The Real Dr. Bibey

        This web thing is a true learning experience.  I heard today from a fellow who was an anthropositor.  I’m not exactly sure what all that is, but I think it is a sub-specialty of ethnomusicology, and involves archaeological digs to study ancient music traditions.  (Lord, I wonder what they’ll think when they dig up the County some day.)  He made a very astute edit, and I promptly corrected my error. 

        In his note, he had some question, as others have in the past, about whether Tommy Bibey was real, and wasn’t sure they would print up my driver’s licence that way.  I went back and looked, and sure enough it says Tommy Bibey.  Course, around here we have some folks that just go by their initials- one fellow has been B.G.P., or B.G. for short, for as long as I can remember.  One time I saw his driver’s licence, and that’s what it said, B.G.P.  He is a heck of a player, too. 

        Now not believing in Tommy Bibey- I don’t know what to think of that ’cause except for adding Doctor to the name that’s what it always has been.  (Even back then they all said I would be a doctor.) 

        Why, not believing in myself, Dr.Tommy Bibey, would be to give up on dreams and hope.  It’d be like my heart not believing I can help every one of my patients, even when reality is smacking me in the face to say it ain’t true.  Shoot, my soul would have to quit believing that if I practice hard I can eventually play the mandolin like Darrell, even though my brain knows it to be impossible.

        I remember that fellow who wrote in to the New York Times and dissed Santa Clause, and well…..    O.K., I agree it ain’t that big an issue, but I just gotta believe in Tommy Bibey, and so do my patients.  Heck, the next miracle might be just around the corner, for all we know.

            I heard from my agent, and he has already corrected my dangling participles on the print copy.  Somehow he stays one step ahead of me, but I think he is still exasperated.

Dr. B

Explore posts in the same categories: bluegrass characters, mini-posts

28 Comments on “The Real Dr. Bibey”

  1. Ponder Says:

    Yes Virginia, there is a Tommy Bibey. He came to my Mom’s rescue many years ago. We were fairly new in town, and none of us had reason to see a doctor. I came home late one evening, and Mom said she had a bad pain in her side and back. I took her seriously, because she’s wasn’t the type to complain much. I scrambled around and got the Doc’s home phone, and, even though at that time we were more acquaintenances than friends, within a few minutes he was in my den, checking her out. We walked into my study, and the Doc said that he didn’t want to put any unnecesary fear into anyone, but it might not be a bad idea to get her to the ER for tests. Turns out she had a leaking aortic aneurysm that required immediate surgery, which went well. Later, when Dr. Bibey and I were talking about her, he said there was just something that told him she needed to get to the hospital. Oh yeah, he’s the real deal.

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Mr. Ponder,
    I tell you my friend, all Docs hope they can make a difference, at least every once in a while.

    -Dr. B

  3. I was just Googling around on me. It is more fun than reading and answering my Email, and it affords me the opportunity to see some of the comments which have not been directed at me, which are still about me, to one extent or another.

    When I was younger, I sometimes mixed blues and grass, but my exposure to bluegrass was not extensive. I certainly have not made an archaeological study of music. I like a certain sense of whimsy in a doctor. It usually gets stamped out of them before internship, along with imagination. Glad you were able to avoid that.

    Right now, I am on the hunt for a creative, imaginative, and experimental ophthalmologist. Not having a lot of success so far.

  4. drtombibey Says:

    Hey Anthropositor, good to hear from you again. Yeah, they can just about whomp the life out of ya if you aren’t careful, but somehow Dr. Bibey held onto part if his old self.

    I have run into several Docs in bluegrass but none were opthalmologists. Will stay on the look out.

    Dr. B

  5. He need not be in bluegrass. The chief requirement is an imaginative and investigational spirit. and that he not harbor the notion that physicians are a whole separate and elevated species.

    I have saved lives on several occasions under complex field conditions. I am not a physician. It doesn’t count. Neither do my ideas, because they are not couched in the special magical language that admits me to the ranks of the anointed.

    Sorry for my annoyance. My time frame is very short, and there is work to do. Blindness will soon cut into my effectiveness. I don’t have the time, resources or inclination to go to Europe or Mexico or Canada, and the additional language barriers provide even more hurdles.

    …and the current bureaucratic and systemic barriers are monumental. It’s not your fault. But medicine and the pharmaceutical industry are serving themselves a lot better than they are serving the public. Many of the technological fixes in health care have taken us so far down the wrong road that the way back to reasonable medicine is not apparent, particularly to the physician who is perfectly content with the current situation in medicine. End of rant.

  6. drtombibey Says:


    Oh I agree- bluegrass is just a code word for an independent state of mind. I think you are of that mind set.

    In my book every life saved counts, regardless of genre, background, training, or method used.

    Good luck with your vision situation.

    I agree with your last paragraph 100%. When I get my book done, I like to believe it will be a road map for the evaluation of the truth in medicine. It ain’t on T.V, and is not told by the cats driving fancy cars.

    Dr. B

  7. I will look forward to your book. If I were younger snd still had any taste at all for ghost writing or re writing or editing, I would even offer to look at a few chapters of the draft manuscript or a synopsis. …But I learned something in the Army a half century ago, which I adhere to even more strongly as I approach maturity. Never volunteer.

  8. drtombibey Says:

    A.P ,

    The other one I learned from Army talk (I was never in) was don’t be first in line, but don’t be last either! I always remember this when drug reps come around touting the newest fancy (and expensive) drug on the market.

    Dr. B

  9. No matter where you are in line, you always get the coffee mug with the pharmaceutical logo, Those lovely pens, with the pharmaceutical logo, and of course, the unending supply of drug samples. There are doctors who have gotten hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pens and mugs. I’m not even a doctor, and I had a dozen, last time I looked.

    I guess I shouldn’t go into the other more valuable perks. My guess is you do not indulge in acceptance of those with any frequency.

  10. drtombibey Says:

    Oh, I’ve gotten a few things, so I might be as hypocritical as the next guy. I waxed my car last spring with some Tagamet socks I have from the old days, but it is OTC now. I’ve heard there is some web site where you can turn in your drug company pens for a generic no-name- sort of an amnesty program I guess.

    More valuable than a coffee cup or a pen I don’t do. Actually, I did once years ago. I went on a golf outing in Pinehurst, but it felt so bad it was my last one. The head of my 4-iron snapped off on one hole and flew into a lake- served me right.

    And to tell you the truth I can’t remember what the drug was- serves them right, too.

    Dr. B

  11. Well If you haven’t already lurked at my place, in honor of your attitude about all this, you now have a bona fide engraved invitation to drop in at your convenience, and see if there is anything to your taste.

    Normally I just have people root around in the archives, but if you RSVP I will point you in the direction of the medical/dental/ophthalmological things that might pique your particular fancy.

    I haven’t been keeping as current as I might with the blog, having found some other venues which have kept me occupied recently. And of course, I have to work something out for the eye that is going to work out better than my current options. I probably have about a year, give or take.

  12. drtombibey Says:

    Cool. I have been by, but will visit again. My goodness, I hope for the best on the eye thing. I had a retinal detachment last year. It all worked out, but it was quite scary for a while there.

    Dr. B

  13. Here are a few to get you going (if I’m doing this right).

    Next, perhaps easier, the month of November 2007. Only three posts; one with some sad elements.

    If these worked for you, I locate a few others that might catch your eye.

  14. Boy, I just hate it when I make a typo I can’t fix. When I get my sight back I’m certainly going to have more fun.

  15. drtombibey Says:

    I was able to get there, but I am not sure how to leave a comment since I do not have a Google account.

    Are you a rocket scientist? I once had a patient who was in that line of work and he was a most interesting man.

    My vision is not as good as it used to be either, but I still know that is a pretty girl.

    Dr. B

  16. Well, you could set up a dummy account. That is to say, just register without setting up a blogspot blog. You would then have a profile which you could use to direct people here, maybe snagging a bluegrass fan or two.

    I may have made some sort of mistake. I thought I sent you in the direction of two posts about cataracts and one with my commentary about the imprudent and premature surgical removal of an appliance from a woman’s colon. While this appliance was shaped quite a bit like a rocket, there the similarity ends. A few of my posts are about my perspectives on the space effort and what we should be doing, but I’m no longer directly involved as I was then.

    I built launch support equipment for the moon program, but my specialty was pressure calibration equipment and pressure vernier controls. I was a hands-on Production Manager for a company with many clients in the Aerospace industry rather than rockets I had an infinitesimally small part to play in landing men on the moon.

    But I am certainly not a scientist or an engineer in the usual sense. I left home first at the age of twelve, continuing to engage in these escapes until being made a liberated minor at the age of sixteen, so I am unlettered in the formal sense, and am considerably stupider than I was a few years ago, before the stroke.

    It cut into my chess coaching for a while, but now it is the eyesight that is beginning to cut into my play a little. Since I’ve been coaching for a bit more than half a century, that was initially sort of dismaying. But after this amount of time, I may have even improved a bit in my coaching skills because of my struggles with the stroke. I work at it more. It is less routine.

    It is nice that the eyesight problems and the stroke didn’t both happen at the same time. I’ve always been lucky that way, so far, always getting my disasters pretty much one at a time.

    Yeah, isn’t my Greeter a Pip! She always energizes my imagination. Got to go now Tommy, but I’ll get back here and point you to another few tidbits when I get the chance.

    My group chess class is on Monday nights, and I have to prepare for it a little these days. Oh yeah, if you don’t want to mess with blogspot, but have something thought provoking to say, you can just put it here. I’ll tack it up where it needs ot go, with attribution to you. I’ll just bet you have a creative medical idea or two. Feel free to bounce it on my head.

  17. drtombibey Says:

    Wow what a saga! I should place this on the “Where I Come From” post.

    Man for me when I went of to college it was like I had gone to a foreign country- overall a very bland life for this boy.

    Will try to get the Google thing done in the next day or so.

    Dr. B

  18. Hi Dr.
    A little jammed up at the moment, so no ad lib remarks are occurring to me. Here is something I responded to someone on another blog:

    Thank you for your comment. I have only done a couple of eye operations on live subjects (under emergency field conditions) and the object of these was not to restore sight, but to increase the probability that the patients would survive. One of these cases was uncomplicated. Only the eye had been damaged. I did a straightforward partial removal.

    In the other, the orbit and upper jaw had been fractured, and the eye was unblinkable, being in front of the orbit. The difficulty was, the patient was in critical condition and could not have survived a general anesthetic (even if one had been available at the time). So I had to treat the unblinking eye continuously for about ten days, allowing the patient to gain strength. During this time, the eye could have begun to deflate, which would have allowed me to try a more passive and natural approach. This is what I was hoping for.

    But instead, the eyeball very slowly built up pressure, which was easy to monitor since I was applying coconut oil and lubricating drops day and night, every hour or so. The patient was refusing to eat, so I was forcing liquids and nutrition with a 30cc syringe. By the third or fourth day, the patient began to take clear water on his own. In another four or five days (I lost a little track of time. I had had only had short sleeps during this situation) the patient had good chances.

    I removed the coconut oil from the eye surface, sterilized the field with a swab of 3% peroxide, immediately dusted the field with an air blast of finely powdered oxytetracycline, using an ordinary drinking straw. Then I took a #22 scalpel which I had previously prepared with a 20% benzocaine topical cream, smeared the cream across the cornea with the flat of the scalpel, waited fifteen seconds, made a fast single stroke incision of about half an inch across the middle of the cornea. As I had hoped, the pressurization had severely weakened the zonules or they had otherwise broken down. The lens, gelatinous and now somewhat opaque, along with some vitreous fluids popped out into the palm of my glove. Total time for the procedure, not more than five minutes, probably closer to three. It has been something like a year now. The patient is fully recovered. His nickname is now Popeye.

    Fortunately my blindness is only currently affecting my right eye seriously. With a little ingenuity I am still able to see with my left, so I am able to see my grandchildren with one eye, and will probably be able to do so for another few years, maybe.

  19. Your comment came through. I published it absent mindedly without determining what thread it was on, so I was not able to see if your profile had your blog info or if your name took people directly to your blog. (one of the features of blogspot. Next time you post I’ll be a little more careful, because if I really wanted to track it down, I would have to sift a lot of comments one by one. I can only easily see what thread it is on before I hit the publish button, and since I virtually never censor, I tend to hit publish automatically.

  20. drtombibey Says:


    Man you are the one who needs to do a book or a movie or something. What a story.

    I hope your vision holds steady. Last year when I had my retinal detachment (and it is my dominanant eye) it was touch and go for a while so I really can empathize. If I lost it, I was gonna consider retirement, ’cause I figured no one would want a one eyed Doc. I was lucky to get it all back.

    I will check in on your blog more- I think I tapped into the wrong post, but I’ll find my way around.

    Dr. B

  21. Grrrrr,

    “I was gonna consider retirement, ’cause I figured no one would want a one eyed Doc.”

    Now listen here, young feller, what kind of talk is that? Greatness comes from adversity. Beethoven wrote some astonishingly great music when he could no longer hear at all.

    A concert pianist loses an arm, goes on to compose one-handed compositions and returns to the concert stage to perform them.

    I just saw a guy, born with no limbs, just the vestige of a foot. Unbiden, the first fragment of a thought that entered my mind was one of the horrible Mommy, Mommy jokes of half a century ago. The Mommy answers a knock at the door. “Can Tommy come out and play?”
    “Why, you know Tommy is a quadruple amputee.”
    “Yeah, but we need a third base.”

    Now thoroughly ashamed of myself for this thought, I watched this thoroughly inspiring, wonderful fellow, who had grown up to be an evangelist, and was leading an absolutely fine and valuable life. His greatest adversity had become strength.

    Helen Keller, blind and deaf from birth… imagine living with only touch, taste and smell. It was all she needed!

    Demosthenese, an uncontrollable stutterer became world famous for his oratory for many centuries, long before radio, TV, telephones or the internet.

    If you lost an eye, you would automatically get a better set of patients. Ones who realize that binocular vision is not central to a doctors talents. Not even close.

    The key trait for a doctor is not skill, it is empathy!

  22. drtombibey Says:


    You are a good man. I asked my patients how they felt about it if I lost my vision in one eye and they all said they’d rather have a one-eyed Dr. B than a two-eyed anybody else. It made me feel good.

    So, even from a distance you got the end of the story right. I have to admit I felt sorry for myself for a minute there, though.

    Dr. B

  23. Ever get rhinoviruses, influenza or other viral illnesses which make entry via the respiratory system? SARS, etc. This is something I worked out in the early 1980’s. It has become pretty popular in my little circle of friends. I guess I’ve directly taught maybe 30,000 people now.,19899.0.html

    I will be interested in what you think. The procedure is somewhat less effective with allergic responses to airborne allergens, but is still far more effective than many of the prescription medications, with none of the side-effects.

  24. drtombibey Says:


    Thanks for the link. I am going to get to it this weekend- both last night and tonight I have music things keeping me from my study hours, but I have it on my list, and at the top.

    Dr. B

  25. drtombibey Says:


    I finally got over there, and enjoyed. I thought your “four reasons” were perfect, and the only ones I could think of also.

    Dr. B

  26. Since the four reasons were not listed until reply #5, therefore you read on after the original post.

    Thinking of giving the procedure a personal assessment by trying it yourself? You are in a high exposure profession.

  27. drtombibey Says:

    Will do Anthro. The only problem is believe it or not I never get any respiratory things any more. I used to get it once a year, but about five years ago it all seemed to vanish. I think it is because of being innoculated with an exposure to all these bugs on such a regular basis.

    It makes sense though, and is in the “do no harm” category, which is rule number one.

    Dr. B

  28. It is hard to demonstrate with individuals in good health. The absence of disease in people who have not recently been sick is not remarkable.

    As someone who has gone a quarter of a century without colds, pneumonia or influenza, I am a case in point. If I had not noticed several other compellingly significant increases in my nasal comfort, I would have found it more difficult to stay in the habit.

    Are you entirely free of allergic symptoms to airborne allergens like pollen, dust, animal dander and so on? If not, consider this. We are approaching the “hay fever” season. For those who suffer terribly with this problem, the relief provides real incentive to do it regularly, even multiple times a day.

    In this regard, and with viruses as well, it works much, much better if it is being done before the symptoms actually commence. In most cases, medications needed for relief are sharply reduced, if the procedure was commenced prior to the onset of symptoms.
    With viral infection, there is little or no value in doing the procedure once the infection has commenced.

    The central use of this procedure continues to be the prevention of rhino viruses and other varieties of colds, the influenzas, SARS, and other viral respiratory infections.

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