I realize that physics literally makes the world go around, but that sure doesn’t make it fun to study.

Shadowing, on the other hand, is the highlight of my week. Today Dr. H told us the one question you can ask to determine the senility of a patient:

“How are you enjoying the food here?”

Any responses indicating enjoyment of the hospital cuisine is a sure sign that something in their brain isn’t firing properly.

The second moment was a bit more sobering. One of the patients was a terminal case. He and his wife were both in the room when we came by for rounds. Dr. H asked her if they’d discussed her husband’s options; she replied that they were waiting to talk about it later.

As we began to file out of the room, she called after us: “Can I speak to the students for a moment, please?”

She followed us to the doorway. The two third-year students and I hung back slightly.

“I just wanted to say that neurology is a very hard specialty. But if you’re up for it…it’s really important.”

She cut off, clearly overwhelmed. I felt my own chest tighten in sympathy.

“That’s all,” she said, and turned back into the room.

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