Student Humanities Blog

Tharshika Thangarasa is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at the University of Ottawa

 

 

 

You wait,
And enter.

You have 60 minutes to speak.

To expose the intricate framework of your mind,
_______The context of your predicaments,
_______The emotional underpinnings of your life. ...continue reading

Jessica Bryce is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at Western University

 

On July 4th, 2016, I fainted in the OR.

It was the beginning of my clinical placement at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Kigali in Kigali, Rwanda. I had crawled into bed at 8pm the night before feeling like crap. It seemed I had finally caught the same bug as the other Canadian medical students.

But a multi-hour forearm tendon/nerve repair was planned for the next day, and I didn’t want to miss it. So, in the morning, I donned the thick cotton scrubs, scrubbed in, and entered the impossibly hot OR. ...continue reading

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Mei Wen is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at the University of Toronto

 

Last week, I was at the eye clinic at a downtown hospital as a medical student learning about ophthalmology. This week, I was there as a patient. And although I was at the exact same clinic only one week later, the contrast between these experiences couldn't be greater.

My first astounding realization as a patient was that there was a sign advertising the wait time to be one to four hours — despite the fact that this was a booked appointment. I am ashamed to say that as a medical student on the the other side, ...continue reading

Noren Khamis is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of British Columbia

 

Long before starting medical school, I wondered how I would react to the first sight of a cadaver in the gross anatomy laboratory. I was comforted by the fact that when the time came, I would have sufficient warning, guidance, and—of course—preparation. But as often happens in life, situations do not go according to plan. Above and beyond mastering basic anatomy knowledge, those long days down in the cadaver lab taught me that I was truly unprepared to deal so intimately with death. ...continue reading

Grace Zhang is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at Queen's University

 

 

 

[For my Grandmother]

we don’t talk much these days
(which is mostly my fault, I know)
but if we were on the phone
right now,
I’d tell you how
when we sat in lecture learning about ...continue reading

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Sarah Chauvin is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of Toronto

 

Collateral. Collateral. Collateral. Three weeks in a psychiatric Emergency Department, and I have more than a mere appreciation for collateral: I’ve come to understand it as a key diagnostic investigation.

Toward the end of my weekend call shift, my young patient with severe alcohol use disorder and borderline personality disorder — who had been discharged the week prior with an addictions referral — was back in the ED for alcohol intoxication. Though I had been cautioned that the patient would likely return, I was disappointed to see her name back on the patient-tracking list. ...continue reading

Jonathan Oore is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at Dalhousie University

 

Symmetry is integral to life on earth. So too is asymmetry. The human body’s organization contains basic pairs of coexisting structures: ears, lungs, lips, spinal nerves, testes, kidneys, eyes, nostrils, chromosomes, muscles, legs, cerebral hemispheres and eyebrows. Sometimes they are only theoretically symmetric. They can be practically sick… or not really. They’re reflections. But not entirely. ...continue reading

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Avina De Simone is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at McGill University

 

I wish I would have known what it feels like to walk in your shoes.

I wish I would have known what it feels like live in your country.

I wish I would have known what it feels like to want to end my life.

I wish I would have known how to help you.

I had many doubts throughout my clerkship journey. I always wondered if I was truly helping others, or if my efforts would ever improve my patients’ quality of life. ...continue reading

Prasham Dave is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of Ottawa

 

 

 

Sunken eyes my burden and a blazing smile my shield,
My patient burned under baleful fluorescence—purified en blanc.
My breaths were shallow. His shallower still.
I was haggard and he was in shambles,
I was shuffling and he was frozen,
I was ash and he was a husk. ...continue reading

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Sondos Zayed is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at McGill University

 

Time and time again residents tend to give us, medical students, the same piece of invaluable advice: stay humble.

On one occasion, a resident said: “When you’re on the wards, seeing one case after the next and making diagnoses, you’ll feel like a god. That’s dangerous. So stay humble.”

I failed to understand how it was even possible, as a first-year medical student who knows so little of the vast ocean that constitutes the art and science of medicine, for me to become arrogant. I simply couldn’t make any sense of it. How could I, in so little time, accumulate enough knowledge to be not only confident — but to exceed this and reach a stage of arrogance? It took time and much ...continue reading