Month: November 2021

A New Pulse Feature: New Voices

Dear Pulse readers,
I have exciting news to share.
Events of the recent past have prompted national soul-searching about the impact of racism and other systemic and unconscious biases upon ourselves, our society and our global community. We at Pulse have always invited minority viewpoints, but we know that there’s more to be done–like making that invitation more clear and consistent, and making sure that our staff reflects our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Thank You, Scientists

Today, I am grateful. After eighteen months of fear, uncertainty, anger, weariness and despair — today, I feel hope. It is finally the day that the two youngest members of my immediate family have been vaccinated against COVID-19, making our family circle of protection complete. 

As a pediatric hospitalist, I have seen plenty of acute COVID and MIS-C. I have nearly lost my mind trying to home-school my children in the early days of the pandemic, while also working full time.

Life Is Good, Even When It’s Not

Each morning when I wake, my first thoughts are of gratitude—for the soft bed in which I lay, deliciously warm as I pull my down comforter around my shoulders.

Yes, I may also be experiencing nausea, diarrhea, neuralgia, an acne-like rash reminiscent of my teenage years covering my face and bald head, and the permanent swelling in my left arm from lymphedema. The side effects of cancer treatments seem endless.

Perspective

I have a patient who is very close to my heart. She started seeing me when I was first able to have patients on my panel as an intern. She hadn’t seen a doctor in quite a few years and was working hard to get her health straightened out. She was in a healthy relationship with her significant other; had four children with whom she had an excellent relationship; and had an overall positive outlook on life.

After the Fall

It is a chilly January night, a week after New Year’s and a few days after my twenty-fourth birthday. I’m halfway through my third year of medical school and have just started my clerkship on the hospital’s trauma unit.

I’ve been dreading this experience; I’m on twenty-four-hour call, and my heart sinks every time the pager goes off.

No Frost on the Pumpkins

We have lived along the shoreline of Lake Erie for thirty years, and in that time our climate has noticeably changed.

When we first moved here, we had to bring our outdoor potted plants indoors in mid-September, to protect them from frost. It’s now November, and many of our potted plants are still outside. My canna lilies are still in the ground, still blooming red, with no frost damage on the leaves. Today it is snowing for the first time this year,  weeks later than usual, and we still we haven’t had a frost.

A Kick of Gratitude

When I finally called and told my in-laws that I was six-and-a-half months pregnant with a baby boy, they were over the moon! I had lost two babies as miscarriages before my son and daughter were born, so I was wary of breaking the news early. We decided to name him after my dad Joseph, as my oldest was named after my father-in-law!

A few days later, working as a nurse in a local hospital, I went in to help one of the nursing attendants put a patient on a stretcher.

Amen

Gratitude? I’m measuring it in numbers these days.
Two inches of hair now sprout from the bare patches on top of my head. To be honest, when I look in the mirror first thing in the morning, I don’t feel all that grateful. An unfamiliar shape stares back at me, one that looks a bit like a tufted titmouse. That’s the front view. The rear view resembles an abandoned bird’s nest swirling around the crown.

Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer

I was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer after three weeks in the hospital, not being able to eat or drink. All that time I had a nasogastric tube that caused a dry sore throat, yet I was grateful for having the tube because it eased my abdominal pain.

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