I think I've lost my intellectual curiosity.
I think it's been gone for a while. Like, years. Maybe more than a decade.
The first time I suspected I had lost my intellectual curiosity was during my intern year. I had a patient in urgent care with diffuse aches and pains plus some abdominal discomfort and low-grade fever. Her labs were normal except for some transient eosinophilia. So we talked to ID and they came up with the idea that she might have brucellosis. Everyone was so excited about working her up for brucellosis and talking about what an interesting case it was. "Wow, can you imagine? Brucellosis!"
Aside from the fact that the woman clearly had some sort of somatization disorder and not freaking brucellosis, it occurred to me that I was totally and completely unexcited by the idea that she might have brucellosis or some other rare entity. I honestly couldn't have cared less.
But I had to fake caring. I kept commenting, "Wow, that was such an interesting case!!" I hope it wasn't too obvious that I was completely full of shit.
For a brief time in residency, I thought I regained my intellectual curiosity, but I think I might have just been kidding myself. And now... well...
I get irritated when people want to work up chronic medical conditions on my short stay inpatients. Recently I had a patient who had been suffering from a neuropathy of some sort for over thirty years. She was supposed to be on our service one week for a hip replacement. Neurology got called in and I literally was forced to spend hours making calls and tracking down old EMGs and MRIs and trying to figure out the etiology behind this chronic neuropathy. And neurology was talking about how it was so interesting and wondering what was causing it. While the truth was I couldn't care less.
We're not going to figure out the etiology of a chronic disease during a short hospital stay when our most advanced piece of technology is an X-ray machine. You want a work-up so badly? It's called an "outpatient referral."
It's kind of sad that I lost my intellectual curiosity though. It's one of those things that keeps you from being unhappy as a physician.