“There’s a great neuro exam in room 5147,” my resident said as I dropped my bag in the call room. “Why don’t you go check it out?” I clutched my reflex hammer in one hand and googled the components of a neuro exam with the other as I headed towards the stairwell.
His breaths are heavy when we walk in. / Abdomen distended: / a large, perfect half-sphere…
“What is the meaning of life?”
A perfectly reasonable question, albeit a strange one considering that I was in the third grade, it was recess time, and I was having a philosophical conversation about death with a grasshopper I had just caught.
How can doctors-in-training honor the experiences of patients’ family members? Tarik, a fourth-year medical student, shares the lessons she learned from an Egyptian man who served as the primary caregiver for his wife, who had advanced multiple sclerosis.
To my dearest dying patient: / May I emulate half your strength, / and a portion of your wisdom, / just a part of your life’s length.