What are you looking for?

Tag: doctor as patient

In Sickness and in Health

Larry Zaroff

Four months after having a knee replacement, I stumbled into the bathroom at three AM, not fully awake, hoping to urinate.

Losing my balance, I fell. The result was a compound fracture of my left leg–the one with the prosthetic knee. 

Gazing at my shiny white kneecap, I lost all logic, all control. I simply cried. 

At eighty, I was unprepared for this unexpected anatomy lesson: my twenty-nine years as a surgeon had

Read More »

Retrospective

Jack Coulehan

Forty years passed. His body replaced
its cells, with the exception of his heart’s
persistent pump and the mushroom-like paste
of his brain. Only scattered synaptic charts
of his internship remain, etched in myelin,
a few of them deeply. Nonetheless, a dried
umbilical cord connects that powerful womb
to the aging man, across a gulf as wide
as imagination. He doubts there’s a thread
to follow, a blockaded door to open,
or a

Read More »

Illness 101

Madeline R. Sterling

My time as a medical student is quickly coming to an end. Later this month, along with hundreds of my fellow seniors across the country, I will receive a medical degree.

This past winter, with nearly four years of arduous study, countless examinations and numerous clinical rotations under my belt, I couldn’t help but think, Yes, I’m ready to be a doctor.

And then I became a patient.

Read More »

Cold Comfort

Mary T. Shannon

Leaning against the hospital bed’s cold metal rails, I gazed down at my husband lying flat on his back. Under the harsh fluorescent ceiling lights, his olive skin looked almost as pale as mine. 

We’d been in the outpatient unit since 6:00 am for what was supposedly a simple procedure–a right-heart catheterization to assess the blood

Read More »

Physician, Heal Thyself

Randy Rockney

After a long day’s work as a pediatrician at an academic medical center in Providence, RI, nothing says “relief” like a visit to my therapist. I don’t see him often, but he has helped me through many life transitions. I think we both agree with the Buddhist precept that the only constant in life is change.

One evening after work, a couple of years ago, I arrived early in the neighborhood of

Read More »

Stepping Back From the Edge

Bill Ventres

I can walk.

It’s not pretty. It’s not easy. It’s not without assistance. But I can walk.

Six weeks ago, I wasn’t able to walk. A few days before that, I’d begun a visit to the city of Antigua, in Guatemala, and was enjoying its colonial ambiance with friends.

Then, after a brief bout of sore throat, I contracted Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that afflicts the peripheral nervous system. My body’s defense

Read More »

Food

Joanne Wilkinson

I have a stress test nearly every year. I do this because my mother dropped dead of a heart attack when she was thirty-six, and now I am thirty-five.

They stick EKG leads on me, and for weeks I have blotchy red circles on my skin where it’s reacted to the adhesive. I run on the treadmill. Sometimes the cardiologist scans my heart and arteries with ultrasound; other times, he injects me

Read More »

Toothache

Majid Khan

I always look forward to meeting new patients–and I confess that I have a particular fondness for young patients. They are, you see, at the point in their lives where everything is possible. It’s possible to have fun when other people might feel upset, possible to enjoy oneself on Friday night after a hard week of work (or study) rather than complaining about being too tired. I love sharing in their dreams, their

Read More »

Affected

Jessica Tekla Les

During my third year of medical school I was performing a routine breast exam, more for practice than anything else. I was trying the concentric-circles-around-the-nipple technique, one of several I’d been taught. About halfway through the right breast I found a lima-bean-sized lump, not far from the breastbone. I took liberties with this particular exam. I poked the lump, tried to move the lump, squished down on the lump. 

I took such

Read More »

Dr. B Gets an F

Gregory Shumer

Flashback to a year ago: I’m a first-year medical student–a fledgling, a novice–trying to integrate countless facts into a coherent understanding of how the human body works. Professors slam me with two months’ worth of information inside of two weeks’ time. They tell us that this is a necessary process, one that all doctors must go through: we must first learn the science of medicine before we can master the art of healing.

Read More »

Steep Sledding

Jonathan Han

“Don’t worry,” my doctor said.

I barely heard what he was saying; lying there in the hospital bed, I was caught up in contemplating the diagnostic procedure I was scheduled to have the next morning.

“With these anesthetics,” he continued, “you won’t feel or remember a thing after it’s over.”

“Okay,” I answered weakly, signing the consent form with unaccustomed legibility. But could I really forget the emotional trauma of

Read More »
Scroll to Top