Category: Authors

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Crisis

“Is THIS a crisis?” I find myself asking this question everyday, ever since the hospital said it was so. Was it a crisis when she died last week? Or was it last month? We thought we brought her back but it didn’t work, not for long, and I can still hear her husband…

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Shaken

I went to pick up a disposable blue gown today as I have countless times this week, month, year, decade. In doing such a mindless and ordinary task, this time for “ordinary” diseases, I was suddenly hit by a series of flashbacks: delicately laying masks on a single paper towel, triple checking my gown ties and face shield before entering a room, standing watch outside patient rooms to coach staff in donning and doffing…

I froze in place for a few seconds and felt my pulse race. A few seconds of deep breathing and of anticipating the chest tightness… and the feeling of being overwhelmed slowly faded away, leaving only the usual alarms and beeping and dinging that characterize any typical hospital floor. It was brief and silent and I went on with my work day.

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Compassion Fatigue

What does compassion fatigue feel like?

“I am just getting through the day,” I tell myself. “I will do my job and do it well and go home to my family. On time.”…

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God Only Knows

I grew up steeped in a very specific religious tradition, namely a Chinese-American-contemporary-evangelical-Christian-neo-Calvinism, and so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the algorithms of Netflix and Facebook led me to watch “A Week Away”, a fairly superficial teen drama musical about (of all things) a summer Christian camp. While many…

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A bottle of Coke

I used to love drinking Coke. It has been my favorite soft drink since an off handed conversation with a new classmate & friend​during orientation to college, in which he so enthusiastically described being from Atlanta “and of course I’m loyal to Coke” which got me thinking for the first…

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Covid, Community, and Me

…the experiences of this past year have changed me profoundly and in ways I still do not yet understand. It means some days I can feel my brain nod along to the evidence and statistics that, through immunization, my risk of getting it again and becoming severely ill are virtually nil, and yet still reflexively reach for the mask and sanitizer in my pocket. It means some days I am happy to shake your hand and others I may involuntarily pause or stand a few feet further than I need to, frozen by an anxiety that is often unpredictable and bewildering. It means some days I am all smiles and laughter and some days I am expressionless and tired. It means some days I am overwhelmed by painful memories and some days I am seeking to create new and joyful ones. It means that I am sorry if there are times my actions and mood catch you by surprise; I am usually more surprised than you…

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Graduation: the Fifth Floor

This address was given for an Internal Medicine residency graduation event on June 3, 2021. It is lightly edited for clarity and the scripted portion is below. What does it mean to graduate in the year 2021? Future generations of residents will undoubtedly ask you, “What was it like to train…

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Fatherhood

It was hard to hear him over the rhythmic humming of the ventilation, so I leaned in as his other classmates filtered out of the room. “How do you be a dad?” As a pediatrician, most of the questions I am asked are technical ones. What is this rash? How do you change the…