>November 25 2002


A Thanksgiving Post …

In the summer of 1967, I was born during the midst of an incredible pennant chase in the American League. The Boston Red Sox had risen from the depths of a ninth place finish in ’66 to challenge for the A.L. crown. Led by the great Carl Yastrzemski, the Sox finished an improbable summer by clinching the title on the season’s last weekend. The accomplishment became known as “The Impossible Dream” to the Fenway faithful.

Now I feel like I am living an impossible dream. With Thanksgiving coming up this week, I have been reflecting on how much I have to be thankful for. I am doing exactly what I want to, and how many people can say that? When I first started seriously considering medical school about four years ago, the obstacles seemed almost insurmountable. I had a family, a mortgage, and a handicapped child. How in the world could I make this thing work? That turns out to be the number one question I get from the many people who have e-mailed me after reading this diary. Everyone wants to know how you go about financing something like this. All I can say is that somehow it all comes together. I saved as much money as possible for a few years, and hoped to borrow the rest. It can be somewhat awkward to tell people that you are quitting your job and planning to do something that pays no money over the next four years and not very much for several years after that. I knew my family would be supportive but it has gone way past that. While I have never asked them for help, my mother, father, and in-laws have all been incredibly generous both in understanding why I felt like I had to do this, and in making sure my family has everything they need. I will be eternally grateful. I almost feel guilty that they are making sacrifices to help me do what seems like playing instead of earning my keep. I want them all to know how thankful I am for everything they do for me. There are plenty of others who have given me reason for thanksgiving also. I have had people I know give me checks here and there and even had a nice anonymous gift last Christmas.

Just last night, I came home after a long day. We had taken a pathology exam that I spent all weekend studying for, and I was ready for some relaxation. Angie had just planned on soup for supper, but I decided to take the whole family out to a local eatery. I had just been paid $40 that day for a set of notes, and I figured what the heck. When we were seated, we recognized the couple at the next table as friends of ours. They were both in my high school class and the guy went to Millsaps with me. He went on to medical school here at UMC with a wife and young child, and is now an ER physician. He came over and asked how school was going and took a real interest. After they got up to leave, our waitress brought the little leather folder that holds the check, and instead of a bill I had a note from them …

“Dear Mark & Angie, We remember what it was like. This one is on us.”

We were really blown away and promised ourselves that we would do the same one day when we have arrived. Speaking of thanks, I really appreciate all of the nice notes you readers leave after my posts. You have inspired me to try to be more regular! I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving Day! Let’s top it all off with a Cowboy victory over the ‘Skins!


About Marcus Lee

Child Neurologist
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