The 30-year-old man who wants to become a physician holds his 1-week-old daughter in the living room of his southwest Las Vegas home.
Camden Shreve, bless her heart, stares at her daddy with eyes THIS BIG. She waves her tiny arms, kicking and gurgling just a bit.
Colby Shreve, a first year medical student at the UNLV School of Medicine, smiles at his child, bringing her just a tad closer to his face as she begins to let everyone know she’s hungry.
Mother and wife Paige Shreve, who’s sitting on the couch, grins and prepares to feed her little one with a bottle of pumped breast milk. "OK, OK,” Paige says, taking Camden into her arms.
“It’s so awesome having Camden in our lives,” Colby Shreve says of his daughter born
April 19. “Yes, I’m busy in medical school. But I’d rather be busy. It just takes discipline.”
So goes yet another scene in the real life drama playing out among the students who comprise the charter class of the UNLV School of Medicine. Life still happens when you’re taking classes and studying 16 hours and more a day. Keep in mind, Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson had two small children when she began medical school.
Shreve’s path to medical school is arguably more unique than many others.
An honor student at Bonanza High School in Las Vegas, he also was a star pitcher on the baseball team. After his first year at the College of Southern Nevada, the Atlanta Braves drafted him in the eighth round in 2007. Sure that he could go higher in the draft with more seasoning, he returned to CSN for his sophomore year in 2008.
“I had dreams of going in the first round of the draft and was well on my way when I got injured,” he recalls.
That injury 10 years ago to his right elbow required what has become known as “Tommy John Surgery.” The surgery, named after Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Tommy John, the first pitcher to undergo the procedure and resume a baseball career successfully, requires a healthy tendon to be extracted from an arm, or sometimes a leg, to replace an arm’s torn ligament. The healthy tendon is threaded through holes drilled into the bone above and below the elbow.
Even with his injury, Shreve, whose younger brother Chasen Shreve is now a relief pitcher for the New York Yankees, ended up being taken in sixth round of the draft by the Philadelphia Phillies, who signed him. He spent two years in rehab and four years in the minor leagues.
While he wasn’t enamored with the minor league lifestyle —
“there were a lot of long bus rides” —
on one of those East Coast trips Shreve met the woman who became his wife two years ago. “Paige was a buyer with Macy’s then and we hit it off,” he says.
After four years in the minors, Shreve didn’t think he had a good chance at the major leagues so he finished up his undergraduate work at UNLV. He also took the test to get into medical school.
“I had always wanted to be a doctor after I got done playing ball,” Shreve says. “I just had to do it sooner than I planned. I’m still not sure of my speciality, though.”
He rattles off statistics like he’s still playing. He’ll tell you he had 22 wins and 17 losses in the minors with a 3.69 earned run average, which are better than average numbers. He also knows his daughter’s statistics. Born April 19, she weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and kept mama in labor for 20 hours. S
he was 18 inches long —
her father is 6 feet 5 inches tall
. At first blush, she looks about the size of a catcher’s mitt.
There is no statistic, he says, to cover the gratitude he feels toward donors who made it possible for the entire inaugural class to receive full scholarships.
“You can’t imagine how much pressure that took off students,” he says. “When you know you could have hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans to pay back, that is a lot to carry on your shoulders. That was such a great idea of Dr. Atkinson, to get those scholarships. We got great students through her tireless work. I honestly don’t think this medical school would be here today without her. We love her. I’m so glad our students went to the board of regents meeting to support her. We tried to convey that her leadership is necessary for the school to be successful.”
Even with his scholarship, the Shreve family will rely heavily on the income of Paige Shreve, who’s now an associate attorney with the Lewis Brisbois
Bisgaard & Smith LLP law firm.
“I’m taking 12 weeks maternity leave so I can get up in the middle of the night right now but once I’m back to work we’re going to have work out who gets up when,” Paige Shreve says. “Hopefully, Camden will be sleeping through the night by then so I ‘m not too tired to sleep and Colby’s not too tired to study.”
During Camden’s first year of life, Colby’s mother will largely take care of her during the day.
It’s possible, according to both Colby and Paige, that their lives could become even more hectic in the next few years.
“Both Colby and I want a boy,” Paige Shreve says. “We can handle it.”