Simon Longhi, M2, Class of 2025
Oooo yooou can dance
You can jiiiive
Having the time of your life
Oooo see that girl
Watch that scene
Digging, the dancing queeeeenn
My little sister spins around the room in her cracked, calloused bare feet, gloriously fanning out her wild, endlessly flowing curly hair – the envy of virtually all the many young women we’ve had work in our home to help care for her. Nobody dances like Bianca. Now into her 30s, Bianca still needs help going to the bathroom and cleaning herself. Bianca cannot talk, other than rudimentary “ma’s” and “ta’s” if she wants something like a car ride or a piece of candy. She may scream or cry at any time, anywhere between a disconcerting slow boil or a flat-out tantrum, or bang her hands on the table and exhibit other such self-injuring behavior without warning. Bianca has no concept of social norms – of danger when crossing a street, of knowing when to be quiet and be calm in public, of suppressing her inner urge to pinch us or lash out at us when she feels frustrated. Bianca has no hope of independence, not even close. She will need someone taking care of her 24/7 for the rest of her life. I grew up in a household that spoiled Bianca rotten, that revolved around giving her the most stable environment possible, of putting a numbing bandaid on that down-the-road, bleeding fear our family has always had of what would happen to her when my parents were gone.
But man, nobody dances like Bianca.
Continue reading “BIANCA”
Vincent Czerwinski, M3, Class of 2024
RYR1 encodes the ryanodine receptor—a calcium channel found in skeletal muscles which opens in response to sarcolemma depolarization allowing calcium to move from the sarcoplasmic reticulum into the cytoplasm. Those with RYR1 mutations experience central core disease—a congenital myopathy characterized by profound muscular flaccidity. To a young medical student, this phenomenon is ‘interesting,’ a label reserved for the few and far between cases in medicine when a clear cellular mechanism produced intuitive effects phenotypically. However, no amount of intellectualization can prepare medical students for the sight of a four-year-old intubated girl sitting completely still in her room—the only movement coming from her eyes as she tracks the new presence in her space. Students may find this sight so uncanny that they quickly scan the patient’s medications to check for paralytics, already forgetting what they’ve just looked up regarding the effects of RYR1 mutations.
Students are encouraged to push this unease aside and proceed with their duties, checking with the mother for overnight updates and performing a physical exam. They diligently collect data points for the all-important presentation: one of the many metrics by which students are measured.
Continue reading “RYR1”
Grace Noonan, M3, Class of 2024
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.
Continue reading “Cycle”
Emily Rupe, M3, Class of 2023
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”
Simon Longhi, M1, Class of 2025
Wow, they really did it. Literally zero toilet paper.
Trudging into Publix Super Market on a beautiful, yet too-early morning in late March of 2020, I unrolled and tied my wrinkled black apron behind me as I looked over to the bathroom accessories aisle across Register Six. Barren. Edges and crannies of the aisle shelves I had never even seen before, now completely exposed. The coronavirus pandemic had just begun to settle upon a panicking Orlando, and it seemed that folks were convinced that this thing akin to a Walking Dead zombie apocalypse would confine them to their homes for weeks or months at a time (I guess?), so stocking up on toiletries was a scrambling priority. Brilliant. Continue reading “Shouldn’t Be”
Vinamratha Rao, M2, Class of 2028
as the sun glints
off beads of brine
braided in my hair
I watch from my boundless home,
a prison at times like this,
as my love leans
past the shore Continue reading “la mer”
Kakra Boye-Doe, M4, Class of 2022
To this day, the promises of Juneteenth have yet to be actualize. In 2021, over 150 years after the Emancipation proclamation and two years after, when all salves heard of their “freedom”, we still are not free.
Earlier this week, President Biden signed into law a bill that recognized Juneteenth as a National holiday. Juneteenth is the commeration of the day when federal troops took control of the state of Texas to ensure the freedom of slaves, June 19th, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation, itself, was a performative gesture. It only freed slaves under Confederate control.
Continue reading “We still aren’t free”
Kakra Boye-Doe, M4, Class of 2022
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.
Continue reading “I am free”
I am almost always numb. When I can feel the pain, though, it takes control over all five senses.
Mostly my hearing. All of the others—except, I suppose, touch—become nonexistent. My vision is reduced to flashes of light and dark, obscured and blurred through tears. There is no taste or smell. Continue reading “1077: Slowly, They Will Know the Truth”
Vinamratha Rao, Class of 2028
fresh red streaks in the snow-white bank
seeping through fabric stretched across her back,
scored for each round after round
in this mouth of hallways eating a tail of rooms.
Continue reading “Pinion”