Aerial magazine is a platform for student expression
where we strive to bridge of passion for art and science. We seek diverse works that showcase the unique perspectives of budding medical professionals and scientists in the Pacific Northwest.
Science illuminates the universe around us and within us
As we progress through our education, Aerial Magazine offers a place to share our collective creativity and discovery.
About The Issue
This is the 2021 and 2022 issue of Aerial Art Magazine, and it looks different than the 2020 issue looked, and it looks different than the 2023 issue will look. 2020 was the year that we all collectively felt the world change. 2021 and 2022 was the year that we all collectively saw ourselves change.
For many, including the leadership of Aerial, despite an event that should have connected us to the other inhabitants of our world we felt our worlds growing smaller and smaller, more constrictive -- each movement made inside our tiny worlds requiring more and more effort as the heat on the shrink wrap surrounding our existences increased degree by degree without signs of stopping. So small for some that we lost the ability to achieve anything beyond the bare minimum.
At the risk of being obnoxiously (naively?) optimistic, we feel our world expanding once again. Maybe, just maybe, we can aim to give the bare minimum just one sock or maybe a hat.
This issue is our attempt at a clothed minimum. We like it and we are proud of it-- it has been 2 years in the making. We invite you to watch us grow this year, and bring Aerial back to what we know it can be, folding in a new generation of artists and creators who will each bring a scarf or a leg warmer to add to our collection.
Love, Sydney and the Aerial Editorial Team
Armin takallou School of medicine
Whenthe snow puts a damper on the forest floor and the usual rustling of leaves and branches, the creaking tree trunks and flutter of birds fill the otherwise vacuum of sound. We begin to more sharply notice the other previously faint sounds. Nearing the end of 2020, I am thinking about the “normal” aspects of our life that have had a damper on
them, including just about anything involving physical closeness with our fellow friends, family, peers, and humans. In the absence of these experiences, we are left to fill the vacuum. This year has brought so much tragedy and pain on many levels of human existence, and this vacuum can easily be filled with negativity as a result. I hope to be deliberate with how I fill my own life vacuum with
positivity, so that I may approach the challenges of life in this era with love and hope rather than fear. What would you like to fill the empty spaces of your life that have been carved out by this pandemic with?
Nora Fisher-Campbell School of medicine
Sweet CitrusMario Tarasco School of medicine
The sharp tang of sweet citrus, drips down as the ice crystals fall. Yellow, not like the sun, but faded and sick The drone of television, nature screams
He thrashes, pale and sallow Snakes course from his nose, in and out,
His mouth moves but released is only hollow sound Blood sears while chemicals drip, drip, drip My orange is nearly gone, but the crystals keep falling.
A hand, placed so sweet, it is one of a final. Death, I knew I had seen him. 6:22pm.
It is a time like any other, but on this day it is The time. The end.
I throw the peels away, bereft of their juice they are only bitter pith. The crystals keep falling and I must keep going.
Quarantine 2020Maggie Aulet-Leon School of medicine
Panic AttackJenna Davison School of medicine
two steps forward a woodwind ensemble rings three sharp notes Stop.
“I got you this calming eucalyptus candle.” the brass instruments have joined in a cacophony face and hands melting a C-clamp opens the abdomen one crank of the handle two cranks look down only a plain, striped sweater Stop.
“I remember when you weren’t like this.” fresh air, now pestilent a rapid onslaught the cymbal crashes a stutter step backward blood rushes to vital organs blanching
Ceaseless. hunch over a bison herd drives against the ribcage faster saliva desiccates temperature broiling still shivers
“This is all in your head.”
School of Medicine
My SeymourHannah Zane School of medicine
Neverin my worst nightmares could I imagine how horrible these past few days have been. It wasn't like I hadn't ever thought of the possibility of something happening to my baby boy. I would hear the horrible stories -- beloved pet's lives cut short through tragedy, which would reliably result in my uncontrollable crying. Thinking about the massive loss for their companion, the hole left behind by their disappearance, followed by fleeting thoughts of worry. What if something like that happened to my Seymour? As quickly as it came up, I would push it down somewhere undetectable, convincing myself that I had some masochistic desire to always focus on worst case scenarios. How many times have I said, "I don't know what I'll do if something happens to Seymour? I don't know if I can take it." Now here I am. And I don't know if I can take it.
Seymour and I had a connection from the first day we laid eyes on each other. He was a surprise birthday gift for me, from my husband, Tom. We have since joked that it's a shame Tom outdid himself so early in our relationship, as now every gift given pales in comparison. We had just moved to Portland and were trying to establish ourselves a new community, a new group of friends. Lucky for me, the day I got Seymour, I got myself a best friend.
Miguel Michelle Bloemers School of dentistry
When we first got Seymour, we were living on the 22nd floor of a huge apartment building in downtown Portland. We had chosen the apartment after recently finishing graduate school living paycheck to paycheck in a shitty apartment surrounded by loud college students. We were ready for an upgraded lifestyle and needed to choose the perfect apartment to match. A washer and dryer in the apartment? Reliable appliances? Clean carpets? Yes please! The apartment we settled on was the nicest one that we had toured -- with huge windows overlooking the green park blocks, hardwood floors and brand-new stainlesssteel appliances. Even the address sounded fancy: 1300 SW Park Ave. We had arrived.
Seymour joined our family the day after my birthday. As, turns out, it is hard to reliably time a puppy's arrival with a birthday. My actual birthday had been rather lackluster, mostly because we had only been living in Portland for a month and our lack of community made it hard to have a real celebration. I was working in a new research lab and deliberately didn't tell anyone that it was my birthday with the hopes of avoiding the forced
“Seymour was different. He was mine”
awkward celebration with strangers. The day after my birthday, Tom called me at work with a feigned apology for not having much of a birthday celebration and said that he was picking me up and taking me to a belated birthday dinner. When I got to the car, there he was: baby Seymour, looking a bit confused, sitting on top of blankets and towels in a laundry basket in the back seat.
I grew up with dogs. But Seymour was different. He was mine. He was my baby. I have never met a puppy as cute as baby Seymour. Or as funny. Always with a smile on his face, ready for our next adventure. We bought Seymour a teeny, tiny green harness with a matching leash and he would confidently march outside ready to take on the day. Despite sharing elevators with the same people for a month, no one knew our name. That is until Seymour arrived. Well, I guess, technically, they still didn't know – but we were Seymour's parents! "Oh! You are the couple with the French Bulldog puppy! Seymour is it? We've heard about you," co-inhabitants of our building would say. "That's right," we would respond proudly. We felt like celebrities.
Potty training a puppy in a building that required long waits for an elevator grew tiresome and after our lease ran out, we moved to a different apartment building on the Southwest Waterfront. This time, we were on the third floor which afforded stairs as a more reliable and time-saving option. Poor Seymour hated these stairs. They were open and being able to see below made him very nervous. But we took one stair at a time and eventually he mastered his art. Always moving his front two legs and back two legs in unison, like a little bunny hopping his way up. The biggest perk of the apartment was the location: the proximity to my research lab made it easy for me to walk home at lunch. A mid-day break that both of us looked forward to every day, where I had the chance to give Seymour some attention, a walk and a scoop of food.
Seymour made lots of friends in this building too, facilitated by the fact that there was a little dog park as part of the building. All the dogs loved to play with Seymour, spending hours chasing and wrestling. Seymour was never a very good listener, often too stubborn to bother, but for some reason at the dog park, even despite having all the distractions around, if I crouched down and called for him, he would stop what he was doing and sprint straight for me. Mouth open wide in a grin, jumping up at the very end and often pushing me backward in the process. I loved it.
Tom and I got married that September, and of course, our wedding would feature our baby boy. Tom and I selected blue and white gingham shirts for the groomsmen and so we got Seymour a matching bow tie. He looked SO handsome all dressed up, the bow tie was the perfect addition to his already permanent tuxedo coat. Our friend, Zac, walked him down the aisle and the gasps and “awwwws” from the crowd made my journey down the aisle feel like an afterthought. I didn't care. Seymour always stole the show.
The bonds between Seymour, Tom and I continued to strengthen over the next year. Becoming frustrated with the politics of academia, I decided to try to go to medical school, representing a major life transition. I started filling my days studying for the MCAT, scribing in the emergency department and taking some classes at Portland State University while continuing to work part time in my postdoc lab. Seymour supported me every step of the way. He would often sit next to me as I studied, staring at the page in the book I was reading, almost like he could read the words. I think he was just trying to figure out why it had my attention so captivated. I frequently had to scribe overnight in the emergency department, and I struggled with being able to sleep during the day. To help, Tom and I bought black out curtains, a fan and made the room a perfect 63 degrees. But I found the
would sit next to
studied, staring at the page in the book I
reading, almost like he could read the words”
only way I could get to sleep was by putting Seymour in the bed right next to me, holding his paw and listening to his even, deep breathing.
We celebrated Thanksgivings, Christmas’ and birthdays. We explored Oregon's coasts, mountains, lakes and breweries. Seymour loved a hike and would often impress me with his stamina and determination. He didn't like to get wet but would enjoy cooling his paws in some ocean or lake water. Seymour met our families and won them over quickly. Choosing restaurants or house rentals always came with our preliminary inquiry, "is it dog-friendly?" Which would inevitably be met with "Of course!" our families knowing already that Seymour, a bona fide member of the family, could never be excluded.
After living on the Southwest Waterfront for two years, our lease, once again was coming to a close. While we loved our apartment, we couldn't re-new as we were waiting to hear back from various medical schools in different states about whether or not I had been accepted. We decided, as a temporary solution, that we would move into a spare room Zac's house until we knew where we were going. Seymour was excited because moving in with Zac meant moving in with his dog-friend, Rigby, which translated into hours of playing and running laps in the backyard.
After getting an acceptance into OHSU medical school, we decided that it made most sense for us to stay in Portland for the next 4 years and were ready to buy our first home. We hired Tami Parks, referred to us by Zac, as our realtor who asked us our wish-list in our first meeting. "Hmmmm... wish-list?" Tom and I looked at each other, "we just really want a backyard for Seymour." The rest was just details.
We toured lots of homes, all with adequate backyards and put in lots of offers, all rejected. Finally, we toured a 2-bedroom, 1 bathroom house that we fell in love with. From the moment we turned the key, we knew it was our home. And the backyard... it was perfect. By some miracle, our offer was accepted, and we were officially the fortunate homeowners. We got to bring Seymour on our final walk through and when we took him to the backyard, he immediately started running around, chasing a white butterfly. "Look at him!" Tami exclaimed, "he belongs here!" And he did.
Thinking back on the past 4 years, it is hard to separate memories of medical school from memories of Seymour. They are all tied up together. For every decision made, Seymour was always on my mind and every day I
looked forward to coming home to my boy. Often, Tom and I would just watch Seymour sleep. "Look at our beautiful baby boy. How did we get so lucky?" Seymour made us feel lucky every single day. How were we the lottery winners that ended up with him?
In the summer of 2020, amidst the COVID pandemic, we decided to get a second dog. Tom was officially working remotely for the foreseeable future and I really wanted to get a puppy that could learn from Seymour. If I could have gotten a Seymour clone, I would have, but I knew they broke the mold with him, and so we settled on a little brindle French Bulldog puppy who we named Meatball.
Meatball took to Seymour very quickly, following him around everywhere waiting for cues as to what they were doing next. Despite being so much larger, Seymour seemed to know just how to play with Meatball, never too rough but always having fun. Meatball loved his brother so much, his primary goal to get as close to Seymour as possible -- often wanting to nap right on top of him. While at first, Seymour resisted, he eventually surrendered, making various shapes with his brother on the couches and dog beds.
I loved Meatball so much. But I also worried that Seymour would feel like we were replacing him. I never wanted Seymour to think for one second that getting Meatball meant we loved him any less. To assuage these fears, I always let Seymour get first pick of the toys, first choice of my lap, first kiss when I got home. I always wanted Seymour to know that he was the king of this household. And I think he always did.
I'm not going to talk about the last few days of Seymour's life. Mostly because it is too painful and traumatic but also because,
despite spending time talking to the intensivist veterinarian and reading about the suspected etiology, I still don't exactly understand what happened. And to be honest, it doesn't really matter. Even though Seymour only got 6 years 7 months and 8 days, I'd like to think that 2,406 of his days were good and only 2 were bad, so why would we choose to talk about those 2?
It is beautiful how much Seymour was incorporated into our lives. But it has made his absence all the more substantial. Our bed no longer feels like our bed, our yard no longer feels like our yard, our home no longer feels like our home. Even my body doesn't
feel like mine and have found myself wondering if it ever will again.
Grief is so ugly. It sneaks up on you and the pain takes your breath away. It courses through your veins and comes out your pores. It follows you around, casting shadows on everything that once shone bright. But grief can also be unifying, after all, it is a universal experience that feels so incredibly human. Grief reminds you what love is, and the depth of our grief illuminates the depth of our love. And only Seymour, my best friend, my baby boy, a dog, could possibly make me feel this human.
“I'd like to
that 2,406 of his days were good and only 2 were bad, so why would we choose to talk about those 2?”
Into the Unknown 九霄云外Derek Song School of medicine
Millions of people climbed Mt. Jiuhua every day to pray to Kṣitigarbha, one of the four principal members of East Asian Buddhism.
The stairs were endless, often disappearing in the fogs, yet people struggled to the highest temple to pay their respect. Faith heals.
A heartbeat can stop
Grace clark school of medicine
A heartbeat can stop... Jayson Greene said those words in his essay “Children Don’t Always Live”1 about the death of his two-year-old daughter and the subsequent life of his one-year-old son. Mr. Greene wrote “a heartbeat can stop” about the omni present truth that people can die at any moment, of any cause. He wrote those words bearing not only the weight of that truth alone, but also the weight of the death of his own child.
In week one of my Family Medicine rotation out in Sandy, Oregon I tripped my way through reading an EKG with ventricular tachycardia on it (a potentially deadly rhythm). A heartbeat can stop... that ever-present truth condenses from its invisible vapor and into concrete matter of red and white boxes and black lines, basically screaming that A HEARTBEAT CAN STOP! I continued to practice reading EKGs and recognizing rhythms that can cause a heartbeat to stop. When I talked to patients, I tried to dig for reasons or signs that their heartbeats, from some cause or another, could stop.
Physicians learn to put on the lens of mortality, to shift our view of the world to one in which we consider risks and dangers. That somber pair of spectacles allows us to protect against harm as best we can. Over time, so I was told by a thoughtful physician, those spectacles become the only prescription through which you can see. You can never completely go back to a reality in which you are not aware of your own mortality and that of those around you. This is not to say that you live in a constant state of worry (although if you’re like
me with GAD*, that is your baseline); more so, you understand and accept the reality of situations and do your best to advise patients, and likely many people you care about too, how to reduce their risks and live a life they enjoy. That is the ideal mindset, I think. More realistically, those who don these somber spectacles let them slide down their nose to reveal another perhaps blurrier but happier perspective. They briefly see the world like they did before they were taught how to effectively and protectively worry. Then they push their spectacles back up and again see mortality in its omnipotence.
A heartbeat can stop... Jayson Greene said that “you stop thinking of a heartbeat as a constant, and more as a favorable weather condition.”1 The death of his first child was his donning of his own pair of somber spectacles; though, his were not of his choice. Mr. Greene did not choose to pursue a career dedicated to fighting mortality and morbidity in humans; he did not train for his shiny new specs. He had a pair thrust upon the bridge of his nose when moments before he thought he could see just fine. Losing someone you love can trigger this rapid perspective shift; I can only imagine that being a parent would make that even more sensitizing.
I am currently finding my prescription for my spectacles; calibrating, if you will. Where I stand now, twenty-five years old and in my third year of medical school, while I knew this was coming, I still feel the thrust of that truth-a heartbeat can stop.
1 Greene, J. (2016, October 22). Children Don't Always Live. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/23/opinion/sunday/children-dont-always-live.html
*Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Edge of autumn and winterSam Baldwin School of Nursing
Symbiosis Between the Paintbrush and the ScalpelJohanna wilson School of medicine
This is a representation of the intersection between two of my passions. The paintbrush and the scalpel may seem distant but share, in fact, a synergic relationship. They both change the status in quo to try to make it better. A paintbrush can make a plain white sheet of paper a piece of art worthy of admiration. A scalpel can, similarly, alter an unstable system so that the function and the form work in synchrony and concur into the restoration of order and balance.
Christa Prentiss School of MEdicine
Roree Phillips School of medicine
Becca lawrence school of dentistry
Cameron benner Ohsu
sunset paddleSam baldwin school of nursing
WHAT WE CARRYAleksandra Dagunts MD/PHD student
first ever in-person day of medical school fell onthe one day that week with no rain in the forecast, and my commute was timed perfectly with the sunrise. I rode my bike down the Waterfront Park trail, watching the beginnings of color reflecting off of the river, eagerly anticipating taking the aerial tram up to Anatomy Lab and seeing the sun rise over Mount Hood. It had been
more than a year since I had first taken the tram at my OHSU interview, and I was looking forward to finally taking it again, now five months into medical school.
As I waited in line to get on the tram, I overheard a conversation between an elderly man and the station manager. “I just wanted to take a ride,” the elderly man said. The station manager started explaining that the tram was only open to OHSU
employees and patients due to the pandemic. The line in front of me started moving. I got on the tram and it lifted off the ground, and as I turned to watch the sunrise, I caught the man’s gaze following the tram upwards.
There is no way to say this without sounding silly in the greater context of the pandemic -the hundreds of thousands of lost lives, the lost livelihoods, the emotional toll of isolation - but lately, this is the moment I am carrying with me. This man, who I imagine woke up that morning, perhaps made himself a nice cup of coffee, thought, “What a wonderfully clear January morning, I bet the sunrise will be beautiful,” put on his coat, and went out to take a ride on the tram, only to find he could not.
Those of us that are lucky will remember this pandemic not as deep personal tragedy, but as a long series of comparably small disappointments. Missing a white coat ceremony. Not being able to travel to see family over the holidays. Not getting to have a drink with friends after an exam. Not being able to ride the aerial tram. These things are not particularly devastating on their own, and still we are all carrying the collective weight of their loss.
One thing that’s been helping me carry that loss lately is giving COVID-19 vaccines at the OHSU clinic. For the first time, I feel like I am being directly helpful to ending the suffering caused by COVID-19. And people are so excited to be there. Igetto vaccinate friends, acquaintances, and strangers. And of course, I get to take the aerial tram on the way to the clinic.
I hope the man from the tram has gotten his vaccine by now. I hope it provided relief and hope, the way it did for me. I hope he can ride the tram soon. For now, I’ll try to be particularly appreciative of those sunrises on his behalf.
The GetawayRui Heng Chen School of medicine
Remember When...Daniela Shaw OSU/OHSU college of pharmacy
This all began? The whole-wide world– Was our big fan.
They thanked us here, They thanked us there. They covered up- To show they care.
We all showed up, Some volunteered. While some got sick- Others got cleared.
We saw the sick, And felt the pain. We knew the rules – Were not in vain.
As more got sick – Supplies ran out. We saw less masks, And claims of doubt.
When this divide, Began to grow – We still showed up, Morale was low.
We’ve been attacked, Asked to defend – Why we wear masks- “To save you friend!”
Can we go back? Back to a time – Where saving lives – Got big high fives.
This was made after a months long period of not making anything. It's a pen and graphite drawing over an india ink underpainting. This piece is about procrastination and being fatigued from constant global and local crises.