Choose Humanity

Choose Humanity

Rachel Stetson, M3, Class of 2024

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”

1077: Slowly, They Will Know the Truth

1077: Slowly, They Will Know the Truth

Anonymous

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”

A Shadow in the Light

A Shadow in the Light

Anonymous

If all we see is our own goodness,

but reject the darkness within,

where does that really put us?

When our side is the only truth,

the world around us crumbles,

and spiritual death takes our youth.

But what if we see our evil,

listen to the figure calling from the dark wall,

the voice who tries to catch us

well before we fall? Continue reading “A Shadow in the Light”

Congratulations, but Being Black Probably Helped

Congratulations, but Being Black Probably Helped

Anonymous

I always knew I wanted to become a physician, but after graduating from the University of Kansas in 2014 with a GPA and MCAT score considered “non-competitive”, I took measures to bolster my resume. With two years of employment, volunteering, shadowing and several medical school interviews under my belt, I ultimately received an envelope from the KU School of Medicine in February 2016. I Skyped my mother and sister so they could witness my life transform in real time. As I peeled back the tri-folded single sheet of paper, my eyes immediately flew to the second sentence: “Unfortunately…” I half-heartedly skimmed the rest of the letter without saying a word. My mother and sister read the shame on my face. I received several more letters just like this one in the following weeks.

Continue reading “Congratulations, but Being Black Probably Helped”

55 Word Reflections on COVID-19

55 Word Reflections on COVID-19

This post was adapted from the University of Washington School of Medicine: https://faculty.uwmedicine.org/55-word-stories/. Likewise, the instructions used to solicit these reflections were adapted from Sheetz, A and Fry, M The Stories, JAMA 2000 Vol 283(15)1934.

Sharing our experiences in health care, especially during intense, emotional, or stressful times increases our connectedness and well-being. Hearing stories from others helps us know we are not alone, and strengthens our community. The authenticity, compassion, creativity, and bravery of our colleagues help us access our own emotions, and helps us carry on. 

Continue reading “55 Word Reflections on COVID-19”

Bypass

Bypass

Linzy Kirkpatrick, M1, Class of 2023

The iridescent glow of cellophane windows

wraps the building in a blanket of fuchsia and blue,

a playful dance of colors that shift

as I walk past. It’s the first

of many similar days to come.

The corridors whisk me through a

playful maze, a tenuous

barrier between the parents

who wait for news and those of us who

witness it.

Continue reading “Bypass”