Healing Hands


Healing Hands

By Keila Buthman

Knit one, knit two, purl one, purl two…

Knit one, knit two, purl one, purl two…

I watch my television show as my fingers

work on autopilot through those familiar stitches.

My eyes dart down every few seconds to check my work,

and then back up to the blaring of ambulance sirens and the rushing of interns

behind a resident who’s barking orders at them. There is barely any time

to watch TV while I’m in school, but I find that watching it every once in a while

sharpens my focus and reminds me why I want to be a doctor.


I love the idea of multi-tasking between something that challenges you

and something that comes naturally. My dexterity and skill

with knitting has improved tremendously over the years, as has my piano playing

and my massaging technique. I work with the yarn or the lotion or the ivory

until it becomes a medium that suits me,

and then I let my own inner will inspire the rest.


My hands are a source of pride to me,

and although performing surgery with those hands is intriguing,

I am not certain what kind of physician I want to be yet.

I just know that I want to touch lives both physically

and metaphorically. I want to calm their fears

with knowledgeable explanations, and I want to investigate the cause of a symptom

with an experienced ear and eye.


I block out all the hate and conflict of the world that is readily accessible

and shared with me by people and I channel that energy

toward my daydreams of putting it back together.

There are many forces that drive the actions of society:

religion, poverty, hatred, prejudice, government, poor health…

And although each of these is as important to address as the rest,

the health part is the one that I want to influence.


Part of me feels like I will never understand medicine, pain, or disease

as much as the average person because I have been exceptionally healthy

my whole life. Knock on wood.

My immediate and extended family are all within healthy weight,

there are almost no repeat offenders as far as genetic conditions,

and we are all abnormally active.

One side of me feels like this lack of suffering could be a shortcoming,

because I might not understand what my patients are going through…

but the other side of me feels like I work hard at being healthy,

and I want to teach everyone else how to live that way too.


I want to open doors for people, and make things, and stitch someone back together.

I want to be surrounded by mentors and students and clean sheets

and those moments where you see a family together with their loved one.

I don’t balk at the sight of blood, bile, or bodily fluids,

and I’m a quicker responder in a crisis.

I love to learn about anything and everything and have been devouring

books since I was five years old.


Apart from those introverted qualities, I am adventurous

and I love to explore new places and meet new people.

There is no place too modern or too frightening

where I wouldn’t want to use these healing hands,

and though the road ahead is long and overwhelming at times,

I am excited for the journey that other people cringe at.

There are definitely obstacles to get through along the way as far as the financial, logistical, and credential requirements go,

but I am nothing short of thrilled to be

navigating my way through this bright new world.



I never knew how to put how I felt about wanting to be a physician into words... You just did. Thank you!

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