Disclaimer-I do not own the rights to MASH, that belongs to CBS and staff. This story is of my mind and any place I mention in this story is not mine.
Sherman stood in the hallway of the University of Missouri at Columbia and he stands in front of a wall full of awards for past students who have gone on to become doctors and important people in the community and around the world. He looks at different pictures then he comes to his Doctor Sherman Potter-1927 graduate. He smiles with pride. A man comes walking to him in a stylish dark blue suit and tie and he smiles and he asks Sherman. "Are you ready?" Sherman smiles and looks down his own dark grey pinstripe suit to make sure everything is smooth and neat looking then he says. "Ready as I'll ever be I guess...are you sure about me getting up there and saying a few words does any good Ray? I feel like I'm just chewing crud when you put me up there like a prized calf"
Sherman's friend gives a hearty laugh and he says. "Sherman I do love the way you put things but yes, you do a lot of good. Both myself and my staff have found that around this time of year, the students get , well, for a lack of better word...it's almost like they forget the reason they want to become doctors...get lazy. They 'graze' as you say. We can see it in their eyes, especially the freshmen and sophomores". Sherman shrugs his shoulders then he says. "Well, we both know that the first two years of learning medicine is boring to most...you just learn diseases and the "little stuff" as I heard a few put it and after keeping your head in a book all year, well, at Christmas they just get antsy as a sack of cats as my grandmother used to say"
They both laugh and go walking down the hall to the auditorium doors but they cut off and go down the hall and open a door and go down another hall, then Ray goes in and he goes up to a microphone and podium and he says. "We have a respected member of our alumni here to talk to the young men...". He looks down on the first pew and sees two women setting with their medical books and they look up at him and Ray says. "And to the women also...about his experience being a doctor...please give him your full attention. I am proud to introduce Doctor Sherman Potter" . Sherman comes out to a roaring round of applause, he comes to the very same spot as his friend, he starts to speak in the square-shaped microphone but it gives a loud 'Errrrrrr' sound. He smiles and steps back just an inch then he clears his throat and says. "I never did like talking into these things, if I could, I would just walk around here and talk to you in my voice but...they say that the contraptions are to help you all hear me better. I don't know what much a old man like myself can say but give it a gander."
He looks out at the audience and he feels all their eyes on him. He hears a cough or two than he sighs and he says. "Now, I understand from Mister Daniels, that there is a lot of first year and 2nd year students listening to me...". He hears a lot of mumming in the auidance then he says. "Now, you may look up here and see a walking dinosaur but I remember those two years and you do a lot of keeping your eyes glued to pages until the words turn into long sentences and you feel like you have drunk so much coffee to keep you awake that you think that when they go digging for blood, it won't be red; it will be black, am I right?" Everybody nods their heads and Sherman goes on. "You feel like the book has become a permanent part of your body and your body hurts from going to a straight poisten rather than being hunched over,right?" Another round of understanding murmurs then Sherman says. "Well, I' m sure the third and last year students will tell you that the years fly by after that, it does get better and you do see light...". He then gets a round of applause and many sighs of relief then he says."Well, even after you do get that blessed piece of paper that tells you that you have enough knowledge in what you call a brain to become doctors , you will breathe a sigh of relief and you will be able to go spend some time with your wives, husbands, sweethearts or who ever you want to that gave you the proper push; give them a kiss and hug but that's all it will be because when you become residents...it will be worse." A groan comes from the auidance and Sherman looks at his friend Ray who just has a blank look on his face then Sherman says.
"I ain't gonna sugar coat it. When you actually get to a hospital and start working, you will practically live at the hospital. The doctors, nurses and sometimes even the patients will become more family to you than your own family...". As he is telling them about his day of becoming a resident,he remembers the day in his mind...Sherman drives up to the hospital in his L-29. He parks the red truck and he gets out, he looks up at the 2 story hospital and he feels his heart beat faster and his breath comes in shallow then he says to himself. 'Damn it to hell Sherman! Calm yourself down! You're acting like a princess virgin! This is what you have worked for, this is what you wanted for Mildred, you are a doctor!' He walks up to the hospital in short steps and he thinks some more. "A doctor...peoples lives will depend on me...I will be responsible for...'. He shakes his head then says. "Come on man, stop talking crazy!"
He finally gets up to the wooden double doors and he opens them and when he does...he opens to a whole new world. The first thing he saw was white walls, orderlies in white uniforms taking patients around on gurney on white sheets. Nurses in white blouses and skirts. Doctors in white lab coats running around like mice in a lab test, the only different color was people's hair and the drab, wooden furniture. He takes a deep breath and walks up to a doctor and says.
"Excuse me, I'm Sherman Potter, I'm supposed to report to a doctor Jacobson, this is my first day as being a resident". The doctor hands a piece of paper to a nurse who is standing behind the front lobby desk than he says. "I'm doctor Jacobson, the others are waiting in that room over there..." He points to a small room in the corner, the door just said 'waiting room' and I saw several heads of men waiting for doctor Jacobson then the doctor says. 'Go in there and wait, but first go down the hall and get a lab coat then come back and stay...there's 15 minutes until we go on rounds'. Sherman nods his head then says. "Thank you sir" Jacobson stops in his tracks and he looks at Sherman then says. "Yes, I'm a sir but I'm a doctor, we earned that title, be sure to use it". Sherman nods his head then says. "Yes sir...doctor sir"
Jacobson rolls his eyes then says. "You better get going". Sherman quickly turns around and goes down the hall until he sees a door that says. 'Locker room', he goes in and he looks around then he sees some white lab coats on hooks on a wall and he takes one and sees that 4 are left. He quickly forgets it, puts on his coat and runs back down and goes in the room; all the men in the room turn and look at him. Sherman politely nods his head and the men each introduce themselves then a few minutes later, Jacobson and a nurse comes in the room, he then says. "This is nurse Belinda Sterling, she's going to be handing out tablets, they are for you to take notes and my advice is you become a demon for taking notes. Also pay close attention, things go plenty fast in this place . If you have any questions, you better wait until I finish with my patient...I don't go in for interruptions, I know you are here to learn but they are here to get better and they don't have patience for learning, just saving their lives. Now, follow me"
We all stand up to leave but then the door opens and there stands a squirming lad and he says. "Umm, I'm s-sorry for being l-late, had trouble with my car". Jacobson asks him. "Who are you?" The man nervously puts his hand out then says. "Brady...Andy Brady". Jacobson doesn't shake his hand just says. "Go get yourself a coat then hurry and get a tablet from the nurse and follow us...keep up...I just told them that things run fast around, you got two minutes, GO!" Sherman sees Brady turn around on a dime and sprints down the hall then is only in there 3 seconds and comes back out, as he runs to keep up with us , the nurse hands him a tablet then we go down the hall like packed rats following a piece of blue cheese.
We follow him patient after patient then somehow Brady gets up the courage to ask. "C-can we, can we see patients on our own sometime doctor?" Not a sound, not even a breath was took by any of us then Jacobson says. "Fuck no" We all look at each other than Jacobson asks.
"What? Are you shocked by me saying that?" We all nervously shake our heads then he says. "It's something we do, at least I do when my wife lets me and we say it when we want to get our point across...anyway, there's no way in hell I am letting first year residents, much less first DAY residents touch any patients in this hospital. You may have somehow passed out of medical school by hypnotizing the professors there but you haven't passed by me...so, let's go back down the hall, we're going to see a patient with scarlet fever...she's blind so if anybody says anything thinks of anything tackles to say then you better leave now or they will be picking your butt up for medical school to work on...let's go"
Well, we followed him all over and we were dogged tried by the end of the day. Just as we all thought the day was over with, Jacobson leads us to a small room at the end of the hall and he opens it and says. "There's two bunks in here, you can rest, maybe even sleep when you can. THIS will be your house as long as any of you are here. You best get to know each other now, because half of you won't be here by the end of this year...bye for now...doctor Langiston is coming in 20 to take over". He slams the door closed and we heard him running down the hall and we all look at each other
Somehow in all that, that guy Brady and I became close friends. I suppose we knew we had to because life was going at a fast pace from that moment on. I only saw my wife for what turned out to be once a week and I only ate things that resembled food for a year but in the end, I think I became a bit better doctor, at least I like to think so'
Sherman stops remembering then one of the female students in the first row raises her hand then asks. "So it was worth it going through all that?" Sherman nods his head then says. "I think so, being a doctor, you get to save lives...is anything better than that? Not really and the money is good so it's a win-win"
Sherman waves 'bye' to them and he walks over to his friend who enthusically shakes his hand then says. "Thank you Sherman, that was the best damn speech we have had in a while. You added life to it, I sure as hell won't forget it" Sherman slaps him on the back then says. "Thanks Ray, I enjoyed it as much as I like listening to Tex"
They laugh and Sherman leaves. He goes and gets in his black Vauxhall Velox, he looks around and hears the birds chirping in the background and he looks at the grand university and he smiles then he drives home. He opens the door to his house and smells a pork roast and his stomach growls. He then walks into the warm kitchen and Mildred sees him and smiles and goes over to him, kisses him and says. "How are you?" He smiles and says. "I'm fine, the speech took a bit longer than I thought but it went okay" She stands back and cocks her eyebrow then asks. "And?" He laughs and says. "I drove okay, I was a bit wobbly but I did it." Sunshine then says. "I would have driven you dad, all you had to do was ask" Sherman nods his head then says. "I know Sunshine but I wanted to for today, it's going to be one of the last few times I will drive. My eyes are getting weaker and reflexes slow on an old body" Mildred walks over to the stove and asks. "Then what was your excuse when you were younger? You never could drive"
Sherman and Sunshine laughs and he says. "It's true, I would rather drive a horse than a beast on wheels, it was a sad day when they invented cars" Sunshine and Mildred smile then he asks. "How much longer until supper?" Mildred looks around then says. "Not long, just about 20 more minutes for the pork loin in the oven and I have to finish with the corn then we can eat". Sherman nods his head then says. "Good, I can go get out of this monkey suit" Mildred nods her head and Sherman goes in the back.
Later Sherman comes out and as the women get the last of the silverware and plates on the table, Walter comes in and they sit down and Sherman says. "When I came in, I thought it was a pork roast" Mildred says. "No, a pork loin but it is a pork". They all laugh and eat while Sherman tells them about his day than when they finish eating, Walter kisses Sunshine, hugs his daughter then goes to work then Misty comes up to Sherman and asks. "Grandpa? Can you read me some of Black Beauty?" He smiles and says. "Sure, let's go". Sunshine and Mildred smile and watch the Grandpa and granddaughter walk hand in hand to the living room.
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