In the previous workshops, one of the patient-teachers mentioned that after a mastectomy, one of the nurses had made a comment “… you must not feel like a woman anymore.” The nurse did not have a malicious intent and most likely wanted to sympathize with the patient, but had made an assumption about the patient’s feelings. I, in fact, was once told by a patient about her fear of losing her “femininity” after a mastectomy, and possibly the nurse had had a similar experience as well. However, it is crucial that we do not lose track of the individuality of each patient, and avoid generalizing their experiences and feelings. Two patients undergoing the same procedure can have different and unique concerns, feelings and perceptions from one another. It is easy to let the faces of the patients blur into their condition, as depicted here, but that can adversely affect our therapeutic relationship with them (and each other). This sketch is a reminder about not losing sight of the individuality of each patient and respecting the uniqueness of their experiences.
You will be safe again
Focus, the slice of a knife
A dimmed screen
A mass of tissue
Heart beats in tandem to whirring machines
A moment of silence.
Is rarely enough
We made you a promise
It was broken
You will never be the same again
Questions that will haunt us
This poem is about the discovery of a metastasized cancer in a patient and the subsequent devastation and questioning that occurs. These questions are multi-faceted: questions around our own mortality, the patient’s questions for us, and thoughts of how we could have prevented this.
Molly Gao & Monisha Persaud
We created a collage. Below is the explanation of our collage.
Our collage aims to juxtapose the information captured in daily SOAP notes with the essence of who our patients are and what they are experiencing during their hospital visit. The black and white soap note is short and concise and contains mostly objective information. These notes are written hastily very early in the morning as we try to complete our daily round on around 20 patients before the operations begin at 8:00am. The surrounding colourful images depict the essence of our patients – their fears, thoughts, beliefs about their health and healthcare, the importance of religion in their lives, their careers, families and loved ones. The food represents their lack of control over what they can eat every day and the types of food offered in the hospital versus the food they could cook at home. The makeup represents how patients like to express themselves and present themselves in public and how they are limited in their self-expression in the hospital.
Nathalie Loeb and Bishoy Lawendy