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“Out of the Fields” by Ramon Resa

 

OUT OF THE FIELDS

My Journey From Farmworker Boy To Pediatrician
The Story of Ramon Resa, MD

At age 3, Ramon Resa was put to work picking cotton and oranges in the fields of Central California. Today, he is a successful pediatrician. After completing medical school, he returned to the same rural area where he grew up. For the past 20 years, he has been treating poor and underserved children much like the child he was.

Out of the Fields: My Journey from Farmworker Boy to Pediatrician tells the inspiring and poignant story of how Ramon struggled to achieve his dream of becoming a doctor.

Abandoned by his single mother, who had 5 children before she turned 20, and one of a family of 15, he grew up in an environment of poverty, violence, physical and sexual abuse, alcoholism, and total disregard for education

Ramon’s often lonely and frustrating struggle began in elementary school, when his teachers awakened him to the dream of getting an education….more.


Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION
Looking back to my roots, I struggle to find a beginning to my story.

1. PICKING COTTON
I’m standing in the middle of a cotton field and the plants are taller than I am.

2. ORANGES
We head out for the groves in the pre-dawn cold.

3.  INNOCENCE LOST
Irrigating with my grandfather is real work.

4.  GRAPES
I battle wasps and spiders among the grapevines.

5.  GOSHEN SCHOOL
“No Spanish allowed” – it’s time to learn English.

6.  TREACHEROUS WATERS
We risk our lives playing in the irrigation canals.

7.  THE HUNTING SEASON
Hunters are dangerous to us as well as their prey.

8.  EASTER
Our family picnics aren’t for the faint-hearted.

9.  TAMALES
A Christmas without tamales isn’t a real Christmas.

10. VALEDICTORIAN
Eighth-grade graduation is a challenge – and a disappointment.

11. FIRST DAYS OF HIGH SCHOOL
I don’t feel so cocky anymore.

12. ELIA AND ROSA
Sisters sometimes follow different rules.

13. BAD DAYS
I encounter my first identity crisis.

14. SAVING DEEDS
Good friends make life easier.

15. TENNIS AND THE RICH KIDS
I face another culture shock.

16. THE LETTER JACKET
I give my all for the team.

17. SENIOR YEAR
I finally see rays of hope for my future.

18. FINDING MY FUTURE HOME
I fall in love with UC Santa Cruz the minute I see it.

19. TIME TO START DATING
Shy guys like me are wary of girls.

20. MOVING OUT
I defy the grandparents who raised me and head out on my own.

21. SANTA CRUZ – THE BEGINNING
I have looked forward to this moment my whole life.

22. METTING DEBBIE
I stop and stare, captivated.

23. CHRISTMAS BREAK
Is life possible without Debbie?

24. DEBBIE’S PARENTS
I spend Christmas with Debbie’s family, and they accept me.

25. A NEW YEAR
I discover that racism still exists.

26. THE SECOND YEAR
My feelings of inferiority resurface.

27. SUMMER OF  ’75
I go back to the Central Valley to do community service.

28. APPLYING TO MEDICAL SCHOOL
The competition is fierce.

29. INTERVIEWING AT UC IRVINE
A fortune cookie foretells my future.

30. GETTING MARRIED
Debbie and I rush to tie the knot before my med school classes start

31. ZOMBIE YEARS
I must have been crazy to think I could pull this off.

32. PLAYING DOCTOR
How can I be a doctor if I faint at the sight of blood?

33. CLINICAL ROTATIONS
I know right away that surgery is not my field.

34. DISCOVERING PEDIATRICS
I find my calling – I know I can do this for the rest of my life!

35. GRADUATION
Med school’s behind us and there’s a baby in our future.

36. INTERNSHIP
Constant pressure, a family murder, no sleep – everything takes its toll and I give up.

37. MARINA
Holding my infant daughter for the first time, I feel all my troubles fade away.

38. SECOND-CHANCE INTERNSHIP
I discover I have a knack for clinic care.

39. RESIDENCY
I learn that sometimes we can save a life, but sometimes we can’t.

40. BACK TO PORTERVILLE
A successful private practice, a beautiful home, two wonderful children, recognition in my community…I am blessed!

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 Memoir Excerpts

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