Beginning with her earliest memories of trying to fit in, “Making the Rounds: Defying Norms In Love & Medicine” is an interesting memoir and Grayhall’s first book.
Like many LGBTQ people from stuffy, conservative places, Patricia Grayhall fled her hometown of Phoenix when she was just 19 to find freedom in San Francisco. Determined to live openly as a lesbian and join the medical profession, she achieved both of her dreams by attending medical school in the early 1970s in Salt Lake City and then Boston.
Readers will get a real education on what it was like to be one of only five women in medical school in Salt Lake City and the only female intern in Boston.
Grayhall hints at the many hardships that come with such a situation, such as having to endure the raunchy jokes told by a professor who seem to be aimed at her. But with boundless courage, she was determined not to be disturbed one iota. His eyes remain firmly fixed on the goal: to complete his studies and be able to practice medicine successfully.
Memorably, Grayhall’s candor and directness echo the sentiments of many, such as when she writes about what it was like to endure the grueling hours of medical training in this era while struggling with social isolation.
“Tossed about in the choppy seas of medical training, chronically exhausted and emotionally drained, I longed for a stable romantic relationship that would offer the same care and support that my male colleagues seemed to find in their wives and girlfriends.
Around this time, with no classmates to befriend, Grayhall teamed up with a gay intern and together they managed to make it around. They were even commissioned to test drugs on a living monkey at that time.
As with any good memoir, much of the book is devoted to trying to digest what happened with past loves. Revisiting what happened was ultimately a very healing exercise for her that resolved some issues.
Without a doubt, the 70s were a fascinating time to be alive. To illustrate, one of the anecdotes concerns a steamy night she spent with her love in Berkeley when they discovered that a gruff man had broken into their apartment. They shouted. He asked if they had any drugs. He threatened them with a knife. But then he noticed that they were both naked in bed, and having instantly earned her respect, he recoiled, stating, “…That’s cool, that’s cool.”
To protect his privacy as well as that of some of his characters, Grayhall decided to write under a pseudonym.
Of course, “Making the Rounds: Defying Norms In Love & Medicine” is that although Grayhall had to find her way without any signposts, the book is written as a guide for young women and an affirmation for older women. who in some way lived this story.
Beyond that, this book is a must read for anyone who wants to learn more about the brave women who paved the way for equality in education, anyone who wants to know what it was like to come back when the Same-sex attraction was still naively classified as a disorder, and anyone who’s ever felt different.
Dr. Patricia Grayhall will be in San Francisco for a book signing on November 13 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Passages Book Store, One Ferry Building, and at Passages, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd, at Corte Madera on November 15 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. for a Live and virtual panel of authors from She Writes Press, The Thrill of Life’s Next Chapter.
“Going Around: Challenging Norms in Love and Medicine”, by Patricia Grayhall; She writes the press, $17.95
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