Current Weather
The Spy FM

‘Why You? Why Now?’ A Med Student’s Journal

Filed by KOSU News in Science.
July 13, 2013

I guess doctors, especially doctors-in-training, have to get used to sudden, inexplicable endings. You are trained to heal. That’s the goal, that’s the point. But every so often, you don’t win. Something you didn’t see coming, comes. I don’t know which hurts more, the ‘suddenly’ or the ‘why?” If the patient is clearly dying, it’s easier. You can prepare. But if a patient is mending, then the questions Shara asks in this quiet poem she wrote on her blog at Scientific American, This May Hurt A Bit, can boomerang, “why you? why now?”

Shara Yurkiewiecz is a third year medical student in Boston. She writes about what it’s like to be in training. She wants to do this doctoring thing well, but she doesn’t always know how. She feels so much. The stakes are huge. Sometimes, as you’ll see here, she is simply stunned.


By Shara Yurkiewicz

We met on my birthday and your age trailed mine by a week. Your past medical history bare, you let me see you sick. You let me feel the margins of your spleen, your sexual history, your confusion over why this and why you and what now and what next.

I hated the political sticker on your phone and your fever, untouched by medications and the number of times I told you I didn’t know. “People think I’m weird, don’t they?” you asked me. Finally, an answer I knew “Yeah.” Your immune system or your travel history or your damn bad luck.

I punctuated your sleep as a broken alarm clock not set by you, plus or minus 7 am.

Questions through a fog of semi-consciousness, penlight in pupils, hammer on knees, wandering stethoscope on chest and back.

You told me why you lay awake at night, afraid of falling unconscious and staying there. I told you why I hated medicine, to please not tell anyone and you didn’t.

“I don’t mean to sound negative,” you told me. When?

Was it when you cried when you learned to rewiggle your toes? Was it when you laughed when I helped you walk with tiny steps with wobbling gait while looking down at feet that couldn’t quite feel the ground? Was it when you promised that you would rock climb again?

Was it on the last day I saw you? Standing up for the first time. Clothes on over your gown for the first time. Your silhouette against the afternoon sun, ready to walk out into it on a healed body. You did for the first time.

Two sundowns go by and I awaken at 6 am. My unbroken alarm clock urges me out of bed to the hospital where you lie in bed unawakening. For the next hour I brush my teeth, dress, walk, hum, while one mile away they pound on your chest.

I arrive at the hospital as you leave. Plus or minus 7 am.

Wherever you are now, I remember where I left you. Standing with the sun against your back. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

10AM to 11PM On Point

On Point

On Point unites distinct and provocative voices with passionate discussion as it confronts the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.

Listen Live Now!

11AM to 12PM The Story

The Story

The Story with Dick Gordon brings the news home through first-person accounts. The live weekday program is passionate, personal, immediate and relevant to listeners, focusing on the news where it changes our lives, causes us to stop and rethink, inspires us.

View the program guide!

12PM to 1PM Fresh Air

Fresh Air

This one-hour program features Terry Gross' in-depth interviews with prominent cultural and entertainment figures, as well as distinguished experts on current affairs and news.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center