Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Personal Narratives

  • On the way to school

    Mary Jumbelic Syracuse, New York, United States   Illustration by Joshua Jumbles. Published with permission. A thin line of blood oozed from a shallow cut in the skin, like the first stroke of an artist’s brush on a blank canvas. The second and third incisions intersected the first to form a large Y-shape. Sanguinous fluid…

  • A moment of philosophy

    Nishitha Bujala Hyderabad, Telangana, India   Photo by cottonbro from Pexels I seem to be in a constant state of anxiety these days. With my one-year plans and goals seemingly disrupted by the pandemic, my medical licensing exams postponed, my ability to focus shrunk to the size of a peanut, my interest to study equaling…

  • Early lessons

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Virginia Emergency Room, image from “Historic VCU: A VCU Images Special Collection” VCU Libraries from Richmond, VA, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons Finally, it was my first day in a US hospital after studying medicine in Europe for five and a half years. A medical education at the…

  • Rehearsing lines

    Catalina Florina Florescu Hoboken, New Jersey, United States   Coffee Queen. Iulia Şchiopu. Permission granted by artist. CHARACTERS: Eve Ana TIME AND SETTING: Now, here. Two women are seated on a bench. That’s all you need to know. Plus that their name is a palindrome. Mirrored names. Make what you want out of this.  …

  • The tortoise and the hare: a pandemic perspective

    Pranita Rao  Pune, India   The Tortoise and the Hare. Illustration From The Æsop for Children, by Æsop, illustrated by Milo Winter. Project Gutenberg.  “Are you ready to lose again?” smirked the hare, looking down at the tortoise who was warming up for their weekly running challenge. The tortoise spent his days training body and mind to win races against the…

  • Life and death of a dog

    Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe  Dundee, Scotland   Photograph of Petra, courtesy of the author.   We learn from the life and death of family pets, a microcosm of our own existence. We nurtured Petra, a guide-dog puppy, in our family home for more than a year, after which we handed her over for her formal training. She was…

  • When I heard the learn’d epidemiologist

    Dean GianakosLynchburg, Virginia, United States Sitting on the maroon recliner in my den, I am having trouble concentrating on the epidemiologist who is talking on the television. He points to a Covid hot zone on a color-coded map of the United States. The screen changes before I can locate Virginia. Were we brown, or yellow?…

  • Cancer warrior

    Thanuja Subramaniam Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia   Photo by cottonbro from Pexels  Eight months ago, my brother was diagnosed with stage 2 urothelial carcinoma. For months he had been telling me that his urine had “a tinge of red” to it. I dismissed it as dehydration, since he was young but did not take good care of himself. Some…

  • 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,…

  • Sanderson’s Thumb and the end of an eponymous era?

    Kit Green Sanderson Canada   A thumb exhibiting a positive “Sanderson’s Thumb” sign. Photo by the author. If you are in the medical profession, you have likely heard of the Babinski reflex or McBurney’s point, but have you ever heard of Sanderson’s thumb? No? Let me explain . . . Sleep deprived, overworked, and two…