It’s been a hell of a ride

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Immortalized in Stone.”

Your personal sculptor is carving a person, thing or event from the last year of your life. What’s the statue of and what makes it so significant?

It’s a stethoscope! A delicate winding stone stethoscope! Five months ago I began my clinical years of study. That sounds nice. In reality, we were thrown in the deep end. We sank with strict instructions not to attempt anything without supervision, to keep the patients (and ourselves) safe.

Too many of us turn callous to protect ourselves. The hospital can be scary, more so when you’re new. But we can’t afford to be scared; we cannot freeze. Medicine applicants are screened for empathy, yet the empathic heart stings when a patient yells in pain; shrivels when a patient dies. That is still no excuse for sub-par performance.

So some people grow callous – the ones that don’t know how to protect their hearts, and the ones who only care about keeping their ego safe. One day I may join their ranks, insidiously, not realizing what has happened. I rely on writing to be the mirror that reflects who I am, keeping me real.

My stethoscope has revealed heart flutters, congested lungs, obstructed bowels, aneurysms, and more. It bridges a gap between me and the patient, and the weight around my neck reminds me to keep my head level (nose straight, not in the air), and be the best I can be.

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