About MLM: Letters from the Editors
In this edition of the Medical Literary Messenger, you will find a beautiful juxtaposition of written word and visual expression. You will find stunning descriptions of pain, diagnosis, and healing paired with organs and disease made alive in visual art. A reader can imagine some of the same conditions and diseases considered and reflected upon in these two separate media by the writers and artists. When you view the artwork, you realize how fascinating and mysterious the human body is. I would encourage readers to spend time with the visual works and recall the images as they read through stories of hurt and healing.
This spring, we held our first Medical Grand Rounds in storytelling. Four physicians shared their stories of loss, growth, and new realizations. This prompted me to reflect on the great importance of stories in medicine. We learn through stories, teach through stories, and most importantly connect to each other through stories. I hope you find the connections with patients, caregivers, and families in this edition of the Medical Literary Messenger. This edition also contains our second feature of VCU Internal Medicine residents’ reflections- this time in haiku style. Perhaps reading this edition will prompt you to write your own story.
In this edition of the Medical Literary Messenger, you will find stories of illness and wellness appealing to the senses—the taste of wine or another unfinished dinner, the sound of a phone in the middle of the night, the things that draw the eye in the room of a dying boy. We feature our first reflection from the VCU Internal Medicine residency program’s blog. Winter brings time for rest and reflection, and we hope this edition may bring you both.
With great joy, we bring you this edition of the Medical Literary Messenger. It brings a reminder that there is, in fact, joy to be found in medicine and illness. The tenderness of a nurse’s touch, the rhythm of a dance, the encouragement of a friend. Take some time with the beautiful photos of a medical relief trip to Honduras, our first photo essay featured in MLM. Of course, with joy comes her sister sorrow. The loss of a patient, a spouse, or the loss of yourself in an illness. We hope these stories and poems help you experience the full spectrum of emotion innate to medicine.
We are delighted to publish this edition of the Medical Literary Messenger. In this edition, we explore medicine and the healing arts through heavy doses of poetry, a shift from prior publications. We hope that you find the content moving and meaningful. Thank you to our diverse contributors. And, as always, Dear Reader, thank you for making the Medical Literary Messenger a relevant voice in both medicine and the humanities.
When reading this edition of the Medical Literary Messenger, I am struck by reflection- how art reflects life, how the end reflects the beginning, and what we choose to reflect upon when we experience medicine as patients or professionals. Please enjoy what I consider to be some of the finest visual art and photography featured in our publication thus far, as well as poetry and prose bursting with imagery and feeling. May it offer you the same time for reflection it offered me.
We are proud to publish this edition of the Medical Literary Messenger. As we continue to grow, choosing among the submissions has become increasingly difficult. To help, we have added Dr. Megan Lemay, Assistant Professor of Medicine at VCU, as our Associate Editor. As you explore this edition of the Medical Literary Messenger, we hope that the stories, poems, and images will inspire you to pause and reflect on medicine and the human condition.