Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Acting 101

My acting gig as a Standardized Patient ended Monday with the last round of medical students.  Over four afternoons, I had 24 abdominal exams as well as having my heart and lungs checked each time.  There was a lot of heavy breathing/hyperventilating on my part, and I never did a header off the table even though it made me woozyish.

I was a 45 year-old English professor, married with no kids, who liked to camp and hike with my husband when the weather was good.  And a high functioning alcoholic.  That's the tricky part for the kids.  Nearly every student asked me something that wasn't covered in training such as:

So where do you like to camp?  Haven't been in forty years.

Who's your favorite poet?  Dr. Seuss.

What's your husband do?  Make me crazy.

You said you eat out a lot.  Where do you go?  Culver's with a coupon.

How often do you and your husband have sex?  What?????

What kind of English do you teach?  Blogger English. 

It was a lying fest for four days and more than one student told me I played a good, cagey alcoholic.  Why, thank you.  After they did the exam and asked a meeeeeellion things about my fake life, they went in the hall while I answered some questions on the computer about what they did or did not do.  When that was done, I called them back in, introduced myself and we talked about how it went.

I met students who were English and philosophy undergrads, a paramedic, a writer, a former teacher in one rough part of Chicago, a Giants fan, and a diabetic.  Without exception they want to get better, and are willing to get input and advice from somebody they just met on how to make that happen.

I can't say it was easy, but I can say it was interesting, enlightening, and encouraging.  Oh, and a few years down the road, we'll be in very good hands.

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