Body Electric | Spring 2017 Body Electric | Spring 2016 - Page 20

20 Body Electric / Spring 2016

ugust 11th, 2014: Yesterday on my lunch break, as was requested of me by G, my third

patient on psych, I went outside to the smoking area where I found him with his

precious recently re­claimed guitar, and he played me a song of his own composition. I

think all the bystanders were probably laughing at me during this bizarre serenade but if this isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing as a useless medical student I don’t know what is. His voice was muffled and out of tune but his fingers were steady.

August 16th, 2014: It’s the day after her court case, and J, my second patient on psych, greeted

us linear and friendly this morning. “Were you two there at court?” – of course we were there.

You stared holes through our hearts. “The doctors lied, and I’m still here. Do you see all these

bugs?” At community meeting, she brought in the napkin in which – “Dear Doctors,” – she had collected her entomological evidence of maltreatment.

September 3rd, 2014: My edges are curling and warping like a good book shoved harshly in my

backpack yesterday, pulled out now with a sigh and sadness, an undeniable and inexplicable

sense of wrongness rising within me and throughout me that I am not closed properly, that I am

seeping and leaking out and in. I know my boundaries are in disrepair.

I feel this way because I sometimes wonder if I am on the wrong side of that locked door. Sitting

with the patients comes so much easier to me than gathering up my loose ends to form a plaster

case of confidence and professional to walk around in, in the company of the medical team. The

patients talk and splatter, their loose ends falling all around us, and I can see the knots that

they’ve been tied into, and recognize the way they stumble over these knots in the bruises I’ve

gotten stumbling over mine. I suss them out. I listen.

Sometimes the knots are dark and tarry, and they make me afraid.

At home every day I effuse. My husband watches and listens as my curling edges weep and seep.

I recognize pressured speech as it falls out of my mouth and psychomotor agitation as it colors

my hands. My husband says, “You seem so happy, and so sad.” I feel I can never leave and

never come back.

November 29th, 2014: Yesterday afternoon on the medicine wards I met a woman for the first time and asked if she was comfortable and then twenty minutes later she was gone. I went in with the team after to help pronounce her (“There’s no family so it’s a good teaching opportunity,” my senior said) and she was still warm, no corneal reflex, pupils fixed and dilated.

I felt like a balloon, inflated to breaking point with a buzzing languish that clouded my senses.

Her sister had only been a few minutes away.

December 6th, 2014: Two codes this morning already. Running through the halls and stairwells

to get to whatever cursed location was announced finally feels like it looks in the movies, except

on your TV screen the dreadful adrenaline doesn’t hit you like a bus; it doesn’t try to push tears out of your eyes.

my third year, in moments with patients

(exerpts from a med student's journals)

Monica Samelson

Class of 2017

A