The Call of the Sirens (Part 1)
No complaints. No sir. But, well, there's precious little to write about if one's days are a nice placid counting of the hours. The kids are fine. The pets are fine. Most of the appliances are fine (we'll see about the bread maker in a few days).
So that leaves me with no alternative but to trot out the past.
Yes, I've decided to take a page out of our Dumdad's book, not to mention the head of our Rotten Correspondent and the rest who've regaled us with tales of their mischief and misdeeds of yore.
It's time to shamelessly prattle on about my love affair (and not always an emotionally healthy affair) with medicine. I've also got a nice, young (lord, but she is young) newly minted nurse practitioner who's mentoring with me a bit for the next several Tuesdays. As she really doesn't need to trail me around seeing mostly sore throats and coughs (the season being what it is), today we'll work on her suturing and skin biopsying techniques. To what end I could be found at 6am in a grocery store buying a packet of turkey wings and a couple of dozen doughnuts. (The clinic needed doughnuts. I could tell.) Teaching always makes me feel nostalgic about my profession. It's that young idealistic look in their eyes that takes me back away from the growly, jadedness of life as usual at the clinic. We do love what we do but it's nice to be reminded.
So. High school finished. College finished. 8 years potentially wasted on nose-to-the-grindstone studying and solid afternoon after solid afternoon in various very smelly labs while all other normal college students were off getting drunk and sitting under trees with (I'm sure) other attractive college students pondering the merits of whatever they thought needed pondering. I wouldn't know. I was seriously studying. Science-y things. Very seriously. And doing extra lab work for those all important letters of recommendation. I may not be much fun but I'm a single minded little thing when driven. And, boy-howdy, was I driven.
Then came the time to put all this silliness to the test and actually interview: MCAT scores, letters of recommendation and rather good grades in hand. In my combination of financial hardship and either witless optimism or downright arrogance, I only applied to 2 med schools, one of which I shouldn't have wasted my time on as they only took in-state applicants and a few required students from states that didn't have a med school. (I spit on you U-Dub. You could have let us applicants know and saved me the time and the fee. Oh. I get it. You want the free money. Bastardos.) So in reality, only one school applied for: OHSU. Oregon's own and only med school with a nice, relatively modest, public university tuition.
In due course, I was invited to come for an interview. It was pretty standard fare with tour and two sit-downs with two faculty persons. One I don't recall at all, but the second one stuck in my mind as I was certain that she was some sort of cyborg, with the interview questions printed on a virtual screen centered on my person. As she went down the list in a humorless monotone, her eyes went from a space about 2 cm above my head, to my forehead, to my upper lip, to several places down my neck (several short questions), to finally end, with question #20, on my upper abdomen. I soon realized that my breezy manner of speaking and trying to establish rapport was futile and just answered her questions concisely.
I was not surprised to find that she was a pathologist.
All that formaldehyde, in my experience, seems to have one of two effects on the human being: It either causes chemical lobotomies or makes them loopier than a rum-soaked fruitcake. Social skills are apparently a minus in the profession, at least if they are in a teaching institution, or at least if they are in any teaching institution that I've had the honor of working in. (There, that should cover my libel bases.)
In any case, about 2 months later, one cold, gray February, I happened to be at my mom's house getting their mail (I think they were at the beach) and I saw that a thin letter had come for me. 'Twas from OHSU and I just remember things swimming and swirling around the driveway. I'm not one to freak, but I figured the occasion deserved it, so freak I did, in my quiet, 'let's not cause a scene' WASP way, which basically was me standing in the driveway, quietly shaking.
After a bit, I decided that the damn envelope wasn't going to tremble itself open, so I helped it along and read something along the lines of, "We wish to offer you a place in the School of Medicine class of 1991...."
So I shook some more, as clearly there was more freaking out that should be done. I may have teared up. Perhaps even emitted some "Eep! Eep!" sounds. There were certainly large smiles. All I remember clearly thinking was that I was going to get to do what I'd dreamed of doing with all that single minded focus for almost 8 years, and that perhaps it was all going to be worth it.