Archive for June 2011

My New Sponsor- Lakota Leathers Fine Instrument Straps

June 26, 2011

        I am very proud to now be sponsored by Lakota Leathers fine music instrument straps. My relationship with them is in the category of small dealer/artist relations. I will explain what that means but first I thought I’d tell you how it happened.

        Last year I had an official vendor booth at the IBMA World Bluegrass convention to introduce my first novel, “The Mandolin Case.” Many of the best products in the industry are represented there that week. This is where I met the fine folks at TKL Cedar Creek Custom Case Division. They became my first sponsor.

        Lakota had a booth near mine and I stopped in to check out their mandolin straps. It was love at first sight. It was the softest most comfortable one I’d ever touched, I bought one for my ’97 Bruce Weber signed F5 and it has been on there ever since.

        There was more to it than that though. I realized these were the same Lakota Indians who are so well-known by Marty Stuart. (listen to his Badlands CD) I am sad to report the Lakotas are the poorest community in the nation.  I figured if craftmanship of this quality was from them and it was part of their livelihood I wanted to help preserve some ancient Native Americans ways that do not need to be lost.

        So after Cedar Creek became an official sponsor of the Tommy Bibey tour I approached Lakota. I told them my philosophy on sponsors. “Look, I’m no big thing and my gig ain’t like NASCAR, but I do like to associate my name with products I have all faith in and actually use. I’d like to work out some tour relationship with you guys, I do have a brain cancer right now, and will be in intensive treatment until August 1, but plan to be back on the road once a once a month basis after that, with some limited outings (1 hour at a stretch) while in treatment. Also I plan a limited part-time doctor comeback in late summer and I will need to devote most of my energy to that. The exact doctor format will be announced around Aug 1 by my company; my doctors will not allow me to return to my old full tilt status ‘doctor of record’ status at this time; my vision and balance have to improve before that could occur)

        So, after some discussion, here is my relationship with them. It falls under small dealer/artist relations. It means as a dealer I’ll have a small sampling of their straps in mandolin, guitar and banjo. And of course I am happy to sell these although the original one I bought will never be for sale; I am emotionally attached to it. By my choice I will not sell these at a discount for deveral reasons. My reason for no discounts is first of all, this project is part of the livelihood of the Lakota Indians. Their plight is well documented by Marty Stuart and on the Lakota website. Second, Lakota as a small business, and like all small biz, they struggle to stay afloat. I know how it is. There was many years I wondered if I could hold my old Mom and Pop biz in the road. I was a good doc but no one could accuse me of being a businessman although things worked out in the end. So with those  thoughts, the price I can offer is the same as the website, except I would be able to save you shipping as that has already been handled.

         In artist relations though here is what I plan. If you are a touring bluegrass artist who does not have a strap deal at this time I would like for you to use one out of my stock for a month and try it out. All I ask in return in that you tell people about Lakota straps (let ‘em feel these things) and offer a breif statement at the end of the month as to how you liked it.  And folks no fear if you buy a “used one” that was on tour for a month. These things are made from bufflo hide, a subject the Native Americans are long-term experts on.The straps feel like butter but wear like iron. They will be no worse for the wear and maybe we can get the artists to sign a little certificate of authenticity which would be  a cool touch.

        I’ll also list Lakota on my artist sponsor page. I am proud to be associated with them. Here’s their website:  www.lakotaleathers.com

Dr. B

New Publication Schedule

June 22, 2011

         Hello all. At least while I deal with this illness (brain tumor) I am going to go to a once a week publication schedule for my blog. The Monday Morning post will be here every week. Also, I do plan to continue a daily short post on FaceBook, “The Song of the Day,” every day, so you can catch me there too. In addition my publisher maintains the official “Mandolin Case” page on Facebook and will post new things there also.

         I will use the time well. Most of it will bededicated to trying to kick my tumor, (“Long Gone”) out of its unlawful residence, and we are making progress. I’ve had a lot of time on my hands and I’ve made good progress on “Acquisition Syndrome,” the sequel to “The Mandolin Case.” I believe I will have very solid draft to the publisher by August 1. (They will take it from there to editor etc. Also I am at work on an essay on how I dealt with cancer and I anticipate it to also be publisher/editor ready by August 1. (this will be an inexpensive item; I will dedicate a Monday post to it soon.) I can not predict how long it will take from there to publication. It might not be all that long for the essay/pamphlet. The book of course will take a while.

        I thank all  of you for being my readers. You are more than that, you have become part of my heart, spirit, and soul. You are a big part of my healing process and I’m grateful for every one of you.

Look for me here every Monday and on FB daily. See ya there.

Dr. B

Stand By Your Man (He’s Got Brain Cancer)

June 19, 2011

        My FB Song of the Day a while back was “Stand By Your Man.”  Me and Marfar played it at a home visit with my Music Therapist, the lovely Megan Peeler of Nashville, Tn. Well, my wife has done more than just stand by me; she’s gonna cure her man of brain cancer, just wait and see. 

        I believe healing has many components. They include Faith, Family, Friends, the healing power of music (esp bluegrass for us) Art and literature help us too, and of course high quality medical care is essential. My wife saw to it it every component was maximized for me. As a Doc, I well understand there are no guarantees in medicine (or much of life for that matter) I have often said I am nothing but  professional gambler who tries to sort out the odds and roll the dice in my patient’s favor with each throw. Marfar has done just that for me. Think about it. If I were a homeless man with no love, food, shelter, or transportation, who had the best Docs in the world and no way to get there… well I feel for that man. It’s hard for  him to get much of  a good hand in a cancer Rx poker game.

       By the way, I am at work on a Kindle download/pamphlet kind of essay due end of summer that will flesh out this in more detail. (It will be very inexpensive item, just enough to cover production costs) I hope it will help patients everywhere overcome fear and learn how to navigate the system to play the odds in their favor.

          I am early on in my treatment process. Last week I got to where I could get up up on my own, take my own bath, dress myself, put on my own shoes (and reach over and tie them, (without falling out!)) and walk unassisted as long as I have proper footwear and a four-pronged cane and I’m on level ground. (Stairs unassisted are still a problem). That might not sound like much, but when this thing struck me I was unable to do any of those tasks. In those few awful early days I was rendered your basic 6’3′ 205 pound invalid. It It is small progress, but has moved in the right direction. I’ve always been a tortoise. If it moves forward no matter how slow, I can get there as long as I have time.

       It is to my wife’s credit I can do any of those tasks because she handled all of them for me with good cheer to get me to this point. My only prayer at the onset of illness was that somehow God not render me a burden and that if this illness left me with residual deficits I would at least be able to help my people in some way. I already see those doors opening. I am a pretty big lug to look after, and I am so thankful to not be rendered totally helpless. She protected me, and I know would have forever, but I am thrilled the first few weeks saw enough improvement that she doesn’t have some giant overgrown problem on her hands.

        She gave me two beautiful children and a Weber signed Gibson mandolin. She saw me through every tough case, and all the Home Study programs and Board Exams. After Mom turned me over to her, my wife gave me my life as a grown-up. We got here together and we’re gonna do the same in this brain cancer gig.

        And she’s always been that way. Back in med school they had an award for “Most Promising Family Doctor.” I finished runner-up. The kid who won was a very nice fine boy who had me about 3/4 a notch in the books. We are still friends.

        Anyway, when he won my wife cried and said, “They gave away your award.”

       “Ah don’t worry hon, If I’m #1 with you nothing else matters.”

         As it turned out, a year into residency he switched into a different specialty. So, maybe over the years as a county doc I won by default anyway, sort of like the the Miss America runner-up when the winner gets a better gig and winds up as PlayBoy Center Fold.

        But my Doc gig worked out for me. I’ve loved being a county doc and look forward to some kinda comeback. The biggest factor in the equation for me was Marfar. We have been faithful to each other the whole way, and she’s gonna save my life all over again.

         I married my wife because she was pretty and fun and smart, and I thought she would give me beautiful children. She did that and more. And in addition to all that, the one time I was I was temporarily rendered helpless by a brain tumor she again came to my rescue and saved me all over again. In a way I feel like an old cur dog she found at the pound and then nursed back to health. Old dogs wind up loyal because the experience imprints their good fortune in their psyche. I don’t understand why or how humans can forget these things so quickly at times. It will never be lost on me. I am loyal to her forever, even after I wind up in Eternity, which by all accounts seems a ways off. 

        I am a strong guy, but I don’t know how I would have coped if the brain cancer had gotten after her. I’m glad it hit me instead. We’ll get through it together. These things are very hard on family, esp your spouse. so say a prayer for her today of you will please.

        We have many hopes and dreams to live for and I’ll share some of them over time. Y’all have sent many prayers and concerns and this had a lot to do with my progress also. I will never be able to thank each one of you personally, but I will not forget you and never will. You are far more important than just my readers; you are now part of my heart and soul and inspire me to write for another day.   

        I hope my Marfar can get some well-deserved sleep. If she does when I hear her stir I’ll take her a cup of coffee in bed. I think it’s the least I can do, don’t you?

         See ya,

Dr. B

Acquisition Syndrome: The Great Charles Thombley

June 16, 2011

        Charles Yhombley is a negotiator and the best one there is. He is from Atlanta. His people go back to before the Civil War there. They made their fortune in real estate futures right after Sherman came  through, and never looked back. Mr Thombley’s hobby is the financial revitalization and re-organization of small churches in need.

         Most of Mr. Thombley’s work is highly confidential. By his request and by necesssity to continue his mission, it was imperative the truth of his work be shown in fiction and not told in fact. This will be done in “Acquisition Syndrome.”

        I am making progress, and my condition at the moment renders me on summer vacation until August. Don’t worry; I limit my work to two hours per day and devote the rest of the day to healing; however, writing is also part of my therapy.

        Mr. Thombley ony had one ultimatum in our physician bluegrass fiction writer contract. He would only allow me to fictionalize his part of the story if I, Tommy Bibey, promised he would have a full head of hair in the novel. So in “Acquisition Syndrome” if you see a man who has code name of Del and has a hair like Del McCoury, you will know it is Mr. Thombley.

        One of my goals with my effort to write was to bring new people to our music. The Great Mr. Thombley is a sophisticated, highly intelligent, savvy Altlanta businessman. I have all respect for him. After he got to know me he became a fan and he is now true bluegrass. I guess I’m doing something right, huh?

Dr. B

Tough Guys and Masked Men

June 12, 2011

        The first week of Rad Onc Rx was great. They treated me better than a long-lost brother and the prodigal son; the care far exceeded excellent.

         I must give you some back story to prepare you for today’s post. And one more thing. This piece is classic physician bluegrass fiction. It shows the truth but tells no facts in order to protect privacy.

         First off, let me tell you I was never a tough guy. I was OK in basketball and baseball, and had a little touch for golf, but wasn’t much at football. One time I broke a boy’s arm and I wanted to set it. The Coach was not impressed. I just had zero killer instinct and when they tried to beat it into me I’d just laugh, and they finally gave up. (it mad some of ‘em mad they couldn’t break me) But, But I was smart enough to compensate for my weaknesses and by instinct surrounded myself with tough guys. Barry Graylord was a farm raised West Virgina mountain boy. When he  moved to Harvey County I became his first pal. We met shooting hoops on Chestnut Street. If he hadn’t broken his femur in his senior year of high school football, I think he’d have become a catcher for the Braves. They were scouting him, but the injury cost him about a half step on his first base jump.

         When I set up medical shop one of my first patients was a bearded fifteen year old fast-picking banjo kid named Moose Dooley. He rode his bike to the office, announced he’d graduated from the Children’s Clinic, and wanted to be  a patient at the new office as he now needed a Board Certified Family Doc for his Medical Home. Bright kid, huh? He was already on the rasslin’ team and a became a star Lineman for the Harvey High Mad Hornet State Champion football team.  We became instant picking buddies and he and Graylord soon became my dynamic duo personal body guards. The only game I could handle them in (or at least could before this illness) was golf. They are tough to this day.

         So, this story will not surprise you. On day two of treatment, two burly men showed up at Rad Oncology. “We are here to see Dr. B.”

        “Excuse me sirs, do you have proper identification?”

         “Tell him its the Masked Brothers. He’ll understand.” Moose then handed her a paper. “Here is our signed HIPAA form if you gotta be formal about it. He won’t sweat the formalities.”

        “So we’ve learned.”

         SHe looked it over. “OK. Your role?”

         “Personal bodyguards. You can send Security to Hardees. Here are the rules in Harvey County. They hold just as true here in the home of Earl Scruggs. “You don’t tug on Superman cape; you don’t spit in the wind, you on’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger and you don’t mess around with Jim. But above all, no one, and I mean no one, messes with Dr. B, and sure as hell ain’t no one gonna take that Bolo mask off him. Anyone tries to touch him, we take over. He never had enough meanness in him; that’s our job. And now he is weakened state. We will protect him at all costs.”

        “Can you handle it?”

        “Ma’am, we whupped Haystack Calhoun and The Kentuckians. We even kicked good guy Johnny Weaver’s a^^ one time when it was indicated. We were undefeated. No one took the mask off us. See that little man in the cage with the cane and the chair? Name’s Governor Homer O’Dell. He started with us as a Colonel and moved up the ranks.”

      One nurse appeared she perhaps might be older than 37. She moved over to take a look. “Hey, I used to watch World Wide Wrestling reruns after the Fred Kirby Little Rascals show. You guys are a but more pudgy than what I recall, but by chance are you the Bolo Brothers?”

       “Ma’am, if anyone demands an answer to that question, we are not allowed to answer but are honor bound to put the Eagle Claw hold on that individual.”

        “Would it kill me?”

         “We’d stop short of that but it’d make you wish you were dead. We seek no trouble though. Follow our rules and there will be no violence. The mask never came off us and no one shall remove the mask off Dr. B until approved by Dr. Angel H. Maddux.”

        ” Yes sirs, I appreciate your assistance. You are welcome in our institution any time.”

        The masked men handed her a card. “We are at your beck and call.”

         Moose turned to Graylord. Hey pal, better let Homer out of his cage. The way he’s flailing away with that cane he looks like an octopus trying to break his way out of a phone booth.”

“Got it.”

“Dr. B, you ok?”

(From behind the mask) “All cool guys, and feel even better with you on my team. I never was a tough guy.”

Yeah you were Doc. You’ve got a tough brain and the good sense to surround yourself with all the right people at every turn. You were always there for us and we’re with ya all the way.”

I have the best family and friends in the history of the world, and they are a major part of my hope for a cure.

Dr. B

Progress Report and My Weekend Message

June 11, 2011

        One week into intensive treatment my doctors are able to document subtle but objective evidence that old “Long Gone” has been nudged in the right direction. I might not come out exactly the same, but I am convinced I’m gonna live, and I know it ain’t gonna touch my soul, my heart, or my music.

         My boy is in a survival gig right now too, (classified) except his is much harder than mine. I have  a pretty girl (my wife) who brings me food and supplies on a moment’s notice, he’s out in the wild and gotta go forage for it all alone.I don’t even know where he is. Pray for him. He does it because as he says. “Dad you’ve always taken care of me. Now you can’t defend yourself, and I’m gonna do it for you.”

         Pray too for the homeless and beaten and unloved and the defenseless. Pray for those little MACC kids. Send them some money if you have few extra bucks.

Hug your people close and tell ‘em you love ‘em.

My bluegrass people sustain me. They often call and ask what they can do. My answer is always the same. Send a few prayers, keep the Faith and keep the true music alive. You’re a big part of healing an old Doc, and no telling how many others in the crowd. You make my day better every day you pick a note.

         If you are new to the bluegrass family, go up the festival record table and buy a CD directly from the artist. Take ‘em home with you and put the music in your heart. Take it from old Doc.It’ll help heal ya.

God Bless you every one.

Dr. B

When a Man Loves a Woman

June 8, 2011

        First day of combo aggressive treatment went well. My Rad Oncologist is the most modern as is her staff and equipment. The big Medical Center said, “They can do you just as well as we can.” At the first consultation my Doc and her Staff corrected that assertion. “We can do just a touch better, ’cause we know ya. You’re’re in the home of Earl Scruggs, and that gives us extra power. you won’t have quite as long as ride back to Harvey County from here, so you’ll get back to prescribed nap time quicker. Wait and see.”

         It started out with chemo of course, and then some very cool non drug induced (except chemo) laser light show.

         Then they put on my Bolo mask. “We’re gonna put on some music for you before we start. The song was “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Percy Sledge. “Do you have any questions?”

        “Okay, how did y’all know I played horns in a soul band  way back wwhen? That was one of me and Marfar’s theme songs when we met.”

        “You know a Snookers Molesby?”

        “Sure. Ace of the Harvey High Mad Hornet golf team. How do you know Snook?”

         “Doc when take a history, we take a history. We promised even more personal care than the Medical Center with equal high-tech.”

        I gave ‘em a thumbs up. They hit all the co-ordinates. Spot on! More to follow somewhere around Monday.

Dr. B

D day today

June 8, 2011

        This is my first day of all out concomitant Radiation oncology and  chemotherapy. Pretreatment and early preparation was an unqualified success. My hematologist chose my Rad oncology Center (and with my 100% blessings because he trusted the docs, knew the staff,and knew of their state of art equipment, but also because he knew of special attributes they would bring to the table for this old bluegrass doc that would bring extra power to my plan and improve my odds. Look for his report in the NEJM someday, but you will be able to read it here on my blog long before that. (You will always hear it here first, even before the Enquirer, thank goodness) I plan to post on Monday and update you at least every week. Look for that Monday post;I anticipate it will be extra good (and not too long) 

           And as always I promise only here will you be able to get the true inside physician bluegrass story on the world of Radiation Oncology. As always I promise you can count on me to write physician bluegrass fiction to show you the truth, but also tell no facts to protect the privacy of the other patients.

        I enter the battle with concern but no fear . I have Jesus, family, and music in my heart, and so many friends by my side. They all ask have asked what they can do. This is all I need: Keep the music going. If you ever drift thru my area sit down with me for a meal and play me a song. And go to MACC and or send ‘em money. That’s it. Play “Long Gone” for me every so often. (My tumor’s theme song until we kick it out of its unlawful residence) Go Bluegrass. you’re part of saving me every day you play.

        And say a prayer for those who suffer and have no relief in sight. They have it far worse than I do. Let’s never forget them.

Dr. B

Where to Find My old Recordings

June 6, 2011

        I am what I seem; a country doc who played in a lot of semi-pro bands over the years. Much of it was Neuse River for local BBQ church suppers and fundraisers. But I also had a secret life a while back I’m gonna tell you about. I played with several very high level regional bands. We recorded several CDs and saw good reviews in BU and other reputable trade magazines. I also thought I was the weak sister as far as talent, but I found my place. After all, how many bands can claim an on-staff doctor who can take care of you if you are sick, write you a doctor’s note to be out, fill in on either mandolin or guitar, sing the baritone, play the gig, and donate your cut for the gig as your sick pay?

         It will take a little time, but my old pal Moose Dooley plans to organize, archive ,and catelogue all those CDs and offer them for sale to the public. In keeping with my long-term plan to separate my doctor and art life as much as practical, all these CDs were played under a stage name, but no fear, you will know it is really me. I give you my word.

        When people buy a CD I like for them to know where the money goes. In keeping with my long-standing belief that money needs to go to the artists, not the biz people, Moose has assured me all the profit will go to the artists on the CDs. (There will be some expenses to get the project going, as some of the recordings are out of print. I was one of the artists, so I will see about 20% of the profit. In roughly equal parts, I plan to do the following with my share. I’m gonna buy my sweet wife some tokens to thank her for all her care. If I live, (and I think I will, a big part of the credit is to her. We have great health insurance, and few needs, but I might use some for a few incidentals that aren’t covered, such as an extra cane or another pair of balance shoes. The rest I’m gonna send to MACC. These kids need it a lot more than I do.

        Look for a link on the right side of my weblog page titled “Where to Purchase my old CDs” It may be several weeks, but I will keep you posted. It will have contact info for Moose Dooley Enterprises once he gets the operation up and running.

         And before too long look for some Moose Dooley stories too. I know a lot about him from his rasslin’ days.

Talk to ya soon.

Dr. B

A new Sponsor: Weber Mandolins

June 3, 2011

Weber Mandolin is now the official mandolin of the Tommy Bibey and Mandolin Case Tour.  already owned three Of Bruce Weber’s lovely creations. recently one of his dealers, John Reid at Shelby Music Center in the home of Earl Scruggs acquired  a WEBER mandola at an artist discount for me. (Harvey County didn’t have  dealer that big)

         Right away I assigned co-ownership of the mandola to Darin Aldridge. My illness is gonna keep me off the road two months and I wanted him to be able to take it out there and show it off. It is way too much instrument to just sit at the house, and Bruce Weber deserves the exposure for his fine craftmanship and quality. website:    www.soundtoearth.com       

        Please Thank Weber, Shelby Music, and Darin for their belief in me. Like my wife no one seems to think my song is “Long Gone” yet. 

Dr. B


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