Picture of Arnav AgarwalArnav 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)!




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 –

by the tender care of a mother

who reminds us of our own,

crying by her sick son’s bedside;


by the gentle cries of a healthy newborn

that we helped bring into the world,

breathing new life and joy into a family;


by the nervous energy in a young intern’s eyes

as they are surrounded by foreignness –

just like us, when we first walked into the hospital;


by the warm gestures of nurses and fellow-colleagues,

as they find a moment of laughter and joy,

encircled by sickness in the dead of night;


by the knowledge that at least one life, perhaps dozens

have breathed easier today, because we came to work –

because we cared enough.



time tests our resilience:

our ability to preserve ourselves

while we work to preserve others.


But it is the important reminders

in these oft small moments –

the magic in these apparent trivialities,

shared with patients and colleagues –


that give us the utmost fulfillment

and keep us rooted in caring for one another.