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The Hidden Curriculum

“It’s time to wake up boss, please open your eyes.
There’s much work to be done and we’re ready to advise.”
Curiosity propelled me to confront my kooky staff.
One flipped through a dictionary, the other spoke on his behalf.
“Wernicke and Broca at your service sir.
Something in the colon is causing quite a stir.”
“Alright I’ll look into it,” was all that I said,
then I went to visit a friend before exiting the head.
I did not travel far before I quickly found
old Willis at his station going round and round.
Now this was a man who had all the right connections,
so I asked for his help in providing some directions.
Though he was quite busy trying to anastomose,
he threw me a tip for a contact in the nose.
I traveled to the nose and met the contact face to face.
The chap was fairly big although he lived in a Little place.
Asking him the right questions was unusually tricky,
and he really got mad when I started to get picky.
But after I had listened to every word he had to say,
I knew my destination and made a call to Ranvier.
His transport picked me up and jumped me straight to
McBurney’s alley, the site of much inflamed tissue.
The suspect was surrounded by the Omentum Police.
Then as I moved in, a white flag came out for peace.
The shadow of a sausage then emerged from the slime,
and as the flag waved, it dropped the strangest rhyme:

“Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?
I’ve been swelling like a blowfish, can’t hold it anymore.
I can see that I’m despised, for what I’ve jeopardized.
But all I’ve ever wanted, was a name to hold with pride.
Tell me if there is a way. If not, then I am through
and my bacteria-laden contents, I will spew.”

That voice sounded familiar and yet I could not tell.
Was it the appendage of Lionel Richie or maybe … Adele?

“Hello? Can you hear me?
I’m the worm behind the cecum, oh how slim I used to be
when I was cleaner … and fecalith free.
I’ve forgotten how it feels to watch the feces pass by me.
No more resistance! Let’s discuss how we can reconcile:
A family I’ve been denied! Without a name I can’t reside
in their clan as a fellow diverticulum.
I can’t stand living solo as the nameless one

Then it struck me: this was not the voice of a radical!
Use of the vitamins I had brought became impractical.
No, this was a cry for help by an organ in pain.
A forsaken worm which anatomists won’t name.
And indeed who would name such a troublesome thing?
Like the tonsils it’s thrown out once the pain it does bring.
Its hideous figure has already caused a scare.
And such aberrant behavior is too much to bear.
But today I have been touched by its beautiful song.
And the pain it endures I wished not to prolong.
“Here take some IL-4, -13 and -10.
Once you’ve calmed down I’ll speak to you again.”
The worm reluctantly obeyed and came down in size
then it returned for follow-up and found a huge surprise.
“Oh nameless one, your loneliness has come to an end.
Meckel! Zenker! Come greet your new friend!”

With that dramatic finale I bid farewell to dreamland
and reflected with some concern on the phenomenon at hand.
What honestly just happened? Did the appendix really talk?
The concept of personified organs came as quite a shock.
Was this all a side-effect of medical education?
I worried that more would come with the next rotation.
And yet I felt oddly proud to have helped a diverticulum;
a satisfaction made possible through the hidden curriculum.

Peter Farag Peter Farag (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of Toronto's Mississauga Academy of Medicine

Peter Farag is a third year medical student at the University of Toronto's Mississauga Academy of Medicine.