Again, sitting here, thinking that life is really a funny kinda thing… Been to work this week… been a patient again myself and still cannot find it in myself to like that. I love being the caregiver but not taking the care giving. Thought I would sit here and tell y’all more about myself tonight and where I come from. See, aside from the one funny story and the fact that I like to encourage people to become more active in our political system about whatever their passions are… (my husband calls it something else that I won’t put on here in case any kids happen to read this… rhymes with witch… Haha)
Well, lets see… I was born in a rural county in upper Middle Tennessee. If you have read my other blogs, you would know that I came from a more cityfied county being as we had stoplights and traffic lights growing up. I was always known in the county, well even in three or four counties actually growing up for who I belonged too. If you have never lived in the south or been around a Southerner this may seem like an odd turn of phrase to you, but I was the granddaughter a “THE VET” for most of the upper middle Tennessee area – people even brought Thoroughbred race horses from Lexington, KY, for my Grandpa to fix but to me he was just my Pa Doc purveyor of Barbies and grill cheese sandwiches on Saturday afternoons for as far back as I can remember. If people did not know him, then they know my Pa Pa Honey – my Mom’s Dad was a retired military man with a talent for fixen things – anything – he had ran the local BP station with my Uncle Ray till he started working with my Pa Doc at the Vet office – I was a lucky little girl – one stop two Grandpa’s spoiling me… Then of course people would know Pa Honey’s wife Lyndell… I always called her Lyndell – she was the elementary school’s PE teacher my entire time at Livingston Elementary – makes being bad at school difficult if every teacher there is a friend of your Grandmothers… or lastly they might know my Mema (Pa Doc’s Wife) she was the social butterfly of the group and in as much as our county had a social calender she was on it. Of course, you may ask, what about my parents… my Dad did several things on and off for years before he got his Vet degree and went to work with my Pa in 1986 and my Mom – my unofficial hero – even if she cannot control her temper – was a nurse at our hometown hospital and she and my two uncles ran a motel in town and the town’s video store.
See what I mean about everybody knowing me… plus these family members that I am telling you about come from large families. My Pa Doc was one of 14, My Lyndel was one of six, Pa Honey one of 5, and they all had 3-4 kids each, so I grew up being surrounded by and related too my town. But that was and still is small town life.
I am proud of the fact that to this day, my church makes an effort not only to pray about the elderly and ill in our congregation, but to make sure that they get the food they need and the errands run if needed. Yes, this type of small town living makes certain parts of my job difficult like when patients tell me to tell that Husband of mine “hello” and I have to remind them I can’t… but I digress, I was telling you all about me and my life 30 years ago…
I was the oldest of two children and if you listen to people who will tell you, I was a precocious child who never stopped asking why – I guess that means I never shut up, so my Mom found a private one room school in Alpine for me when I was three years old. I was in Kindergarten full time and loving every minute of it, I would read and do math and since it was a one room school… I was kinda the class pet and would learn whatever anyone wanted to teach me. But, when they wanted to push me into 2nd grade work at 4 – Mom and her Mom, Lyndell, freaked out a bit and put me in regular school, where I was bored out of my mind. There was this room full of kids still learning colors and I had been reading books. I still remember when the teacher sent a note home asking my Mom to come in so she could speak with her. It turns out that my 1rst grade teacher thought I was slow cause I was not paying attention to my work and wanted me tested to see if I needed to be in school at all (I was barely four at that point). It took my Lyndell to convince her I was not slow but bored. They got me some books from 2nd grade, I think, and I read the rest of the year.
I graduated the youngest and tallest girl in my class from high school. The next day after my High School Graduation, I started summer school as a sophomore at college – seems several years in public school did not get rid of my inner geek after all. I am not proud of this – this is just how I am. I spent many a lonely night in high school cause nobody ever called and I was too busy studying or working to realize that maybe I should take some time off to be a kid. I got called many a name and the sad thing is I never tried with scholastics in high school – not once do I ever remember studying like I should have – I didn’t even try to be Valedictorian or that other word I cannot spell. Don’t get me wrong I did OK – ranked third – but I never ever remember studying in my life till I hit medical school and yes that counts college. I did not even know how – but boy was medical school a wake up on the fact that I was not the smartest person in the room anymore and if I was going to make it I had better work my butt off…
I guess the other two things that have made me who I am today is the fact that my Mom got very sick with an illness few people understand and it nearly killed her when I was a freshman in high school and the fact that my Farmer felling love with this geek and married me even with all my crazy ambitions.
My Mom has systemic lupus errythematosis with renal involvement – I can still remember the Fellow at Vanderbilt Medical School telling a scared 12-13 year old me to “wise up kid, you Mom is going to die”, now do you wonder why I refused to train there… Mom did not die, but for the better part of my high school years she was too sick to do very much. My Dad started working for the USDA and was gone away from home for weeks at a time, so I was qualified for a hardship license to drive. I would get my Brother and I ready for school, drive us there, pick him up, take him home, go to work, grocery shop, pay bills, do laundry/dishes/clean, and take care of my Mom – often I slept on the living room floor so I could help her back and forth to the bathroom in our home. Money was always tight it seemed, I did not realize then that my parents were not the best at fiances, and I always may sure my brother did not do without. I remember going without lunch cause I “was not hungry” when in reality there was no money to eat with. Why didn’t I ask a grown up for help – well by then my Pa Doc was dead to lung cancer and I was too proud and stubborn to tell my Lyndell – she already bought most of my and my brother’s clothes. Its just one of those things I was raised with – you work hard, you don’t whine, you do the best you can with what you’ve got. Blessedly my Mom doesn’t remember much of those years, and sadly, I lost my Lyndell to lung cancer the night of my senior prom.
But the other thing that has made me into who I am today, is the man I was fortunate enough to marry. I know in this modern age of feminism that saying you owe something to a man is most definitely not cool, but the best parts of who I am as a women, a mother, a wife, and a doctor are all from being around my husband. My Farmer is the product of parents who are still married and in love after 30+ years. Not only are his parents married but both sets of his grandparents remained married to their spouses till the death of one separated them from each other. He comes from a 5th generation family farm, and from some of the best most honest people I have ever had the privilege to meet. And yes, his county does not have any stoplights even in 2010. He reminds me that even in this modern age of social networking that their are family that still sit up with the dead and take care of their parents. There are people in this world who’s word really is as good as any legal document you could have, and people who mean it when they say they “be praying for you”
So, here I am, am working mother of three little farm hands of our own. Agvocating and Advocating that there will be an American way of life for them to enjoy. Praying that at least one of them will keep mine and my Husbands dream alive and have a sixth McLerran Farmer on our land, and praying that maybe one will see what I do – not as something that takes Mommy away from them but that lets Mommy give a little back to the people of this area that have given to me over the years… there are many. Whether it was Mr. Pat Grimes jerking me out of Algebra class to find out why I did not do as good on a Meosis/Mitosis test as I should have, Dr. Rick Fields taking time to show me real life trauma in our ED as a teen, or the paramedics that took the time to let me learn and ride with them to show me greater understanding for my field…and to many more like Ma Linda, Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Dorminey, Janey, and all those I cannot list, please know that by your actions you helped make me into the person I am today…