A first-year medical student’s stress and anxiety begin to take physical form as she navigates her first year of medical school.
You call me on a Thursday to tell me / You were diagnosed with leukemia in October.
March 2020 One inch more than the measure of me, and one inch less than that of my father. It’s been a while since I lined up, back to back. But if I did, the space between us would only read two inches. Maybe less now that he is older. Nearly sixty. Closer to the next decade than the last. It’s common knowledge that people shrink as they get older. Or at least I think …
I didn’t know / many can’t / sip coral pulpy bitter / juice from narrow glasses.
A loud cry as we enter the world. / A silent cry as we depart.
There were seven of us standing around the table as the attending surgeon debrided the infected fascia. The vascular surgeon came in the room and barked at us to identify the structures before us. “What’s that artery?” he interrogated us. “I’ll give you a hint,” he said, “there’s a deep and a superficial.” We named the sural nerve and iliotibialis band and the great saphenous vein. As we clamored around the table, I suddenly thought of the Rembrandt painting: The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp.
Just as our vernacular has embraced the language of food to describe people, so too has the medical community used such language to describe disease.
This painting is for patients and those who provide medical care who are in need of inspiration.
For Dr. Francois Luks, the pen is mightier than the sword. Armed with ink and a blank pad of paper, he begins to draw out a stomach. With a stroke here and some shading there, he deftly sketches the anastomoses of a procedural resection.
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.
A canvas / Of delicately oiled / Skin, stretched taut
Was it a fall? Did I miss the last step? These things I cannot recall / Hidden from sight, the blood crept from one lone vessel and began to compress / Nice to meet you, one medical student said, as he unzipped my sheath