Monday, September 23, 2013

Lessons Learned

I learned a lot in PA school. I mean A LOT of good practical things! Things like how to suture and how to read x-rays and EKGs. The proper antibiotic dose and course length for strep throat, pneumonia and cellulitis. I learned to recognize different rashes and their appropriate treatments. I learned how to scrub in for surgery and how to maintain a sterile field. I learned to cast broken bones and start IVs. Admittedly neither of those are my strengths. I also learned things like how to manage a house and family while putting in an intense amount of time studying. And studying. And studying. And more studying. I learned to plan and prepare 3-4 months worth of dinners in a day. I learned how to drop a child off at daycare without him or I crying like a baby. I learned to treasure the moments we had together as a family. I even learned how to study while my toddler son was in the same room as me. Any mom can tell you that is no small feat!


This past weekend we traveled back to LaCrosse for my good friend and fellow PA classmate's wedding. 


I know I have said it before, but this girl is AMAZING! Jennilee put herself through college and PA school while raising her young daughter by herself! AND she is the sweetest, most nurturing, thoughtful person I have ever met. And that is no exaggeration. I was absolutely delighted to be there for her wedding day to celebrate with her. 

She was an absolutely stunning bride! This stalkerish phone picture I took doesn't do her justice at all. 

Being back near my alma mater had me reminiscing. I can remember during my first year of PA school one of our course instructors told us that one day we would look back at these training years fondly. I scoffed at that statement then. I was overwhelmed and stressed constantly. I never felt like I was succeeding as a student or as a mom and wife. I quite literally felt like I was just barely holding on and surviving. 

But I made. Largely due to the support of my incredible husband and Jennilee. And you want to know what? I do look back at those years fondly. In fact I often say "those were the BEST years of my life" much to my former self's dismay!

While driving around LaCrosse reminiscing, I told Joe the most important lesson I learned in PA school. And I will warn you he didn't enjoy the story. Not one little bit. Nor did he appreciate it. Maybe it is only truly appreciated by females. 

So without further ado the most important lesson I learned in PA school:

During my second year I was doing a rotation with a dermatologist. Frequently dermatologists perform "full body skin checks" monitoring for potential precancerous and cancerous skin lesions. As the name implies the ENTIRE body is examined. In order for this to occur patients wear only a hospital gown and the dermatologist exposes different parts of their body until all their skin is examined. 

At the end of one such exam on an elderly female, I helped the patient off the exam table and explained to her that we were done. I instructed her to get dressed and that the doctor and I would return in a few minutes to discuss our findings. 

And then it happened. She started to get dressed right then and there with me standing in the room with her. And if that wasn't awkward enough, it was made worse by what I observed next. The patient pulled on her nice dress slacks and then carefully tucked one breast and then the other into the waistband of her pants! She completed dressing herself by buttoning up her blouse and tucked that in right along with her boobs. And I just stood there frozen. Equal parts horrified and traumatized (and slightly fascinated). 

And in that moment I knew I learned something very important. Something I would never forget. No matter what I will always wear a bra. Always. Always. Always. Boobs are not meant to be tucked into pants, even if it seems easier than putting on the bra. Lesson learned. Thank you elderly dermatology patient. 


  1. Replies
    1. Glad you laughed...I thought maybe it would be a little too graphic for the ole family blog...but I just couldn't keep that gem to myself:)

  2. Replies
    1. I had a feeling you would enjoy this one:)

  3. Hahahahahahaha! That's hilarious! LaCrosse is beautiful, too! We drive through there on the way to my in laws :)

    Stopping by from Kristi's link up...

  4. Suddenly my worst fears are confirmed: THAT CAN HAPPEN!
    Oh my gosh. I might reference this story in the future, is that okay?
    BEAUTIFUL bride, and I love that you've come around and your professor was right. Funny how that happens.

    1. Of course! Spread the wealth of knowledge:)

    2. Hey! I'm going to feature your story if that's okay...I'll just copy and paste it and lift your photos unless you want to email it to me yourself! I couldn't find an email address for you. I am ashamed.


      Will you send me an email to let me know you saw this?

  5. That is a crazy story! Thanks for sharing. I'm really impressed by your journey through PA school as a mom!!

    1. Thank you. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) PA school now seems like a walk in the park compared to having my husband in medical school with 3 kids:)