Does It Sometimes Feel Like I’m Married To Medicine?

There’s so much love in the air this month. Every time I’m on Facebook, I see an engagement announcement. Despite being in a relationship myself, the longest commitment I have had is not with an individual. It’s with medicine. At this point, it would be appropriate to change my relationship status to: married to medicine.

I have been loyal to medicine since I was 15. And I’m almost 30. That’s 15 years of pure devotion. I don’t even have the time to be fickle-hearted. Long before I took The Hippocratic Oath on my white coat ceremony, I said my vows to medicine. I didn’t realize at the time but when I declared a pre-medical academic track, my heart whispered to medicine: from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. I guess my acceptance letter was medicine telling me it loves me, too.

On Valentine’s Day this year, I spent 12 hours at school during the day (from 7 AM – 7 PM) and less than 5 hours with my boyfriend. During dinner, I even felt guilty for not studying for an upcoming exam. I work my absolute hardest and concentrate fully on this one relationship to the exclusion of all others. I would love to have some flexibility and freedom to devote to other people I care deeply about. But, with each passing year, medicine demands more and more of me. I just don’t have the heart to say no.

The amount of work and focus that is required to become a doctor is borderline insanity. I often doubt myself. I have no idea how I made it this far. I still have many years ahead and I hope that I have the endurance to keep going. I can speak for my classmates – and anyone who has ever gone through this process, too – when I say we have sacrificed other aspects of our personal lives to be in medicine.

As they say, “if it was easy, everyone would do it.”

There’s no secret; it’s definitely not easy. Far from it. Like being married, studying medicine is a deliberate choice I make everyday. On the good days and the bad ones, I am still with medicine.

Although there exists no reliable government database about demand for cadavers, sources like National Geographic and The Economist have reported on data compiled from individual agencies about shortages of donor bodies, as well as new fields beyond medical education beginning to use cadavers. SynDaver Labs is attempting to ease the possible strain on demand by producing incredibly accurate artificial human and animal bodies.

These synthetic cadavers are constructed from thousands of parts by six specialized teams; skeletal, skin, muscles, organs, vasculature, and final assembly. All of this detail allows the cadavers to mimic organic bodies by simulating breathing, bleeding, and closely replicating the textures of individual body parts. When they’re not in use, they must be stored in water because they are composed primarily of water, just like us.

Click here to learn more about this medical education tool from SynDaver Labs.

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Sonal Kumar

Sonal Kumar is passionate about combining science and storytelling. She has vast experiences outside of healthcare including marketing and advertising, print and broadcast journalism, including TV/radio production. Sonal is an alumna of Columbia University. She tweets @sonalkumar2011.