I love theater. I participated in my high school’s drama club, and each year I go see a few plays and musicals in KC. There is something magical that happens on stage—human ingenuity creates dazzling sets, talented actors and actresses draw me into their worlds with wonderful performances, and beautiful music ferries me through the show. And when I was asked to come back to my high school to teach the tech crew how to operate the sound and light boards, of course I had to help.
Returning to theater gives me a chance to reflect on what lessons and parallels I can draw. Most salient to me is the process by which characters are made legible (made comprehensible) on stage, and how I make myself legible to others by playing a script that others can understand based on notions of familiarity and acceptability. For example, in the case of many members of my former high school’s drama club, they must make themselves and their lives legible in a limited range of forms to access scholarships and better education on their college essays. I play the part of a medical student; therefore, I must play it adequately by exuding confidence and competence. If I were to falter at playing this part, I would expect some derision from my peers based on previous experiences of failing at playing my roles appropriately.
The blizzard smothered the squeaky old subway as it slowly pressed toward the station. Nighttime had arrived, and the darkness was brightened only by a bit of shimmer from the ice and snow that stubbornly prevailed against any shovel. I rested against my cold, hardened seat, ready to enter this frosty wonderland with a new sense of excitement; I was going somewhere new. Comfortable in my alone-ness, I was quickly awakened from this slumber as I exited the station. I was lost in the city with every street sign covered in a white blanket that chilled me to my core.
Not long later, a shadow made itself out to be a friendly face, a fellow lost traveler. “Where’s the door?!” she shouted, her voice rising above the gusts. Traversing together, we found not only the door but also a piping hot pizza waiting for us inside; we had finally arrived. Thawed by the pepperoni and the conversations of those around me, I warmed up to folks who would become close friends—the kind that have you over for dinner and make their home your home—and experienced the deepest joy as I opened my life up to these new people.
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”→
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.
Cooking has always been something I’ve found relaxing. With all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, I thought it would be nice to slow things down and use some of my time in quarantine to bake a few things.
The KUMC Association of Women Surgeons, OB-GYN, and American Medical Women’s Association student interest groups hosted the first annual Women in Medicine Week from September 28th, 2020 – October 2nd, 2020. Programming featured women speakers from across all areas of medicine, and included a donation drive for Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence shelter and resource here in Kansas City. Below is a feature from many of the speakers from the week that included discussions on Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Racial Disparities in OB/GYN, Women in Research, and more. All events were recorded and are available to watch at http://www.kumc.edu/women-in-medicine-week.
A central aspect of Med Intima’s mission is to “celebrate the unique, intimate story of each individual.” More specifically, our editorial board hopes this can be a space for important conversation and discovery. To this end, we are featuring the voices and initiatives taking place at KUMC in pursuit of racial equality. Below, you will find educational resources, as well as short narratives highlighting how individuals and organizations are combatting systemic racism, sharing their stories, and improving medical education for Black students.
We hope that by engaging with this page of Med Intima, medical students will be better equipped to serve their communities as future physicians. Please note that this is far from a comprehensive list, and that we hope the resources and narratives we provide below can act as an introduction to a more open dialogue.