Skin and Him

Deep multicolored hues emanating from its surface in all directions Voracious and cruel like a black hole, ripping the borders of lighter brown nearby Seeding and spreading through the crimson water Eventually arriving at the home of thought, pleasure, and personality Shutting it down like an ember drowned by the morning rain Pronounced dead shortly, his lifeless body calling my name Despite his protective pigment If only he had known If only he was told If only he wore the protective white paste He could have been saved from the black hole by Ajay Kailas, a third year medical student at University of Central Florida who is interested in dermatology, … Continue reading

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After Great Pain

After great pain a formal feeling comes — The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs — The stiff Heart questions was it, He, that bore, And Yesterday–or Centuries before? The Feet, mechanical, go round — Of Ground, or Air, or Ought — A Wooden way Regardless grown, A Quartz contentment, like a stone — This is the Hour of Lead — Remembered, if outlived, As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow — First — Chill — then Stupor — then the letting go — There are times when pain is the artist’s teacher. Emily Dickinson expresses that in her great poem, After Great Pain. Keats, having studied medicine for seven years at … Continue reading

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Gratitude

by Allen Shih In the well-lit room, students bustled, Dressed in scrubs, holding scalpels, and clutching Netters. Not one spoke, but some did pray. Today was the day. With swift broad strokes of knives, we cut into the flesh. Like lawyers on cross-examination, sifting through layers of muscles, we tagged hidden nerves and camouflaged vessels. Beyond donning the white coat on stage, Beyond the first patient hailing “bye doc!” Beyond spending time alone with terminally-ill patients, Anatomy taught us our first patient. Enshrined in a place of learning, A still woman with prominent cheekbones lay, With slender hands as cold as ice. Her blue eyes squinted into the night. Author … Continue reading

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Psoriasis: A Poem

Psoriasis by Mara Feingold-Link PDF: Feingold Psoriasis The bronze plaque on Lake Champlain’s bridge is missing a nail. The empty pit in the top left corner is the only indication that it has seen countless cycles of pouring rain and flaring sun. On this dry afternoon it sits proudly above a school of mooneye fish swimming upstream toward clearer, cooler waters in early April. In their haste they scrape their flattened bellies along rock-lined riverbanks. To swim so fast is rash; beneath those silvery scales lie hundreds of miniscule eggs, pinpoints of new blood waiting to be born. The mooneye head toward a quiet inlet where patches of watermilfoil float … Continue reading

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Litt’s “Hunk o’ Skin”

By Jerome Z. Litt Reprinted from the Archives of Dermatology May, 1961, Vol. 83, pp. 844-845 Jerry Litt writes: Back in 1961, I wrote an article — a poem — and submitted it to the Archives of Dermatology. The Editor at the time was so taken with it that he published it in the May, 1961 issue.” [ Ed. note: Many of us were just kids then, or not even born!  It’s a hard piece to find — so here it is…] Hunk o’ Skin (The meter is from Kipling’s “Gunga Din) You may talk of lungs and liver, Of the twins you did deliver And the kidney stones that … Continue reading

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Little Green Pill

by Madelyn Kamen He was there every day, Looking at her from the other side of the window, Smiling at her as she handed over his little green pill. He wasn’t that old and she wasn’t that young; Neither had ever married. She was a psychiatric nurse’s aide who understood the inmates Because she had been abused as a child, pulling into herself To avoid punishment. He was there because he had been bullied as a little boy, Making it a habit of staying away from the big guys who could Beat him up. Now, they were adults, albeit imperfect ones, who Occasionally would sit together on her coffee breaks … Continue reading

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Loss and Found

Reflections on Skin Cancer and Solar Aging Band-Aid Generation I am one in the army of older people to wear a Band-Aid on my face. One skin cancer survivor who joyfully, happily, obliviously chose a chaise-sitting, oil-basting, body-rotating, reflector-using, get-a-tan- at-any-cost younger life. So now I’m a dues-paying member of a community I didn’t ask to join.   The Reckoning I’m sitting on a park bench looking down at my hands, the backs shockingly old in the afternoon sun. The skin crinkles outward like a spider web or pieces of broken eggshells. On examination, the left hand appears more lined than the right. I wonder if the left one was … Continue reading

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Quilted

Clara Luu’s poem is the most eloquent description of  severe atopic dermatitis ( often called S.A.D.)  that I have come across in a long dermatological career.  If you read it, you don’t need all the textbooks or review articles.  It speaks to what we are trying to do with the OJCPCD. Persistent scratches ripping through the tranquility of the night, and bedsheets dusty with flaked skin, mingled with dried blood in the mornings. Her skin stained with the purple sting of potassium permanganate, burning from the relentless scorch of tea tree oil, smothered in topical corticosteroids. Bandaged to retain moisture. Unbandaged to promote air flow. A blur of diagnoses and … Continue reading

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