Tag: death

  • In Memoriam

    There are many reasons why I love medicine.  One of them is the ability to dig into the real “stuff” of human existence: life, death, suffering, love, pain, loss, redemption.  Another is the speed by which I can get down and dirty.  In less than fifteen minutes, I can go from being a complete stranger to…

  • Birthdays In Absentio

    I’m somewhat used to Facebook catching me by surprise by now.  A friend (or two or three) has a new girlfriend.  And is now engaged.  With children.  Usually it happens to people that I’m tangentially friends with or to those with whom I’ve lost touch over the years.  Occasionally I will feel particularly disquieted by…

  • Leave It There

    “I thought I could beat the ICU, you know?”  My resident looked into the distance abstractly as he spoke, talking more to himself than to me.  “Sometimes you think you won’t let it get you down, but you can’t.  It always wins.” I wondered what he meant by winning.  Did he mean getting to leave…

  • Preparing to Die

    She was like so many other patients I had seen: thin, pale, elderly, and short of breath.  The oxygen mask and its large ballooning bag seemed unnatural and almost comically oversized on her face, obscuring everything but her eyes and the dusky, blood-matted hair plastered to her forehead.  She squeezed the bag, hungrily trying to…

  • The Sounds of Joy

    It is with a certain and indescribable heaviness of heart that I write this entry today.  Never has my soul felt as wooden or as unrevivable as it does now, for never have I had to let go of a friend.  I have been blessed with many great friendships in life, most of which have…

  • A Reflection on the Anatomy Lab

    Originally delivered March 1, 2007 at the Anatomy Lab Memorial Service. In preparing for this reflection, there were many sensations that came to mind: the dryness of dread in my mouth on that first day of lab, the sharp snap of latex gloves, the lingering smell of disinfectant on my hands, the gritty knot in…