attended for the first time. I had never participated in a book club before, but I had read the book (80% of it anyway), and I wanted to meet fellow physicians with a penchant for the written word other than a New England Journal of Medicine article. The book club meets monthly at one of the attendings’ house to discus the previous month’s book over a potluck dinner.
We did just that, in between scoops of homemade artichoke dip, sips of wine, and baklava ordered from a middle eastern pastry shop out East. We debated the characters, the storyline, the ending. We still had a hard time leaving our professional thinking caps at the door when discussing a medical aspect of the story. Inevitably the conversation broaden, and next think we know we are sharing our weirdest dreams, confessing to reading horoscopes fervently (how so un-scientific of us), and dreaming of having a Tarot card reading or being hypnotized. More pastries. A debate whether to read Brave New World or The Lovely Bones next.
See what we did there? We talked, we socialized, we related. We discussed the meaning of dreams. We are humans. I only wish our patients could see us in that light. I suspect that many of our patients doubt our “human-ness.” In the hospital, we may appear in a hurry, or lost in our thoughts, or robot-like as we spit out a list of differential diagnoses longer than the set of references at the end of said New England Journal of Medicine article. We may seem aloof and emotionally detached. Sometimes we are, whether it be by choice, as a protection mechanism against emotionally charged medical dilemmas, or by default, as a result of chronic sleep deprivation. But tonight in someone’s living room, we talked and laughed and each shared a piece of our emotional life through our reactions to the book. And I can assure you, we are humans just like you.
(What is NaBloMoPo? Lookee here)