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Weekly articles featuring a piece of creative writing by a doctor.

1. Organ of the week: The lungs.

This is a selection from a series of blog posts from the author, Dr Michelle Johnston. Further works can be viewed on her blog (https://bit.ly/2yNDbsB). The post about the kidneys will be shared during our Urology/Renal week. I may have been a little overwrought. By lauding the kidneys over the lungs in the last post,…

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2. Heart Murmurs

Author: Joanna Nell Jeff spent sixty years trying to kill me.    Far from harbouring a murderous malice, Jeff was simply busy being Jeff. Inside he festered with no more than the agonising bliss of ignorance.   He and I go way back, to when we were no more than a tiny clump of undifferentiated…

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3. Lessons from Mrs H.

Author: Sarah Tedjasukmana One-sided introduction.I’m a student. May Iask you some questions,take a history? I needto practise.Sure.  Have you seen him?My doctor? Did he tell you?I don’t know your doctor.Familiar name, but we haven’t met.Why did you come to hospital?Oh, so you haven’t seen him.I haven’t either.  Not today.I have questions.About your treatment?I have a…

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5. The Invisible Warning Signs That Predict Your Health

It was a sunny day outside, with a hint of spring in the air. I followed Angela, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, down the corridor towards my consulting room in Melbourne. She’d been my patient for several years, but that morning I noticed her shuffling her feet a little as she…

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7. Organ of the week: The kidney.

This is a selection from a series of blog posts from the author, Dr Michelle Johnston. Further works can be viewed on her blog (https://bit.ly/2yNDbsB) Thus begins a new series; blogposts to celebrate features of ourselves that are scandalously overlooked. Our internal organs. This will be a collection of pieces drawing attention to our hard-working…

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6. Tunnel Vision of The Soul

IN MIDWINTER JULIA shuffled into my office and slowly lowered herself into the chair beside my desk. It was a cold, wet Melbourne morning and patients were starting to pile into the clinic, sheltering from the wind. The clock on the wall showed fifteen past nine and I knew I was in for a busy…

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8. True to Oneself

‘In hindsight,’ his tone verging on a growl, ‘we never should have got married.’ In hindsight, she thought, it was supposed to have been the happiest day of our lives. She’d sipped champagne with her bridesmaids as they giggled through hours of hair and makeup. Her dress selected after breathlessly poring over Grace Kelly’s wedding…

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9. The case for renaming women’s body parts

From fallopian tubes to the Pouch of Douglas, women’s body parts have been named by – and after – men. But the masculine language of medicine doesn’t end there. Does it matter? Take a tour of the female pelvis, and you’ll encounter a few incongruous people along the way. How did James Douglas end up…

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11. Waiting Room

Author: Jacquie Garton-Smith Finally the last of the guests had wandered away. His wife, Jean, had pecked him on the cheek, discreetly squeezed his forearm and said she would pop home to fix dinner. Also gone were the ‘girls’ who had made up his practice’s loyal staff for years. They had cleaned away the plastic…

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13. My Friend Tiny

Author: Sanjiva Wijesinha MBBS (Ceylon) MSc (Oxford) FRCS FACS FRACGP I first met ‘Tiny’ Reid on the day we both started primary school way back in 1956. After the new boys were ushered into the classroom, our teacher Mrs Jacob called us by our surnames and assigned us seats. Why she randomly seated Reid next…

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14. Promise or Peril

Author: Leah Kaminsky AS soon as the midwife placed my newborn son on my belly, moments after a twenty-three-hour labour brought him into the world, I started counting his fingers and toes. I checked his fontanelle wasn’t too big. Or too small. Or bulging. Or sunken. I looked closely for a squint, unusual lumps on…

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15. Mental State Examination: On Tangents and Garlic

As I got up to leave himand thanked him for his time,he asked me for a favour;my heart rate began to climb.See, it’s not that I don’t wantto help a patient if I can,it’s just this question may be loadedwhen it comes from such a man.He’s floridly psychotic;a man of stated age,a little bit unkempt,but…

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16. Obedience Under Arrest

This article originally appeared on Life in the Fast Lane. There’s a torso at the front of the queue. Towards the back of the line, patiently waiting their turn, are several uniformed staff-members. Some of them are cracking their knuckles. They mean business. Well one doesn’t, but he’s a first year medical student with a…

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17. History; or His Story

Fragility: you lookevery one of your ninety-three yearslying here in this hospital bed,this temporary holder of your body,with your legs contracted in pain.Ischaemic toes. Your accent sounds Russian. Youdescribe it as ex-USSR.You say White Russianand, despite my knowledge of history,I am distracted by thoughts of vodkawith kahlua and milk. And yet, you fought for Stalin.But…

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18. Postcards from the Edge in the Middle

The first story I heard about the community, as we were descending onto the once upon a time graded dirt strip, was that several months ago, when ‘the’ television had stopped working, the kids erupted, and spent weeks setting fire to anything in reach, including the dogs. And, then, hopping out onto the vast expanse…

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