After graduation I had a couple months before starting up medical school. Most of that time was spent working so that I could save up for my expenses. Unfortunately the cost of medical school was quite a bit more than I was making working at my regular job so I was forced to take up student loans. I figured that in the end as long as I wound up with a decent residency that I could pay them off within a couple years.
Once medical school started up I noticed that there were only a couple of faces that I recognized. While only a handful of people had made it through the program, few of them decided to either continue on or to do their medical school at SJU. I probably could have gotten in to something a bit more prestigious but I didn’t want to have to go through the admissions process, and also tuition costs. At the time I felt that medical school was medical school so it wouldn’t matter in the end. Maybe things would have turned out a bit differently if I had made a different decision.
Unlike my undergrad years I don’t have much to discuss about my time in medical school, so I will be condensing it quite a bit.
For the most part my time there went by without much thought. I didn’t spend a lot of time with other people since I felt it was better to be a bit detached when it came to other people. I felt that if I didn’t care as much about anyone that it would make being a doctor easier on me. I had heard stories of successful doctors who had turned to alcohol or drugs to ease their consciousness’ after losing patients. You see a lot of things during this time when, and having seen the effects on the body from substance abuse I didn’t want to meet a similar fate. Distancing myself seemed like the best choice I could make, and I didn’t regret that for some time.
The four years I spent at medical school seemed to fly by. I guess you don’t notice as much when you have your face in a book all the time and when you aren’t studying you’re working. After a while people stopped trying to invite me to parties or any other social event. I overheard several people refer to me as a zombie though I never really understood why. The only things I could think of was I spent a lot of time with the cadavers, and I shuffled my feet a lot when I walked.
After I finished up with school I took a two year residency in a small town called Woodenvale. I didn’t realize it for some time but my old college sweetheart Anna was the local school nurse. I knew that when she left SJU she had gone back to her hometown, but I didn’t realize it was the same place I was doing my residency. We eventually crossed paths walking down the street one day, and commented on the strange coincidence that we would wind up in the same town, almost as if being controlled by some unseen force. At the time I wasn’t sure I would be sticking around after my residency so we decided to just remain friends and would grab a bite from time to time.
Over time though, I grew to like the small town life. Considering all the goals I had set for myself I was slow coming to that realization. I really didn’t realize it until I was offered a staff position at the local hospital, while at the same time being offered a job across the country in Atlanta. After thinking about it for a couple weeks I decided I enjoyed working in a small town. Everyone was friendly and while it wasn’t small enough that you knew everyone, you ran in to a lot of the same people out on the street.
Before I realized it I had been living there for five years, and was one of the more respected doctors at the hospital. I had a lot of regular patients come in, usually minor injuries but I kept busy. I had formed a good working relationship with most of the staff, as well as the local sheriff and a few others. I wasn’t really the same person I was when I came to town.
For the first time in a long time I felt alive.