Each morning, we coalesce in a sleepy fog, winding our way up two stories of spiraling stairs. At the entrance to the anatomy lab, refrigerated air heaves the sweet, pungent tang of formalin into somnific faces. The first blow lands hard, without fail. Fluorescent lights sting bleary eyes. Acrid fumes burn their way up nasal passages, down tracheas, through bronchi, and deep into the minute alveolar sacs of each pulmonary lobe, radiating an analgesic chill in their wake.
For you will be invincibleand vulnerable in the same breathwhich is the breath of your patientsFor their breath is our breathing and our reasonFor the patient will know the answerand you will ask himask herFor the family may know the answerFor there may be no answer-John Stone, “Gaudeamus Igitur: A Valediction”
I first learned to interact with poetry as a college freshman. Because I tested out of calculus, I was automatically signed up for a literature class focusing on medicine. I have always loved to read, but I was terrified of a 300-level English class. I had absolutely no useful academic background in the subject, but I did my best to keep calm. The course, along with subsequent courses in the medical humanities, turned out to be one of the highlights of my undergraduate career. With the help of engaging content and a dedicated professor, I learned to read, write and think. Most importantly, I learned that the act of seeking understanding is as important as acquiring definitive knowledge. Read more