[Ed. Note: Dr. KSS writes about biotech stocks for the Irregulars. We have not reviewed or approved his topics or opinions, and he has agreed to our trade restrictions. Enjoy!]
Twenty years ago, I was living life on an extreme slant as a medicine resident. My routine was a rut of working 36 hours, having a night off, working a 12-hour day, having a night off…and then doing 36 more hours. And it wasn’t only the hours, but the intensity of them, the absence of even twenty minutes of downtime. It was a routine of being almost infinitely involved in the care of 10-20 deeply ill patients whose life parameters were being unpredictable. Elsewhere in the world, wars were being fought, peace accords being signed, and news affecting millions being made at a fast clip. My life, however, was chasing high glucoses and low magnesiums, with a pager that went off once every five minutes on average round the clock. Sleep was not an escape: residents commonly dream that they are responsible for inpatients that they have forgotten about…forgotten their names, what room they are in, what problems ail them. Residents commonly lose all sense of scale and proportion, and their time outside the hospital is often little more than agitated, enervated insomnia like that of Martin Sheen as Captain Willard beneath the ceiling fan in the opening sequence of Apocalypse Now. I needed a vacation, and I knew it. And not just some Impossible Vacation of the form Spalding Gray wrote about in that fine novel. I needed something extreme, something that would shake me up and challenge my default assumptions.
“Everybody always gets everything he wants,” says Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now. He was being serious, restating “Be careful what you wish for.” I flew to Kathmandu, Nepal, and somehow got what I sought. The trip was also the origin of an long-term intellectual curiosity that is the basis for a new biotechnology issue worth knowing about.
Of course, the sojourn was well after the heady “3K” hippie overland days of Kabul, Kuta (a Balinese beach) and Kathmandu. But Kathmandu sits right in the high Himalaya, a positively medieval Buddhist burg like some sort of semi-accessible ...