Saturday, November 1, 2008

Step One - Breathe

Some 39 years ago I remember playing house down the street with my friends, I was five. While my friends played mom and sister, with my little red bucket of bandages and tape, I played doctor and dreams were born.

Sometime in the beginning of the 4th grade my teacher told me I was not a problem child but bored and then put me on a schedule to get me energized and tracked. I finished 4th grade math and science sometime around Dec. My teacher, Garry Ranthum, was diagnosed around the same time with leukemia. Curiosity getting the better of me, I started doing research on that word at the local library. I was still only 10 years old but I was hungry for more info.

Garry did great things for all of his students gifted or not, mediocre or over-achievers. I ran into old classmates of mine in the 80's and all of us thought we should have a reunion to honor him. For sadly, as we were then beginning 7th grade, he passed away.

All of my papers throughout elementary, junior and senior high revolved around oncology. I became a medical explorer in Bismarck, ND, watched childbirth, rode in ambulances, and "knew" I was headed to medical school in the future.

In 1982 I started my undergraduate work some 500 miles away from my parents. Newly minted with the stamp called "Freedom" I lived the life of the "Animal House" party girl. Med school became a distant reality for me. The hunger to become a doc was still there, the drive was not.

Mid-1993 and one of the most honorable people I've ever had the pleasure and good fortune to know, Dr Robert Heller, told me he had this "thing" in his throat but I was not to worry. He was sure it would go away, he was sure it was nothing. I'm not sure how long he lived between that and his passing. Oncology a word that I researched and hated risen up from the past to hit me again.

Through the next 15 years I've meandered in and out of wondering, "Could I" and, "What if I tried" to "What am I thinking?"

So here is my first post on a blog about trying at the age of 44 to get pre-reqs done, show that I'm capable of getting the grades I need, and hopefully, an acceptance letter for matriculation in 2011. Along the way I'll link other forums, things I find, and post my thoughts. Wandering around the University of Minnesota campus today I remembered why I love school - and then I had to remember:

Step One, breathe!


Anonymous said...

Hello. I just wanted to say that it made me feel VERY good to see that my dad (Garry Ranthum) is still remembered after all these years by one of his students. Thank you for the kind words.

A Doc 2 Be said...

Wow! Your dad's impact on my life is immeasurable. If it had truly not been for him, I believe, my life would be completely different. Your father is one of my greatest heroes.

Thank you for leaving me the message! (and I'm so sorry... he was the greatest man)

Phathead said...

Stumbled upon this site from Old MD Girl... Needless to say I greatly admire people who won't give up on their dream. It's a pain in the ass to get kicked to the ground, but oh so rewarding when you get back up...

A Doc 2 Be said...

Thank you so much, Phathead! Today, 12-2-10, I got asked why I was not in school and why would I not pick the dream back up once financially I was settled again...

So, I will be. One more contract in place, and I'm registered for spring semester, chasing my dream...

Parker's Dad said...

I was googleing my favorite teacher and ran across this website. Garry Ranthum was THE most important teacher in my life. I was the first student to have parents go through a divorce and Garry Ranthum helped me through it. His death destroyed me for a long time, it was so wrong. God bless you Garry Ranthum!
Eric Michael Hill

A Doc 2 Be said...

Eric!!! Indirectly, you are mentioned (without name) in a later tribute to Garry.

Remember our road trip with Alpha Phi and ... me to your place in Indianhead? OMGosh and all the skiing, swimming sauna and liquor? Or the amazing spaghetti... or the night you and I talked about getting folks together for a Ranthum reunion party?

I credit Garry for saving what shell of a childhood I had. Amazing teacher, mentor.