Tag Archives: Personal Narratives

The story of a scar

Michael Ellman Wilmette, Illinois, USA   Needle and thread stitching up a wound, artwork. By Mary Rouncefield. CC BY-NC The six-inch scar is high over my left femoral artery in my inner thigh. It is healing well now and is pain free. The scar marks the place where a vascular surgeon extracted a clot that […]

Dangerous inheritance

Merle Borg San Diego, California   Prehistoric Rock Paintings at Manda Guéli Cave in the Ennedi Mountains – northeastern Chad. Photo by David Stanley. 2015. CC BY 2.0. It was an ordinary accident. Two boys driving to high school had topped a hill too fast, and wedged their small pickup under a stopped truck. Hundred-foot […]

The night the troubles erupted in Belfast

Alun Evans Belfast, United Kingdom   John Daniel Alexander Robb, FRCS (1932-2018) Source: Mr. John Robb When I qualified in medicine at the Queen’s University of Belfast in 1968, Northern Ireland was a curious cocktail of sectarianism and garden parties. I soon discovered that winning the medal in surgery was not such a bright idea […]

To all the books that saved my life

Dannie Ong Melbourne, Australia   Ellison H. I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream. New York: Pyramid Publications; 1977. On the way to therapy, I am reading The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. I try not to think about the irony of it all – no job, no degree, not even a […]

When a medical student becomes a patient

Andrew Gallagher Burlington, VT   Student at a Table by Candlelight. Salomon Savery after Rembrandt van Rijn. 1642/65. The Art Institute of Chicago. Elliot pointed to the ultrasound monitor. “What is this?” he said slowly, trailing off. His finger was on the large, black sac occupying the entire bottom of the screen. We both said […]

The bulletproof doctor

Ammar Saad Ottawa, ON, Canada   The Last sleep of Arthur in Avalon is a 1880’s painting that depicts the deaths of Burne-Jones’s close friends which ignited his feelings of solitude and awareness of his own mortality. (By Edward Burne-Jones. Ponce Museum of Art, Ponce, Puerto Rico) I had been admitted to the Damascus University […]

Rethinking the impulse to empathize: A sister’s perspective on sympathy and stigma

Jeanne Farnan Pennsylvania, USA   Mary Cassatt, Mother Combing Sara’s Hair, 1901. Private collection. Web Gallery of Impressionism “I am so sorry.”  My youngest sister, Annie, was born during the spring semester of my first year of high school. These four words are etched into my memory, integrally intertwined with the events of that spring. […]

Avulsions

Torree McGowan Culver, Oregon, USA   The Chasm between the Then and The Now. Photo by the author, taken near Denali National Park. There are moments in life that serve as a dividing line. These instants sharply incise our worlds into before and after, the then and the now. Moments shimmer like a crystalline barrier, […]

Living with incidental cyberchondria

Theresa Danna Burbank, California, USA   Bioblasts. Credit: Odra Noel. CC BY-NC Before the Internet, if I had a pain in my chest, I would assume it was gas and then burp and move on with my day. After the Internet, if I have a pain in my chest, I panic and think, “That’s one […]

Self-esteem and skin diseases

Bebeyi Abiodun Nigeria   We don’t live forever, so let’s make those around us happy. African Global Pharma (AGP) When I was a little girl, I looked for angular objects to help me scratch my legs. The itch and disgust encroached on my everyday life. I always wore my socks pulled up even though it […]