My friend and I are attending a five-week mini-medical class at our local hospital along with about 200 other people.
I enjoy it and it is very informational. It makes me a better advocate if need be. For this round, each week is dedicated to a completely different topic.
The people are as fascinating as the sessions.
There are three groups of people attending. One group is middle-aged like my friend and I (and this group goes from age 30 to 70. I consider this all middle-aged no matter how inappropriate that sounds.)
This group is not all that interesting. It’s just a bunch of us trying to figure things out. Some people have conditions and are trying to get a broad perspective or perhaps another viewpoint. You can tell by the questions they ask that they or someone they care about has had the problem of the evening.
Then there are the older folks. This group is more defined by their clothes and their attitude than their age which seems to be around 90. They come in couples and are very well dressed.
In fact, it looks like a formal date. Women wear heels with full face makeup and the men are in suits and ties.
At first I thought maybe they came directly from church but what church has services before a 6:30 Tuesday night class?
Perhaps they came from a viewing? However, they are dressed like this every week. That’s a lot of dead people.
They are very attentive but ask very few questions except to each other. I believe the question they ask is, “what did he say?” I haven’t figured out why they come.
They remind me of the younger people who go to a book store for a free date. I would think these people have money to go out for a nice dinner. Maybe they come after the early bird special at the local diner.
The last group is the high school students. The hospital does an outreach to schools encouraging kids who are interested in the medical field to attend. The classes are free so there is usually a group of thirty kids in the class.
You can tell this group because they come in herds as if they were going to a rock concert. They have food and very large drinks. After all this class lasts 90 minutes and I hear a person can die of thirst in 90 minutes.
They wear the “high school” uniform du jour. At least for this group, I haven’t seen the guys wear the pants that are strapped on their thighs but the jeans are still baggy and ratty looking. Current style is for guys to have hair on their face so they don’t look shaven but they are not growing a beard. Not my favorite look but what 16-year-old would care what I think?
What I find interesting are the reactions. In the course of the class there are lots of slides. Many are statistical but some are graphic. This past week was dedicated to kidney transplants so there were slides of bloody kidneys. I don’t find this gross because you can see kidneys in the butcher section of the grocery store. I doubt 16-year-olds spend much time there.
When the first slide went up, there was a loud, “Ewwww!” echoing throughout the auditorium. Then of course there was the giggling.
The questions from this group were elementary but interesting. There were no technical references to a friend or relative. You could tell that they had no knowledge of this at all. Having said that, there were no stupid questions either.
These kids are going to take care of me when I get old (or older) and infirm so I was particularly interested in watching them. I got a feeling of sincerity and caring and some will have great careers in the field.
That’s good because we will need them. I expect to live a long time and will have a problem from time to time.
Overall the classes are great but not the pizza. (Yes, it’s all about the food!) The cafeteria at the hospital isn’t as good as I hoped. Perhaps I should stick with a salad.
They have a Starbucks kiosk but it closes at 3 p.m. Why would it close so early? People are at the hospital around the clock!
Another mystery of life!
Since I plan to live beyond 100, I typically claim I am simply middle-aged. Unless we know our outer limit, how can we define the middle. I just keep moving the line! 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever attended any classes with such a large range in age. I wonder if this isn’t really a challenge to the instructor! Sounds really good, but they should definitely keep that Starbucks kiosk open! It’s only right!
I think the very young and very old don’t get as much out of it. Those folks in the middle have the problem and are trying to figure it out. I’m there to have fun and learn and there are a few more like me.
All I kept thinking as I read…I hope I’m that well-dressed at 90 if I live so long. Fashion takes the lead.
I hope I have the energy to put lipstick on let alone all the other stuff!
me too…I salute them…truly…great essay Kate
“what did he say” was probably my favorite line, although “that’s a lot of dead people” runs a pretty tight second … glad you are enjoying your edufication experience 🙂
Yes, now lets hope that I don’t think I have all those diseases. I had to stop Googling symptoms because I came up with very weird diseases that I couldn’t possibly have.
Ugh, I’m way too squeamish for medicine. This vegetarian says yuck to all livers!
Oh heavens! I wouldn’t eat it! Yikes! That’s just gross. My mother was one of those people who liked all kinds of organ meat — chicken hearts and gizzards. Not me! She stopped making them when I was young and started talking about being a vegan.
Ugh, I can’t stand that scruffy facial hair either…it’s smooth or nothing for this after 3:00 p.m. Starbucks drinking chick!
I don’t mind a standard beard but some of the odd variations are well….odd. All the young male movie stars always look like they need a shave!
1. The old geezers are there because they’ve heard that learning new things will keep them young and that socializing minimizes the chance of fine lines and wrinkles. Wait, no. That’s wrong. Socializing minimizes the chance of losing your mind. Phew! Close call.
2. If you thought the EWWW to the kidney was pronounced, you should have heard our AmeriCorps members when the Health Department showed slides of what sexually transmitted diseases do to our privates. Gagging could be heard. And not just from the younger set.
3. I like the way you define middle age. You’re more generous than I’ve been with its upper reaches. I feel like a kid again. Yay! Life is so much better when we change our frame of reference.
4. Closing Starbucks at 3 pm is insane. That makes no sense. Everyone drinks coffee in the hospital while waiting, waiting, biting their nails, waiting. HEY! I’ve got an idea ~ YOU should open a Kiosk at 3 pm for extra pocket money . . . for SHOES!
Enjoy the rest of the classes.
The really good news here is that I don’t worry about STDs anymore! I vaguely remember the old films in high school. Gross! or better yet EWWWWW!
Your people observation skills are stellar…. It was a two tissue read.
Laughter tears are the best… thanks!
I writes ’em as I sees ’em!
Funny post. You had me chuckling with every paragraph. Good question. Why would they close at 3:00? You’re right, the kids are always carrying large drinks.
I couldn’t figure out why they would close early. That’s before visitors start coming in groups. I don’t know why kids carry such large drinks. I never wanted to be bothered carrying something like that when I was young.
I think that I’d enjoy these classes that you’re taking, but I’ve never heard of anything like it around here. Time to investigate this possibility on my own, I do believe. I’d go if not for the information, then for the people watching opportunity.
It’s all fun. This past week the doctor has a great sense of humor that came across in his presentation. There were two docs talking about the heart last week. One was very serious and was careful to repeat everything twice. The other was funny and you remembered things because of the way he said it.