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.
Her first night on call she is assigned the care of a man with AIDS. He is rail thin, on the slow train to death. He was once a person just like her, but now he seems frightening, repulsive, and dangerous, although endlessly pitiful.
Rooms can confine us or give us a special place to inhabit. Hallways and corridors can lead us where we want to go or lead us astray. Two works in the Fall 2016 Intima, one fiction and one nonfiction, use these physical spaces to represent the emotional struggles that come with severe or mysterious illness.
The mechanical properties of the heart are well understood. Tricuspid valve calcification may lead to stenosis, resulting in myocardial hypertrophy and decreased cardiac output. On the other end of the spectrum, mitral valve prolapse may lead to eventual mitral regurgitation. Eventually, chronic tendinous injury to the chordae tendineae attaching the valve to the papillary muscles may occur, producing a flail leaflet. It is simple: the heart strings produce the music of harmony.
But what of discord? What of when the harmony fails us?
We learn in medical school to take full social, family and physical histories with a new patient. We use checkboxes to run down the list of points in each history. We are taught to be thorough and document each answer. Often though, between the checkboxes and lists, the patient’s story is forgotten.