It’s Christmas morning. Her eyes flash open, a result of adrenaline from what’s downstairs. Not the presents or the smell of pine and peppermint, but the screaming. She hears Annie yelling and instantly knows what’s happening. She listens for a while, processing. She knows the cycle is starting again. Being the most observant of the family, she expected this was coming soon. She saw his pupils, the way his hunch was worsening, and even the rattle of the pill bottle in his pocket that she knew he stuffed with toilet paper or cotton balls.
Sometimes I wonder if I’ve just been wishfully thinking my entire life.
“… so that’s why I want to work in the foreign service… because… well, the world is cool!” Scrawny, bright-eyed 18-year-old me actually spoke these words out loud, introducing myself to my Honors Ancient Civilizations class, a freshman international relations major. It became a playful, mocking mantra often recited by my friend group –in startlingly accurate high-pitched tone– every time I expressed a sincere affinity for some sort of unique culture or geographical quirk. I mean, in truth, I kind of liked it; I took it well and it suited me. As a youth, if I ever met someone from another country, they had some sort of accent, some wild backstory – whatever that ‘foreignness’ was, this new person scored mega points in my naïve head, they were automatically ‘cooler’, and I default-admired them.
Everyone has a story, and each story is unique, intimate, and powerful. Our Narrative series invites you to step inside someone else’s life by reading their story, as told in their own words. Readers, please come open-minded and ready to engage in one of the many stories that makes our community complete. The following is the narrative of Dr. QeeQee Gao, MD, founder of Med Intima, KUSOM alumna, and first-year psychiatry resident at UPenn.
The growth I’ve experienced since starting medical school is staggering. One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed lately is my confidence. Entering into the medical profession is intimidating, to say the least. Like many others in my cohort, I struggled with imposter syndrome. Starting third year, I fell into the habit of introducing myself as “Just the medical student,” constantly apologizing for being in the way. Although there should always be a sense of humility in the way we show up to learn from others, I learned to show up for myself. I learned to ask the resident if I can throw that extra stitch when they are getting antsy and wanting to get on their way. I learned to bravely ask the attending the questions I’m ruminating on in my head. One of my recent lecturers said it perfectly, “Sometimes you gotta pull your education outta people.” Your learning experience is what you make of it; how important we are as medical students depends on us. Continue reading “Confessions of an M3”→
It’s 6:45 a.m. I show up early to my shift to get reports and collect vitals on my patients before the interruption of breakfast trays and morning rounds.
The summarized information I carry with me as I approach room 209: “72-year-old woman, here for GI bleed. Colonoscopy expected tomorrow, night shift will start bowel prep. Rheumatoid arthritis. Encourage Q2 turns. 2x assist, gait belt/walker, requires assistive devices to eat. Dysphagia diet II. Q4 vitals. Uses bedside commode. Expected discharge in one day if scope is benign.”
And the undocumented background given by nightshift: “‘Mrs. RA’ is VERY particular during mealtimes. You MUST cut everything up and put her “squishy” handle on the silverware. Her straw must point to her, and the drink must be on the right side. She has failed getting through bowel prep twice—so be encouraging today. Also, she yelps a lot when you try to move her, she’ll want to refuse Q2 turns. Her daughters will come in a lot. She likes a lot of blankets. Let’s just say she’ll hit her call button a lot.”Continue reading “Choose Humanity”→
Each year, the national Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) celebrates and commemorates compassionate patient care during the GHHS Solidarity Week. This year the KU GHHS chapter asked its faculty, resident, and student members to reflect on what it means to be a physician –particularly what it means to be a compassionate, humanistic physician. We hope you can join us this week in celebration and reflection of your personal and professional journey, and how to continually strive for compassionate, kind, and gentle human-centered care.
I didn’t think I would ever get to this point in my life, if I am being honest. I have hated a major part of myself since I was eight years old. I remember, as I am sure anyone who was raised in a Christian family would, praying to God that he would take this feeling away from me. The feeling I was describing was having an attraction to the same sex. I ran away from these thoughts and feelings as much as I could, but I could only get so far. I remember hearing people in church describing the abomination of homosexuality — destined for an eternity in hell. Hell ain’t it for me so I decided that wasn’t an option. I needed to suppress my attraction to men so I could be chilling in heaven. Suffice to say that didn’t work — and I am glad it didn’t work. What resulted out of this attempt was years of hating a part of myself; begging to God to take this away from me and trying to come to terms with how a merciful, loving God could have no mercy on individuals simply for something they have no control of. I now reject that notion that homosexuality is a hell sentence. If you believe homosexuality is a sin, fine — but a sin is a sin. Which makes my “sin” no better or worse than yours. But Christians choose what “sin” takes precedent over another. I reject that notion on the basis of love. I believe that it is not the case that homosexuality is a sentence to hell and I would implore “Christians” who are spreading that message to do a great deal of introspection — why does this bother you so much? Additionally, you “Christians” are doing a great disservice to the religion that you so fervently claim is about love — this isn’t love. This is hate. Full stop.