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Bird’s Beak


This painting, utilizing oil and acrylic paints, was made in the midst of studying for my ongoing classes and boards.  There have been a couple diseases that have stuck with me throughout my studies.  One of them is type 1 achalasia from the GI block I did recently.  This is a condition where there is increased tone and pressure in the lower esophageal sphincter, making it difficult for food and liquids to pass through via esophageal peristalsis.  Barium swallows are often utilized for this upper GI problem and a common (read: high-yield) sign for achalasia is the “bird’s beak” sign, where the distal esophagus narrows down into a pointed…well, beak-shape.  The image of the barium swallow reminded me of a hummingbird going through torpor – a condition where animals like birds decrease physiological activity in extreme weather conditions or food shortages, hanging upside down as a result.  The painting is not very anatomically accurate, much to a radiologist’s dismay, but it was fun to complete after not doing anything creative for a while.  Why oil and acrylics?  I didn’t have white oil paint or black acrylic paint and had to make do.

Ruchica Chandnani (4 Posts)

Managing Editor and Contributing Writer

Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine


Ruchica Chandnani is a second year medical student at the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Smith, Arkansas. In 2019, she graduated from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor with a Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience and a minor in Asian Languages and Culture. In her spare time, she likes watching cartoons and anime, writing, eating sweet and spicy food, and traveling (esp. solo traveling). Ruchica hopes to pursue a career in Psychiatry or Neurology and become an advocate for victims of trauma.