Student Humanities Blog

 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

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

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

Grace Dao  is a second year medical student at Dalhousie University.

 

From the beginning of medical school, we are taught about balance --the balance between each individual’s autonomy and the public well-being, the balance between focusing on the present and always being asked to plan for the future, and the balance between investing our time and energy into becoming skilled practitioners and the famously important, ever elusive “work-life balance”. Yet despite the mentioned importance, each lesson often ends with the thought that “well, you just have to find the balance…”. ...continue reading

Beatrice Preti is an R2 in internal medicine at the Queen's University.

 

 

 

There were things I meant, but didn’t say
As I heard your heartbeat fade away
My stethoscope was on your chest
When you drifted off to eternal rest
I’d spent the whole night by your side
There was nothing left we hadn’t tried
But the drugs and tubes and shocks and lines
Bought you little extra time ...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.

 

 

as if you’ve already known

that it must be i

quiet i looking i

holding the heavy love

for us both

 

these giant holes of light

these hands wrecked with the small ...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)!

 

 

Sometimes

time tests our resilience.

 

We struggle with the urge to

no longer put ourselves second,

when every other second

is spent putting others first.

 

But we are reminded –

...continue reading

 Shez Kassam is a medical student in the class of 2019 at the university of Alberta

 

 

 

Across, eye to eye

Armchair, arm’s length

 

The heart suffers—pathologic

No monitors or stethoscope to be seen

...continue reading

 Sarah Silverberg is an R1 in OBGYN at UBC and an intern at St. Paul's Hospital.

 

Please let me take your history.

I know the triage nurse and the emergency physician already asked you many of these same questions. But humor me -- let me ask them too. After all, I was asked to see you by the emergency doctor who saw you. They knew I would ask you these questions, and felt it was necessary. They referred you to me, and like it or not, you’re now under my care.

I am the resident that was asked to see you. You ask me if you could see the real doctor. Unfortunately, I am the real doctor. At least, I am a doctor; one of the country’s medical institutions has granted me an MD. And while I know what you mean – that you don’t want to see the resident, and that you want to skip ahead directly to the attending – at this moment I can’t make that happen. My attending sent me down to see you because I’m the one on consult service. My staff is in the operating room, or managing the ward, or reviewing the three other consults we’ve been asked to see this evening with other residents and students. You’d be waiting a while longer if I didn’t see you.

...continue reading

 Ashleigh Frayne is a Family Medicine (R1) at the University of British Columbia.”

 

 

 

The pavement darkens as the chill of the night settles

Stretched across the lap of the day, a shadow cat

Moving swiftly down the street, between pools of light

Cast by warm windows, freeing the damp of evening

To reach long fingers down my spine, the sigh of today.

I rub my eyes, crusted with the dread of tomorrow.

...continue reading