This is OldManDave

Who is this OldManDave guy and why has he created this organization and web site? Well, let me just tell you…a story ‘bout a man named Jed, poor mountain man who barely kept his family fed…WHOOPS! Wrong story!!

Seriously, if you’d asked me at age 6, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would have quickly returned: Doctor, astronaut or a truck-driver. Well, at 6’ & 275# I am waaaay too big to fit in those tiny space ships, long distance driving is BORING; so I had no choice but to become a physician. That was the intent when I hit college.

However, to be straight - I majored in partying and minored in fraternity and ended up having to withdraw from school in the fall of '87 to avoid academic expulsion – 93 hours w/ a cumGPA ~ 1.25. I knew then that there was no way on God’s green Earth I was ever getting into med school.

So, I chose to work in allied health as a cardiac monitor tech. There I met a Ph.D. (still teaches at the U of Ark med school - cardiophysiology) who told me if I wanted it badly enough, the BEST chance he could see for me is to get a clinical degree/license, meaning nursing or respiratory therapy, & work a few years to demonstrate perserverance and dedication. Then, go back & re-do a complete BS and kick some major @&#36&#36 with the grades.

That journey started in ~'88. After ~10 years as a resp terrorist, at 33 years of age (in 99) & armed with my new magna cum laude BS in neuroscience from UTDallas, I entered med school in the fall of '99 at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. I have never worked harder, been so academically abused nor loved any challenge more than this. I cannot envision how empty I would feel had I not done this. Living my life’s dream with my soulmate at my side, Wendy - my wife, I know that one day I will die a contented man safe in the knowledge that I led a charmed & full life.

Now, I am starting the second half of my 3rd year…I am 18 mos from my residency. I still have to occasionally pinch myself to make certain that I am awake. It has been a very long and, at times, very difficult journey.

Would I do it again? Absolutely!

Do I regret how my course was plotted? Not really…wish I were younger, but I truly am content & comfortable with “who” I am and most likely would not have that luxury if I had taken a more traditional route.

Would I receommend this route to someone else? No

Most common question I am asked: I have (insert deficit/problem/commitment of choice) in my background, can I get into med school? Yes you can, if you are willing to make the sacrifices, do the work and put in the long hours required to do it.

Next most common: Is it worth it? For me, undoubtably YES – for you, ONLY YOU can answer that…and I strongly recommend a lot of very deep introspection and earnest communication with yourself & those who’ll be undertaking the journey with you before you make your decision.

I wish you all the best of luck and success in your journey through life.

Always remember,

“Nothing Risked; Nothing Gained!”
– OldManDave, year uncertain

Dave, can you tell us what made you choose KCOM ?

Yes, the funny part is how I chose to even complete the secondary there. It was very late in the app cycle when I even submitted my DO primary apps – I mailed them to AACOMAS in early-Oct/late-Nov…didn’t even receive any secondaries until Christmas break.

Since it was so late and I had spent a load of &#36&#36 with only 1 interview, a ton of “hold for interivews” and a fistful of rejections to show for it…I limited myself to 5 DO apps. I chose to apply to Des Moines, Chicago, Kansas City, TCOM & was not certain of the last one. I chose KCOM because it had the reputation of being the hardest DO school to get into and had the highest “numbers” & a track record of excelling on board exams – honestly, I was WAY less than thrilled with living in the boonies for two years!

I completed all of my DO secondaries and sent them off ealry, early Jan and immeidately got interviews at KCOM & Kansas City. Weirdly though, two days after I mailed my KCOM secondary, they called me to tell me tha they liked what they saw in my primary and realy wanted me to send them a secondary – I told them I had dropped it into the mail 2 days previously.

The ‘strangeness’ did not end there. During that phone call, they told me to give them a 2~3 weeks to eval my secondary and call back. I called back one afternoon, gave the lady my name and inquired about the progress of my app. She stammered and asked me to repeat my name…I did…and she said, “you’re not going to believe this. I am holding in my hand, freshly stamped, your invitation to interview”.

Once my heartrate tumbled to norm, we scheduled it.

Honestly, I expected very little considering how out in the middle of no where KCOM is. But, after my interviews, my interactions with the students, faculty & staff and seeing the amazing level of technology they use at KCOM…I was completely sold. I called my wife that evening to ask her how she felt about moving to RURAL FARM COUNTRY. She was no more excited than I had been prior to coming. Once she made the trip to interview for a job (after I had been accepted), she was sold too.

Now, I will not lie to you…the education has been excellent. KCOM is not perfect, but they are open and amenable to student input and are continually trying to improve their curriculum. Kirksville…well, both Wendy & I are city born & breed. As charming as the slow pace of rural life was for a while, we began to fatigue over life there. We missed the pulse of urban/suburban life.

I could never settle in a place like that…but for the purpose of going to school w/ minimal distraction in an unbelievably safe environment for your family and at a school that is very very pro-family and loves non-traditionals – I am very happy that I chose to go there.

Feel free to ask further or more specific questions.


Here, read this ‘horn-tooting’ post about OldManDave. I do not know your GAP, but I can guarantee you, GUARANTEE, that yours - no matter how bad - cannot beat worse than mine was. funny, our original academic-demise both occurred in 1987. Damn, weren’t the 80s FUN!!!

<3 Dave! I did not want to call you out but it was you to whom I was referring in many of my posts.

My utmost respect and regard for what you have achieved and really the singular most impactful story I’ve heard.

Between Judy saying I could and pointing me here, and your story, I am diving in.

Thank you for resurrecting this! /salute

Man is this old, Dave


It was very strange rereading these posts from sooooo long ago. I am now in my 5th month as an attending anesthesiologist & adult intensivist. In addition, I am the Medical director for both the ICU & the RT Dept…not to mention that the hospital where I work is a brand new start up…I mean BRAND NEW and not an existing facility in a new building.

In most private practice groups, you are there for 5 years before anyone gives a rat’s ass what you think. However, fresh out of the shoot, I am getting to create and mold an ICU to be the best that I can envision. I have tremendous support from the Admin folks who have really been a phenomenal asset in facilitating what I have helped build. It still has some bugs to work out - I figure it’ll be at least 12mos and maybe closer to 18mos before it is truly ‘up to snuff’ and not requiring daily, intense scrutiny to keep the lights on. My Nurse Manager did a superb job of recruiting a mixture of experienced warhorses & strong new-grads. My RT Manager was just as successful. They and their ability to juggle, flex & adapt to a novel and not always fully functional system combine to make me look good. Most importantly, we have successfully delivered superb quality of care to the patients unfortunate enough to need the services of the ICU.

It has truly been an extremely challenging & rewarding experience. And, my education/training at both KCOM & Dartmouth paved the way for me to be able to do these things.

Even though I never thought of it nor intended it, these forums are sort of a ‘time capsule’ for those of us who participate. While we pour out our experiences, frustrations and inner-most feelings here for the benefit of the membership, we also have that rare opportunity to look back at what was in our heads or on our shoulders and re-evaluate. Rarely is that possible, but we are OldPreMeds whose collective goal is to live out the old addage, “If I had only known then what I know now…”