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Anatomy Lesson

 
“Okay, it is time to move on,” my professor claps his hands together and yells above the chatter. We all look up from our Netter’s anatomy books and our cadavers. The smell of formaldehyde burns my nose as the fluorescent lights flicker above.

“We have explored the chest cavity and the abdominal cavity. It is now time to move onto the extremities, starting with the arms. I want you to unwrap the arms and study

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Untitled (A Medical Student’s First Patient)

I was terrified the first day of lab. Terrified of the slice of a scalpel through human skin. And, most of all, terrified of how I would react to the shock of making that first cut. 

I did make that first cut and many more afterward. I didn’t pass out, and eventually my heart stopped pounding when I picked up the scalpel. As time went on, we learned an impossible amount about the way

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Relay Race

 
I sit across from my sixty-year-old patient, whom I know to be a sprightly woman, although she is now busy scanning the floor with her eyes.
 
I place my hand over her interlaced fingers. “What’s the matter?” I ask. 

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Death Watch

Even dying, Dad fills the hospital bed. He’s a big man. His slumped body bears two bed sores, one on each leg. A matching set.
Once, he ruled me. A slap of one hand hand here. A smack of his other hand there. “I’ll give you something to cry about.”
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Careful Fingers

It was a Friday night in February. I was finishing up a poster for a conference on cancer genomics I had to attend the following Monday. As I worked, I thought about the possibility of making mistakes on the data analysis.

Gingerly, I went back to the raw data and repeated the process. Highlight this portion of the data. Make sure the data is valid. Copy and paste it into the statistical software.

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Rough Start

 
Approaching the hospital bassinet, I glimpse his hair first–long, carrot-colored fuzz sticking out in all directions from his pink, bowling-ball scalp. A chubby, scrunched face comes into view next, cherry-red lips forming a Cheerio and one eyelid wavering just enough to reveal a soft blue puddle beneath it.

Gingerly, I slide my hands under his sausage-like arms, my fingers cradling the doughy curves of his tiny neck, caressing the orange-yellow cornsilk on his occiput.

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los manos delaney

Las Manos de Cada Doctor

Marc Delaney

About the artist: 

“Originally from a small town in Upstate New York, I’m now in my fourth year at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, also in New York. I’m applying for residency programs in pediatrics. I graduated in 2013 from St. Lawrence University with a degree in biology.

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Meditating with My Stepdaughter

It was a Friday afternoon in May, a week before my stepdaughter died. I was holding a solo vigil on the couch next to her bed, while she slept peacefully.

Her hair had started growing back, soft and thick and gray. I loved to rub my hand across her head.

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The Making of Me

I was the new doc in a small country town. I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to do best for my new patients.

 

She was the town matriarch. She had multiple chronic illnesses. She had the power to make me or break me.

 

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A 3:00 a.m. Phone Call

 
When the phone rang at 3:00 a.m., as I reached out my hand to answer it I knew the call was bringing bad news. On the other end of the line, I heard my dad’s croaky, Parkinsonian voice stammer,”Rozzie, I’m so cold. Come here and help me; I can’t reach the blanket to cover myself.” It seemed like forever before he was able to squeeze out the additional information that he’d called the front desk

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White Coat Ceremony

 
What do you think medicine’s most powerful diagnostic tool is? A CAT scan, perhaps? An MRI?

No. Look at your hands. These will be the most important tools of your chosen profession.

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A Lifeline of Yarn

 
During my internship in general surgery, I had few opportunities to go into the operating room, yet I was itching to put my hands to work. I heard around the hospital that a transplant surgeon I admired was a talented knitter. So I signed up for a basic knitting class at Michaels craft store, learned my knits and purls, and began constructing lopsided scarves using inexpensive, scratchy acrylic Red Heart yarn. I was quickly addicted to my

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