The hierarchy in medicine is impossible to ignore. Medical students shuffle, interns survive, senior residents manage, and staff attendings command. Fortunately, these relationships have evolved over the last few decades and past feelings of authoritarianism have turned into mentorship.
The sociological concept of the “sick role” may absolve patients of responsibility for causing their illness. But it does not protect them from the stigma often associated with illness. Nor does it protect them from their own feelings and thoughts.
The Room by Jodi Paik (Fall 2016) and my artwork The Last Stand both examine medicine through the eyes of a child— a perspective not yet laden with the what-if’s, should-have’s, and if-only’s that come with growing up.
When something dramatic, threatening, and life-altering happens, chaos frequently ensues among those affected. While individuals struggle to incorporate the trauma into their lives, the relationships among them are inevitably strained.
Memory may seem even more mysterious when there’s less of it—why do we remember this and not that? Other times, it seems to make perfect sense, especially with Alzheimer’s patients, who often remember earlier memories and forget later ones.
Transitioning from a cross-cultural neophyte into a culturally competent warrior is a precarious and arduous process in medicine. It is typically a journey accomplished on one’s own with little guidance, training or support. It’s also a journey that requires deep self-reflection and the ability to objectively critique the culture of biomedicine.