WOSTER: Dr. Woster? That wasn’t bloody likelyWhen I was a high-school senior, I took some aptitude tests that told E.J. Lodge, the Chamberlain High guidance counselor, I would make a terrific medical doctor.
By: Terry Woster, The Daily Republic
When I was a high-school senior, I took some aptitude tests that told E.J. Lodge, the Chamberlain High guidance counselor, I would make a terrific medical doctor.
Well, I liked Mr. Lodge quite a lot, and when he told me the results of the tests, I nodded my head in what I hoped was a contemplative way, but I didn’t say much. I wasn’t at all sure what questions I answered in such a way as to show an aptitude for medicine.
If I remember the test, it was pages and pages of “would you rather do this or do that” kind of questions. I don’t even remember a question coming close to medicine. So I never did know how I displayed my medical leanings.
Even in high school, though, I did know one thing that absolutely, positively and without the slightest bit of wiggle room made it unlikely I’d be a success as a medical doctor. I fainted at the sight of blood.
The effect was worse if it was my own blood I was swooning over, but I could grow weak-kneed and light-headed at the sight of just about anyone’s blood. Given that I’d probably have been expected to work on, you know, human beings — and don’t human beings bleed like crazy sometimes? — I dismissed the medical calling out of hand.
I nodded (thoughtfully, I hoped) at Mr. Lodge when he gave me the results, but I dismissed the career suggestion out of hand.
Newspapering was a little more detached. You can get close to some pretty gory places and things, but you usually don’t find yourself actually in them up to your elbows or anything. Detached is something I can handle pretty well.
If you asked anyone in our family, they’d tell you that any show of blood sends me into a tizzy. When the older son rammed the end of the handlebar on his bicycle through his cheek during a crash on a fast, downhill run on a sidewalk, the wound bled a lot.
I yelled and backed away.
When the younger son wound up in a bloody, crumpled heap at the side of the street down the block after a bicycle accident and then showed up at our door in the arms of a neighbor, I yelled and backed away.
(Come to think of it, maybe it was the bicycles that were causing the problem, not the blood?)
Who would have thought, then, that I’d be the one to take the collegebound granddaughter to Mitchell the other day to have her wisdom teeth taken out? Not me.
I’d have figured one of the adults in her house would do it. I’d have thought Nurse Nancy, who actually functions when blood is gushing from a wound in an actual human being, would do it.
Those more likely choices all had firm commitments, though, and the good thing about building up vacation leave is, sometimes you can take it.
I drew the short straw, I guess, and there I was, driving down the interstate from Mitchell with the granddaughter asleep in the passenger seat, ice packs on both cheeks.
I confess I worried a little before the trip. I sought medical advice, asking Nancy what the best move would be if Frankie and I were on I-90 headed home and she began to bleed uncontrollably.
That wouldn’t happen, Nancy said.
But if it does, I said.
That exchange went on for a while, and finally she said, “Well, for heaven’s sakes. You work for Public Safety. Don’t you know anybody who would respond to a medical emergency? Besides, it isn’t going to happen.”
She was right. It didn’t happen. What did happen was a day of personal leave, a nice drive to Mitchell that allowed me to talk and listen to Frankie, a quiet, no-medical-emergency ride home, and a pleasant afternoon with Frankie and her 4-year-old sister, Sage, while we waited for the grown-ups to get home from work.
I remain convinced I could never have gone into medicine, but maybe I could have gone into medical chauffeuring. I found that to be a delightful thing.