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I have always seen hospitals as




safe havens.

I have wandered with wide eyes

through winding hallways,

idolizing the doctors with their gleaming stethoscopes

hung around their necks

like jewelry.

I have discovered solitude and peace

amidst the quick pace and the noise.

I have spent sleepless nights in the emergency room,

taking vitals and

feeling adrenaline course through my veins.

Imagine my disbelief,

My pain,

as I began to realize that



and white

in my eyes

could be



and cold

to everyone else.

A sanctuary,

But also a prison.

I never realized that

until I heard her speak.

She, who felt silent tears drip down her face,

As a nurse’s rough fingers painfully probed

the most private, vulnerable

part of her body.

She, who struggled as her arms and legs were strapped down.

She, who felt drugs flowing into her body from an IV—

drugs that forced her insides to contract, to convulse,

to rip apart.

She, who whimpered as frigid air touched her organs,

as the doctor lifted her baby out of her body

and separated her from the precious life

that she herself had created.

And separated they remained

for hours, agonizing and slow.

The pristine glass castle in my imagination began to crack,



and then it shattered.

And I could see the truth.

Stethoscopes are not necklaces,

but leashes,

chaining good people to





Dark clouds, representing the faults of human nature,

To which a hospital is not impermeable.

But there is also good

within human nature.

Beyond the hazy darkness

are beacons of light

that shine with compassion and kindness.

And it is up to us,

the ones who have years of learning ahead of us,

to choose which side to nurture.

The sprawling mechanical darkness

or the bright spots of humanity.