Personal Narratives | Hektoen International

The ghosts of yesteryear

Sarah Howard Boise, Idaho (Winter 2018)   “National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Mercy Hospital,” Idaho State Historical Society, August 14, 2014, accessed January 9, 2018, Mercy_Hospital_14000504.pdf Some old buildings are drenched in mystery, regardless of their intended purpose or how many times they have been remodeled. .  I have often considered that […]

An autoimmune love story

Megan Giller Brooklyn, New York (Winter 2018)   Our relationship with our bodies is the most constant, most intimate we will ever have. (Image courtesy of Flickr) When I was twenty-three, my body attacked my liver. My doctor checked me into the hospital and my boyfriend and I broke up. That year, the year my body snatched my […]

My little old lady

Nestor Ramirez-Lopez Champaign, IL (Winter 2018)   Picture of a typical ambulatory street vendor with foldable box and a rolling carrier. Source: In Colombia, as in other third-world countries, it is common to see street vendors of many types of goods. On Sundays and holidays, they concentrate around cinemas, sports arenas, the bullfighting ring, […]

Is it legal yet?

Sarah Bigham Frederick, Maryland (Winter 2018)   In Flux, 2015. Painting by Sarah Bigham When I first embarked on this trip, I did not want to take to the land of chronic pain, with diagnoses as my expanding luggage. I only thought I had not worked hard enough to find the right medical specialist to […]

Win or Lose

Ashley Austin Charlottesville, VA (Winter 2018)   It was my second month of trauma surgery and the deer-in-the-headlights look had not completely faded. I sat in the surgery resident lounge area finishing up some post-operative notes. The trauma pager and walkie-talkie weighed heavily on my hip. It was not the physical weight, but the weight […]

Daniel’s clock

Yong Wei Gabriel Berlin, Germany (Winter 2018)   In memory of Daniel Chong (1965-2001) A hydrocephalic skull, Richard Bright. Reports of medical cases selected with a view of illustrating the symptoms and cure of diseases by a reference to morbid anatomy (1827). Online source: Wellcome Collection My cousin Daniel was born in perhaps the most medically […]

Pink Skies

Gurbaksh Shergill Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Flint, MI (Fall 2017)   I stared silently out the window and took in my surroundings. The sun was slowly making its way into the sky, stretching as if waking up from a long slumber. The gold and pink tones of the sky were still hiding […]

Body matters

Grace Lucas Cambridge, UK (Fall 2017)   Thinking from the ground up I had this friend once. She was around for a long time – years.  I do not remember the first time I met her, but suddenly she was there, omnipresent. She was thrilling and intoxicating to be with, and made me feel high, […]

Fifty years on an Englishman recalls Cook County Hospital

Simon Cohen University College London Hospitals (Fall 2017)   Cook County Hospital, Chicago, IL In 1968 I was a senior registrar at a London teaching hospital. My ambition was to become a staff member at a major London institution and at that time one of the requirements was a qualification known as the BTA (Been […]

Metaphor, memory, and my grandmother’s hands

Gregory O’Gara New Jersey, US (Fall 2017)   Stir of Memories, 2017 Oil on canvas, private collection of Gregory O’Gara Sometimes when it rains, the droplets are barely perceptible. There is no fog or mist, no thunder, no presage. I sat outside looking upward. There was nothing discernable in the darkness of the sky except […]