Tag Archives: Personal Narratives

When there’s no plug to pull

Darcy H. Sternberg New York, New York, USA   On the Waves of Love. Edvard Munch, printed by Otto Felsing. 1896. The Art Institute of Chicago. At night I lie awake on the living room sofa staring at the moon, envying its constancy. Change had eaten up our lives. My husband, Marty, and I met […]

Lost in translation

Jonathan Xian Houston, Texas, USA   Two Human Beings. The Lonely Ones. Edvard Munch. 1894. The Art Institute of Chicago. At the start of residency, you should make a list of five things you value most and think carefully about which ones you can live without. Cross them off one by one until only one […]

Gingerbread

Olga Diganchina Astana, Kazakhstan   “Happy Memories” by Ekaterina Chingilidi. 2014. Published with Permission. The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. -Mark Twain   Patients had mostly become faceless for me. I had treated and discharged so many of them as […]

Appendicitis: a teenager’s insight

Berklee K. Cohen Clarksville, Maryland, United States   Berklee and his sister displaying their appendectomy scars in front of the community hospital where they underwent surgery. If we have enjoyed good health for most of our lives, we often take that health and happiness for granted. An event occurred during summer break that enabled me […]

Learning anatomy in medical school

Peter H. Berczeller Dordogne, France   Dissection An excerpt from Dr. Peter Berczeller’s memoir, “The Little White Coat.”   On the second day of medical school, we were invited to meet the cadaver we would be working on for the next six months. I trooped up with the rest of the class into a large […]

Letter to my body

Tereza Crvenkovic Sydney, Australia   Me with My Body (author). Photographer: Lenny Christou Dear Body, Here we are clinging to this rope, swinging from side-to-side, above this great big stage with its pitch-black backdrop. Anything could happen to us. Anything. How did it come to this? How did we get here? I do not have the […]

My mother and Proust

Dean Gianakos Lynchburg, Virginia, USA   “Mom, one day I’m going to write a story about you. I’ve already picked out a title: “My Mother and Proust,” I laugh. I look at her face, hoping for a smile. Before my eighty-six-year-old mother developed Parkinson’s dementia a few years ago, she would have laughed with me. […]

Distant memories of medical school – 1950-1954

Martin Duke Mystic, Connecticut, USA   The New York University School of Medicine, 28th Street Building on First Avenue, New York City, opposite Bellevue Hospital, circa 1951. How sweet the silent backward tracings! The wanderings as in dreams—the meditation of old times resumed—their loves, joys, persons, voyages. —Memories by Walt Whitman (1819-1892) 1   It […]

Pitch dark

Ochiche Nnenna Ijeoma Lagos, Nigeria    Pitch dark before midnight I had observed many surgical operations  as a medical student so I knew what to expect. The rules about changing clothes and footwear, the strict hand washing routine, the complex method of putting on the aprons, gowns, and gloves had been drummed into my ears […]

Immigrating to the in-between

Maia Evrona Massachusetts, USA    Photo courtesy of Maia Evrona “But you have an accent. Where are you from originally?” I have learned to expect this question whenever I make a new acquaintance, whether the meeting occurs outside of the United States or in my home state of Massachusetts. There are few experiences more surreal than […]