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”
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”
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”
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”
J.R. Lott, M4, Class of 2020
What am I to do if the skies are gray?
If I paint them blue does that erase their nature?
What if the skies are meant to be gray?
Would I be wrong to hide their color?
Continue reading “Blue Skies”
Ben Harstine, M3, Class of 2021
I tried to change a patient,
instead they changed me.
I crashed into a brick wall, you see.
Continue reading “I Tried to Change a Patient”
Ben Harstine, M3, Class of 2021
I showed up to group today, a young man in a sweater.
One man was there, tattered sweatshirt and Chiefs ball-cap.
Two others walked in, both gay but not together.
An old man followed, grey hair, torn jeans.
Finally a woman, young and anxious,
joined our little commune.
Continue reading “Two Americas”
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”
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
Continue reading “Bypass”
Connor Stubblefield, M2, Class of 2022
Hidden down in darkest cloister, depth of all the earth, a Stone, directed slowly upward through layers of time and story, waited.
The Stone was defined, yet not, sequestered mystery, definition down, dampened, the mirror darkened. Continue reading “The Stone Discovered”