My father enjoys playing frisbee golf. Chances are, you’ve never heard of it. Each player walks around with a backpack filled with different types of frisbees: long and short drivers, mid-range, putters, rollers, frisbees that cut an “S” in the air, and so on. They throw these things around trees and through clearings toward a metal basket and they LOVE their sport.
My father is a friendly guy with a laugh that makes others want to laugh. He makes easy friends. The summer after graduating from college I was wallowing at a part-time job, hoping for anything medical that could help me gain an apartment of my own. I watched the Graduate and thought about going into plastics. Friendly guy that he is, my father met a nurse named Rob N. that figured the apple couldn’t have fallen to far from the tree. He arranged an interview at Big Hospital and I had my job as a tech.
I did all sorts of things at this job and learned that the worst of what I had to do didn’t bother me that much. This was supposed to be the litmus test of medicine, akin to seeing a girl without makeup, hungover, vomiting. Still love her? Then go marry her. In my mind, I was ready to go to medical school.
I applied to several schools, was interviewed, wait-listed and rejected. It was from the physicians that I had come to know on the hospital floors that I learned of SGU in the Caribbean. I did some research, was impressed with their board pass rates and residency placements, and decided to apply. A month later I was interviewing and received the first acceptance letter in a long time.
Down in hurricane-wrecked Grenada began the baptism of fire that is Biochem, Anatomy, Histology, Embryology and Clinical Skills in the space of 4 months. I loved it. Socially, academically, and melanin-wise I was thriving.
The next term I had the brilliant idea that I would tutor Anatomy and Biochem. I discovered that in the captive and competitive audience that is a medical class, women find brains as attractive as anything else, giving rise to the phenomenon known as “nerd hot.” To boot, my best friend was the most sought after guy on campus. I invited him to tutor with me.
During the meeting of the Anatomy tutors, a knew professor was introduced to us. Stolen from a nearby school, Dr. Loukas said that he was interested in anatomical research and would like to start a research group at SGU. He had our full attention. Meetings were arranged and a club was formed. We were the founding executives.
One year later, our research has continued with few pauses. We put together our projects and headed for Milwaukee for the Annual Congress of Clinical Anatomists to present. I gave my first terrifying speech. Their, we met another professor interested in anatomical research that Dr. Loukas had come to know quite well.
Two weeks later, at the end of what remains of our summer vacation, we are in Birmingham, Alabama dissecting 8-10 projects in 35 cadavers. We begin dissecting each day at 7am and work till 12:30 when the M1’s come in to learn about the brachial plexus. We’re off till 3pm but can’t go many places with the stink of formalin that we wear like capes. Instead we nap and read. I finish The Tipping Point and start to wonder at all the forks in the road that have brought me here.
I fly home. Tomorrow I fly off to the Caribbean to finish the last part of my second year. Tonight, funny enough, is the going away party for the guy that started it all. Rob N. It’s the only day I could have been home to see him and say thanks and the last time I’ll see him for a while.
Funny though, that it all happened at all.