Those Old Timey Doctors

Doctor, doctor give me the news
I’ve got a bad case of lovin’ you….

I understand that the practice of medicine has changed. Its changed greatly especially over the past 25 years. There is SO much specialization now. If you have a problem with your fingers…you can’t see a Dr. who specializes in shoulders. If you have a hip problem, like my wife has…you can’t see a Doctor who only sees people for knees. (we found that out this past week) There are so very few physicians who have “private practices” anymore. Most of them are “captives” of huge medical groups. They work for these groups just like a regular person works for a “boss” in the mill. The difference is the pay I suppose. Things change.

Back when I was a kid there were three Doctor’s practicing medicine in Trion. They all had offices at the old hospital. The one I went to was “Ol’ Doc Clemens” I remember him as a larger than life figure. A “big” man in the sense of size…more large in the middle than he was tall and big boned. He was a chain smoker and more than likely had a cigarette in his mouth when you walked in his office. The Doctor that was portrayed in the movie Forrest Gump was almost an exact double for Dr. Clemens as I remember him. A little gruff and grumpy at times, but he knew your name and was true to the title “General Practitioner” He treated anybody for anything. It would have to have been an extreme problem that would have sent you to a “specialist” in those days. They were few and far between, and if the Doctor sent you to one of them, your relatives might have been wise to start consulting the funeral home. Ol’ Doc Clemens didn’t believe too much in “specialists”
I went to him for everything from the mumps, to stitches, to infections, to severe colds, to severe knee problems.

I ruptured a ligament in my right knee when I was 14, swinging too hard at a baseball. Doc Clemens treated me for that. I ended up in the hospital for close to a week with my knee in traction. After that, it was a huge and heavy cast for 6 weeks. Doc Clemens recommended after I got my cast off, that I start walking to exercise it and that was when I started playing golf.

I remember we always loved to go by his house for Halloween every year. He didn’t give us kids that he knew a piece of candy. We got ice cream cones one year, candied apples another year. He lived there on the end of Sunset Lane by himself. I think his wife had passed away some years earlier…but I’m not sure. My memory is a little fuzzy in that area. All I know is that he was an unusual man. A very compassionate man.

The other two Doctors who were there in the 50’s were Dr. Little, and Dr. Hyden. They were both good men also. Dr. Hyden was the doctor who “birthed” me, and also the doctor who saved my brother’s life with an unusual blood transfusion treatment for a blood infection back when he was a little kid. Those Doctors were icons of the community. When the little hospital closed and these three Doctors stopped practicing, the old hospital sat there for quite a few years empty until Dr. Gary Smith had the front part renovated and he had his private practice there for many years. Dr. Smith was another Dr. who worked hard, for many long hours to benefit this community.

Now, I’m not commenting on what should be done about the state of medicine in this country today. I really am not writing this in order to get any political opinions about what should or should not happen to improve things. I just think back, and kind of long for the days when your Doctor knew your name, your family, and actually cared about getting you well more than he or she cared about how much money they were going to get for seeing you. They cared about all the parts of your body, and they knew what I know about the human body:

The foot bone connected to the leg bone,
The leg bone connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the back bone,
The back bone connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone connected to the head bone,
Oh, hear the word of the Lord!

My dear and darling lost.

September 2nd……..September 4th

I remember sitting down in the edge of the grass, with my feet out on the chert rock lined road at the old Trion cemetery. I think somewhere there’s a picture….but I don’t know where it is right now.

Looking back now fifty one years later, I don’t see anything different that could have been done. I believe things happen as they happen, and even if human technology were to develop a time machine so that a person could go back in time, one has to wonder if tampering with what has already come and gone would even be remotely a good idea.

If you change one heartbeat, if you save one heartbeat….would it be in exchange for another?

When you come back from your time travel, all of your photo albums would have different scenes….different people would be in them. Strangers.

Familiar love might be gone and be replaced by a different set of love.

So even with the sorrow which runs through this coming week every year now…the sorrow which leaks out my eyes and runs down my cheeks now…

knowing what I know, and having what I have, I could not and would not go back and take a chance on rearranging history. Things happen as they happen and there is a reason for everything. Randomness, or planned to the infinitesimal, it doesn’t make any difference, it’s in the books.

Somewhere, out there in the Universe, or here in the Universe her spirit waits for me. That’s enough to know, and to hold onto. We will meet again.

The Covid Problem

When I had surgery back on July 29th at one of the hospitals at Rome, Georgia…I was concerned about the new variant of Covid which had already been circulating in the U.S. for a few weeks, so I asked the nurse who admitted me if there was anyone in the hospital at that point with Covid.

They told me there was no one in the hospital at that time with Covid. I had to pass the ER to get to the outpatient surgical area at that hospital that morning and there was barely anyone there.

Now, just a little over a month later on August 31st, both the hospital I was in and the other large hospital in Rome are at, or past capacity with Covid patients. Schools in the area started back the next week after I had surgery. Did that have anything to do with the rapid increase in cases? Most schools in this area started back without any mitigations against spreading the disease. Many are now having to go to virtual and part-time attendance plans after only a few weeks. Just today I read where a student died from Covid at a High School in Rome. I read that a Middle School coach died in Dalton….although it seems he was sick even before school started.

It’s incredible what a difference a few weeks can make with this current Delta variant. It’s incredible that this came from one person …one person…in India sometime near the end of 2020 and has subsequently spread throughout the entire world. It has wreaked havoc on the idea that I and many other people had back at the beginning of 2021, that the vaccinations we were taking would virtually put an end to Covid in this country. The vaccines were formulated to specifically combat the original Alpha variant of the Covid virus. Once the virus mutated to a faster version, which was significantly different in form from the Alpha variant, then the effectiveness of the vaccine was reduced. It wasn’t totally rendered useless against the Delta variant, but has proven to be much less effective. People who took the vaccine have had much milder cases of Covid, up until this point. A third shot has been recommended, and I believe is warranted. The vaccines are not perfect and will not keep everyone from getting sick. I do believe they are safe and they are as effective in fighting Covid as anything we have at our disposal at this time.

At this point, I don’t believe as I did back in March and April of this year, that we will be able to go back to living any kind of “normal” pre-pandemic life anytime soon. I believe that the SARS-COV-2 virus is here to stay in human beings. I have no idea what it’s “end game” will be, and neither does anybody else at this point, including scientist and medical experts. The best they can do right now is to guess where it’s going, based on where it’s been and where it’s at now. As the facts and figures change regarding Covid, then the scientific and medical community will probably change some of it’s views and recommendations. That’s the was science works.

It’s my personal belief that the best way to combat this virus is to continue to take the safe and effective Covid vaccines and to reduce the chances of exposure by using the highly safe N-95 masks. I don’t believe we are being “misled” by the government about the effectiveness of these methods of fighting this disease. Other people have other opinions, but I don’t believe those opinions are based in facts.

The above named things are what I intend to do, but I can’t force anybody else to do them. I just hope that people will realize that these things are probably our best course for right now and go ahead and do the right thing.

I hope that science and medicine can come up with new advances and that one day we can say that the worst of this pandemic is over. For now, it’s not. I’m afraid it’s just going to get worse for the foreseeable future. We can fight it though, if we will just do the right thing.

The cleanest squirrel! From 2012

I now have the cleanest squirrel in the State of Georgia living in the tree in my front yard. The bold little feller is a permanent resident of the Ivy encased Elm tree that stands on the West side of the house providing much needed evening shade. I water my plants regularly and refresh the water in the birdbaths every day or so, and I use a hose pipe with a “sweeper” nozzle so I can get out to the farthest reaches of my postage stamp size yard. I was over next to the fence, just fixing to quit when the “dirty” little squirrel climbed down off his limb onto the top of one of my birdhouses. Seeing that he needed a bath, I screwed the nozzle to “high” which produces the strongest stream of water possible. Pointed the hose in his direction and let go of the crimp in the hose pipe I had been holding. Now..I’ve seen squirrels make some amazing moves…they are quite acrobatic creatures, but when that stream of water hit that little bushy tailed rodent he did a double back flip with three and a half turns straight UP onto the limb above his head. It took him two more seconds to get back up to his home base…where he sat chattering and shaking like a wet dog. Well..now he’s clean and I ain’t seen him trying to rob the poor finches today…..

What we are:

We are like a flash of lighting in the night sky. A shooting star on a cloudless night. Our lives are written in damp letters on the back of a foggy door, only to disappear when the sun shines. We are like one tiny fleck of gold in the bottom of the mining pan, sighted by the great prospector and allowed to swirl around and glint in the light before being poured back into the stream of time. All too brief to really be knowledgeable about who or what we really are.

We are nothing but thought. Nothing but a vapor….disappearing even as it forms.

I have no real answers, other than try and be human, try to be humane. Remember everyone else in the world is more like you, than they are different.

The Saga of Tarp

My Dad’s nickname was “Tarp”. His friends and brothers gave him the name because he used to catch a lot of terrapin turtles when he was a little kid. It certainly wasn’t because he was slow. J.W. Greenwood was Dad’s good friend when they were young. He once told me that Daddy was the “quickest” man he ever saw, and also the most accurate rock thrower he ever knew.

My Dad told me himself that he had beaten many a big bully by “rocking them” then running away….then rocking them again. They finally gave up and ran when they had too many knots on the noggin’ to count….and they never caught him. If they came around the house where my Daddy lived, they risked getting their butts kicked by my Uncle “Curly” or by the oldest brother Robert…who everybody called “lightning” because he could hit so hard and so fast. Fighting was a pretty common pastime during the Great Depression.

My Mom had three different versions of my Dad’s name. When she was just commonly addressing him…she would just say: Tarp

If she wanted something, as in getting him go to the store it would be: “Tarpie will you go get us some frozen yogurt?” Mom loved that frozen yogurt.

The most fearsome of the versions was when we….my brother and I, were kids and did something wrong. Then it would be: “Tarrr…up! Come and give this kid a whooping.”

Strangely enough, that happened more often than I needed it to up until I turned 13, after which Daddy said I was too old to whup anymore. I guess he figured I could be talked to, and have some “privileges” taken away….with the same effect.

My Mom, on the other hand, continued to chase me around be the house with the wire handled fly flap!

Ahh..the memories.

The World Before the Sickness

A lot of times I still find myself picking up a pen and paper and write things down on them before I transcribe it to the cyber world.

To me, writing something down on a page, especially if you are trying to create something gives me a warmer more responsive feeling, as opposed to the cold, clinical, sterile feeling of creating something on a screen that sits up in front of you, like a monolithic all seeing eye, daring you to put your fingers against the keyboard and interact with it in some kind of weird pseudo sexual dance. A dance that it always seems to win. I still participate in that particular dance more often than I would like. In this day and age we have very little choice if we are to interact with the world at large. However, my deeper feelings are still recorded with pen and paper. Just an old habit that’s hard to break.

In my life time I have seen humans being gradually sucked into the black arms of technology, gradually a few steps at a time. I have gone along too, I will have to admit. Sometimes reluctantly, fighting against it tooth and nail, but more often like everyone else accepting the change as just another step to make life easier and more convenient for us.

Wood cook stoves have changed to electric and gas and then to microwaves. Dinner used to run around on two feet and your Grandmother would grab it, and it would be extremely fresh that night for supper. Now, we grab it out of the freezer from a box.

People used to walk places. Miles and miles to places. It wasn’t unusual for my Mother to walk 6 or 7 miles into “town” when she was a child, and then the same distance back after she had conducted whatever business she was doing. It took all day. You were tired after that and had no problems sleeping. Adults didn’t have any problems with sleep either. They worked all day in the fields, or in the barns or at the house. There was very little idle time. Maybe a little bit in the evenings before the sun went down to read a little in their tattered old Bibles before going to bed, exhausted. No problems sleeping. No sleeping pills needed due to having sat around all day and pecked on a computer keyboard and not gotten up and walked more than a few steps. No sleeping pills needed due to worrying about deadlines for unimportant things which seem critical. Just tired bones and muscles needing a full nights sleep before getting up at first light the next day to start over again.

Miles of walking. Now, I sometimes drive the single mile to the local Wal-Mart Superstore 5 or 6 times a day to pick something up. I am the one that worries about the critical things which are not critical and has to have the pill to sleep well. I don’t have to build a fire in a wood stove to stay warm, just turn up the gas or the electric heater. I wonder if I am better off.

Oh, and on those trips to Wal-Mart ( I really don’t particularly like Wally World, but…I would have to drive 20 miles to go to another store that has what they have, SO I conform…what’s a person to do?) most of the time I used to end up buying some pre-packaged stuff to fix for supper. I used to pop a Freshetta Pizza out of the box, and pop it into the oven. I used to NEVER look at the labels. I was afraid of reading them. I didn’t want to know what it took to preserve what I was eating. I’ve changed that by a long ways now…trying to pay attention to all the stuff that I have been consuming over the years which has been slowly killing me. Will it work or not…time will tell.

I know that Grandma used to cook stuff in Pure Lard. For a long time the Drs. said that was really bad for you, all that animal fat and stuff. I don’t know about that though. There is some contradictory report on the TV news every day now about what’s good for you and what isn’t. It’s enough to boggle your mind. If you try and keep up with it, and do what they say you have to change the way you eat and drink about every other week because some study shows this or that. I quit keeping up with that too, and just eat what I think is right for me. A lot of veggies and stuff. I guess if it’s bad for me one day, and good for me the next I figure things are balancing each other out over the long run. Right?

I can barely remember back before there was a TV in the house. Just vaguely. I remember listening to records and radio programs on the Philco combination Radio/Phonograph that my folks owned. There were some great singers. Sinatra, Dean Martin, Rosemary Clooney. There some funny radio shows. All of those are fuzzy memories though. I don’t think we used that radio more than a few times after the first little Black and White TV came into the house. After that, it was ‘I Love Lucy’, ‘The Honeymooner’s” and Baseball games during the week. And then on Saturday mornings, it was the BEST of all. There were Western’s with Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Hoppalong Cassidy. You name them, they were there. The cartoons were great too. Bugs Bunny and Popeye the Sailor man. The “Officer Don” show, with the puppets and the cartoons and clowns, not to speak of “Howdy Doody” and old Buffalo Bob. Who could resist that over listening to the radio? We sure didn’t realize we were being suckered into a new life style though. It just seemed like entertainment back then, and not a shady plot to take over our lives. But boy we were wrong, weren’t we?

Now, there are 4 or 5 TV’s in more every house. Every resident usually has one of their own. There are 2 or 3 computers, there are enough Nintendo game systems, and Microsoft game systems out there now to fill up the Superdome if you could stand up at the top and chunk them all in, prior to setting them all on fire in order to save mankind. I am afraid it’s a little to late though. And I will even have to admit that at my house there are two TV’s, and three or four computers. I sigh while I am sitting here thinking about it, but there’s no use in trying to deny the fact that I also have been caught up in the technology trap.

I have seriously thought sometimes about trying to simplify things, but I don’t think I know how anymore. I watched that movie “Lost” with Tom Hanks a few weeks ago, and I don’t think I want to live like that. You know the one where he is trapped on a deserted Island for so long that he starts talking to a soccer ball? Ohh…the lack of a dentist would kill me, but ol’ Tom survived it.

I guess there’s no turning back the hands of time. I wonder how many of us would go back even if we had the chance. I probably wouldn’t.

I wonder if there is anybody out there who has a list of the technological items that have come along since 1950. I have thought about trying to come up with one, but it would take more time then I have now to even think about starting. If there is one out there on the web that anyone knows about, make sure and let me know. Surely there is somebody out there who had all the spare time that all this wonderful technology has created for us to do such a list. That was the point in starting to invent all of it wasn’t it? To make life less complicated and less hard for we humans, and to give less time toiling away at menial tasks, like growing our own food, and raising our families, and more time to do the IMPORTANT things we want to do, like watching more TV, playing more video games, text messaging our friends on our Cell phones, going to one of the 9 billion fast food places in the country to eat our supper, pay our bills online, order our Christmas presents online, read our newspapers online, go to war with people we don’t like with smart bombs, and laser guns, because we have found out we hate each other more because we know more about each other, and what we know we have found we don’t like, and to drive our mega trillion automobiles around 1 mile to Wal-Mart 10 times a day putting so much Carbon Monoxide in the air that our planet is starting to warm up (so they say on TV anyway)

We take out other people’s body parts and put them in people to save their lives. They can transplant just about anything nowadays. I heard a few years ago they are working on a head transplant, so that’s why they got Old Ted William’s head frozen away out there somewhere in California waiting til’ they perfect that surgery. There are pacemakers, and stints. There are Dialysis machines and heart lung machines, and Cat Scans, and MRI’s…….

….and so on and so forth. Whew…we have come a long way baby, to get to where we are today.

I could go on, but there’s no use. You get the point by now.

Of course there is good connected with all of these things. Certainly, there is. I’m still alive because of some of this technology. I would never have gotten to do some of the amazing things I have done because of it. I have friends I would have never “spoken” to without this technology. I can keep in touch with my family, and that’s the most important thing I have gotten out of it. I guess it’s best to live with it, take the good and try to change the bad if you can. We were all created with a built in conscious (at least
Most of us were) so we know good from bad, and it’s up to us to try and change the things about our ‘New’ society that are bad.

We can write our Congressmen and Senators about the things that are wrong with our government, and how we feel about the Economy, and such. (Those would be some very long letters, but…it’s what we should do) If you see a program you don’t like on T.V., turn the channel. That’s the fastest way to get something done there. Recommend to your friends that they do the same thing. Vote next time there’s an election. Even in a GOOD voting year, most of the time fewer than 50% of registered voters vote! If they are not listening to the cards and letters…vote them out!

Quit making so many trips to Wal-Mart (That will be a hard one around my house) Cut down on the computer time, cut off the lights when you are not using them, read some instead of watching TV all the time. Spend time with your family….real time in person, not time “on line”

Question anything you aren’t sure about when it comes to technology:

Just because some Dr. wants to do something to you, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right or correct thing to do. I don’t really want them doing too much to me to tell you the truth, but I haven’t gotten on the stick and even written a living will, or a real will yet. Yes, that’s something I need to do, how about you?

Just because some salesperson at the computer store wants to sell you the “latest and greatest” PC doesn’t mean you really need it.

Do you really need that flat screen or HDTV? ( I decided I did…arrghhh.)

When you get your next car can you make sure it’s not a gas guzzler, or maybe even try and get a hybrid.

Ah well, I have rambled on long enough.

By the way, I wrote this directly onto the screen, instead of using a pen and paper. It would have taken too long otherwise.

Dang me. Dang me….outta’ take a rope and hang me…