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Home Explore Synapses Vol. 3 (2019)

Synapses Vol. 3 (2019)

Published by candice.kosanke, 2019-04-11 15:57:45

Description: This is the third issue of Chicago Medical School's creative journal, published annually in the spring


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S Y N A P S E SSYNAPSES A Creative Journal of Chicago Medical School VOLUME 3, SPRING 2019 CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 1


S Y N A P S E SSYNAPSES A Creative Journal of Chicago Medical School Chicago Medical School, circa 1950 710 South Wolcott Avenue, Chicago CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 3

Front cover: “Family Reunion,” artwork by Gary Bodner, MD ’75 Artist’s Statement: This “family portrait” is one of many similar works in my portfolio. Perhaps because I am a physician, I am interested in anatomy. Imagine the line right at the eyebrow down through the nose, including the nasolabial fold ending at the mouth. Each of the faces was started with that one line. Subsequently I added color to make a final cohesive painting. Mixed media on canvas. 4 ROSALIND FRANKLIN UNIVERSITY

SYNAPSES SYNAPSES A Creative Journal of Chicago Medical School EDITORIAL STAFF William Agbor Baiyee, PhD Editor-in-Chief Candice Kosanke Managing Editor EDITORIAL BOARD Karen Black, MD ’88 Alumna Jeffrey Bulger, PhD Faculty Barbara Hales, MD ’76 Alumna Gloria Joo Student Gwendolyn Messer, MD, FAAP Faculty Karen O’Mara, DO Faculty Hector Rasgado-Flores, PhD Faculty Jen Southworth Staff Sherwyn Warren, MD ’56 Alumnus REVIEW BOARD Saira Ahmed Student Salvatore Aiello, MS Student Andrew Chapman Student Christopher Collier Student Anna Dailey Student Michael Drake Student Jessica Liang Student Michelle Lim Student Alvin Onyewuenyi Student Kieran Palumbo Student Edward Rotchford Staff Daniella Sandoval Student Swapna Shanmugavelayutham Student Barbara Vertel, PhD Faculty JOURNAL OVERSIGHT BOARD James M. Record, MD, JD, FACP Committee Chair Dean, Chicago Medical School Nutan Vaidya, MD Senior Associate Dean for Academic Learning Environment, Chicago Medical School Lee Concha, MA Chief of Staff Rosalind Franklin University Rebecca Durkin, MA Vice President for Student Affairs and Inclusion Rosalind Franklin University Chad Ruback, MSEd, MBA Vice President for Institutional Advancement Rosalind Franklin University Judith Stoecker, PT, PhD Vice President for Academic Affairs Rosalind Franklin University CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 5

INSIDE The Weight of Fear Johanna Stecher 10 12 POETRY Buttercups and a Tree Mervyn Sahud 13 14 My Lightheaded Journey Mervyn Sahud 15 16 Splendid Encounter William Agbor Baiyee Standing at the edge of the counter Henry Del Rosario The Cycle Jordan Newman Dalisayan H e n r y D e l R o s a r i o 20 21 ART & Post-Its E v a n J u n g b a u e r 22 PHOTOGRAPHY 23 Twenty Thousand Leagues Under G l o r i a J o o 24 the Sea 26 27 Synapses H a n n a h S a m u e l s o n 28 29 Labyrinth Burt Brent 30 Hope and Confidence Burt Brent James J o r d a n N e w m a n Parenchyma J o r d a n N e w m a n Anxiety J o r d a n N e w m a n Moody Blues Gary Bodner 6 ROSALIND FRANKLIN UNIVERSITY

SYNAPSES CONTENTS All in a Row G a r y B o d n e r 31 Melissa Chen 32 33 34 Lake Geneva Twilight 35 36 Mind Games Melissa Chen Watchful Waiting Melissa Chen Bryce Canyon Barbara Vertel Chicago Botanic Gardens Orchid Show Barbara Vertel FICTION The New Doctor Sheldon Lichtblau 40 Facing and Embracing Fear Monica Cummings 46 48 NON-FICTION Ernst Jokl P a u l K i e l l 51 54 Joey’s Story J e r o m e L e v i t a n The Journey J o h n K o s a n o v i c h CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 7

ABOUT SYNAPSES Synapses is a creative journal of Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University. The journal provides a forum for the expression and dissemination of creative works demonstrating Chicago Medical School’s commitment to develop a community of reflective learners and practitioners. The journal seeks to publish on an annual basis quality works that focus on experiences in medicine and expressions of the human condition. Submissions of creative works of poetry, art, photography, fiction and non-fiction, including narrative and reflections, to Synapses are open to faculty, staff, students, residents, fellows and alumni of Chicago Medical School. Alumni non-fiction submissions may be considered for inclusion in the “Alumni Retrospectives” section. Each submission is reviewed blindly at two levels, first by reviewers followed by editors. Authors will be notified of editorial decisions. Submissions will open in mid-October and close in mid-January. The journal is published annually in the spring. To view past volumes and information about the submission process, please visit © 2019 Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. The University has obtained permission to use the literary and artistic works that appear in this journal. The authors reserve all other copyrights for their works. All ideas and opinions expressed belong to the authors. Credit for images on back cover and section dividers: iStock. 8 ROSALIND FRANKLIN UNIVERSITY

SYNAPSES FROM THE EDITORIAL BOARD We are delighted to present our third volume of Synapses, the creative journal of the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University. The works in this volume reflect the creativity, imagination and passion of our community. Our journal is named for the components in the nervous system that form the connections between neurons and allow information to pass from one neuron to another. Synapses’ inspiration and purpose is rooted in this idea of connections — the connections between science and humanities, physicians and their patients, and the readers of this journal and the authors and artists who have shared their works with us. We hope that you enjoy this year’s collection of artwork, poetry and prose reflecting on the medical profession and the human experience. Each year one art or photography submission is chosen for the front cover of the journal, and we are happy to present the colorful “Family Reunion” by Gary Bodner, MD ’75, as this year’s selection. After practicing medicine in Atlanta for 37 years, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, Dr. Bodner retired to focus on one of his other passions: art. He enjoys painting all subjects, from still lifes to landscapes to figures, and finds artistic inspiration for his work in nearly everything he encounters. “Family Reunion” reflects his interest in the anatomy of the human face. We acknowledge the dedication of our review, editorial, and oversight boards to the development of another quality volume of Synapses. We appreciate all submitters for sending their creative works and congratulate the authors whose works are published in this volume. CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 9



POETRY JOHANNA STECHER, CMS ’21 The Weight of Fear “I don’t think you understand the fear,” she says. To walk into a foreign, sterile place where strangers speak a foreign language to you, assuming you understand. There’s paperwork that you sign, practically half-blind. There’s medication that you take, not understanding the mechanisms. And of course there’s money that you pay for tests and scans. And of course you spend the money. Because amidst the slew of strange words are a few familiar ones. Worry. Pain. Death. Precautions. Risks. Side Effects. “I don’t think you understand the weight,” I tell her. We start off and we carry this dream. And it’s all we’ve ever wanted. And then we get in. And we get the white coat. But make no mistake. Not a day goes by where we are not forced to earn it. Earn it in early mornings and studying through meals and in the hours we spend alone in our rooms, wrapped in our blankets at our desks with our lecture notes, deciding which parts of us we need to sacrifice and which parts we should guard. 12 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY

SYNAPSES And we love it. It’s true. The love is real. Yet we are told it gets harder. We will breathe in your pain and breathe out our comfort. We will bend over your open abdominal cavity for hours, straining our backs and then meet your family out in the hallway, hearing them say as we leave, “I wish she cared a little more.” It is our calling. To carry your weight on top of our own. When you’re fearful, we won’t be. We will help you. When we go home, we’ll continue to think about you. If we did the right thing, said the right thing. So if I don’t understand your fear or don’t address it correctly, I apologize. But I hope you know that we do carry you with us. We work hard to know you, in order to do our best for you. We will tell you the truth. We will defend you and fight for you. And if you need someone to hold your hand, we can do that too. CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 13

POETRY MERVYN SAHUD, MD ’64 Buttercups and a Tree On a hillock one day I came across a spray of buttercups Fully opened to the noon sun And standing by was a proud Oak tree That hovered over its bouquet of pups A rush of wind caused a shiver The open golden petals tremored And as the sun drifted westward The open pups moved with the light Like an automatic solar panel The Oak watched its neighbors No one will trounce my friends tonight As they lay against the rich organic floor, closed 14 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY

SYNAPSES MERVYN SAHUD, MD ’64 My Lightheaded Journey It was labeled many things, ineffable perhaps Orthostasis for one, disproven Excess caffeine and alcohol, hardly Drug interactions, challenged, unfounded Thyroid troubles, low and high Viral respiratory disorder, “Meningeal viral syndrome,” what is that? No one opined, cardiac dysrhythmia or Purkinje failure Except the 14-day monitor I sent back some days ago Which said, “Complete heart block at 2:31 AM for 10 secs” (more than once) I now am the owner of a 331 pacemaker and also The owner of two 1.2mm Titanium screws Secured with 0.53mm leads to the right ventricle, the left ventricle I can’t hear a tricuspid swish I know it’s there, I own it Wellness comes by strange paths, in many ways I have many to thank and much yet to do CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 15

POETRY WIL L IAM AG BO R BAIYE E , Ph D, FACULTY Splendid Encounter You move between them as the stars sing the harmonies of peace. You move between them as the stars dance the rhythms of joy. You move between them as the stars play the drum of understanding. We know the moment has arrived when you align with them. We know the moment has come when you wear your crown. We know you are there when you perform your show of a lifetime. 16 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY

SYNAPSES HENRY DEL ROSARIO, MD ’14 Standing at the edge of the counter Standing at the edge of the counter, the nurse has already started on her paperwork. I collect my stack and begin filling out the blanks on the form— name— time of birth— APGARs. It’s so quiet in the room that I hear the scratch of our pens on paper. The texture of pulp. Papers shuffling. The nurse starts to sniffle. Fingers thread and weave, twirling lines and cables, poking and prodding with needles— we rush and mob with violent demand as our hands dance with mom’s body. The maddening choreograph of crash. She was alone in triage. Is anyone going to be with you during delivery? No. Don’t worry, we will be there with you, the nurse interjects. I finish consenting mom for a vaginal delivery and we escort her to a bigger room. No one is as helpless as a mother trembling with pen and paper being wheeled to an operating room— stripped naked and cold— skin on metal. Not knowing why exactly but knowing everything is at stake. Precious as a bruise, hard as iron— we feel her belly squeeze and compress. Her eyes are loud. Her face so round— a pot about to boil over. I conjure hope to her that this too will end. The night flashes and she is under. There flies the knife into flesh. A crescent forms and then blushes against pale sky. I was unprepared to receive the baby plopped in front of me— limp— soulless. When I check how dilated she is, I feel strands of hair. Mom, your baby has a head of hair like you! She laughs. And then I see her grimace. The nurse places a wet towel on mom’s forehead and we stand there watching. My fingers shake as the senior doctor tells me speak up. My thumbs wrapped around the baby’s torso— smaller than a doll— ribs like chicken bones. One and two and three and breathe. One and two and three and breathe. The nurse already has mom on her side. Let’s give her oxygen too, I say. Breathe through the contractions, it helps baby when you breathe. The monitors flicker. The ticks space out and whimper. We intubated the baby and he was transferred to another hospital. The rest of the team is with mom in recovery. No more yelling. No more beeping. Nothing but the nurse and I huddled at the edge of the table— standing and gathering strained shapes— filling out blanks. Two witnesses sniffling in the dark of the room. CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 17

POETRY JORDAN NEWMAN, CMS ’21 The Cycle He enters the room at dawn Sunlight pours through the barrier to the outside world Wrestling in his mind are thoughts of excitement and exhaustion Anxiety and restlessness clash with fatigue and dullness He must dilute the mental warfare Focus Focus on the task at hand Focus on the words, focus on the concepts The elation builds, the glow of the sun brightens It all explodes in a fascinating symphony A devastating, intriguing orchestra of life Untamed, unbalanced And he turns the page. Light begins to fade The pillars of the room crumble Apprehension turns to fear, his mind breaks It’s dark now And yet he presses on. 18 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY




ART HENRY DEL ROSARIO, MD ’14 Dalisayan Artist’s Statement: Ancient Filipinos wrote on bamboo with a script called Baybayin. This calligraphy piece s ays “dalisayan ,” wh ich is a Tag a l o g ( F i l i p i n o l a n g u a g e) wo rd m e a n i n g “ f i n i n g - p o t ” or “bath waters for the soul.” It is a word used by ancient Filipinos to describe being purified, cleansed, refined. For ancient Filipinos, when a soul is laid to rest, the person becomes washed and purified in body, mind, and spirit. Ink on rice paper. 22 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY

SYNAPSES E VAN JUNG BAUE R, CMS ’19 Post-Its Artist’s Statement: Doodles from the work place; done by a 4th-year medical student during a Family Medicine Sub-Internship rotation. Drawn with pen and paper and then processed digitally. CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 23

ART GLORIA JOO, CMS ’21 Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Artist’s Statement: Inspired by the novel by Jules Verne that I read during one of my study breaks. It’s always nice to take a break from reality when you’re stuck in the library for 10 hours every day. Drawn by pen and colored with Adobe Photoshop. 24 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY

SYNAPSES HANNAH SAMUELSON, CMS ’19 Synapses Artist’s Statement: Drawing is a great mental release from stress and a creative way of expressing yourself through bright colors and beautiful shapes. I used the neurons and synapses to build a skull because of the high density of synapses within the brain, and the skull is a very representative shape recognized as a morbid but common medical and cultural symbol. The contrast of the skull representing death and the synapses representing life, firing neurotransmitters across the orbits, provides an interesting contrast which inspires me both in life and in my medical career. CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 25

ART BURT BRE NT, MD ’63 Labyrinth Artist’s Statement: My career has centered around reconstruction of missing ears, an artistic endeavor within plastic surgery, because one has to sculpt an exact ear framework from the patient’s own rib cartilage and embed it beneath the skin in the auricular region. My work first became known when I reconstructed the ear of Paul Getty, the kidnap victim…but my true work was in constructing congenitally absent ears for children, which I did for 2,000 children during my 40-year surgical career. My hobby—both in and out of the operating room—is sculpture. This bronze sculpture depicts the inner ear labyrinth. 26 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY


ART BURT BRE NT, MD ’63 Hope and Confidence Artist’s Statement: The inscription beneath this bronze sculpture (which is placed at the main entrance to El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California) reads: “HOPE AND CONFIDENCE” in the skill, science, and soul that guide us in serving patient and family.” 28 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY

SYNAPSES JORDAN NEWMAN, CMS ’21 James Artist’s Statement: James is the first name of the pioneer surgeon who first characterized a disease known as paralysis agitans in his landmark work An Essay on the Shaking Palsy. It was years later that the condition was re-titled by James’ last name, and the term Parkinson’s disease came about. A red tulip has become a symbol of the disease, leading to the red background of the work. The four cardinal motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are tremor, bradykinesia, cogwheel rigidity, and postural instability. The lightning bolt is indicative of the earthquake sign, which denotes tremor. The yellow diamonds bring to mind the shape and orientation of slow traffic signage. The cogwheel shown in the center of the piece suggests the characteristic rigidity seen in this disease. The lines hunched over in the bottom left corner identify the hunched over posture of patients with this condition. Not to be overstated are the devastating neuropsychiatric disturbances this disease brings with it, which are exemplified by the faint, ghostly face on the right side of the work. Finally, patients often struggle to simply write their own names in the later stages of this disease, as indicated by the writing in the background, “My name is.” This could also be interpreted as suggesting the human element of the disease; every patient has a name and their own unique suffering. Digital artwork. CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 29

ART JORDAN NEWMAN, CMS ’21 Parenchyma Artist’s Statement: Examining histological specimens of the brain parenchyma during our pathology course gave me the inspiration to paint this. The normal subcortical white matter under microscopy could be described as “beautifully random,” in that the visible structures vary significantly in size, shape, and apparent organization. Acrylic paint on canvas. 30 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY

SYNAPSES JORDAN NEWMAN, CMS ’21 Anxiety Artist’s Statement: Anxiety is a left turn in a storm of information. Acrylic paint on canvas. CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 31

ART GARY BODNER, MD ’75 Moody Blues Artist’s Statement: All my work is really about color. Using a dark blue or a light vibrant turquoise is such a powerful force in creating my art. Complimentary colors like lavender next to mustard frequently make the painting sing. My artwork can be found at Anne Irwin Fine Art, Bee Street Studio, Shain Gallery, and LePrince Fine Art. Mixed media on canvas. 32 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY

SYNAPSES GARY BODNER, MD ’75 All in a Row Artist’s Statement: My work is strong and colorful with an expressionistic style. The power of juxtaposing or placing one color on top of another to create an image is what drives my paintings. Although the color is so important, the use of line and the placement of subjects hopefully creates a good painting. My artwork can be found at Anne Irwin Fine Art, Bee Street Studio, Shain Gallery, and LePrince Fine Art. Mixed media on canvas. CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 33

PHOTOGRAPHY ME LISSA CH E N, MD, FACULTY Lake Geneva Twilight Artist’s Statement: Winter chill rises Warm souls triumph over ice Twilight hugs the lake Lake Geneva, Wisconsin 34 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY

SYNAPSES ME L ISSA CH E N, MD, FACULTY Mind Games Artist’s Statement: Gripped by the moment Existential mind puzzle Sunrise or sunset? Mora, Sweden CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 35

PHOTOGRAPHY ME LISSA CH E N, MD, FACULTY Watchful Waiting Artist’s Statement: A medical approach to many cancers and chronic diseases is called “watchful waiting.” Perhaps there is a high likelihood of self-resolution; perhaps the risks outweigh the benefits. This guardian is alert and watching for what may come over the horizon. It stands on what is currently a lush green meadow. The spear is ready but not aimed. We cannot see its face for any hint. Is it relaxed and hopeful? Does it see something approaching? Is it friend or foe? Morton Arboretum Lisle, Illinois 36 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY

SYNAPSES B ARB A RA VE RTE L, Ph D, FACULTY Bryce Canyon Artist’s Statement: This photo was captured on a spectacular celebratory birthday hike through Bryce Canyon. It offers a portal to new and unexpected possibilities. CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 37

PHOTOGRAPHY B A RBARA VE RTE L, Ph D, FACULTY Chicago Botanic Gardens Orchid Show Artist’s Statement: This image was captured at the Chicago Botanic Gardens during the annual Orchid Show. This show provides a welcome colorful tropical experience in February that contrasts sharply with Chicago’s cold and fairly drab winter. Beauty is never far away! 38 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY




FICTION SHELDON LICHTBLAU, MD ’54 The New Doctor: A Short Play Author’s Note: This play reflects my experience DR. FORTRAN in seeing residents who are depending less on I’d like to get everything into the computer, so physical examinations and more on computers. bear with me for a minute.   ALICE CAST OF CHARACTERS Of course. Dr. Fortran, in his forties Alice Madison, in her fifties DR. FORTRAN Janice, Alice’s friend in her fifties You are fifty-six years old. SETTINGS ALICE Yes. Doctor’s waiting room and office separated by a wall. DR. FORTRAN I see here, you are married, have two children,   work at home as a consultant, and enjoy generally good health. Is that all correct? DR. FORTRAN enters the waiting room from his office. ALICE ALICE and JANICE are sitting in the waiting room. All correct. DR. FORTRAN DR. FORTRAN Mrs. Madison. You may come in now. What brings you here today? JANICE ALICE You want me to come in with you? Aside from the fact that I haven’t had a checkup since Dr. Lewis died two years ago, I’ve been ALICE having these funny pains in my stomach for the That won’t be necessary. I’ll be fine. past three months. ALICE gets up and follows DR. DR. FORTRAN FORTRAN. Are they sharp pains? DR. FORTRAN ALICE Please take a seat. Not really. More like dull aches. He sits at a computer. DR. FORTRAN Do they come and go, or are they... DR. FORTRAN and ALICE’S voices fade into mumbling as they 42 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY

SYNAPSES SHELDON LICHTBLAU, MD ’54 continue this line of questions and DR. FORTRAN answers. Is that about everything? DR. FORTRAN ALICE I think we covered that pain well. What do you mean? ALICE DR. FORTRAN I have another symptom which may be related. Is there anything else? For instance, do you ever get short of breath? DR. FORTRAN ALICE By all means! Let’s get it into the computer. Now that you mention it, I have noticed when I climb two flights of stairs in a hurry, I do find ALICE myself panting. I’ve thought that was more or For several weeks, now, I’ve been getting sharp less normal. pains in my shoulder. DR. FORTRAN DR. FORTRAN Both shoulders? It might or might not be. Let’s get it into the computer. ALICE No. Only the left. ALICE Sometimes, when I sit for a long time, my feet DR. FORTRAN start to swell. How long does the pain last? Again their voices fade into mumbling DR. FORTRAN as they continue asking and answering That might be important. Anything else? questions. ALICE No. I think that pretty much covers my complaints. DR. FORTRAN DR. FORTRAN Anything else bothering you? Let’s talk about your past history. Have you had any surgeries? ALICE Sometimes I get dizzy when I stand up suddenly. DR. FORTRAN ALICE My tonsils out when I was five, and two children Is that new? by Caesarian. ALICE DR. FORTRAN No, but I thought I should mention it now How about past illnesses? because... ALICE Again her voice fades into mumbling as All of them? she continues. CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 43

FICTION SHELDON LICHTBLAU, MD ’54 DR. FORTRAN DR. FORTRAN I think that’s about everything of importance. Please. The only area we haven’t explored is your genitourinary system. Are you still sexually ALICE active? Do you get any burning with urination? As a child, I had chickenpox and... Do you have any difficulty holding your urine? Dribbling? Her voice fades into mumbling as she continues to speak. DR. FORTRAN ALICE And that yeast infection was when? My husband and I have been married for thirty- four years, so our sex activity... ALICE Fades to mumbling. About three years ago. Dr. Lewis got rid of it. DR. FORTRAN DR. FORTRAN Tell me now about your family history. So! Let’s see where we stand. I’m getting a computer readout now and in a few moments I’ll be able to tell you where we go from here. ALICE ALICE My grandfather on my father’s side died from a heart condition. His wife, my grandma, died That fast? from... Her voice fades into mumbling. DR. FORTRAN Computers are amazing. DR. FORTRAN Pause. He reads — That’s two people in your family who have had colon cancer. Just a second while I get that into I’ll skip all the possible diagnoses — and there are the computer. a number of them — and go to our next step. You are going to need a CAT scan of your abdomen, ALICE an MRI of your head, an MRI of your shoulder, But they were on different sides of the family. a urodynamics test, an EKG, a colonoscopy, and Doesn’t that make a difference? of course the usual blood workup, chest X-Ray and urinalysis. Let’s see if we can get all that DR. FORTRAN scheduled within the next two weeks. We’ll wait and see what the computer says. Meanwhile, tell me about your personal habits. Then, when I see you in two weeks, we’ll have Do you smoke, drink, take any drugs or nutrient all the diagnoses and be able to start the supplements? appropriate treatments. ALICE ALICE I used to smoke about... Doctor! You are unique! You really listen to a patient. I’ve never had a doctor give me so much Fades to mumbling. attention. 44 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY

SYNAPSES SHELDON LICHTBLAU, MD ’54 DR. FORTRAN Thank you. I respect my patients, and try very hard to get them into the computer. Alice reenters the waiting room. JANICE My God! You were in there an hour and a half! Did he find something bad on the examination? ALICE He didn’t need an examination! As a matter of fact, not only didn’t he examine me, I don’t think he even looked at me while I was sitting there — he didn’t have to. He got me completely into the computer and in two weeks he’ll take care of all my problems. The man is a GENIUS. CURTAIN ■ CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 45



NON-FICTION MON ICA CUMMING S, DMin , FACULTY Facing and Embracing Fear The day started as a typical summer day in Southern California. The sun was out, it was still warm but not blazing hot, the sky was clear, and birds were singing. I was sitting in morning didactic with the other student chaplains in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) when the phone rang. The person who answered the phone asked the group, “Who is the on-call?” I responded, “I am.” I walked over to the phone, picked up the receiver and introduced myself as the student chaplain on-call. The nurse on the other end of the line said, “We have a patient and her mother in the emergency department who may want to speak with a chaplain.” As I listened to the nurse, I could feel my body reacting to what she was saying. All eyes in the conference room were on me as I turned around flush-faced, with the expression of a deer caught in head lights. I was about to respond to a call that I had openly admitted to my colleagues our first week of CPE that I hoped never to have to respond to while on call. After my brain reengaged to the present moment, I shared with the group the nature of the call and asked for their prayers. Before leaving for the Emergency Department, I stopped by the Catholic Chaplain’s office to borrow her rosary just in case the family was Catholic, asked for her prayers, and headed to the E.D. Once there, I reported to the nurses’ station and tried to block out the overwhelming chaos of the E.D. The nurse had limited information about the patient and gave me the number of the trauma room where the patient was being worked on. When I got to the trauma room, I did not find the patient, but found staff members cleaning up the aftermath of the lifesaving efforts by emergency personnel. After returning to the nurse’s station in an effort to locate the patient, I was told that the patient had died and the mother was in the family room waiting for her family to arrive. The nurse asked if I would sit with the mother while she waited. I agreed and the nurse pointed to a room. I walked over to the door, took a deep breath, said a short prayer, and opened the door. Sitting on a chair, steps away from the door, was a grieving mother holding the lifeless body of her recently deceased daughter. I hoped my face did not portray the “oh my God” that was screaming in my head as I introduced myself as the hospital student chaplain. I asked if it was okay to sit with her while she waited for her family and she nodded yes. I then asked if there was anything I could do for her, and she looked at me and shook her head no, so I sat down. The room was small and there was no way to avoid looking at the mother holding her child’s lifeless body. My mind was racing with questions. What should I say? Should I say anything? Should I ask her daughter’s name? Should I ask if she wants to pray? In seminary the concept of the “ministry of presence” was lectured on and discussed. At the time, I did not 48 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY

SYNAPSES MON IC A C U M MING S, DMin , FACULTY think much of it. After all, how difficult could it be to just be a supportive presence to someone during or after a traumatic experience? As the quote states, “there is no better teacher than experience.” As we sat in the little room together, the “ministry of presence” began to make sense to me. In U.S. culture, silence is not comfortable for most people. Idle chatter or any other distraction is preferable to the empty space of silence. Most people find it uncomfortable to sit with someone who is clearly in pain, and they want to try to make them feel better. All too often, people with good intentions will say to parents after the death of a child, “God only picks the most beautiful flowers,” or “Don’t worry; you are young and can have more children,” or “S/he is out of pain and is one of God’s angels now.” In contrast to idle chatter or good-intended consoling, the “ministry of presence” is being in the present moment with another person. It is a kind of witnessing and attending to without the clamor and distraction of language. It is affirming that whatever human emotion the person is feeling in response to loss, trauma, or grief deserves the space, time, and silence to fully express and digest the experience. So I sat in silence with the grieving mother without trying to console her. After about 30 minutes, the mother looked at me as she was standing up and said she needed to use the bathroom. As I stood up, scanning the room for a table and not seeing one, the following thought came to mind: “What is she going to do with her child’s body while she is in the restroom?” Then the thought surfaced, “What would I want the chaplain to do if this were my sister or niece or friend?” No sooner had the thought crossed my mind than the mother placed her baby girl in my arms and walked out the room. I stood momentarily motionless, staring at the door as it closed. Then I sat down and looked at the face of the lifeless body I was holding. As I held the young child, I wondered if she was in pain before she died. I asked, how much did you suffer in your last moments of life as the paramedics and then doctors and nurses frantically tried to save your life? As I sat looking into her peaceful face, I breathed in her scent, a scent that I carried with me the rest of the day. All the while I was fighting back tears that refused to obey. When the mother returned, I took one last look at her child’s face and placed her back in her mother’s arms. About 15 or 20 minutes later, the mother’s family joined us. I introduced myself, asked if there was anything I could do for them, and quietly left the room when the answer was no and thank you. I returned to the chaplain’s office, debriefed the call, and released the torrent of tears in the loving company of colleagues. When I left the hospital that evening, I left a different person than when I had entered. I had entered as a student minster in seminary and left as a minster in seminary. It has been many years since I was called to face and embrace my fear of ministering in the midst of the death of a child. I remain profoundly grateful to the mother who permitted me to companion and provide a ministry of presence to her during one of the most painful and traumatic moments of her life. ■ CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL 49

NON-FICTION PAUL KIELL, MD ’56 Ernst Jokl (1907-1997) A former student of Dr. Jokl reflects on his life and legacy. Dr. Ernst F. Jokl (pronounced JOKE-el) was known as the founder and “father” of sports medicine in three countries — Germany, South Africa, and the United States. He was born August 3, 1907, in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland). While he was in medical school, he was also an athlete; he made the 1928 Olympics team as an alternate in the 400-meter hurdles. Little known to Ernst, his wife-to- be, Erica Lestmann of Germany, won a gold medal in exhibition team gymnastics at the 1928 Olympics. Ernst and Erica would meet two years later, in 1930, and a romantic relationship would begin. The young Dr. Jokl became the youngest ever director of the Institute of Sports Medicine in Breslau, believed to be the first of its kind in the world. But in 1933, because he was a Jew, he was dismissed from his position. Meanwhile, Erica Lestmann, a Ernst Jokl, second on the left, with other candidates prominent athlete and high school for the 1928 German Olympic team. teacher, lost her teaching job because she refused to offer a Nazi salute during a track meet in Berlin. That act of courage was fortified by her relationship with Ernst. The day she was dismissed, she and Ernst decided to marry. Feeling in their midst the gathering of dark evil winds, Ernst and Erica fled Germany two weeks after their marriage, headed for South Africa. Erica, from an affluent Lutheran family, suddenly found herself sleeping in a tent, their first residence in South Africa. In time, Dr. Jokl established a physical education curriculum for South African schools, emphasizing that it be required not only for white boys, but also for white girls and nonwhite boys and girls. He made the nation so conscious of exercise that a word for it was invented —Jokkel, meaning “to exercise.” It found its way into the Afrikaans National Dictionary. In 1933, Dr. Jokl met Jan Christian Smuts (1870-1950), a botanist, attorney, and military general who eventually served as Prime Minister of South Africa and later became one of the founders of the United Nations. Smuts was also credited with aligning South Africa with the Allies during World War II, despite strong support of the Boers for Nazi Germany. 50 ROSALIND FR ANKLIN UNIVERSITY

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