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By Laci Waner, M.D.
When I was a child, there were two physicians in my small town and both were family physicians. Thus, I based my idea of a physician on these two men: a man who treats each member of an entire family, a community leader, wears boots, has a polished log with a saddle for kids to ride in the waiting room, and has a jar full of stickers and suckers for post-visit rewards. When I asked for a doctor’s kit one Christmas and set up my first clinic for my dolls and toys in my bedroom, it was this idea of a physician that I aspired to be—minus the man part.
As I grew into an adult and started my journey in medicine, I initially strayed from my lifelong interest in primary care. I was drawn to the instant gratification of surgery and the false security in the idea of limited, specific knowledge in a specialty. After exploring my interest in research, I embarked on my time in medical school much the same as any other student. I did not bargain for the expanded education I received from life while completing my school’s pre-clinical courses. The saying “sometimes life happens whether you are a student or not and whether you have a test or not” became more than just words to me. In addition to many educational experiences in medical school, I married my husband, Chris; gained a son we named Kylen; buried my father, Dudley; and gave birth to our second child, Addyx. My third-year rotations, especially the one in family medicine, greatly influenced my decision to pursue my desired specialty. However, they cannot compare to the influence that life imposed.more