My family originally came to Jackson in 1988. My father was “big-time” into hunting and had been traveling to Jackson since the 1960′s to enjoy Wyoming’s wildlife population. He eventually talked my mother into moving to Jackson twenty years later.My parents bought and ran the Anvil Motel on Cache and Gill. My brother, sister and I grew up in a house located just above the Anvil Motel office. When we were old enough (about 14) we started working in the motel. I held various prestigious positions such as “linen changer”, “maintenance man” and “desk clerk”.
In 1990, our family opened what is now “Nani’s Ristorante & Bar” restaurant. I was the first waiter there in what was then the motel laundry room turned into a 22-seat restaurant. We had absolutely no idea what we were doing, but we had a great time and made some mouths very happy that first summer. In the early 1990′s, I worked at Nani’s as waiter, bus-boy, dishwasher, and manager during the summers I had off from college.
I graduated from Jackson Hole High School in 1992. I then went on to college at UNLV and (after a little too much fun and not exactly stellar grades) I transferred to and finished my Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of Wyoming. About half way through college I decided I was going to go to medical school to be a surgeon. However, I had already devastated my college record with my “extremely liberal” use of classroom time. After I decided I was really going to try to be a surgeon, I dove into my classes, applied myself and learned how to really study. I suddenly got fantastic grades and convinced myself I wasn’t stupid, I just never knew how to study before.
Well, since I knew I was smart enough, but didn’t have a perfect GPA through college, I decided to pursue an “offshore” (or what people call a “Caribbean Medical School”). I went to St. Matthew’s School of Medicine, then located on Ambergris Caye off the mainland of Belize. It really was a great experience and I had the opportunity to become the school’s Student Body Chairman at one point. After two years in Belize (completing all the classroom requirements for medical school) I then spent the next two years traveling around the US for different clinical rotations. I spent time at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Chicago, St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City Missouri, and finally St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson. After meeting some wonderful people, and having some amazing experiences, I decided on General Surgery and through a stroke of luck and fate, ended up at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan.
Working in Detroit for 6 years was truly a life-changing experience. Henry Ford is a 900 bed hospital in the heart of the city. Although, for a training resident it is one of the best places to be, it is unfortunately a “very rough” place to live. Due to the extreme poverty, patients present with disease processes which are often very advanced, and violent gun-shot and stabbing victims were the norm nightly. I am proud to say I helped many people from Detroit…and many of my colleagues are still there fighting the battle as I type this. Godspeed Detroit.
During my residency I took a year to do some research with the Surgery Chairman at Henry Ford, who was in the process of doing many projects for Henry Ford and NASA. I assisted in some “Remote Guidance” medical diagnostics for Astronauts, and even was lucky enough to do a couple projects on the famed “Vomit Comet” (this is the airplane the Astronauts use to train in zero gravity). No…I didn’t puke!
After my residency I moved back to Jackson to be closer to my family and to live once again in the amazing State of Wyoming. It took me about 18 years to live in Wyoming full time again…..and it sure is great to be back.
I now practice at St. John’s Medical Center as a private practice General Surgeon. I hope to bring the skill and knowledge imparted on me from the people and surgeons in Detroit, to serve the communities in and around Jackson.
Although I love many aspects of General Surgery, I pride myself on my advanced Laparoscopic skills and my ability to clearly communicate with, and educate patients and their families. Providing clear communication and simple medical education for my patients is almost as good as doing surgery:)
With any luck, you won’t need a General Surgeon like myself, but if you do, I hope I can help guide you through your experience.
Buck Parker, M.D.