And there were not only negative reasons for his choice of anesthesiology. He was fascinated by the delicate equilibrium that must be maintained whenever the butchers planted their knives in someone—this balancing on the edge between life and death, and his responsibility for the poor human being, helpless in unconsciousness. He had, besides, the more or less mystical notion that the narcotics did not make the patient insensitive to pain so much as unable to express that pain, and that although drugs erased the memory of pain, the patient was nevertheless changed by it. When patients woke up, it always seemed evident that they had been suffering. But when he spoke of this theory once to his colleagues, who were talking about yachting, the way they looked at him suggested that he had better keep his thoughts to himself if he wanted to remain in the club.
You may be wondering -- was I sorry to have chosen such a serious, non-escapist novel to read? Not at all. It was worth the time spent and left me calm and thoughtful.