Lucky for us, the old-school standbys of abuse and scutwork are no longer the norm for medical students. Though third-years still face the social stress of trying to navigate a constant stream of new residents and teams without pissing anyone off, a misstep isn’t likely to end anyone’s career. But, the old school isn’t gone, and when that contempt and cruelty for patients and students shows up, it’s all the more painful. This poem is dedicated to a patient whose story deserves to be told, and which someday I promise to tell fully.
This poem is also dedicated to anyone who thinks, “This doesn’t sound so bad.” That’s why silencing works so well — if you can’t tell a story, no one can care.
Listen to “China Shop” here or below.
Medical students’ place in the hierarchy of medicine means we are routinely restricted in what we can (or should) say. That taboo list includes our own transformation — despite being only one of thousands impacted by medical education, all too often we are left alone to process how it changes us. Review of Systems is a series of down-to-earth slam poems by Kate Bock, putting words to the unspoken process not just of learning medicine, but of becoming a doctor.