Or maybe I'll just read my novel and hit the hay.
Damn, I'm getting old.
This week, I have been training at the Conway Regional Hospital. I was incredibly excited to travel to my old college town on Tuesday - I got up extra early for a run, hit Starbucks on the way for a triple espresso latte, and enjoyed relaxing to music for a half hour before getting to work. I had never been to the hospital when I was in college, so I had to look it up on the map on my new iphone, since I have never learned to use the GPS that I requested when I bought my Toyota Forerunner 1.5 years ago. I sure like watching that red dot travel on the map when I am driving, though.
Driving to Conway brought back so many memories: traveling back and forth from Conway to Little Rock to do laundry after the public washing machines in the dorm ruined some of my favorite shirts. I loved driving all the way in my black Jeep Wrangler with the top down, except for the short period of time when I borrowed my parent's Saab convertible because I burnt the engine out on the Jeep and it had to be replaced. Who knew an engine needed oil?? I swear my very existence on the planet is a testament to my father's eternal patience.
So I felt incredibly mature going to Conway as a bona fide M.D. As I exited the highway I searched in vain for something familiar; unfortunately, the reconstruction of the highway exit clouded memories. After I crossed the second bridge on the way to Donaghey street, I delighted seeing the familiar school bus plant on the right and swore I saw my last apartment complex, the one I lived in by myself before moving back to Little Rock, on the left behind a Wing Shack.
After only two days in Conway, I can see the draw of working as an M.D. in a small town. I immediately gained a sense of camaraderie with the staff in the lab, transcription, and histology - something that seemed to require constant nurturing and months to develop at the big hospital in LR. The computer system left a lot to be desired - I am sure there is a name for an antiquated program that requires typing in a series of numbers, with alternate use of forward keys, page down keys, and various function keys demanding usage at precise intervals to reach your desired location. It reminded me of the program at Children's hospital, when I was there at least five years ago. But I picked it up quickly.
The atmosphere in the Doctor's Lounge is vastly different in a smaller town. The testosterone to estrogen ration is much the same, but I must have been such an unfamiliar face - each time I walked in the door to get free (Bottled water! Granola bars! Bananas! Soup! Pretzels! Hot peanuts! Coffee!) food, whoever happened to be sitting there jumped up and introduced himself, starting a friendly conversation. Although I know a lot more doctors at the LR hospital than I did two years ago, I still feel like an alien intruder in the testosterone-laden, sports-watching, FoxNews discussing arena.
It's been a whopping 20 years since I drove into Conway to start my college experience. I haven't yet made it into town to visit Hendrix, but once I get the swing of things at the hospital I am looking forward to resurrecting old memories. Being back-up in a small town promises to be a refreshing change of pace. It'll be nice to jump back and forth. I've been looking forward to this for two years.