Early health care


by Bob Sanders

The health system in my hometown when I was young consisted of Dr.Black, Dr. Box, Dr. Brown and Dr. Roberts.
Dr. Black drove a black Ford coupe. I, for some reason, never had occasion to use his services. He lived, and his office was, close to one of our town’s blacksmith shops.
Dr. Box, along with his other duties, would park his car by the northeast corner of the courthouse on a Saturday afternoon and people would line up to go by, one at the time, to get his diagnosis and cure for their ailments, the cure usually being a bottle of pink liquid; and most times it worked, all the way to the next Saturday.
Dr. Brown was the county doctor in charge of the shots we were supposed to take. His office was in the “Annex,” where school supplies and records were kept. His daughter finished high school with me.
Dr. Roberts brought my brother and sister into the world … at home, of course. He was our main doctor
Of course, for a tonsillectomy or appendectomy, you had to go to a hospital in Birmingham. Cousin Billy didn’t make it in time. It was an arduous four-hour trip.
To say things have changed would be putting it mildly.
As some of you know, I have had the opportunity to deal with some of our health people recently.
I got to use some of their services by falling off the bed. Yeah, falling off the dad-blamed bed. And there was a sturdy little chest involved, too. Blam! I hit that oak floor.
During the follow-up, my primary doctor said, “Oops, you need a pace-maker.”
A lot of people have told me that they felt like a new person with that thing stuck under their skins.
I couldn’t tell a bit of difference. Sorry, Doc.
Then there were tests. x-rays and things where they lay you down, or check out your head bone, and checks of blood for this and that.
Have you ever thought about how many people are involved in this stuff? My!
And with each new doctor or specialist, there are stacks of forms to be filled out:
Fill in the circle under “Yes” or :”No.”
Do you smoke?    No.
Do you drink?    Not much.
About a six-pack a year. But I reserve the right to do so.
Have you ever had cancer?
Yes.  Of the finger.
Look that up in your files. After 15 radiation treatments, they cut it off.
Did you ever get raked off the back of a mule while going under the limb of the old apple tree to get a few apples on the way to the Ridge Field?
Yes, and you wouldn’t want to hear what I called Old Bill when he didn’t stop in time.
Did you ever get a spanking in the first grade for being involved in a biscuit-throwing fight?
Yes, but Turner Falkner started it.Same with the pencil-breaking affair.And so on and on.
This kind of nurse. That kind of nurse. That kind of assistant, etc., etc., etc.
Getting old is not for sissies, believe me.
Pills, stuff squirting up your nose, can’t get comfortable, … .
I remember, very faintly, “When You and I Were Young, Frosty.’’
    Bob Sanders is a veteran local radio personality, columnist, author and raconteur of note. He can be reached at bobbypsanders@gmail.com.


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