There’s quite an age gap between my sister and I — six years — eight, if you include the gestation time for both of us (which the Chinese consider as an extra year in edad).
I was still in middle school when my sister would come home from college to visit our family. I particularly remember the time we both watched “Ally McBeal.”
“Lawyers aren’t that good-looking,” she said. “And they don’t dress that well.” I took note of this comment and sat quietly watching Ally and Billy fall in love.
Revisiting the series now on Netflix, I pay attention to the episodes with Robert Downey, Jr.. He reminds me of a guy I dated who was much younger than I… smart, goofy, hip, as beautiful as Robert Downey, Jr. and perhaps as self-absorbed. I never thought that I would date anyone like that, ever, in all my mind-dating scenarios. But it was good that I did at this time, rather than as a younger, more naive self, as I would not have linked his hand tremors with possible drug use or drug side effects. Nor would I have connected his energy slumps and weight gain with that drug usage.
In my sister’s medical school class at Mt. Sinai, there were many non-traditional students — dancers, cookbook writers, thirty- and forty-somethings. In college, I had forfeited my spot with the same program that she attended; while I regret doing this, I am glad I waited to attend medical school. As a young intern, my sister had difficulty recognizing the signs of domestic abuse with a patient at the Chinatown clinic. When I do my residency, I hope that my observations of people in real life and in private practice will inform me of their disease etiologies.