After one particularly difficult week in August 2021, when the pandemic was re-peaking, I turned to my art journal to process the events. I was newly back at work as a hospitalist from maternity leave with my 6-month-old son. Our Nanny had just contracted COVID, despite being vaccinated, throwing our household into chaos. During my commute via the ferry from Bremerton to Seattle, >20 people were unmasked during the ride and many refused to wear their masks when asked by the crew. I performed three death exams on patients with severe COVID who had been sent to my service after a lengthy time in the ICU for the purpose of dying after withdrawal of life support. I had two patients with COVID on my service, one of whom repeatedly requested Vitamin C and Ivermectin, as his oxygenation continued to worsen and he developed ARDS. I worked 100 hours in seven days, and my milk supply for my infant, which provided him with my antibodies against this terrible disease, took a dive to critically low. It was a week where nothing felt right, and I alternated between feeling broken, feeling insufficient, feeling angry and
feeling numb.

This piece, done in marker in a repurposed book, captured what I could not put into words at the time, in a raw, unfiltered, unedited sketch that once on the page, unburdened my soul from carrying all those things with me.



Clinical Practice, COVID-19, Hospital-based Medicine, Sex and Gender-Informed Medicine, SGIM, Wellness, Women's Health

Author Descriptions

Dr. Mahrer Owen ( is an acting clinical instructor in the department of medicine at Harborview Medical Center at University of Washington and is the current academic hospitalist fellow at UW.

The following artwork was one of the top three Arts and Humanities submissions presented at the SGIM Northwest/California-Hawaii Regions’ Annual Meeting in January 2022.