Monday, November 2, 2015

Scent of a resident

I learned that exhaustion leaves its own olfactory imprint. The white coats of residents who had been up through the night had an acrid, stale odor—the smell of dirtied polyester, sweat-stained cotton, and human flesh trapped too long away from sunlight and normal circadian rhythms. I could recognize my exhausted colleagues with my eyes closed.
Pauline W. Chen, Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality  (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007), ch. 8

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