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.