55 Word Reflections on COVID-19

55 Word Reflections on COVID-19

This post was adapted from the University of Washington School of Medicine: https://faculty.uwmedicine.org/55-word-stories/. Likewise, the instructions used to solicit these reflections were adapted from Sheetz, A and Fry, M The Stories, JAMA 2000 Vol 283(15)1934.

Sharing our experiences in health care, especially during intense, emotional, or stressful times increases our connectedness and well-being. Hearing stories from others helps us know we are not alone, and strengthens our community. The authenticity, compassion, creativity, and bravery of our colleagues help us access our own emotions, and helps us carry on. 

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Linzy Kirkpatrick, M1, Class of 2023

The iridescent glow of cellophane windows

wraps the building in a blanket of fuchsia and blue,

a playful dance of colors that shift

as I walk past. It’s the first

of many similar days to come.

The corridors whisk me through a

playful maze, a tenuous

barrier between the parents

who wait for news and those of us who

witness it.

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Caps for Sale

Caps for Sale

David Embers – Class of 2020

Four-year-old David was a simple guy. He loved to eat, he loved to argue, but most of all, he loved to wear hats. He loved cowboy hats, baseball hats, and party hats. Any kind of hat. An odd obsession for sure, especially when his head was so egregiously large. Regardless, it was his first love. His favorite book to read at bedtime was Caps for Sale, a children’s book detailing the life of a cap peddler who was unique in that he wore all the hats he had for sale on his own head. My mom and dad must have read me that book a thousand times. I can still recite entire pages from memory. I spent hours thinking about how happy that hat salesman must have been. Considering its intended audience was pre-kindergarten, the book’s author likely did not anticipate impacting a reader so deeply, but that’s an issue to take up with pudgy, argumentative, cap wearing four-year-old David. How frustrating must it be to be my parents? You pick out some random book at the bookstore hoping your kid will fall asleep by page four like he does every other book. Instead, he forces you to re-read it over and over again. And then, the next day, when you need help putting away dishes, he’s standing there eating his eighth popsicle, daydreaming about how many hats he can balance on his head. Whatever my parents got paid to put up with me, it wasn’t enough. And yet, as it stands today, some twenty years later, I’m still thinking about that book. Popsicle in hand, I’m still thinking about what it really means to wear all the hats.

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The Tumor Board

The Tumor Board

Ben Harstine, M3, Class of 2021

Round the table
Sit one by one
We talk, we vote
Another decision done.
Sixty-five and sick
Tumor load too large
Surgery? No.
Chemo? No.
Radiation No.
It must be time to go on.
A tumor again
One more shot
Hope not lost,
Decisions begin