W. W. Patty Distingusedh Alumni Award from the School of Public Health (formerly known as HPER).
Next my mother went onto teach high school mathematics and be the high school athletic trainer for 2 years. It was during this time she and my father discussed her continuing her education to eventually become a doctor. Mainly she was tired of the local doctors telling her her opinions didn't matter because first she was just the trainer and second she was a woman. The women in my family, they don't take kindly to that type of talk.
She did go back to school earning another bachelor degree, a masters degree, and finished her pre-med requirements. When I was eight my mom joined the Army and started her medical education at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. After many years of hard work, studying, and in some instance out-right gender discrimination in her chosen field, my mother became a board certified orthopedic surgeon. This of course was not the end of her education as she went on to do a fellowship in hand surgery. All the while writing journal articles and becoming a reviewer for several athletic training and orthopedic publications.
My families most worrying time, and yet proudest, was when my mother was sent to Iraq in 2003. Her unit, the 745th FST, was attached to the 3rd ID. They were involved with the initial push into Iraq at the beginning of the war. While she has talked periodically about a few of her cases and what she saw there, I know I will never really know everything. Recently during a visit she opened up more about their job, what it was like, and the results of war through a doctors eyes. She also let me know that they were expected to take heavy casualties in that push. Her team would have been responsible for treating the casualties of chemical or biological warfare. They were ready, they trained for it, but thankful that there was little resistance and most people were happy to see them.
I have stumbled on articles telling about the time my mom was there and the conditions they were in. This article, for instance, was written in 2008 during the next deployment of the 745th, but they talk about the first deployment too. After her return she contributed to the writing of The Third United States Revision of Emergency War Surgery.
Of course, she still laughs about the boys riding bikes in Baghdad alongside their Humvee. Her driver was a woman also, a medical tech. They were driving in convoy and stopped on a busy street. A boy on a bike rode up and started to talk to them. When he heard my mother's voice he stopped and looked at them.
"Yes." My mother pointed at her driver too.
"Yes." Both she and her driver nodded.
He rode off and then came back with a handful of other kids all who wanted to see the women in the truck. She said that he spoke English very well and translated some questions from the other kids. All who couldn't believe that she was first of all a woman, second of all a doctor and third there was another woman driving the truck.
Mom retired in 2010 and is now spending her days watching after my dad. There is a 17 year difference between the 2 of them, so you know he needs to be looked after since he was the one looking after us all these years. She wants to spend more time at home, with him, as well as with us and her grand-kids. Work can wait for now. Can't say that I blame her.