Saturday, August 14, 2010

In the house of God

I just finished reading 'The House of God.' If you're in medicine, you're supposed to read it at some point, as some kind of right of passage.

To an outsider, the book must seem to present a sick uncaring world. Some things have changed in medicine, since the time the book was written (nobody uses words like 'gomer' anymore, except in reference to the book), but the experience for an intern has remained essentially the same. Coming face-to-face with mortality, and its frightening predecessor of dementia, in the context of withering fatigue and isolation, continues to rip the psyches of interns apart. The book splits the internal responses to it into different characters. The dark humour, the bizarre obsessions, the self-destruction, the intellectual separation from the moment, the suspension of reality; some mixture of these happens to everyone.

Funny enough, I had my appendix out at Beth Israel, the House of God.