Medical exams, religion, and the art of rejection


I ate lunch at work today: okra tempura (slimy), BBQ liver and hot green tea.  The lobby hosted several older people drinking coffee, waiting for their turn in line for a medical examination.  I enjoyed listening to the old people chat and laugh while they waited.  Their cadence and rhythm of speech is totally different from how younger people talk.  It’s very soothing.

The exams were taking place in a classroom that shares a wall with the kitchen.  Now and then voices slipped through the seams in the movable wall, but the more distracting sound was something that resembled a dog barking in its sleep.  Was it an old man coughing for the doctor?  A machine releasing pressure or air?  I still don’t know.  I chose to picture a dog, and giggled into my tea.

During a private lesson with a very high level student, I mentioned that I visited a few neighborhood shrines during Obon.  She said that her parents generation used the days off during Obon for their intended purpose: to travel to their hometowns in order to visit the graves of their ancestors.  Her generation and younger, however, took the chance to take vacations, travel abroad, or just relax.  She then said she liked the environment of a church: quiet and beautiful, but that she dislikes Catholicism because of “assault… with teenagers… I don’t like.”  Of course, she talking about the rampant molestation that only came out within the last decade.

I teach private lessons with a doctor who likes to take the wheel, and treat our sessions as dry runs for medical lectures, which is at times a bit taxing on my ego, but if I can downshift into student mode fast enough (and I’m getting better at that), I find I can actually enjoy his lectures quite a bit.  He went over the three types of autopsy:
Systematic- for the purpose of education, done by a medical student
Pathological- for the purpose of determining the cause of death
Legal- also for the purpose of determining the cause of death, but ordered by a judge

At the end of our lesson, he pulls out an email that details why his latest submission was not accepted for publication by a medical journal.  He likens the experience to romantic rejection.  “I sent many letters to women I loved.  Most of them said no.  But some of them were very kind, and some were not.  Lily: you must be mild when you say no.”  I promised I would.


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