The Magic of Medicine

Lindsay Wasicek


Medicine.  Webster’s dictionary tells us that medicine is a substance or preparation used in treating disease, something that affects well-being, but to me it’s so much more.  I have been interested in medicine for as long as I can remember.  Growing up with parents who are pharmacists probably had something to do with it.  The idea that a pill the size of your fingernail, a capsule jam-packed with powders or liquid “medicine” could change something that affects the entire mass of a human is astonishing.  The infamous 200mg Advil pill can make that horrible demon playing the drums on your temples disappear; the tiny ten-milligram Sudafed tablet can allow even the most congested individual with the ability to once again gain full use of the nasal passage; it’s miraculous!  My life has been surrounded by medicine and I hope it will continue to be.  My memories, my current studies, and my career ambitions revolve around medicine.

            Though I cannot pinpoint an exact date when my “addiction” to medicine began, I can remember the location where my intrigue was set into motion.  It was in my parents’ cozy, country dinette.  As any child looks up to her parents, I certainly looked up to mine.  I can remember gathering around the dinner table over the fresh-out-of-the-oven chicken noodle casserole with French rolls smothered in Smart Choice margarine substitute, and hearing the countless conversations discussing the events that had occurred in the hospital pharmacy that day.  My parents embodied health and wellness.  I wanted nothing more than to understand and be a part of the adult conversation they would partake in.  I was a young girl sitting there, feet dangling, unable to reach the floor, avidly listening, soaking up every piece of information about medicine that I could, ears pricked up, straining to learn anything and everything.  This medicine that they spoke of called to me.  Before I knew it, I was speaking words like “intravenous” and “ibuprofen” and had learned abbreviations like ICU and OTC decades before my peers.

            My parents radiate intelligence.  I longed to grow up and have the same wisdom behind my eyes that they had.  They just seemed to know everything about health and medicine.  For everything from every scrapped, bloody knee to traumatic throbbing headaches, my parents knew the solution, be it Neosporin or Tylenol.  They had friends and family calling all the time to discuss prescriptions and treatment plans and to see what my parents thought of new drugs on the market.  For every question asked, I would see the wheels turning in my parents’ heads.  It was as though they had used the Dewey Decimal System to categorize and store all of the knowledge they had accumulated over the years.

            I was not a typical child when I was in grade school.  Most young kids enjoy animals and trips to the zoo; not that I didn’t have an appreciation for the cute, cuddly creatures; my attention was just somewhere else on those trips.  My recollections of those day-trips are quite different than the typical petting-the-goats-making-faces-at-the-monkeys-plugging-your-nose-while-walking-past-the-penguins-and-hippos norm.  On my mother’s day off she’d plan a trip for me and my little brother.  She’d put together snacks and lunches and put the little red Radio Flyer into the trunk and we’d head to the Milwaukee County Zoo.  On our way we’d stop to visit my dad at work in the pharmacy at Lakeview Hospital.  We’d drop by to say hello since the hospital was conveniently located across the street from our destination.  While my parents chatted, I’d roam the pharmacy and venture into the hallways wide-eyed, enjoying everything about the long, eggshell corridors filled with all sorts of cool, magic, medicinal machines.  After a few minutes Mom would say it was time to let Daddy get back to work.  Though my request to stay with Daddy was always denied, I was persistent in asking with the hopes of staying in the hospital surrounded by medicine.  My wonderful memories of trips to the Zoo are instead memories of the much-too-short pit-stops to the hospital beforehand.                                                                                                                    

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