Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Week Two: or, All I Ever Needed To Know For PA School I Learned at Meridian School.

Two things struck out at me this week. First, the review week is over and I’m still feeling, albeit anxiously, a false sense of security about subjects at school. Mostly because the stuff I’m learning is not new. Even the new stuff is just extensions of things I learned long ago, e.g. glycosidic linkages are straight out of AP Bio. And thanks to a much maligned, former marine-corps medic, 9th grade biology teacher I had at Meridian, I learned and memorized the structures of all 20 amino acids, major carbohydrates, the 4 nucleotides, glycolysis and the Calvin Cycle. By the time we were through, we could replicate, translate and transcribe DNA and carry out plant and animal metabolism with our hands tied behind our backs – literally, because he let us write on a t-shirt for every exam. I loved biochemistry before I knew what biochemistry was. So it’s no surprise that it’s my favorite class. Thank you Dr. Treadway.

What I also incorporate into PA school, is the sociology and philosophy I learned in senior seminar. We learned to think logically, write coherently and pull in different disciplines to discuss problems. It’s no coincidence that I see medicine as an art because of my liberal education. It’s also no coincidence that what I take from biochem fits into anatomy/physiology which then fits into clinical assessment. They are all integral to each other – may my scientist friends forgive me, that’s just the humanities talking.

The second thing I learned this week is that I still need my mommy. Mom was always good at allowing me a “mental health” day, as she called it. A day off from high school for no apparent illness or anything other than she thought I needed a break. I still take those days for myself – and allow my kids the same when the opportunity arises. She instilled in me, without trying, that balance is important. I’ve forgotten that – of course it’s hard to take a day off from being a mom and still have a house at the end of the day. Been there. Done that. And the proof is on the walls…the porch steps…the lawn…I think the cat has recovered by now. Anyway, I never would have adapted to school so well without her help and who knows where my kids or husband would be without her. For the past two weeks, she kept us all fed, clothed, cleaned and oh, yeah, she very heroically killed a snake for me. That was beyond the call of duty.

p.s. the train is still civilized; even when it is six hours late.

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