guest post by Kimberly Ho, NYU Long Island School of Medicine/NYU Langone Health
My name is Kimberly Ho, and I am pursuing my medical degree at NYU Long Island School of Medicine. “Grandpa’s Deterioration” is a reflection piece of mine and captures part of my grandpa’s aging experience. This work focuses on a short time period during the pandemic, between June to August 2020.
Making this comic changed many of my perceptions of what was happening to my grandfather. Instead of thinking of his aging as a downfall and depicting the things he progressively lost, I chose to appreciate a different way to empathize with him. When creating this novel, I found myself depicting more emotions than I had anticipated. I tried recalling the faces I’ve seen on my grandpa; others were from imagination. Additionally, coordinating the color scheme in the comic took a deliberate effort. For example, I realized that while the hospital walls were white, they must have looked mustier and greyer from my grandpa’s eyes. Through this medium of storytelling, I better tapped into the illness experience of the patient himself and recognized what it can do to the individual – illness can feel isolating. As I continue with my medical training, I will continue to practice the sort of reflection that better understands the patient’s point of view.