Category: Medical School


Splénétique

There comes a point, dear physician,

when you must realize that Baudelaire

knows just as much of LUQ pain as you

do, hold it back hold it back hold it back,

until the pain is a desperate confusion

of process and origin, pulpy Greek bile

that holds your cells in a mother’s embrace,

life will always be this unfair for as long as

you have an organ designed to filter out

the leafy melancholy, beaten, vented, I

suppose we all can benefit from this cold,

faceless sentinel, navigating life’s sinusoids,

praying to hold us steady, worshiping the zero.

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medical school lesson 14

FECALITH

 

give me something new to nurture

in the vacancy of crooked arms

 

(can I stay here forever?)

 

this togetherness needs no first

breath, no beating heart

 

(can I stay here forever?)

 

quagmire

stagnant

sluggish

 

(can I stay here forever?)

 

it’s not a joke, not a joke, not

a joke, not a joke, but it is funny

as hell

 

(can I stay here forever?)

 

one day soon, your favorite punctuation

mark will be the open bracket

 

(can I stay here forever?)

This beat! This beat is infectious!

This beat is sputum dripping in a

zesty 4/4, 180 bpm! This beat peels

my skin off with its toxins! This beat

is dancing around in my naked bones!

This beat is quite possibly highly

transmissible after it exits my body

from every orifice imaginable (but don’t

worry too too much, life is risk)! This beat

keeps me up all night with an itching,

burning, uh, desire, let’s call it! This

beat is a weird swelling in the lymph

nodes in my groin! This beat is addiction!

This beat is telling my family to savor

the moments, count them like never

before, because it won’t be long now,

no, won’t be long until I go and join

the red, swollen, limping, ataxic dance.

medical school lesson 12

Aphasia Voluntaria

 

For all of the, ah, evolution

of your psychiatric classification

schemes, warmly, generously

working your way to the conclusion

of “a failure to speak” rather than

refusal to do the same, I have

to say (or not say, remember,

not to you anyway) that in my

case, being neither a child nor

socially anxious, that truly my

condition is a matter of refusal,

hrmmm, yes, endlessly puzzling

to the adequately modern and social-

ized physician, but I am here to tell

you (silently, again, don’t miss the

point here) that time is just one more

distant planet orbiting your sun,

that heartbreak is just a few radians

away from bursting from the ground,

forming new mountains and ridges

in its periodic cycle, and I want to

let you know, sir psychiatrist (do

I even have to remind you?) that if you

saw the next ice age coming so clearly,

well, you would see no reason to open

your goddamn mouth so much either.

The plague doctor flies from room to room,

alighting on the sill as the curtains flutter

in the humid night air. Water beads on his

waxy coat and face, leaving traces of binary

symbology on the wooden floor. The miasma

encircles him, and indeed, does it not seem

that he carries it with him? Is there malice

behind the unseeing red crow’s eyes? Yes,

Doktor Schnabel von Rom will leave as quickly

as he arrives, in a flutter of wings and red-tinged

coughing, but he knows he is doing God’s work.

He has joined the legion. He is calm, held safe

from the fear by wearing it around his shoulders.

Deficit

 

I think we can conclude your

child was born without deficits,

which is good, yes, this is truly

something to be grateful for, you

know, the economy being what

it is and all, don’t want to be born

into the red, ho no, hard enough

avoiding the slip in attention when

your ledger is clean to begin with,

right, stigma, no, I wouldn’t say,

ah, no, call it more of a system

of, you know, classification, don’t

want to be dripping or crusting or

purulent or necrotizing, no, better

to stay on your side of the yellow

line, yeah, and maybe if you spring

forth from the womb clutching a fist-

ful of IOUs, well, you can burn those

off I’m sure if you work hard enough

in the interim, yes, come off scot-free

just in time to die at 20, good, jolly good,

well done, we’re all in this together

or, “Death to Videodrome, long live the new flesh!”

 

now there is so much truth

it has taken on its own life

so much truth out there it

exercises its own unique

brand of body horror slicing

through my ancient logical signs

and definitions and replacing

them with syndromes disorders

symptoms that now I have

to live up to and defy my very

emotional existence to live

up to the condition well that old

joke ha ha son you’ve caught

the human condition well all

this truth is clouding reality in

a scary way by now and I don’t

know what I got anymore I just

know it’s new and changing and

mutating all the time it’s the human

condition it’s malignant growing

all the time metastasizing to my

innermost heart my secret soul

medical school lesson 8

Paracusia

 

My dearest Mina, I fear I have been visited

in the night once again by the ghost of Warren

Zevon, or maybe it was Robert Schumann,

I don’t remember. He stood draped in a white

sheet like specters are known to in the West,

and asked me how many auditory hallucinations

I might mold to his amorphous, flowing form.

The static gravel whispered secrets about my late

grandfather, the sheer density of the air threatening

to collapse my eardrums was its own love song.

Tell me this, beautiful skeptic: if it were a dream,

if it were insanity, would it end so consistently

each time, standing arms outstretched, lashed

to the vibrating air as it moves in opposite directions

and nowhere, stretching me Christ-like along

the humming breeze? And why then, would

you say, must it always happen at night, when

my fears are watching, waiting, muttering revenge?

medical school lesson 7

It is supposed that the sterility of this modern world,

all chrome and 24 hour news cycles, is in large part

responsible for this febrile generation, these asthmatics

and wheezy jokers whose throats snap shut like the maws

of crocodiles. And truly, the air is full of these supposedly

harmless epithets that couldn’t grow a colony of bacteria

if their very lives depended on it, but what then of our

enraged immune response? Is it in our very nature to be

adversarial? My keyboard lacks the appropriate set

of characters to explain my rage to the seraphs, certainly

not without causing undue offense, but then, “You did this,

it was you!” shout the boiling mast cells, and the impotent

words in my gullet are enough to blow me up like a balloon,

red, itching, jiving, til everything is just a smear upon my wall.

Ay carumba, doctor says I got me a Fever

of Unknown Origin, I’m sweaty, scalding,

like Buster Poindexter HOTHOTHOTHOT,

these ladies keep walking in and catching

me alone in bed with my Fever of Unknown

Origin, doctor tells me my body has little

soldiers in it and they’re fightin real hard

with a hose or a crossbow and that should

be good and all, but like, where did it come

from, man, how are my agents going to know

who to assassinate, and I done already seen

this on Unsolved Mysteries, I know when you

get you a Fever of Unknown Origin it’s just

a matter of time til you spontaneously combust,

and then all the smartass doctor finds is your

shoes and teeth and wristwatch, now isn’t that right?

or, The Pinworm Speaks Her Mind!

 

Time was, I used to get real nervous wondering

what you thought about me, but I’m a grown-ass

lady now, and it’s hard enough living in a colon

without worrying about whether you guys are all

full of hot air, pun intended, thank ya very much.

 

I got a brood to think about too, just like you, is the point.

 

Don’t think I can’t hear you when you call me a plague,

when you strip me of my sentience, of even my most

basic emotions. You don’t have proof that I’m capable of thinking,

of feeling love? You don’t have any proof that there’s

a God, or that there isn’t one for that matter, but I noticed

that you’ve never had any problem believing in the pew.

 

Also, electric fields. Ever seen one of those, wise guy?

 

I’m sorry if I’m coming off kind of aggressive.

Let’s just say that life out here on the peri-anal plains

can change a gal. I’m getting into a pretty hard-line

deterministic philosophy these days, you know.

There is a reason. There is a reason.

 

Awareness is the key, I guess. Ignorance might help

you sleep better at night, but remember: that’s when

I emerge to lay my eggs in your tender, sweaty flesh.

 

Here: you further the throughline of your species, and I’ll protect

my own. Just stop bitching about it, cringing at the Google images

of me that your morbid quasi-medical curiosity leads you to.

Here but for the grace of God are you, too. Get your head

out of your goddamn ass. I’ve tried it, and it fills me with

wonder, every time, every single time. Even under your

covers, the night air is so tender and cool, so pregnant

with sweet whispers of a better future for my squirming children.

 

Let’s stay together just a while longer, you and I.

 

I think I would like that quite a bit.

patients experiencing anaphylaxis often describe

a feeling of impending doom, in one of those rare

but firmly documented instances that the practice

of medicine shares its linguistic origins with

anyone?

anyone?

that’s right, christian death metal bands from riverside,

california, which, come to think of it, is perhaps

as paradoxical a concept as predicting one’s own,

like, metaphysical fist clenching around one’s

anyone?

anyone?

that’s right, trachea, we would also have accepted

throathole, but the point is simply that hohohoholy shit, it

might even be happening to me right now, even as i stand

here lecturing you, i’m seeing this, like, really anatomically

accurate skeletal visage looming over about three or

four of you in the back row, yes looming, hovering, impending

and the air is thick with meaning and could somebody call a

anyone?

anyone?

medical school lesson 3

I.

Once upon a drive-in theater these pink

wrinkly critters came to visit the Earth,

no flying saucers or escape pods, just a rain,

just plopping onto beds of pine needles,

you’d think it was trippy too, man, even adistance,

afloat on a raft in a lake of cerebrospinal fluid.

 

II.

They were, like, looking for new experiences

because that’s their foodstuffs. Got it?

 

III.

The critters found these pretty hilarious monkeys

on the Earth, and decided to build their homes

in their funny, empty heads, a warm place, mornings

full of fragrant amber cerumen and bloodbaths.

 

IV.

They found out they could shoot tentacles down

into the monkey bodies and make them do whatever

they wanted. Yippee! The critters made this thing

called a nervous system and whenever the monkeys

were lazy they only had to shoot them full of millivolts,

hey monkey, get off your damn ass, wiggle your fingers.

 

V.

Soon, the wrinkly pink scamps realized they could control

the monkeys even further, and make them do things that had

dick-all to do with their basic monkey needs. Mischief!

The monkey-critter units put on suits and became doctors

and lawyers. Some of them became Van Halen.

 

VI.

The whole thing was actually pretty fucked up.

I’d only call it symbiosis to be politically correct.

 

VII.

Hello. My name is Jason. I am a wrinkly amorphous

pink critter who lives in a monkey. I am afraid that my

fellow wrinkly critters have forgotten their roots. They’re

getting themselves, like, existentially confused with

the monkeys, so it’s hardly a wonder I feel so alone

and messed up and different all the time, I could just

blow myself out all over the wall. I mean it, it’s

getting pretty fucked up down here, like, help me,

Obi Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope, take me

back to my wrinkly pink space home, a planet filled with

sandy tornadoes, blowing blebs of mercury and thoughts.

medical school lesson 2

I.

“doctor, doctor, give me the news,

i got a bad case of lovin yew.”

 

–Birch ain’t bad either on a day

like this, when even the mailboxes

seem to be shedding blossoms to

the breeze, a day when I could almost

stop to breathe if it weren’t for the ragweed.

 

II.

“doctor: docked her! gimme some!”

 

–S’that what you kids are calling it

in these days of binary stimulation,

of burning re-entry to the blogosphere?

 

III.

“doctor, doctor, gummy the news. i

got a bad case?”

 

–D’you want first, the bad news, or words

coated with horse hoof and qualifiers, words

doused in high fructose corn syrup until

pancreatic cancer sounds as light and fluffy

as whipped cream and storm clouds?

 

IV.

“doctor, doctor, give me the news,

i got a bad case of love exhumed.”

 

–Kid, we all got ex-wives in this bidness,

nobody can deal with a doctor forever,

unless you mean to say you’re fucking corpses,

there’s government reporting rules for that.

 

V.

“doctor, doctor, give me the news.”

 

–I got a bad case of lovin’ you, the news

is old and pulping in the gutter but I think

you can still read some of the headlines

as those soggy tumbleweeds crawl across

the street, and they ain’t all bad, you know,

some things are trending upward, I swear,

can’t name any specific examples but it’s

enough to keep me trying, you know, until

the Mayans and Emmerich turn out to be right,

until my feet and lower back are rusted iron.

Ankylosing spondylitis, from the Greek

meaning help I’m turning into an ankylosaurus,

my tail bone is a nine iron or three wood,

a dinosaur in my young age, my ankyls

really hurt and I’m dying, losing it, my joints

sing a prog-rock fusion mass in Latin,

despondent, it came on so spondtaneously,

please respond, as in all of those things,

plus a spine like an oboe reed, and I

can only bend so far, you know, any

kloser to nowhere, to standing stuck

in the ground in a field of quivering

dismembered car antennae that somehow

still have fading AM band reception.