Naive Youth Needs Tattoos

Studying doesn’t start well. My pathology book is open to a chapter on lymphomas. I try reading a page, but nothing sticks. The glossy pictures of swollen, diseased lymph nodes don’t help, nor do my various brightly colored highlighters. It’s tough because the nature of the material is gloomy and morbid, a complete antithesis to the sunny day outside. It’s disease after disease, ad infinitum. Abnormal cells, malignant lumps, blocked vessels, yellow skin, crusty ulcers and green discharge . It’s death and dying every day, all day, so much so that I feel like medical school robs me of my naive youth. All this mortality stuff should be reserved for old people, not young. It makes me want to burn my books. It makes me want to scream, drink, eat fattening foods, go to an amusement park and get a tattoo.

-Manic Kingdom: A True Story of Breakdown and Breakthrough by Dr. Erin Stair

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