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How words can give comfort

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2013 - Winter


It’s Day Two of the Hospital of Saint Raphael becoming part of Yale-New Haven Hospital. Since I came to the United States of America five years ago, New Haven has been my home and Saint Raphael’s, my family. I walk in—it’s the same building, mostly the same people, the same routine, but also there is a distinct difference. New ID badges, new e-mail IDs, and new policies; the familiar place is suddenly a bit alien. I am on the medicine consult service; and in between doing a preoperative evaluation and placing an NG tube in an anorexic patient, I find myself wandering toward the library. There are a myriad of things to read, especially in the journal section. My eyes fall on a colorful journal on the lowermost shelf of the rack. I pick it up—it’s Yale Medicine, Winter 2012. I had never noticed it before. As I browsed through its 33 pages, I found myself reading every page of it and actually enjoying it.

The article that caught my attention was “Doctors Who Write,” by Cathy Shufro. That article struck a chord with me, made me happy, and somehow made me feel like I belong. It is amazing to see how words can give comfort. In this time of transition from the Hospital of Saint Raphael to Yale, where there was a sense of unfamiliarity, this article made me feel that there are people at Yale who enjoy what I enjoy—writing! I felt like some of the things said by Richard Selzer and Dagan Coppock came right out of my head—I had thought them but never said them. It felt calming. This is exactly what I needed today. I wanted to share my experience with you and thank you, for you have made me feel excited and hopeful about my Day Two—and my upcoming days as a part of Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Safia Siddiqui, M.D.
Department of Medicine
Yale-New Haven Hospital