On Tuesday, my day off, I visited the LEAP (Learners’ Expanded (?) Academic Potential = Gifted/Talented) class in my hometown of Kilgore. I went to LEAP as a kid once a week all through elementary school. This time, I returned as a doctor to talk to the class.

I was expecting the room to be much smaller than I remembered it. Maybe it was because I’d prepared mentally for that, I was rather underwhelmed with the discrepancy. Really, things seemed about the same, only now there are computers in the two classrooms in LEAP’s portable building.

The fourth-graders I spoke to were charming–bright, interested, and full of questions! Though half the time, when the children raised their hands they had more of a story than a question. I think adults do this too, but they’re just more sophisticated about it.

The kiddoes are starting a unit on economics, so I did a little research to share. The U.S. spends 1.7 trillion dollars on health care annually (in 2003), and 180 billion of this is on prescription medications. The entire GDP of the U.S. is 11 trillion dollars. I wanted to help them get a feel for how big these numbers were, so I started by drawing a “1” on the chalkboard, followed by zero after zero. The kid who stood up when I’d drawn enough zeros to represent one trillion got to help me demonstrate the physical exam.

We also talked about what kind of doctors there are, the education involved in becoming a doctor, and the common health problems confronting the U.S. (smoking, diet habits, little exercise) –> (obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer) –> (a multitude of medical problems including heart disease, strokes, kidney disease, amputations, blindness)

All in all, it was quite rewarding and fun. Here’s a picture of Peyton, the boy who knows how big a trillion is. He was a good sport as I showed them how to listen to heart and lung sounds and elicit reflexes.



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7 responses to “LEAP

  1. Anonymous

    I was thinking this picture was really to show off your new (resident) white coat…and then I remembered y’all never had the embarassing short white coats to begin with!

  2. Jonathan

    Short white coats? I wouldn’t lower myself to such a thing.

    Gotta love it when you’re handed an 0200 admit. At least now I can sleep a few hours before I go home at 0700 and sleep.

  3. Doctor J

    What did the kids have to say when you got to the “amputation and blindness” portion of the discussion?

    By the way, I also like the long white coat look and I’m eternally grateful that our med school did not make us wear the short coat or a big, ugly patch.

  4. Jonathan

    I didn’t dwell on the amputation and blindness too long. These are fourth-graders, you know!

  5. Doctor J

    That’s probably for the best…

  6. Anonymous

    Wow, you seem like quite the compassionate young man. Please call me at 214-787-4403 if you have the time. If not, I should be able to find you. Thanks again for the pic!

  7. Jonathan

    I think you must have the wrong guy…Don’t think I know any Tysons! Thanks anyway for reading.

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