Monthly Archives: April 2019

Philippe Barrette is a psychotherapist, workplace facilitator and former Assistant Clinical Professor at McMaster University, Department of Psychiatry.

David Streiner is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, and the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster University; and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

 

 

Halfway through, Roma, the 2018 award-winning film set in the early 1970’s, the audience is suddenly confronted with witnessing a stillbirth. The scene elicited audible gasps from some viewers in a screening we attended, when the perfectly formed, dead baby was removed from its mother’s womb.

In the film, Cleo, the nanny and domestic worker for a middle-class family living in Mexico is rushed to hospital following an emotionally draining 9 months. Cleo’s boyfriend abandoned her shortly after learning of her pregnancy, and the family have endured marital tensions and a separation.

After an initial examination the assisting physician at the birth says, “I can’t hear a heartbeat," ...continue reading

Brianna Cheng is a MSc Epidemiology student in the Class of 2020 at McGill University.

 

 

 

is it possible to mourn the living?

 

time’s grasp on youth seems ever loose

while draining those already

shaking

dithering

moaning

clutching that metal receptacle

you cursed and swore ...continue reading

Michael Scaffidi is a medical student in the Class of 2022 at Queen's University

 

Listen to the Michael's composition here: https://open.spotify.com/album/2arp3Jqp1ksVuovmRE3KA0, and read about it below.

"This is a piece that I wrote for the 2nd Annual Jacalyn Health and Humanities Conference at Queen's University and decided to later publish. "Sonata in C, Journey Through the Valley" tells a story of what a patient experiences when given a serious diagnosis. Specifically, I strove to show how disruptive this event can be through the use of a highly dissonant "diminished chord". In addition, in contrast to the peaceful, almost indolent first theme using triplets, the second theme uses the infamous theme of "Dies Irae" (Day of Wrath), which is derived from a Latin hymn that is often used throughout classical and film music to signpost death or an ominous event. ...continue reading

Parisa Selseleh is a medical student in the Class of 2022 at the University of Manitoba

 

 

Dear you,

I must be honest, I was not looking forward to seeing you in the gloomy October day that coincided with my birthday. Despite my eagerness to learn about human illnesses, I was not ready to shatter my ignorance of human mortality and the hearts that give up. I slowly walked the long hallways leading to your current resting place, the Gross Anatomy Laboratory. Then, I saw you covered by an orange body bag, and in the blink of an eye, I became a medical student.

I had a vague understanding of what it meant to be in the business of mending bodies and minds, but I felt the gravity of my role the moment I saw how. I did not have much medical knowledge when I first met you but slowly, you taught me. How lucky I was. ...continue reading

Kacper Niburski is a medical student in the Class of 2021 at McGill University. He is also the CMAJ student humanities blog editor. Follow his writing instagram: @_kenkan.

 


 

ventricular septal defect

you would not understand

what it means to fall in love

with the blue

to come to pour it

to read it in the cracks of light under heavy spines

to see it in green marseille waters ...continue reading

 Austin Lam is a medical student at the University of Toronto.

 

In a session on narrative medicine in medical school, a clip from the film Wit (2001) was shown in which Vivian Bearing (portrayed by Emma Thompson), an English literature professor, was told that she has Stage IV cancer by Dr. Harvey Kelekian (portrayed by Christopher Lloyd). In this scene, he was, to put it mildly, less than considerate of the gravity that the discussion had for Vivian. He was Efficient. Domineering. Self-interested. ...continue reading

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Ally Istl is a senior General Surgery resident at Western University

Sarah Jones is a Pediatric Surgeon at Western University


 

The concept of Wellness in the professional medical arena has become a contemporary Gargantua that we are perpetually seeking to satisfy, but never able to sate. As other disciplines seek to make their trainees ‘Well’, wellness has also become a growing subject of exploration in surgical disciplines.

Wellness means different things to different people and formal definitions provide no clarity in the context of the medical profession: ‘the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal’ only provokes more ...continue reading

Tharshika Thangaraa is a fourth year medical student at the University of Ottawa.

 

 

The sound of her alarm pulsated through her room. Startled, she awoke. It was just another day. As the fog of nighttime cleared, she felt the weight of everyday resurface. Gradually, they claimed their spot, perched atop her shoulders. She sunk deeper into her bed.

What would she wear?

How would it flatter her figure?

What would they think?

She managed to pry off the covers and make her way downstairs for breakfast. She poured herself a bowel of cereal and set the coffee to brew. She barely noticed the happy chirps of the morning songbirds or the vibrant petals of the summer flowers starting to bloom.

...continue reading

In this next "Med Life with Dr. Horton" podcast, Dr. Jillian Horton chats with Dr. Allan Peterkin about creative arts and playfulness as related to medicine and as tools to help balance out a stressful life.

Dr. Horton and Dr. Peterkin talk about:
- music, writing, theatre, improv groups
- the time Dr. Peterkin was on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon because of one of his books about beards
- how learning to interpret a painting is related to diagnostic skills
- how a practice in creative arts can influence the way doctors approach patients and can help prevent burnout
- finding a balance between pleasure and purpose in life
- the absence of play in medicine
- practical tips for picking up that long forgotten creative practice again
- and much more

...continue reading

Arnav Agarwal is an Internal Medicine Resident (R1) at the University of Toronto. Check back the last Thursday of each month for a new featured piece as part of his series (Doc Talks: Reflections to Reality)!

 

 

No S1Q3T3

on the waveforms of her ECG,

but nobody turned to check

for signs of right heart strain in me.

 

Alarm beeping cuts through cold silence

only to leave the same void behind on cue;

my mother, ‘the patient’, is fading away,

and I, ‘the bystander’, am too.

...continue reading