Kacper Niburski is a medical student in the Class of 2021 at McGill University. He is also the CMAJ student humanities blog editor. Follow his writing : .
ventricular septal defect
you would not understand
what it means to fall in love
with the blue
to come to pour it
to read it in the cracks of light under heavy spines
to see it in green marseille waters ...continue reading
Tharshika Thangaraa is a fourth year medical student at the University of Ottawa.
The sound of her alarm pulsated through her room. Startled, she awoke. It was just another day. As the fog of nighttime cleared, she felt the weight of everyday resurface. Gradually, they claimed their spot, perched atop her shoulders. She sunk deeper into her bed.
What would she wear?
How would it flatter her figure?
What would they think?
She managed to pry off the covers and make her way downstairs for breakfast. She poured herself a bowel of cereal and set the coffee to brew. She barely noticed the happy chirps of the morning songbirds or the vibrant petals of the summer flowers starting to bloom.
Beatrice Preti is an R2 in internal medicine at the Queen's University.
There were things I meant, but didn’t say
As I heard your heartbeat fade away
My stethoscope was on your chest
When you drifted off to eternal rest
I’d spent the whole night by your side
There was nothing left we hadn’t tried
But the drugs and tubes and shocks and lines
Bought you little extra time
Your path was clear right from the start
I had no cure for your sick heart
Yet you asked me to try, so I did my best
But, despite our efforts, things progressed
When the new dawn broke, your life did, too,
You never heard what I said to you
How I begged forgiveness, my quiet prayers,
You stared straight ahead, as if I weren’t there
Close to the end, you’d opened your eyes
Looked up with desperation, as if the skies
Would rain down mercy for your plight
But no salvation came on that fateful night
This was never our initial plan
We’d all seemed to understand
That you were dying and wanted peace
A soft and gentle, graceful release
But as your time was drawing near
You changed your mind. That much was clear.
You told me you were afraid to die
I said I’d help, but that was a lie
I didn’t share my other thoughts
That tied my stomach and heart in knots
I knew then that it was too late
Yet I donned my gloves, and fought with fate
I wrote the orders, increased the dose,
Pulled up a chair so I could be close
You had no family to stand by your side
Your rocky end was a solo ride
As the night grew thin, your breaths grew shallow
Your once-ruddy face turned blank and sallow
I never said I was sorry to you
By the time I could say it, the end was through
The dawn broke cruelly on the brand-new day
And all the things I meant, but didn’t say
Sarah Silverberg is an R1 in OBGYN at UBC and an intern at St. Paul's Hospital.
Please let me take your history.
I know the triage nurse and the emergency physician already asked you many of these same questions. But humor me -- let me ask them too. After all, I was asked to see you by the emergency doctor who saw you. They knew I would ask you these questions, and felt it was necessary. They referred you to me, and like it or not, you’re now under my care.
I am the resident that was asked to see you. You ask me if you could see the real doctor. Unfortunately, I am the real doctor. At least, I am a doctor; one of the country’s medical institutions has granted me an MD. And while I know what you mean – that you don’t want to see the resident, and that you want to skip ahead directly to the attending – at this moment I can’t make that happen. My attending sent me down to see you because I’m the one on consult service. My staff is in the operating room, or managing the ward, or reviewing the three other consults we’ve been asked to see this evening with other residents and students. You’d be waiting a while longer if I didn’t see you.
Kacper Niburski is a medical student in the Class of 2021 at McGill University. He is also the CMAJ student humanities blog editor.
yellow on the horizon
with a dark more total than
fingers moving in small steps
and smaller spaces
an ambulance is in the distance
your breathe is on my neck
what is this gall
how do you hold me
with all your living