Beginning with her earliest memories of trying to fit in, Making the Rounds: Defying Norms In Love & Medicine is an engaging memoir and Greyhall’s first book.
Like many LGBTQ people from stiflingly conservative places, Patricia Greyhall 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 fulfilled both dreams by attending medical school in the early 1970s in Salt Lake City and then in Boston.
Readers will get a real education on what it was like to be one of only five women at Salt Lake City Medical School and the only female intern in Boston.
Greyhall foreshadows the many difficulties that arise in such a situation, such as having to endure the cheesy jokes told by the professor, which seem directed at her. But with boundless courage, she was determined not to let it bother her one iota. Her eyes remained firmly fixed on the goal: to finish her studies and successfully practice medicine.
Unforgettably, Greyhall’s honesty and sincerity echoes the sentiments of many, for example when she writes about what it was like to endure grueling hours of medical training at the time while battling social isolation.
“Tossed in the turbulent seas of medical training, chronically exhausted and emotionally drained, I longed for a stable love relationship that would offer the same care and support that my male colleagues would find in their wives and girlfriends.”
At the time, with no female classmates to befriend, Greyhall joined forces with a gay male intern and together they successfully toured. They were even tasked with testing drugs on a live monkey at the time.
As with any good memoir, much of the book is spent trying to digest what happened to past loves. Revisiting what happened ended up being a very healing exercise for her that tied up some loose ends.
Without a doubt, the 70s were a fascinating time to be alive. To illustrate, one of the anecdotes is about a steamy night she spent with her love at Berkeley when they discovered a rude man had broken into their apartment. They screamed. He asked if they had drugs. He threatened them with a knife. But then he noticed that they were both naked in bed, and having earned his instant respect, he pulled away, declaring, “…That’s cool, that’s cool.”
To protect her privacy, as well as the privacy of some of her characters, Greyhall decided to write under a pseudonym.
To be sure, “Making the Rounds: Defying Norms In Love & Medicine” is that although Grayhall had to find her way without any signposts on the journey, the book was written as a guide for young women and as an affirmation for older women who in some way lived this history.
Additionally, this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn about the courageous women who paved the way for educational equality, for anyone who wants to learn what it was like back when same-sex attraction was still naively categorized as a disorder, and anyone who ever felt different.
Dr. Patricia Grayhall will be in San Francisco for a book signing on November 13th from 12-3pm at Passages Bookstore, One Ferry Building and at Passages, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd, in Corte Madera on November 15th from 1-2pm for live and virtual panel by She Writes Press, The Thrill of Life’s Next Chapter.
“Making the Rounds: Defying Norms In Love & Medicine,” by Patricia Graihall; She Writes Press, $17.95
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