The Check is in the Mail

        After the initial shock of being served with the papers, Indie got his back up on the Sissy case.  Indie was smarter than what people knew, and he ran a med-line search and built a good case that the six month delay was immaterial to Sissy’s outcome. 

        I thought he had the science right, but there were other factors to consider.  For one, Sissy suffered mild mental retardation from birth.  At deposition, the Taylor team established the point she was unable to care for herself, and that as captain of the ship, Indie had an extra responsibility to protect her best interest.  The breach of privacy didn’t help his cause any, either.

        Still, when old lady Hamlett got up there and went on and on about how much she cared about Sissy, I thought Indie was gonna jump up and object.  Everyone in town knew she was far more interested in her bridge club than Sissy, but Indie’s attorneys knew better than to beat up some old woman and her little sister with MR and breast cancer.

        I was Indie’s friend.  Even though I thought he had done wrong when he lost the report, I wanted to see him dodge this one.  In spite of that, I felt very sorry for Sissy.  After surgery, though no fault of Indie’s, Sissy had a stroke and wound up in the nursing home.  I’d known her for years, and you couldn’t help but like the kid and have empathy for her plight.  I was on Indie’s team, though a peripheral role.  If I felt that way, I didn’t want to know how a jury might see it.  The thought of her on the stand as she struggled to speak was more than the insurance carrier could stand, and they decided to settle.

        In those days, Physician’s Liability could decide to settle without the consent of the Doctor.  I guess they figured the cost of a defense of Indie was steep, and the odds of a runway jury award were risky.  I don’t think I’d ever seen Indie as mad as as when the carrier sent word of the news.

        One Thursday I was just ready to go out the door to church band practice when Indie called.  “Bibey, you ain’t gonna believe it, but the d@^# check is in the mail.”

        “What you talking Indie?”

        “The check is in the mail.  They settled up with Sissy, and didn’t even tell me.  You know what is bad?  Old lady Hamlett’s gonna get all the money.  Sissy is still stuck in the nursing home, and Medicaid is paying her bills anyway. ”

        “I’m sorry Indie.  I really am.  How much did they hit you for?”

        “I don’t know man.”  I knew he knew, but figured he was embarrassed to tell.  I didn’t press it.  One thing was certain.  The stakes for Indie were now to the next level.  First the heart attack case, and now this.  He about had to avoid another one.  P.L. was a loyal crowd of folks, but after three strikes, you were usually outta luck.

        “Tell you what Indie, let me help you with your filing system.  Maybe you can improve on your odds.  They dig risk management at P.L.  It’ll show good faith.  Can’t hurt, might help.”

         “Yeah, O.K., thanks Bibey.”  I was pretty sure he paid no attention.  “The worst of it all Tommy, is they won’t let me look after Sissy anymore, and I’m the only one who ever would.  Can I turn her over to you?”

          “Sure Indie, you know I’d be honored.  I’ll take care of her.”

         “Well, it’s only temporary, this’ll all blow over someday.”

         “Indie, man, you can’t go back and be Sissy’s Doc now.  Physician’s Liability won’t allow that brother.”  Poor Indie.  He was too good for his own good.

        “Ah hell, they’ll forget after a while.”

        Somehow I doubted that.  “I don’t know Indie, I think they keep records.”  P.L. was well known for a long memory.  I was certain they’d never forget Indie.  If nothing else, he was unique.

        Bless Indie’s heart, he promised me he wouldn’t go back to doctor Sissy, but I know for a fact he’d sneak over to the nursing home on Sunday afternoons and take her some of her favorite candy.  Some folks said he did it to make the dietitian mad and others thought it was to get under old lady Hamlett’s skin, but I knew better.  He couldn’t help it.  He was just being Indie, and didn’t know how to be anything else.

        I’ll be back over to the nursing home in a few days to ask Indie how much more of his saga he’s gonna let me tell.  I know for sure he wants me to let you know some about his friend Blinky Wallendorf, so I’m tell you about him in my next post.

        I’ll talk to Indie about it, but as far as what happened to Blinky I suspect he’s gonna say he don’t want it all told just yet.  If so, I will respect Indie’s wishes.  At the same time, he has already told me his final wish will be for me to tell the whole story, so after he is gone I’m gonna do just that.

Dr. B


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4 Comments on “The Check is in the Mail”

  1. Ted Lehmann Says:

    Are you gonna kill ol’ Indie off just as we’re beginning to care about him? Come on! Good piece. – Ted

  2. drtombibey Says:


    I’m afraid Indie’s time on earth is limited, but then I guess that is true for all of us. I hope he will see another year, but I don’t see how he can get through another winter- his lungs are too bad. It is killing me to see him go down- he is flawed but you can’t help but love him.

    If he doesn’t turn around by mid summer, I’ll probably get him into Hospice-they have a great program.

    Indie had so many run-ins with lawyers he does not want me to tell all yet, but at the same time he is adamant after he is gone that I tell his story.

    I try to honor folks final wishes. One time a lady wanted me and Tommy Jr. to play Amazing Grace as a mandolin duet at her funeral, and we sure did- he was only twelve, and it was his first public performance. I asked him if he was scared, and he said, “Dad if that lady wants us to play at her funeral, I think we’d better do it.” He always was a good kid.

    I am a bit scared to try to write up Indie’s story, but it is sure enough gonna be his final request. Like Tommy Jr., I think I’d better do it.

    Dr. B

  3. pandemonic Says:

    Good luck on your trip to the home. I don’t know how he can remember all this stuff. Does your memory come back when you get older? Because half the time, I can’t remember what happened yesterday, much less twenty years ago.

  4. drtombibey Says:


    At this point Indie is a bit demented. His short term memory is bad, but as is often the case, his recall for long ago is superb on good days.

    My secret is that along the way I took notes. Before computer days it was shoe boxes full of chicken scratchins’. They weren’t perfect, but enough to jog my memory.

    After that I started saving on my laptop.

    Ever since med school everyone told me my perspective was unique and I should write a book, but I wanted to wait until I had enough seasoning to make it right. I believe now is the time. I think I have three in me over a decade. (I am healthy and hope to live long enough to get ’em all done the way I want to.)

    Dr. B

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