Memories of a first patient
What does it take to feel like a medical student?
Her skin was leathery and weatherbeaten, wrinkled with age. I guessed that she was maybe 60 or 65 years old. I couldn’t know for certain because we hadn’t been given her notes. She seemed well fed for someone of her age; she didn’t have the sharp thinness typical of someone of her advanced years. She lay still on her back ready for we medical students to examine her.
I couldn’t help thinking how wonderful she was for letting us practise on her like this. I looked down at her. She stared vacantly at something between her body and the ceiling, her eyes glassy and fragile; mouth agape; skin discoloured; abdomen sliced open with layers of skin, fat, and abdominal muscle hanging off either side like shutters, her intestines snaking around inside her and her brown liver tucked up, just visible under the overhang of the bottom of her thoracic cavity.