Medical Humanities

Evaluating me, my attending writes,

Sometimes our strengths can also be
our weaknesses
and in OB-GYN, confidence can be taken as
arrogance.

I eat 32 chips ahoy cookies I find
six months after I first opened them
in the back corner of my kitchen cabinet,
behind cans of beans and tuna.
That same day, my neighbor’s daughter texts me
a photo of red bumps under her pubic hairs.
A bag of trash is the only thing in my refrigerator;
no time to take it out and it would have made
my apartment smell like dead people.

The people who die in hospitals—you see it
in their skin—grey and dry—two days before
it happens. My chief tells me to notify the family
but there was no one who cared, so I write it up.
A new patient sleeps in the dead patient’s old bed.
Just as soon as the morgue people leave
the nurse’s assistant changes the sheets and
mops the floors in bleach.

Doctors skip lunch. I do too
to put off the depression that smacks me
when I stop propelling patients from bed,
to diagnostic test, to operating room and
start propelling white bread and meat-mush
from esophagus to anus.

Featured image:
Bed by Alex

Sara Rendell

Sara Rendell is currently a medical student at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She volunteers and researches at the Penn Refugee Women's Clinic. Previously, she was a Fulbright Research Fellow to Burkina Faso, in West Africa, where she explored the ways in which Mossi women engage with the country's maternal health care system.. She received her BS in neuroscience from Saint Louis University.

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