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40! But do I look them?

degree thesis by Orietta Calcinoni

On 20 July 2022 at 3.30 pm it will be forty years since my degree in Medicine and Surgery. In a large classroom of Milan University, with a canicular heat that led the Examiners to take off their gowns - and they asked us for permission! - while they were listening to us, trembling discussing our thesis. Their meeting to decide which votes we would deserve. With re-worn togas and touches, the nominal proclamation and the collective reading of the Hippocratic Oath. Then the long liberating embrace between us "newly graduates" and immediately after that with relatives and friends. I received a necklace with a diamond, kindly stolen in less than a year, and a camera.

Above all, I relive a moment of that day. I'm about to get back in the car, we go home and then go to the restaurant - there were no laurel wreaths or bouquets at the time -, hand on the door I stop for a moment: the six years, the exams, the wards, the races for one classroom to classroom, from one exam to another, the nights typing the thesis, graduated in time indeed among the four youngest of that year ... I realize that that minute is the last moment of pause, that it is not an end, rather the real beginning.

And they started. Forty years of work, of study, of research, of new roads, of - a few - roads only apparently sterile, which instead would have gave fruits later, intertwined with others - most - unimagined, to the problem of being a working woman, to the advantage of being a woman who works, to a Medicine that, for us at Olivetti 44 and Texas as a calculator, was unpredictable and that still fascinates me so much and makes me hope for a "Star Trek Medicine" that will still be different ...

In a few weeks from that moment I would have changed - not so drastically - my path from a medical clinician to a phoniatrician-otolaryngologist: perhaps a change of names, in fact I remain a Doctor. With an incurable curiosity, which that camera represented well, for the "bipeds" around me. I thank all the Patients and Colleagues I have met for the path they have led me to do so far, and, as far as I'm concerned, ... TO THE NEXT FORTY YEARS!

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