Now before y’all get too worked up over my muses and go call the Insurance Commissioner, let me tell you what you read here is only one doc’s opinion.  (Might not be bad to consider my thoughts if you have insurance company troubles, though.) 

        One opinion isn’t worth much, but I will tell you I have tended to my flock of patients without much trouble over the years, and I’ve been able to do O.K. on my Boards too.  I wish I could tell you I was brilliant, but I believe writers ought to tell the truth in fiction, and it just ain’t so.  

        The brilliant ones are rare.  They can cite the specific passage in the New England Journal applicable to a given physiological process, and they do so with PC precision.  A guy like me remembers which patient he saw, and that he read it somewhere.  I guess God put us all here for His specific reason, though. 

        When one of my patients says something like, “My knee be swolle,”  I know what they mean ’cause one summer I worked down at the factory where they gut out a living.  It was the year before I sweated out an “A” in fall semester Organic Chemistry.  That gig gave me a profound respect for the folks who worked there, and also the incentive to study like a wild man.

       When a patient tells a doc their knee be swolle, many a brilliant doc has replied, “Pardon?” and gone back to the Medical Center.  If a country doc can yuck it up with a patient who says the word swolle, and talk to the med center guy about persistent patellar crepitus, I reckon he/she is doing their job.  (I hope so, it is the only job description my resume ever seemed to fit.)  By the way, one time someone asked me to send them a curriculum vitae- what the heck is that?!-  I’ve never applied for a job except those summer factory gigs where they said sign here and handed you a shovel. 

        Maybe it is a bit of cognitive dissonance here, but I kinda like Sir William Osler’s take on all this.  He said, and I paraphrase, but this is close, “Seeing patients without reading books is like going to sea without  compass, but reading books without seeing patients is like not going to sea at all.”  Dr. Bob Leckridge from Scotland is professor and a scholar, not a country doc, but my bet is he’d agree with Doc Osler 100% on that.  (I’m gonna tell you though, Dr. Leckridge is a genuine Board Certified Med School Professor Country Doc- my highest compliment.  That is a rare breed indeed.)

        Anyway, a big part of my attempt to write comes from the desire to make a statement about who I was so when my time here is over my great-grandchildren can know me.  What I didn’t figure on was the opportunity to get to know so many other wonderful folks, and learn from them.  It has already been a fine ride- I appreciate you going with me.  Right quick you learn how much your readers mean to you.  Just as patients are to a Doc, without ’em it is time to go to the house.  Like the proverbial tree falling in the forest, for a mandolin player if there ain’t no people to hear it, there ain’t no music. 

        I am at the stage of life where a man tends to reflect back on what he has done.  You wake up one day and realize you ain’t ever gonna win the Nobel Prize and whatever you are is about what is was.   It is a bit sobering.  Some guys go crazy and leave their wives and try to become a race car driver or movie star or something.   None of that routine is for me. 

        I’ve had a few patients think I’m gonna hit the road with my mandolin, but they don’t understand.  I play the mandolin so I can keep on doctoring, not to leave it.  Besides, I know of at least five players in Eastern N.C. not quite good enough for the circuit who can blow me away.  We all gotta know who we are, and I got that much done in life.  I got that figured a long time ago.

        So, for me, I think I’ll stay a county doc.  I’ll take credit for being a solid doc who cares about his people, and who loves to read, but I can’t quite claim to be an intellectual.  Besides, if I was, my boys might make me give up my music, and I can’t have that.   

        My agent warned me against too many jokes, and I agree with him.  It can demonstrate a lack of originality- a death sentence for an unknown writer.  This one was too good to pass up, though, and I found it apropos to the post on how to deal with the pesky insurance companies, so I hope you’ll forgive me.  I won’t make it a habit.

        Didja hear the one about the three docs who died and went to heaven?

          Well, they got to the Pearly Gates, and St. Peter administered the rites.

        He asked the first doc, “What Sir, is your name, and how did you serve?”

       “My name is Dr. Bibey, St. Peter.  I was a country doctor.  I loved my patients, and I tried to treat ’em like family.  I warn’t perfect, but I tried my best to do right.  I never took anyone to collections, and took care of everyone and let the chips fall where they may.”

        “Well done, good and faithful servant.  Enter the gates to glory, my son, and you may stay for eternity with your heavenly Father.”

        “And you sir?” St. Peter asked the second Doctor. 

        “My name is Dr. Smith, Sir.  I was a surgeon, and I stayed up many a night away from my family to take care of the sick.  I was weary my whole life, but I did my best.”

        “Well done, my son.  Come in my good and faithful servant, you may now rest in peace for eternity.”

         “And you sir?”  

        “My name is Doctor Richman, Sir.  I was a cost overseer for Divided Health Care.  I saved the company millions of dollars, and the stockholders voted me employee of the year four times.”

        St. Peter appeared confused, and leafed through reams of paper before coming upon the name.  “Ah yes, Dr. Richman, here is your number.  47TY -88975-H 44.  You are pre-approved for three weeks and then you can go to h***!” 

        Note from Dr. B- I tried my best to let St. Peter cuss for effect, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  He would have been saying that in cyberspace for eternity, and I didn’t want to have to explain it to him someday.

        See ya’ Wednesday for my regular post.  If I run into something that strikes me before that I might jot down a mini-post or two. 

        It’s freezing here, but all my friends from up north talk about that eight degree business.  My feet are cold here in the South- I have no idea how you guys survive that.  Hope springs eternal, though.  I’m gonna order me some new grips for my golf clubs, ’cause spring thaw is just around the corner.

Dr. B


Explore posts in the same categories: Advice- Five Cents, Philosophy

6 Comments on “Disclaimer/Philosophy/Jokes”

  1. mrschili Says:

    Something that I figured out a long time ago (but still have to be mindful of all the time) is that the Universe (God/dess, the Divine; whatever you want to call it) really DOES have balance. There are intellectuals and not, there are shovel-wielders and there are scalpel-wielders, there are talkers and writers and thinkers and doers and everyone is exactly where they’re supposed to be NOW. That’s not to say that they may move – we all get to choose, every minute, who we are and where we want to be – but the ability to recognize and embrace our now – and the smarts to recognize a good fit when we’ve found it – really is enlightenment.

    I’ve learned to stop apologizing that I’m not a Ph.D. (yet) or that I don’t have a high-powered career or that I’ve not published anything “real.” I found the right fit in my husband, and I’m running with that because that’s what makes me who I am. All that other stuff will fall into place when I’m good and ready.

    Thanks for the heads up about Doc Osler. He’s on my feed reader and I’m REALLY looking forward to perusing his archives.

  2. drtombibey Says:

    As always, y’all, mrschili is right on target.

    A funny story here mrschili. My wife is a retired school counselor. She had a teacher convention, and her band was playing. (the one where Moose and I ran the sound for Guitar-ed and Feathered- see an old post.)

    We were going to give some elderly teachers a ride, and low and behold, one was my old English teacher. Man did I dread it- my talk about being a goof-off kid in high school is not exaggerated.

    When she got in the car, my wife said, “Mrs. Smith, this is my husband, Tommy Bibey.”

    The teacher said, “Tommy who?”

    I do hate she has dementia these days, but I was thankful she did not remember me- it would have been a long night for my wife if she had, and I sure was fearful of what she might recall.

    For thse of y’all who don’t know, mrschili is a plenty smart English teacher- already an honorary doctorate in my book- who can even teach stubborn old doctors about grammar- something my high school teachers had difficulty with. (In fairness to them, I reckon the student has to be ready for the teacher to teach, though.)

    Dr. B

  3. pandemonic Says:

    Only freezing there? That would be considered a heat wave here.

    I’ve only been recently reading your blog, and I like the style of your storytelling. Your skill for allowing the reader to become immersed in your stories is excellent. In fact, I can truly say that if I had a chance, I’d move to eastern NC, just so you could be my doctor. Well, and maybe jam. They say the violin and mandolin are similar.

    Wait a minute… You have an agent? You are good!

  4. drtombibey Says:

    Lord have mercy, it ain’t a heat wave to me. How do y’all stand it?

    You are right, the mandolin and the violin are very similar- they are both tuned in 5ths. (in bluegrass music theory that is a quantity of corn liquor.) The devil is in that bow for me.

    And the only difference in a violin and a fiddle is one has strings and the other has strangs.

    If you hang out at bluegrass festivals you’ll run into me or one about like me along the way. A good reference for the bluegrass trail is Ted Lehmann (the English Professor). He is on my blogroll.

    Oh, and before I get too big headed about my agent, he really is an assistant manager at the Piggly Wiggly, but he does stay at the Holiday Inn Express. A man has gotta have his dreams, and he has high hopes for both of us.

    Dr. B

  5. sshay Says:

    Dr. T–
    When they were little, my kids’ doc told me once that he’d spent his summers during college working for a logging and perforating company–which just happened to be what my pharmacist husband was doing at the time. (DH is a multi-talented guy.)

    A few years later, one of the kids had to have a tympanogram (sp?), which spit out of a machine on a two inch wide piece of paper, and looked just like the logs my husband brought home from time to time.

    As the doc ripped the strip off the machine, I looked at him and said, “Think we’re going to make a well?”
    He almost fell off his little stool in shock. He’d forgotten about telling me what he did to get through school.

    I guess all doctors aren’t little rich guys who sail through without having to get an extra job or two, are they?


  6. drtombibey Says:

    Hey Ms. Susan. Great story there- the kind of encounter that makes docs not forget their patients. Also, I think you spelled tympanogram right- I better look it up to be sure.

    You are right about Docs. My dad was a country doc, and I guess we were upper middle class by the standards of the day, but he made sure we didn’t get above our raising.

    My grandfather was a farmer, and grew a lot of cotton. One time Dad sent us all out there to pick cotton. I worked all day, made 50 cents and got a nosebleed. (Grandpa paid O.K. I just took too many breaks.) It was one of my early notions I might want to be a doctor. (and pick music instead of cotton.)

    You might enjoy my story on my wife’s birthday. I was just getting ready to post it- it should be up shortly.

    And when you mentioned the doctor’s rolling stool, that jogged my memory. I just thought of another story I gotta tell everyone- it might be mid week, though.

    Dr. B

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