Ronald Leung is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at McMaster University
“I think I’m dying,” one of my patients says to me one day. We stop, halting in the middle of the hallway of the inpatient acute psychiatry unit that leads toward the interview rooms in the back. She takes in my expression of concern and waves it away. “Not like that,” she laughs, launching into a monologue on the philosophical fragility of human existence. She is articulate beyond her years, just entering the second decade of her life.
She also reminds me of Jude. Despite the disparities in their age and appearance—she is a petite millennial with a distinct sense of style in contrast to middle-aged Jude with his crisp oxford shirts—the same strings seem to reverberate when they speak. ...continue reading
Zeenat Junaid is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at Bahria University in Pakistan
“How do you make leukemia visible?” Jo Spence asked herself.
A British photographer and educator, Spence was a transforming voice in the arts of the last century. Her documentary-style photo albums dealt with themes of class struggle, conformity, and feminism. In 1982, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. A few years later, leukemia also set in. This cancer was not just in her blood and bones — it had seeped into her existence. It hijacked her arteries of security; it exiled her into grey plains of isolation she had never known before. Her whole career, she had sought to catch that special look — that nuance in a scene that told another story. But could she capture this tyrant phantom of disease now in her photos? How to express something for which words falter? ...continue reading
Kayla Simms is a Psychiatry Resident (R1) at McMaster University who graduated from medical school at the University of Ottawa in 2017
Compartmentalization is to medical knowledge as bread is to butter: patients, divided into sub-types; the body, separated by systems; the physician, detached from the pain.
Or so I once thought.
In medical school, I walked into patients’ rooms and stood idly at the bedside, intimately embedding myself into the darkest spaces of strangers’ lives. The bedside, like a carpenter’s work bench, is where I mastered concepts of sound and touch: the absence of bowel sounds auscultated in an obstructed state. The warmth of inflammation against the back of my hand.
The bedside is where I grew accustomed to asking questions like, “How is your pain today?” and learned to de-humanize the experience with the help of a 10-point scale. ...continue reading
Shawn Katuwapitiya is a Psychiatry Resident (R4) at the University of Ottawa who graduated from medical school at Western University in 2014
This poem was performed at the 2017 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, where Shawn was acting as one of Ottawa's representatives from the Urban Legends Poetry Collective. He regularly publishes poetry at http://psychiatryproject.tumblr.com.
Maggie Hulbert is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at Queen's University
Imagine working in a hospital where a child is admitted and kept on the wards for seven years without being allowed to see their family. Now imagine being that child, and growing up to be an adult in today’s healthcare system. Would you ever set foot in a hospital again? Would you ever trust a doctor? These are the kind of questions that come to mind while reading Medicine, Unbundled: A Journey through the Minefields of Indigenous Health Care, a book written by investigative journalist Gary Geddes. By travelling across Canada and interviewing Indigenous leaders, Elders, and members of a wide variety of First Nations, Geddes provides a powerful account of how Canada’s historic Indian Hospitals and Tuberculosis Sanatoriums directly and intentionally contributed to the genocide of Indigenous people. ...continue reading
Cathy Li is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at the University of Toronto
"Doctor, what do you recommend for my grandmother's pancreatic tumour?" My heart was fluttering nervously as I scribbled down his suggestions. This was the third meeting I had arranged.
Growing up, I had a very close relationship with my grandmother and lived with my grandparents until I was six years old. I received the news of her diagnosis during my third year of university. The words “intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm” haunted me and echoed incessantly in my head for days; I could neither think nor focus. The feelings of powerlessness grappled to hold me down. Yet deep down, I was aware that simply being a passive bystander would be the greatest personal defeat. With that, a new wave of resilience inundated my thoughts. ...continue reading
Usman Khan is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at the University of Ottawa
Tharshika Thangarasa is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at the University of Ottawa
You find me:
Sprawled across the cold, dark asphalt.
Incoherent, incompetent, "incapable".
Hypotensive, bradycardic, cyanotic.
Overdosed. ...continue reading
Eleni Levreault is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at the University of Ottawa
They said medicine, when you begin,
Is like staring Mount Everest in the face.
You wonder how the mountain you climbed
Suddenly shrinks to a hill beside what is yet to come
Yet you start the climb;
This is what you’ve trained for, after all
And as summer turns to fall, the journey begins:
Genetics, anatomy, they consume all your time
As the snow settles in, the bell-ringers cease to chime ...continue reading
Yipeng Ge is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at the University of Ottawa
Having completed a handful of family medicine preceptorships and a few electives, I have had the opportunity to gain exposure to talking to patients one-on-one — and I am beyond excited to enter this field.
Learning about another human being and immersing yourself in their stories and concerns is a privilege — a chance to be present and to be there for them. I was fortunate enough to tag along on many patient home visits for my most recent family preceptorship session. ...continue reading
Ashleigh Frayne is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of Calgary
My neck aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My mind, as though clouded by sleeplessness,
Or cushioned by some dull opiate.
One hour past, and the labour ward darkens:
The softly buzzing lights overhead pulse
And seem to warn of Queen Mab:
Midwife to thoughts unbidden, ...continue reading