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
Dr. Carol Ann Courneya is an Associate Dean of Student Affairs at the University of British Columbia
SHATTERED by Sonam Maghera, Student, U of Ottawa Medicine
For the past eight years, the Canadian Conference in Medical Education (CCME) has acted as host to a fabulous medical trainee and practitioner art exhibit. Called White Coat Warm heArt, it celebrates coast to coast Canadian medical creativity.
CCME participants routinely visit the exhibit, seen by many as a sanctuary for reflection in an otherwise busy conference setting. There are benefits for the trainees and practitioners in making the art ...continue reading
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
I’d tell you how
when we sat in lecture learning about ...continue reading
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
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
Ally Fleming is a writer and publicist at Anstruther Press
Illness doesn’t end when you leave the doctor’s office. Affliction is carried, and pain is, as Shane Neilson writes, “a concerto in your back pocket.” As a writer with bipolar disorder and chronic pain, I’ve often felt utterly lost, blinded by what Rita Charon calls the “glare of sickness” . For many, the fundamental question of medicine is not how to be fixed (for it’s often not possible), but how to live one’s life, broken. Physician and pain researcher Shane Neilson’s trilogy of poetry collections from Porcupine’s Quill leads by example.
“Practitioners, be they health care professionals to begin with or not, must be prepared to offer the self as a therapeutic instrument," (p. 215) writes Charon in Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness. Neilson, with one foot perpetually planted in medical practice and the other in love, unflinchingly offers himself to his readers ...continue reading