The white meat resembles the muscles we are studying at the time. ~ Ramon Resa*
Medical school is hard. Even holidays during med school are hard – at least Thanksgiving was for Ramon Resa during his first year at UC Irvine’s School of Medicine. In an excerpt from his memoir “Out of the Fields: My Journey from Farmworker Boy to Pediatrician” Ramon describes a rather “tough” Thanksgiving dinner. Perhaps a few other doctors or med students will relate.
Our first day [of medical school] also includes the first sessions of some of our classes, including gross anatomy and meeting the cadavers we’ll spend the next months dissecting. I dissected a cat in my anatomy class at Santa Cruz, but having a dead person lying on the table in front of you is totally different.
I can’t help thinking about them as they might have been when they were alive. It takes me weeks to get used to being in their presence. I lose my appetite, and when I come home smelling of formaldehyde, Debbie [Ramon’s wife] won’t let me touch her until I shower. Even then she makes a face.
Over time, though, and the closer exams get, the less queasy we feel. Eventually we start bringing our lunches into the lab with us, but we never forget which hand is holding our sandwich and which one is holding a piece of the cadaver.
Still, Thanksgiving is hard for me because the white meat resembles the muscles we are studying at the time.
Like all of the other challenges he faced, Ramon pushed through. He celebrates this Thanksgiving with his wife Debbie, their two grown children and lots of turkey.
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