On Medicine & The Arts

Ruth Madievsky blends the mind of medicine with the heart of art. She is a doctoral student at the University of Southern California's School of Pharmacy and a research assistant at an HIV clinic specializing in maternal care. 

At 3 Good Books (the blog series I host), Ruth shares her favorite books on the theme of Medicine & The Arts. 


My kidneys are leaning into the wall of my back
like a pair of boxing gloves,
the way my grandfather is leaning
into the idea of an operating table,
a paralytic agent, his body
a space station for someone else's hands.
I work in the hospital where it will happen.
I work and wait for the part
where the lungs I keep wanting this month to be
stop huffing propane, stop threatening
to make like my patient's veins
and collapse. Inside
the sterile compounding room, 
I shoot drugs,
down an IV bag's gut. I listen 
to the outer-space hum of machines
that eat the air out of the room.
There is nothing sexy 
about incision.
There is nothing about the phrase
nasogastric tube
that makes me want to look
both ways before crossing the street.
I want to hold him 
like he is something other
than a mucus membrane.
Like maybe the planet inside him is Pluto, 
like it's not really a planet at all. 

— Ruth Madievsky
from Emergency Brake