“I’m so proud,” I commented. “You actually came to all the classes today.”
“Yeah,” she said with a smile. “I started feeling bad about all those student loans that were starting to pile up. If I don’t get my shit together, I may be flipping burgers trying to pay them off.”
“Good for you,” I said.
“Elle, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about Eric-”
She stopped mid-sentence and we both stared at our next lecture guest on the podium with awe.
“Hey everyone, my name’s Kyle, Dr. Lawson,” he said while dimming the lights. He fired up his PowerPoint presentation. Kaity and I stared with our jaws wide open, along with the rest of the female members of the class. “Most of you don’t know me yet, but you might know me if you rotate on the spine service. Today, I am going to discuss the anatomy and physiology of the spine.”
“Ga-ga,” Kaity whispered. “Totally off-limits, but totally hot!”
“Look, no ring,” I replied. We both stared at his bare left ring finger.
I gazed at Dr. Lawson, instead of the projector screen. He was attractive, with an appealing ruggedness about him. His sexy Australian accent sold me after three words were spoken. I doubt any of my other female classmates absorbed a word he was saying as the various images of vertebral bodies and spinal cord cross sections flashed in the background.
I sort of lost myself in Dr. Lawson’s soothing voice and fantasized about myself in the outback, amongst the kangaroos and the Aboriginal people with Dr. Lawson’s firm biceps wrapped around my…
“Elle, he’s calling on you,” Kaity said. She nudged me and I snapped out of my daydream.
I suddenly realized that Dr. Lawson was looking at me and I could feel my cheeks burning with humiliation. Busted!
“Could you repeat the question?” I whimpered.
“Can you tell me where the lesion would be in a patient with tertiary syphilis?” he asked while pointing his laser pen at a cross section of spinal cord. My brain jump-started and I was painfully relieved that Chris and I had spent the time in between lectures cramming nervous system minutia.
“Tabes dorsalis,” I explained. “The lesion would be in the anterior cord, at the fasciculus gracilis.”
Dr. Lawson looked surprised when I answered the question. I heard Kaity sigh with relief.
“Good, and what are the clinical findings?” he asked.
“Bilateral loss of touch and vibration in the lower limbs,” I said, secretly praying that he would no longer torture me in front of the class.
“Excellent. I see someone has been reading ahead,” he said, complimenting me. It was probably one of the first times I had actually retained something from reading ahead. He moved onto the next slide and other classmates to harass.
“That was so embarrassing,” I whispered to Kaity. She grinned and tapped me on the shoulder.
As much as I may have had a crush on Dr. Lawson, I knew that he was completely unavailable to me. Attendings didn’t go out with medical students. It was an unspoken rule of the medical hierarchy and completely taboo. We sat through the rest of the lecture in silence and Dr. Lawson lifted the lights. A mob of female classmates came to the front of the class, surrounding Dr. Lawson in the hopes of asking a question.
“I wonder if any of these guys will grow up to be like him someday?” Kaity asked. We scoured the classroom, checking out our dorky male classmates. It was hard to imagine. Aside from Chris Hanson, most of our male counterparts were minimally athletic, awkwardly dressed, overly intellectual-types. I convinced myself that Dr. Lawson was one-of-a-kind.
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