55-Word Stories Archive
Following the example of University of Washington, UAMS is making our Medicine and Meaning page a place to share our collective stories as we TOGETHER go through this strange time. These emotions of fear, anxiety, frustration but also of collegiality, courage and hope, have the potential to enhance our sense of belonging to a great healthcare institution. Knowing that others are going through similar emotions and share our humanity is helpful and can have a significant and lasting positive effect for all.
The rules, as stated in the 2000 JAMA article by Sheetz and Fry are as follows: to tell— preferably in 55 words exactly—a story that helps us to understand, or to appreciate, something about a patient or about the practice of medicine. Pieces may be shared anonymously.
If you are interested in sharing a short reflection (55 words or fewer – poetry or prose or mix) about how the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted you to understand, appreciate, or process something about the impact, response, or practice of medicine and healthcare at this moment, email your 55-word text to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We invite ALL members of the UAMS team to contribute across all professions and roles.
55 Words Archive
Stranger to Soulmate
She comes into my clinic, a stranger, and tells me she has cancer.
The Power of One
Europe’s been burning, Pakistan is drowning, but I’m only one person, so how can I make a difference?
Just a Drafty Old House?
“I sense intruders.”
“Are you sure? Windows closed. Doors shut.”
Humble and Proud
I cannot transplant your heart.
I cannot cure your cancer.
I cannot stop death.
Disclosures of Life
I haven’t seen death. Formaldehyde nostalgia. Different specimens.
Organisms are human.
Just go in and out of the patient’s room
Don’t let anyone know you are nervous.
The Story of One
On top of the overgrown milkweed, a single monarch
butterfly searches for a bloom, or nibbles on the leaf, or
perhaps deposits one egg.
Practicing Medicine During the Pandemic
I sit in the back office seeing patients through a video camera, safe.
If Only Coronaviruses Could Talk
I imagine myself visiting a lab. While there, I probed into the psyche – if there ever was one – of a coronavirus.
Our Best Selves
A pandemic brings out the truth of people.At first, toilet paper was hoarded and nobody cared about each other,But once times got tough, our humanity truly showed itself.Donations poured in and volunteers were in excess.Support small business was the community motto.When others are in need, we become our best selves. Hunter Augustus Ramey is a medical student at […]
Season of Guilt
I sit by my window peering down and smiling upon the empty streets.
United We Stand, Divided We Fall
Panic breaks loose. Fear sets in. What am I to do??? Frustration swells. Patience is lost with all. This is just one big overreaction!!! Flip a coin and see which team you will join. OR Take a step back, 6 feet or so, and meditate. Join hearts, not hands, with your community. We are one. […]
I do not want to forget this moment, the taste of close uncertainty, the clarity of mortalitythe weeping and weariness of the world. The sacrifice of heroes, the generosity of communities, the depth of hope, and of a calling realized, the joy in helping and of healing. The way the birds sing each morning. Kaitlynn Butler is a medical student […]
Celebrating together, six feet apart: Love in the time of the coronavirus
I couldn’t hug Madison Sunday. My beautiful, beloved granddaughter turned 12 that day. We’re very close; I’m both grandfather and father figure to her. She’s incredibly bright and wickedly funny. We celebrated together, six feet apart. She cried at the end, I turned away so she wouldn’t see my tears. I couldn’t hug Madison Sunday. […]
Fever! In the days of this COVID-19 pandemic, fever meant quarantine—or fourteen days of being away from any patient, colleague, friend or even spouse and being away from the hospital. The painful, lonely first few days gave way to walks, meditations, and detecting ducks, daffodils, daisies and dogwoods. Life was different but also beautiful. Paulette Mehta, M.D., is […]
The Doctor Who Makes House Calls
Ring. Ring. Video connects. “I see you! Can you hear me?!” Mr. Smith just purchased his first smart phone last month. He has access to his grandkids, beekeeping Youtube channel, and now his doctor from the comfort of his front porch. “Incredible!” He laughs, “I remember when doctors made a different kind of house call.” Victoria […]
Obsessions in the Age of COVID-19
The patient has OCD, main obsession: contamination. Our appointment is now online, like all others. I worry about her obsessions getting out of hand, her meds already maximized. “How are you?” “I’m alright. This is how I’ve been all my life. People are catching up to me.” No medication adjustments today, just take as prescribed. […]
The pastor told our congregation we will try virtual Mass. He reassured us we’re in this together with the guidance of the Lord. He turned to the deacon, who was a physician, for further reassurance. My family obliged the next Sunday. Despite no physical communion, technology brought us to church. The virus cannot impede worship. […]
Two Hands, Three Chapters—A COVID-19 Timeline for Practitioners
I. Two hands, extended upwards towards the heavens. How could this be? II. Two hands, palms up. One judging the weight of reality. This is serious, and none of us is immune. The other full of hope. We shall survive, as we are able. III. Two hands, together. Namaste. I honor you. My patient. My […]