Sharing personal experiences of giving and receiving health care

The Last Beat

It was midmorning at the hospital where I was a clinical medical-surgical instructor. I was standing at the medications cart with Sally, one of my third-year nursing students. One of the floor nurses approached.

“You have Anna in Room 44, don’t you?” she asked Sally.

Sally nodded.

“You better go in there,” continued the nurse. “She doesn’t look too good.”

Read More »

Time Splintered

Time fractured when my first husband died.

There was a before, which no longer existed, and an after, which was unimaginable.

In between, the thinnest–unfathomably thin–line, was the today. The today meant putting one foot in front of the other. One today led to the next today. And finally the year was over.

Read More »

Love Is the Key

Collecting dust on the rustic wooden shelves above a sturdy workbench in my basement are models of history-making ships, spaceships and military fighter planes. There’s an enormous replica of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, complete with iconic NASA logo and a massive orange fuel tank nestled next to its launch tower. Not far off is a black-and-brown plastic replica of the forty-four-gun frigate USS Constitution, its hull held together by two gigantic bolts.

Their maker has been gone for four years, but I can’t throw them away. They hold the precious memory of my husband Don, who spent hours gluing, painting and sometimes not so patiently putting pieces together.

Read More »

More Voices

Every month readers tell their stories — in 40 to 400 words — on a different healthcare theme.

Me, Too

January 2023

Connections

December 2022

Emergencies

November 2022

New Voices

Stories by those whose faces and perspectives are underrepresented in media and in the health professions.

Double Take

Sauntering into the dark hospital room, I was dazzled by my patient’s radiant smile. It spanned her face and crinkled her eyes; her crooked teeth peeked through her lips, making her seem approachable and kind.

“Hi, Ms. Radha, I’m a third-year medical student,” I said. “Is this an okay time to chat? I’m here on behalf of the psychiatry department.”

Read More »

Us and Them

I am a second-year medical student—an older medical student, married, with a five-year-old boy and a baby. In medical school, people like me are called nontraditional—a euphemism for peculiar, different.

Today a group of my classmates and I have gathered, wearing our white coats, at a basketball court in Barrio Bélgica, in the south of Puerto Rico, where I’m completing my first two years of medical school. We’re here to visit with some of the local people as part of our Community Medicine course.

Read More »

A Heart to Heart

One unusually wintery April morning, when I was fifteen, my maternal grandfather (“Nanabhai” to me) passed away.

The phone call came before my sister and I left for school. My father solemnly handed the phone to my mother, who’d been expecting the call, but not this soon. From my seat at the kitchen counter, I watched her expression morph from shock to disbelief to grief. Without hearing a word, I knew what had happened.

Read More »

Join the 10,000+ who receive Pulse weekly

Sign up to get Pulse delivered to your inbox every Friday or energize your subscription with a tax-deductible donation. 

Poems

Acute Behavioral Crisis

“Who am I, do you know me,” she cries,
this day when earth has turned to rot and mud.
she can not see but for the blaze of anger,
she can not hear the softer voices calling.

Read More »

EKG

We’re together in the kitchen when you say
you talked to your new doctor,
the one who ordered up an EKG
because he said he’d heard a skip, a stutter.

Read More »

The Weight of the Soul

Dr. MacDougall measured the weight
of a human soul by placing a man
on a sensitive scale just before death
and weighing him a second time after.

Read More »
Scroll to Top