The city a body, the roads its vessels

Imagine the city as a living body. In that body, the roads would be its blood vessels. Traversing those roads are us humans, wandering through the tangle of highways and roads like like blood cells pumping through a maze of arteries and capillaries. Among them — about 1 in 300 — are us white coat-clad doctors, like those 1 in 800 white blood cells wandering among the red blood cells. Like those WBCs patrolling and protecting the body, doctors are the city’s healers.

So what does that make hospitals? Congregations of sick cells and a place where white blood cells go to work?

These are the deep thoughts I had while taking an Uber to our hospital in Queens for my medicine rotation. I seldom ride cars these days, and I forgot how different the view is on the roads. These über-specialized contiguous plots are kinda isolating and stressful but as vital to the city as vessels are to a body.

Anyway, the extended analogy kind of breaks down because of the alarming stat that 9% of Americans work in healthcare, and nurses definitely deserve the label of white cells more. Doctors might be the plasma cells producing antibodies, especially considering how specialized we’ve become, lol. Still, it’s fun imagining all of us emerging out of the bone marrow (apartments) and hitching a ride on our streets and avenues (vessels) to our hospitals (???).

Back to that question of what hospitals would be. Perhaps they’re lymph nodes: hubs of researching and exchanging knowledge about diseases. Or are we more like abscesses: places where the healthcare specialists congregate to treat the sick? Maybe we’re the spleen (or splenules): sites of sequestration and destruction of broken down blood cells. Depends on what you see the most important role of hospitals is, I guess.


Epilogue: this idea came to me on 8/6, which was the first time I’ve travelled through the Queens-Midtown tunnel. Except the Queens-bound tunnel was closed, so they temporarily rerouted half of the Manhattan-bound tunnel to have one lane in each direction… so was it an arteriovenous fistula?!