As I sat on the table in the exam room, I quietly smiled to myself at the irony: I had been on the other side of the room the entire year, and, yet, here I was again, back to assuming the role of a patient.
Ever since that day in the grocery store, I have volunteered at least once a month for other senior citizens. I get to know their stories and try to share the understanding that I have gained with the world.
A glimpse into today’s media is enough to understand the general attitude of modern medicine and health care. While the majority of the population regards scientific progress as a blessing, a not-so-small minority is fearful of how this will negatively impact their health.
I strode down hallways, winding ‘round to meet / A sailor old and take to him his meal. / A gentle bounce in every step on beat, / This home to many always builds my zeal.
In high school, I was obsessed with wearing only vintage clothing. After hours of painstakingly searching every clothing rack at Goodwill, I would find a well-worn baseball jersey or an elaborately bejeweled Christmas sweater. I felt a sense of immense pride in reclaiming someone else’s memories — their winning games, their holiday parties – in an attempt to express my “uniqueness”.
Greet the customer. Select the meat. Cut the meat. Clean the slicer. Wash the dishes. Sweep the floor. This is my daily routine at High-Venus Deli.
Conducting research in vulnerable populations and historically marginalized groups can be a delicate process, and because of this, safeguards intended to protect these exact groups can ultimately hinder the research process.
She and I experienced such extremes of strangerhood and intimacy in only 72 hours. But what a privilege it was, to be there for her when she had no one else, to advocate for her, to go a little (or a lot) above and beyond on her behalf, to see the inter-workings of this stranger’s life: this is why I chose medicine.
Hepatic failure claimed him mentally, / And colored yellow both his eyes so wide / As too his being stained corporally.
Sometimes the best intervention is not a medication but rather a listening ear, not a vaccination but rather a shoulder to cry on, not a screening test, but instead an advocate.
First, do no harm, but to harm not I must first see / With swift breath, I begin. / You, silent teacher, my new textbook
“I used to be an elementary school art teacher in San Francisco.” The more he smiled and the more he spoke, the larger the lump grew in my throat. He wore a grayed t-shirt that matched his unkempt black beard.