The very first patient I ever met on my internal medicine rotation was someone who hated being in the hospital. He took every opportunity in the following ten days to remind us that he was waiting to be discharged.
I did not know I was feeling sadness until I found it hard to swallow. There is no reason for it, I thought. At 94, she is still sharp, most of the time.
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.
His fiancée calls him “The Storyteller.” We sit down outside a cafe during a warm August evening. Still clad in his hospital scrubs, he just finished a shift as a pulmonary/critical care fellow at Rhode Island Hospital.
I’ve heard this before, / This insidious pain you describe, / That grinds and gnaws / Diffusely below the stomach
At 7:21 p.m., I arrive at the hospital for the first overnight shift of my medical career. It’s not a great start — the bus was late, and I didn’t sleep nearly enough this afternoon in preparation for the night ahead.
I come from a family of repeaters. We repeat the questions that had unsatisfactory answers, the jokes that got particularly good receptions, the requests willfully ignored, but most of all, we repeat the stories.
How can doctors-in-training incorporate wisdom from spiritual traditions into the delivery of health care? Rembrandt, a second-year medical student in Chicago, shares his exploration of how lessons from Christianity offer him insight into life’s big questions that arise in medicine.
“Look, you’re not out on a four-year picnic at that medical school, so stop talking like a disappointed lover. You signed up for a spell of training and they’re dishing it out to you, and all you can do is take everything they’ve got, everything they hand to you, and tell yourself how lucky you are to be on the receiving end — so you can be a doctor, and that’s no bad price to pay for the worry, the exhaustion.”
How can doctors-in-training practice not just patient-centered, but family-centered medicine? Carissa, a graduating fourth-year medical student in Indianapolis intending to pursue an obstetrics and gynecology residency, shares the lessons she learned as a medical student when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
How can doctors-in-training effectively voice doubt and dissent in the medical school environment? Joji, a fourth-year medical student who plans to go into family medicine, describes the conflicts he has had with his school’s administration, and what it feels like to live in fear of dismissal.
How can doctors-in-training honor the experiences of patients’ family members? Tarik, a fourth-year medical student, shares the lessons she learned from an Egyptian man who served as the primary caregiver for his wife, who had advanced multiple sclerosis.