why music is more stressful than medicine

6 Oct

First of all, thank you all for putting up with my bit of overly dramatic concerns regarding illness and, consequently, falling more behind on work.  (I am feeling worlds better!)  When I reflect about how easily I can work myself into a tizzy when I get a little under the weather, I can’t help but remember one particular blow-up fight John and I had in my last year in college as a result.  Looking back, it’s either incredibly hilarious or embarrassing; you be the judge.

It was mid-March and two weeks from my Distinguished Majors Vocal Recital, the equivalent of an honor’s thesis…I know, huge undergrad climatic moment: the determination of the exact words that would be presented on my diploma (Bachelor of Arts…and then: nothing; “with distinction”; “with high distinction”; or “with highest distinction”).  Big deal, right?  Anyway, I had a typical late spring cold that I just couldn’t shake and, as I felt the sore throat start to get worse and work its way into a  terrifying block of my sinuses, I started to panic.

Anyway, it was a Friday night and John wanted to go out.  I, instead, wanted to freak out.  Oh my God.  The single, most important culminating demonstration of my work as a music major, and a head cold was going to f it all up.  I was going to keep getting progressively more sick and have to squawk through my carefully selected song cycles and arias.  I would hardly be able to make my breath carry through the long lines that Ravel so lovingly composed let alone bang out the high F’s (above high C–booyah!) that Rorem had in store.  And all in front of my friends, family, and beloved professors.  And they were going to hate me as a result, of course!  And I would not graduate.  So, May would come and I would have no friends, family, and faculty supporters, and no degree…and likely no voice because I would have sung myself hoarse trying to sing through the hour and twelve minute recital.  Why couldn’t John understand that this was reason to panic?!!!

Then John said–oh God, poor thing–“I understand how you feel, now if you’ll just calm down–”  And I unleashed a rage that would put Lord Voldemort to shame.  (FYI, if you ever see me upset, you might want to avoid the phrase “calm down.”)

John later told me that it took pretty much all his self-restraint to not laugh in my face at that very moment.  Fair enough.  How in the world did I get this kid to stick with me through better or worse?

Anyway, I guess it’s never a whole lot of fun to be sick (unless copious amount of excellent drugs and ice cream are involved), but it is nice to know that the little bugs that were oh-so-problematic when I needed my singing voice to be in top form are a much lesser issue, now that I’m doing a negative amount of singing…which is an issue for another day.

In other news, to feed the fuel of my med school-induced hypochondriasis, my biochem preceptor thinks I have vitamin B12 deficiency.  Figures.  I do have a vampire fetish.  One of my classmates, after seeing one too many hernias in anatomy lab, claimed that he felt “something try to snake its way into [his] deep ring.”  He had me palpate his spermatic cord in the middle of Van Pelt library.  We’re both fine, I’m sure.  Just ridiculous ridiculous medical students.


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