“She keeps testing me until we get to class, where most people are testing each other on the bones. Susy is the best student in the class, so I am sure she will pass the test. This is our one chance to get our master’s in the orthopaedic class, or else we will have to take the class for another year. Ding ding ding, the bell rings for the start of class.”
Beep beep beep.
“Time to wake up already.” Susy, my roommate, is an early bird.
“Come on, or else we’ll be late to class,” she says. I rush to brush my teeth, get my clothes on, and brush my hair.
I start running out the door when Susy says, “Maya, are you forgetting something!”
“Oh ya, my bags.”
I get my bag and head out the door. Susy is always helping me. We get to our first class. I am twenty-two years old, and when I grow up I plan on being a pediatrician. First class is all about the bones. The classroom smells of the disinfectant the janitors use to clean, and there are already many people in the classroom setting up their notebooks. Mr. Roger, the bone teacher, is one of the nicest teachers I have.
He says, “Remember that next week is the big exam on every single bone in the body. You will have to tell me the name of each bone in the body, where it is, and its function. Remember the extra credit!”
“Oh no, what am I going to do. I can’t even remember all the bones in the spine.”
I am at my desk in the dorm, and I am so tired, but I have to keep studying for tomorrow’s big test.
Susy tiredly says, “It’s twelve thirty. Why don’t you go to bed and work on studying in the morning. Trust me. You’re ready for the test.”
“Okay,” I sigh.
When I wake up, Susy has already packed up my bag for me. I love her. As we walk to class, she starts pointing to bones in the spine and asks me, “What is this bone?”
“Umm, that is in the cervical region.”
“Yes, that is correct!” Susy confirms.
She keeps testing me until we get to class, where most people are testing each other on the bones. Susy is the best student in the class, so I am sure she will pass the test. This is our one chance to get our master’s in the orthopaedic class, or else we will have to take the class for another year. Ding ding ding, the bell rings for the start of class.
As we walk into the classroom, I say to Susy, “Good luck!” She gives me a thumbs up, and we sit down. Mr. Roger hands out the tests, and we begin.
When I get to a question that says, How did the thoracic spine section get its name, I started blanking on it. My hands are sweating, and my pencil is slipping out of my hand. Then, I remember to take a minute and breathe, which really helps. I finally get the answer, that it came from a Greek word. Even though I am the last one to finish the test, I am sure I am going to pass it.
One week later…
Today is the day we are going to get the results back from our test.
“Eek!” I am so excited.
Mr. Roger gives everyone back their test except me. Susy gets a one hundred, and I give her a high five, but I don’t get mine back.
When the bell rings, I go over to Mr. Rogers and tell him, “I never got my test back?”
Then he says, “I know. Can you come with me to have a meeting with Vice Principal Robert.”
I started getting all nervous again. I have a lump in my throat, and I get goosebumps all over. When I sit down in a chair, Mr. Roger and Robert start talking.
“Okay Maya, your test results show that you were one question short from passing the test, and we would like to address this with you.”
“We have seen how hard you have worked over the year, and we would like to grant you a spot in the master’s degree class on some conditions.”
“Really!” I blurt out.
“Yes!” they say.
“As long as you are able to keep up with your class work, get a 75% or higher on all home work, and pass your tests. You are granted the permission to have your master’s degree. But, if you are not able to accomplish this, you will need to go and take the class with Mr. Roger again. Okay.”
“Oh my god, thank you. I promise to meet those standards or even higher each day. I appreciate this so much.”
“Then I think you may go up to your master’s degree.”
I am so excited, and I just want to start screaming, but I don’t.
Instead I say, “Thank you.” Then, I leave.
When I go to lunch, everyone is talking about their test.
I run up to Susy and scream, “I got my master’s!”
“Oh my god, that’s great!”
I tell her everything that happened, and how hard I have to work to stay in this class. Susy says she will help me stay at the top of class, and the only way to do that is to practice. I agree, and every day I wake up early in the morning at six and start rehearsing every bone in the body, and if I get one wrong, I have to start back from the beginning. Once I am even late to class, but that paid off later. After I master all the muscles in the body, it is time for me to take the test about the functions of each muscle. That is the hard part. I take a practice test in class and fail at it. The muscle teacher, Ms. Fisher, gets worried about me and makes me stay after class for extra help.
Back in the dorm, I talk to Susy about how much trouble I am having with the muscle functions.
“I have to get better at these functions. The neck is the most important part. I can’t even name all of them,” I cried out.
“Calm down, you just have to make a song or a rhyme to memorize them. That’s what I do.”
“Okay, let me try!”
“There are five main muscles, but really nine so… ”
“Most muscles in the neck control moving the head in all directions toward the shoulders, spine and scapula. The sternocleidomastoid and the trapezius muscles are responsible for the gross motor movement in the head and neck… ”
“Great, now make a song out of it.” Susy exclaims.
I worked on memorizing the song I made up, and soon I was catching up to everyone in my class.
Today is my birthday, November 18, and I will be seeing my parents. It is getting a little chilly outside, but that’s okay. I love my parents because they support me so much with my medical studies. Since I was little, I was interested in being a doctor, so my parents got me a few books about how to become a doctor. After that, they supported me in some extra studies. They have always encouraged me to do my best. I have told my parents everything, and because I am turning twenty-three, they are getting me an extra special gift. They get me a trip to one of the best hospitals in town, where I will be sitting in on one of their meetings.
The hospital I am working at is the Mount Sinai Hospital for children. I go there every other day to follow and work with doctors on patients. They are such big role models.
I have already gotten accepted to work at the Metropolitan Pediatrics when I graduate, so that is pretty exciting.
It has been a long hard year, and here comes another big test too. This test will get me to my graduating year.
“Maya, I think you are going to do great on this test as long as you keep studying,” Susy exclaims.
“Thanks,” I say.
Beep beep beep.
“Ohhh, good morning, Rrrraaa Ssshoooo. Wait, what, today’s the big day the test day,” I sleepily than more awake say.
“Maya, you almost fell back asleep. Come on, we have to get to class.”
“Good morning, class,” Ms. Fisher announces.
“Good morning,” my class and I say.
“Are you ready for the test.”
“Yes,” we all say.
When I get my test, I breathe and begin, and by the time I finish the test, I feel pretty good.
“You guys will be getting your tests back in a week. See you then.”
When I wake up, Susy is still in bed sleeping. How weird? Then I look at the time, 6:00 am. No wonder, she is still not up. She gets up at 6:30. Well, I think I will just wake her anyway. Besides, it’s the big day!
“Susy, wake up,” I whisper. She wakes up, then stares at me angrily.
Then she pouts. “Why did you have to wake me up, especially today!”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know there was something special about today. I was just excited about getting our test back,” I say shyly.
“Why are you so selfish!” Susy yells out.
“What, me? I’m not selfish,” I say in a confused voice.
“All you care about is yourself. I do everything for you. You don’t even remember special dates.” Now I am very confused.
“Um, is it Hanukkah,” I quietly say.
“HHHUU,” Susy cries out.
“I don’t want to be your friend anymore. Why don’t you find another bully to hang out with,” Susy screams at me.
We are both on the edge of tears. I grab my bag and walk out. I don’t even care if I’m crying. At the beginning of class, there are always announcements.
“Good morning, college students, today everyone will be getting back their exams back — good luck. Oh and by the way, today is Susy’s birthday. Happy Birthday! Have a great day and work hard,” the principal announces on the loudspeaker. After the principal says “Susy’s birthday,” I am shocked. How could I have forgotten.
“Huu,” I almost start to cry.
Later that day during class, I find out my grade for the test. I passed it, but I was on the edge of failing. As a result, Ms. Fisher wants me to come during lunch and after lunch for extra help. It sucks!
Later that day when I come to the dorm, Susy is already there.
I go up to her and decide to lie.
“Sorry about this morning. I was going to have a surprise birthday party for you, and I was trying to pretend I forgot. Sorry if it really upset you.”
“Thank you for the apology, but I want to be alone. NOW!” she screams to me, so I leave. I realize I need to get her a birthday present, so I go to the college campus shop and get her a really nice coffee mug because she always drinks coffee in the morning.
On it says, Top mug, Top coffee, Top student. I wrap it then bring it to the dorm. I put it next to her, and then get ready for my next class. That night, she comes over to me and says sorry.
We hug, and then Susy whispers, “Friends again?”
“Yes, friends again,” I say back. We get over what happened, and life just goes on normally until…
The other day, I started helping to treat a patient with a brain tumor. The boy is only eleven, and he is very scared, so I also help calm him down. I check him and do a few small procedures. I come to him every day to help out. A week later when I come to check on him, a nurse is already in there giving him pain medicine and calming him down. I come over and ask what is wrong, and she tells me that yesterday I didn’t give him antibiotics, and that now he is very sick. I go to the main office to ask what is going on. They say that yesterday I did not treat him correctly.
I say, “I was not here yesterday because I had an appointment, so someone else covered for me.”
“Huh,” the manager says. “That’s weird because the person who signed in signed your name, but now that I think about it the person was acting a little weird. She was also very tall.”
I am not the tallest, five feet seven inches.
“May I please see the signature?” I ask.
“Yes,” he responds.
The signatures are different. Mine are always very neat and the same, but the one from yesterday was sloppy and a little different.
After that, we check the video cameras. Yes, we find the person. It is a nurse that is new to the hospital. We have a long talk with the nurse, and we teach the nurse how to treat and do that small procedure correctly. The nurse gets a big fine for doing such cruel thing. The nurse Paloma is very upset that she did the procedure wrong, so she goes to the patient and says she is really sorry.
When she comes back down to us she says, “He looks really bad, and I’m worried about him. Would any of you go up to make sure he is okay.”
I go up to see him, and just as nurse Paloma said, he looks like he is in a lot of pain. I give him some more medicine and talk to his mom who is already crying.
With a lump in my throat I say, “Your son is in some hard conditions. We can keep treating him and give him medicine, but his tumor is spreading, and it may just be best for him to go. He is in so much pain, that it may not be worth it.”
“I think he is strong enough to fight this. Let me think about it,” she whimpers to me.
I leave to give him a bit more medicine, but he looks like he is almost dying.
The next day when I come to see him, his mom is praying on the side of the hospital bed crying, “Oh, please lord, please god just let my son live a happy life, please.”
I go to his side. He had passed away. His heart just gave up on him, and he would have lived a painful life if he was still here.
I go over to his mom and give a slight hug. I help detach the wires on him and put him on a different bed. That is the end of my journey with this family because the other agency at the hospital would take care of this. I go over to the boy and do a short prayer and a hug.
Then I go over to the mom and say, “I’m so sorry. Let him rest in peace.”
I hug her for a long time and then leave. I guess this is the end. I go back to my dorm to rest after such a traumatic day.
End of the year…
I pass the test, which means I am going to graduate and become a pediatrician. The Metropolitan Pediatric center already accepted me, so yippee! I am so excited to start a new year full of new adventures with my new patients at the office. Susy is also coming to work with me, but at a different office nearby. We are sharing a studio on sixty-fifth street which is in the middle of both the offices. I am so excited for my new life ahead.