A Case of Aphantasia

By Dustin Grinnell In this short story, a fictional technology gives a man the ability to visualize anything in his mind’s eye. With an increasingly stronger imagination, the man struggles to stay in the real world and must rely on family to free him from the grips of his own mind. A few years ago, I began treating a thirty-five-year-old man, whom I will refer to as Theodore. Theodore had a rare and only recently discovered condition known as aphantasia, which left him unable to visualize images in his mind. For example, if Theodore closed his eyes to visualize a sunset, he saw only blackness. About two percent of the … Continue reading

Tattoo

a poem by Nat Mulkey* Sharp pain greets my shoulder My shoulder sighs, This again. Your hand has a flag, Of your country The IV at the center, poorly placed Covers it in blood. I wince, breathless Skin getting red and raw This one is bigger than the last Only halfway done. Near your ribs in calligraphy Names of your children Pulsating above your Nervous heart. Hours pass The outline is complete. Shading and color still to do Anticipation My hand trembles. A finger drags along your abdomen That is where they will cut And enter your body. Your hand reaches I needed this To stay, feel alive My voice … Continue reading

The Doctor Gets a Skin Biopsy

by Tabor  Flickenger That’s me burning, that smell A touch of cautery here and here to halt the blood I have wielded the needle and knife Now it’s my turn to receive I wash my hair kneeling In mute supplication Remove the dressing later, as instructed. A little dried blood. Three neat blue sutures. Not so bad. Not so bad. I almost forget with my eyes closed Till my fingers brush the prickly alien patch Worry repressed is not banished But descended, pushed down into the bowels Frayed nerve ending pulse, twist, shudder I work like all is normal. I tell no one. I care for others’ pain and push … Continue reading

Melanocytic

by Rebecca D. Hamburger A mole appeared on my back a few years ago, in my early twenties. I cannot be sure exactly when as it is only visualized by mirror and neck contortion. It has been evaluated numerous times by a trusted dermatologist as a benign melanocytic nevus, and I was advised to keep a watchful eye on it. The anxiety which surrounds this decidedly harmless lesion, exaggerated in the painting, morphs into a physical symbol of all the other anxieties in my life. The green hills of jealousy toward others’ achievements as I navigate medical school, the flowery pattern symbolizing the positivity and happiness which I often mask … Continue reading

A Night in a Canadian Emergency Room

by James Channing Shaw, MD* Key words: Single-payer, Canadian Healthcare, Medicare-for-All, U.S. Healthcare, Medicare, 2020 After practicing medicine in the United States for over twenty years, I moved to Toronto for professional reasons. One summer evening two years after our arrival in Canada, I developed chest pain, and being an experienced doctor, I ignored my own symptoms, thinking that certainly I was too young to be having heart disease. By 1:00 a.m. the pain had worsened and was travelling down my left arm so I figured it would be unwise to delay any longer. At 2:00 a.m. my wife and I arrived at a modern emergency department in the center … Continue reading

Signing

by Shirley Adelman* Seated on the train, the four of them signed, smiling, grimacing, gesturing,| like Italians in the piazza, orchestrating words, while we who speak and hear, sat still, drawn into ourselves, like wayward children, waiting to be admonished. * Author Bio: Shirley Adelman is a mother of two, grandmother of three, a breast cancer survivor, a former college teacher, and a writer of poetry and prose.  Her work has been published in academic, literary, and medical humanities journals in the United States, Canada,South Africa, and Israel.  Signing previously appeared in “Kaleidoscope Exploring The Experience Of Disability Through Literature And The Fine Arts,” Summer/Fall 2003, p. 60.

Space Occupying Lesion: A Poem

Space Occupying Lesion By Fredrick Martyn You take up space within my head Your influence I pray it does not spread Today your presence makes me nauseous Tomorrow, I hope it’s not more noxious I sense you there, with your malignant aroma I yearn for resection, dear glioblastoma Bio: Fredrick Martyn is a writer, poet and medical student originally from Toronto. His poetry has appeared in Pulp Poets Press, Spillwords Press and The Eunoia Review among other places. Find his words at fredrickmartyn.weebly.com

Noseworthy: “Old Man with a Young Boy”

Rhinophyma in “Old Man with a Young Boy”  Ariana Shaari, Barnard College, Columbia University New York City, New York Ariana Shaari is a senior at Barnard College, Columbia University majoring in Psychology. Her love of literature and art history fuels her pursuit of a career in medicine. 201-820-7068  email: als2287@barnard.edu The unshakeable eye contact, hand placement, and emotional sensitivity between the two figures in Domenico Ghirlandaio’s “Old Man with a Young Boy”1 suggests an affection so strong that art historians assumed it to be a portrait between grandson and grandfather without actual evidence of this relationship. At the time of the painting’s genesis in 15th century Florence, Ghirlandaio was commissioned … Continue reading

The Sabre’s Cut

Ian S. Maloney* Her wrinkly hands touch my forehead. She places her glasses on her nose, hung from a chain around her neck. I pull my hair back as the doctor looks at the ghostly blue crease on my head. My mother waits in the seat next to the desk; she clutches her purse and taps her feet. My father waits in the car, smoking and listening to sports radio. “He came back from football camp with it…it just seems to get darker and more pronounced every day since. We thought it was a pinch from the helmet.” “I see.” I remain silent. I keep looking around as the doctor … Continue reading

Seborrheic Keratosis: A Poem

Seborrheic Keratosis by Fredrick Martyn* She didn’t care that his words stank like halitosis For she was blinded by the amorous amaurosis A relationship that had started with blissful symbiosis Had slowly turned parasitic like toxoplasmosis Alas, she could not outrun the poor prognosis Their connection soon narrowed like aortic stenosis Then it eventually happened, the myocardial necrosis And they split like a cell during the last stage of mitosis Her heart writhed like a hand with athetosis Her mood drooped like an eye lid with a ptosis She felt at a loss like hypovitaminosis A general sense of blue, internal cyanosis In time, the tears disappeared and instead anhidrosis … Continue reading

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