During my M3 rotations, I believe I have learned as much about medicine as I have about humanity. I’ve come to appreciate that to perform well in this profession, we must embrace both its scientific and human elements.
Blue, white, red, yellow, pink, brown. These are the colors of the ties and strips of fabric around the scrub pants and tops indicating their size. At the start of medical school, I would squeeze into a red top and red pants: these were the larges.
It was a Friday morning at 4:30 a.m. and I was rushing to the hospital for pre-rounds. I was on my neurology rotation, and my pockets were heavy and stuffed with tools. My preceptor had texted me the room numbers of the patients I was to visit that morning. I had three patients to see in the hour before rounds — the first two patients I had been following every day this week and a …
Big procedures can be tense, but today’s felt a little different. The atmosphere was relaxed. Then, unexpectedly, a few issues arose. Two of them, to be precise.
In my white coat, / I ask for forgiveness.
This ekphrastic work begins with the creation of the poem. I drew inspiration from not only my standardized patient interactions but also my own perspective in life. It is often easy to go into a patient interaction with the perspective of “something is wrong with the patient.”
This painting is a reflection on my first month of inpatient medicine as a third-year medical student during the peak of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What if I could see the emotions that flood my patient’s mind? What if I could know how much space anger, frustration, joy, sorrow, hope took up in their mind’s real estate?
Dead eschars are excised. / Skin grafts grow like flowers / Repotted for new life.
The pungent odor of formaldehyde permeates through the room and I can smell it through my mask and face shield. I am leaning over the body I am dissecting, trying to identify structures as the instructor appears before our tank, armed with a grading pen and a barrage of questions.
When we approached his room, Craig was wedged in the doorway, sitting on his walker angled towards the nurse’s station. It was the first time I had set foot in a hospital as a medical student; the task was to simply chat with a patient for about forty minutes. “Craig?” one of the nurses called out. “Yep! I am Craig, at least I was before I got in here!” he replied. Something about the enthusiasm in his voice appealed to me, so I sat down next to him and struck up a conversation.
One of the most impactful influences on my decision to become a doctor was meeting a patient with multiple sclerosis (MS). I was 19 years old and a hospital volunteer in Michigan. As I was replacing gloves, gowns and towels in my department, I entered the room of an elderly Eastern-European woman.