In high school, I thought I was going to be an architect. I took all of the Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) and Architecture courses that my affluent school offered. I revered miter boxes. I loved when my fingers were covered with errant pencil lead.
As you might imagine, these classes were only taken by a cohort of nerds and lumberphiles. One such nerd was a frail, pale boy who was always absent. On the days he would attend class, he went directly to the class instructor with a physician’s note describing whatever cold or flu he had this time. In a word, he was sickly.
In contrast, I had been a bastion of high school health: never missing school or practice, like Kevin Costner on Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard.
Now, I too am sickly.
And maybe it’s because of clinic work. If you’ve had sustained contact with schoolteachers (I am married to someone who taught elementary school for three years), you’ll know that schools are disease incubators. Kids sneeze, cough, drool, and vomit all over the place. And they do it all while picking their boogers and eating them.
Similarly, I’ve realized that physical therapy clinics may also be germ incubators. Patients come in with fleas, cut their toenails on the exam tables with swiss army knives, and try to inconspicuously spit on the gym floor during their therapeutic exercise routine (all of these things have happened in front of me).
So, yes, I am sickly. I find that I easily get run down or contract colds more frequently than I did in my early twenties. But maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe my immune system, with two years of clinic experience under its belt, will have worked out the kinks in time for my rotations.