November 25, 2009

Mal au coeur

This morning, I think I realized exactly what the French call mal au coeur: literally, a pain in the heart but colloquially, a general nausea and malaise (hmm, another French word, unease). 

Symptoms: nausea; stomachache; general uneasiness; a desire to hit snooze or better yet, turn off the alarm; an urge to pull the covers over one's head and not go to class

Proximate causes: lack of sleep, indigestion, lack of breakfast, rainy weather

Ultimate causes: guilt, terror over incomplete homework exposure, guilt, chronic sleep deprivation (extended version of lack of sleep), anxiety over medical school interviews, anxiety over emails and other correspondence from medical schools which have not arrived, stress

Treatment: two courses of action meet standard of care; a) pull covers over head, turn off alarm clock, sleep til 3pm or b) wash face, brush teeth, find marginally clean clothes, attend class, pretend to know answers, try not to cry in your French literature class (when the text is too personal to be discussed objectively), substitute getting ahead on Thanksgiving homework with hours of Bones and House, do laundry, pack, shower, go to bed.

Prognosis: generally curable.  If persistent, may develop into something requiring therapy or antacids.  If Thanksgiving break is not a strong enough dose, wait and try a triple dose (3-4 weeks) of Winter break.

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