I remember today why I love medicine,
Why I chose this life,
Which regularly has me questioning my own sanity.
On my last week of 3rd year.
In dermatology [an unexpected spot for insight].
Though to call it medicine,
Without hesitation is a misnomer –
I prefer the social[slash]medicinal side of things,
Which rarely, though sometimes
Becomes a palatable mix at a hospital near you.
The patient – my age:
Homeless. Cellulitis. Asthma. IVDU. HCV positive.
Admitted for a few reasons. Above.
Antibiotics started –> drug eruption. Query.
My task – the dermatologic history. Focused.
Blisters began on hands. Vesicular. Itchy.
Looks rather comfortable, enjoying the food.
They burst and since scabbed. None new. Less itchy.
Moved from Newfoundland, after the slate mine closed.
Spread all over from there.
Then no work. Now, on disability, back pain.
Has had cellulitis before. Treated. First rash.
I have nowhere to sleep, besides a shelter.
Now papules, erythema, crusted, serous.
I have no contact with my family, since 2 years.
Have they changed the medications? They don’t tell me.
Using since I was 15.
The scars are from crystal meth, from picking.
I usually use Insite to inject. Clean needles.
He says, and for the first time looks at me.
They gave me Benadryl, an injection.
And they listen to me.
We’ll get you some lunch, I say, as I reflect.
The stories feed my own hunger.
A rash – so much more than a superficial eruption.