Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: creative nonfiction

  • Danse of the virus

    S.E.S. Medina Benbrook, Texas, United States   HIV infecting a lymphocyte. © iStockphoto It is born with tens of thousands of identical brothers and sisters when the thin-walled, transparent, fatty bubble of their nurturing womb suddenly bursts—releasing them into the tumultuary rapids of the host’s bloodstream. It possesses no sense of self, no manner of…

  • Letting go of logic

    Nimisha Bajaj Columbus, Ohio, United States   Last Supper by Leonardo DaVinci. Photo by Paris Orlando. November 2019. Public Domain “He’s here for aspiration pneumonia. He doesn’t want a G-tube even though we tried to explain to him that if he continues to eat and drink by mouth, this will keep happening and he will…

  • In the heart of Damascus

    Kera PanniSeaside, California, United States Even as a child in the American suburbs, I knew my blood flowed from Syria. Relatives said my Jiddoo’s parents were farmers near Homs, and my Sittoo’s family was from the town of Mashta al-Helu in the coastal An-Nusayriyah Mountains. Still, I had only been able to create a fuzzy…

  • A lesson in physiology

    Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Waterfront Promenade, Thessaloniki, Greece. Photograph by the author. The contours are quite familiar, both to the eye and the touch. My hand strokes its counterpart, its twin sibling: they have been working together ever since I first saw the light of the day in this world. They have washed, clasped,…

  • There is power in the blood

    Mark Tan Northwest Deanery, UK   Vue du Cimetiere de Melegnano – le lendemain du Combat. (View of the Cemetery at Melegnano – the aftermath of combat.) “Carne fa carne e vino fa sango” [Meat makes flesh and wine makes blood] — Italian proverb   Laura was covered in blood when the paramedics arrived at…

  • Grit

    Romalyn Ante Wolverhampton, England   My mother is right—my brother’s blood is getting dirtier. A nurse like me, she had read the result of his glomerular filtration rate, a test that measures how well the kidneys clean the blood. It had dropped below 15, an indication that his chronic renal failure was reaching its end…

  • The Rh factor: An intertwined history

    Paula Carter Chicago, Illinois   Lucy Reyburn Rittgers and two of her daughters, circa 1948. Source: Family photo In 1924, Lucy Reyburn gave birth to her first child, a daughter she named Darlene. Lucy lived in Iowa and the birth was an embarrassment. She had become pregnant and hurriedly married a man who left before…