Towards the end of the military service, I had to make what I assume has been the most important decision in my career: to start a residency in clinical medicine, in surgery, which was my favorite choice, or to enroll into graduate school and start a career in scientific research. It was clear to me that I was heading for graduate school.
My father left me with his love of Jewish studies and cultural life. To this very day, along with several physicians and scientist colleagues, I take regular periodical lessons taught by a Rabbinical scholar on how the Jewish law views moral and ethical problems related to modern medicine and science.
I went to the Technion and studied with Avram Hershko. I found it more exciting than practicing medicine.
Beware of addictive medicines. Everything in moderation. This applies particularly to the Internet and your sofa. The physical world is ultimately the source of all inspiration. Which is to say, if all else fails: take a bike ride.
I'm the daughter of two Indian immigrant doctors, and I have an older sister and younger brother, and none of us have pursued medicine as a career. We're all over the artistic side of things.
That's the Indian in me - you must put spices on everything. As a kid, whenever we got sick, my mom would take milk and put turmeric in it. That was our medicine. That was the cure-all. Some people turn to Robitussin.
My desire to be a physician had a lot to do with that sense of medicine as a ministry of healing, not just a science. And not even just a science and an art, but also a calling, also a ministry.
I think we learn from medicine everywhere that it is, at its heart, a human endeavor, requiring good science but also a limitless curiosity and interest in your fellow human being, and that the physician-patient relationship is key; all else follows from it.
When I use the word 'healing,' by that I mean that every disease has a physical element that we're very good at handling, but there's always a sense of the violation. 'Why me?' 'Why is my leg broken on the ski trip and not anyone else's?' And I think that medicine has done a terrible job of addressing that spiritual violation.
Medicine, you see, is my first love; whether I write fiction or nonfiction, and even when it has nothing to do with medicine, it's still about medicine. After all, what is medicine but life plus? So I write about life.