William Osler once said “Medicine is the science of uncertainty and the art of probability. ” While this quote was said nearly one-hundred years ago, it still holds the same weight as is once did. In Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam, this quote is shown to not only be true in regards to medicine, but also for people as a whole; even so there are many factors that contribute to a person’s personality early on that can be traced to decisions and personality traits later in their lives.
One of these factors is the amount of interaction and influence a person’s family has with them.
In Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, there are two extreme examples that can be examined: Ming and Fitzpatrick. In both cases, there are positive and negative effects of their varied familial influence. Ming’s family was always expectant of her. Being first generation American-Chinese, Ming’s family was looking for a way to become a greater part of American society.
As soon as Ming’s cousin Karl became accepted into medical school, they expected the same of Ming; seeing medical school, to a degree, as a fast-track to the top of American society.
Because of her parents strictness, Ming was forced to lie about her relationship with Fitzgerald to her parents, and was never really given a chance to develop interests and follow them. On top of the pressures from her family to get into medical school, she also had her relationship with Karl; this was a different type of family involvement. Karl’s molestation of Ming had many effects on her. The first way he affected her was in the way she thought. Ming hated Karl for what he did to her, but she hated herself more for allowing it to happen. Because she hated herself so much, she subconsciously became as similar to Karl as possible.
Instead of using both sides of her brain equally, Ming concentrated fully on the left side, the calculating mathematical side. In doing that she forwent the right side of her thinking, allowing it to be taken away by Karl. Evidence of Ming’s maladjusted right brain can be seen a few times in the first three stories of Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures. One such time is when Ming, Chen and Sri are dissecting the arm of the cadaver in search of the bicipital groove. Sri is a very compassionate person; he has much more of his right brain developed that Ming.
They reach a part of the dissection where the place the manual instructs them to cut falls directly on their cadaver’s tattoo. Sri, being the compassionate person he is, believes the group should avoid cutting through the cadavers tattoo, echoing his mother’s words, “You should respect a man’s symbols. ” Ming, on the other hand, wishes to follow the manual to a tee; she insisted on cutting directly through the tattoo. Her calculating left brain severely outweighs the compassion her right brain should raise. More evidence of Ming’s issues with the right brain can be found when Ming misplaces the cadaver’s right brain.
When it is discovered the Ming lost the right side, she claims that they do not need one, that they can look on with someone else’s. She also insists that the brain must have been stolen, even though she obviously lost it. This is parallel to her situation with Karl. Ming would say that a part of her was stolen by Karl. In reality, it was Ming herself who suppressed the right side of her thinking. Where she placed the brain is also symbolic of her condition; it was placed with the omentum. Omentum is a fatty layer in the intestines that is nearly worthless while dissecting.
It’s almost as if Ming threw the right side of the brain away. A final piece of evidence of Ming’s dissociation with the right brain is the fact that she didn’t study it in person, she read about it in her book. Dean Cortina said, “Men are odd about penises…they secretly believe them to be very important…” She told a story about the men in her dissection group who wanted to avoid cutting the penis; they would rather study it from the book. Ming feels the same way about the right side of the brain. She is totally fine with cutting open a penis, perhaps a little zealous, but for the right brain she has to look in the book.
Ming’s name is very indicative of her personality. She is brief and to-the-point; she has to time to mess around. Along with the negative effects of an overly-involved family, positive features came out of the situation as well. Firstly, her performance on schoolwork is very highly regarded. She even manages to surpass Karl’s success. It took Karl two attempts to get into medical school, while it only took Ming one. She was able to achieve this almost entirely because of her family’s involvement. Her family pushed her to be tutored by Karl, and Karl managed to unintentionally push her away from everything except schoolwork.
Due to Karl’s abuse Ming never fully matured socially, and stayed away from being sexual. Ming was handicapped socially; although she liked Fitzpatrick she was not sure how to go about talking to him. At one point she asked herself, “was that the kind of thing people said? ” and admitted that she “often stumbled across humor” (Lam 2). This can be seen as a positive effect because she was able to fully focus on her schoolwork. She also shied away from anything sexual, somewhat replacing her sexuality with grades. After her and Fitzgerald got their tests back, they went through the notion of “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. Another positive effect of the extreme family involvement Ming had would be her desensitivity. Ming was left-brained, which meant she was very cold and calculating. This benefitted her in the first year of medical school because their first task was to dissect a cadaver. This could be seen as a test for who could handle being a medical professional. Other members of her class had dreams or nightmares about their cadavers, but Ming was entirely desensitized. Similar to Ming, Fitzgerald has much in common with his name. Fitzgerald is very prone to excess, which fits with his long name. He even admits that obsession suits him well.
Fitzgerald likely becomes immersed in things as a distraction from thinking of his mother or his alcoholic father. While obsession can be of value, it can also be fatal. Obsession nearly kills Fitzgerald during the episode when he is biking in town. He became so focused on timing the lights perfectly, that he did not realize when a truck was running a red, and coming straight for him. Fitzgerald’s obsession with Ming played out in a similar manner. Their relationship started out innocently enough, but when Fitzgerald started becoming obsessed with her, she abruptly ended it by no longer answering her phone eventually cutting off all contact.
He wrote her countless times, and called her even more. His obsession reached a peak when he broke into her apartment to talk to her. When she wasn’t there, he waited, playing out soap-opera-esque scenarios in his head in which she would realize her fault and come back to him. Another point was during and after the interview with McCarthy and Karl. Fitzgerald tells McCarthy that the most important thing in a physician is trust. After he tells her this, he exploits his knowledge of Karl’s actions to make sure he scored higher marks on the interview; he makes it so that he and Karl can never trust each other.
Fitzgerald is so enraged about seeing Karl in person that he fails to see the irony of his actions. He dug himself in so deep into obsession that de didn’t even realize he was still digging. He was so deep in the hole that he failed to realize that his only moments of peace and grace where when he wasn’t thinking of Ming. The two moments in the first three stories in Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures where Fitzgerald is truly at peace are right after his bike accident and after he last sees Ming. He has this feeling after the bike crash because he simply has too much on his plate to think about Ming.
After he last sees Ming, he finally realizes that he’s over her; him waiting to be splashed by the cool water of the sprinkler symbolizes a fresh start for him. While having very sparse familial interaction can lead to negative effects, there are also some upsides that Fitzgerald experienced. Totally opposing Ming, Fitzgerald has the freedom to see anyone he pleases without having to keep it a secret. He never had to lie to his father about who he was talking to late at night, and never had to hide his activities. This made Fitzgerald more genuine than Ming.
Another upside is that the obsessive nature of his personality was very helpful in getting Fitzgerald into medical school. Fitzgerald’s initial learning style is very different from Ming’s. His intuitive learning style is to fully understand each concept more than preparing for the tests. This style is actually much better for actual doctors than the memorizing of trivia that could be on a test. Now that Fitzgerald has made it into medical school, he can revert to his personal learning style which will make him a much more efficient doctor.
Cite this Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures
Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures. (2016, Oct 23). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/bloodletting-and-miraculous-cures/