Professor Bibey

        Y’all aren’t gonna believe it, but I’m a med school professor.  Well, not full time, but I’m serve as one of the community medicine preceptors for Sandhills U., my old Alma Mater.  Indie used to do it, and he was the best one there ever was.

        I really like this last kid they send me.  He’s well read, and kind to people.  It didn’t hurt his ’cause any that he’d done a paper on Flatt and Scruggs in college.

        I sat him down the first day and told him what I expected.  “Son,” I said.  “Don’t tell ’em back at the med school, but this might be the easiest ‘A’ you’ll ever make.”

        “How’s that, Doc?”

        “Well, all you have to do is treat my patients with respect.  And when you leave this office, you can’t talk about  ’em.”

        “No problem.”

        “Now.  The State Board Medical Board says we shouldn’t treat friends and family.  After three decades, that’s all I’ve got.   You report me and I’ll do everything I can to see you don’t get a liscense.”

        “Yes sir.  You can count on me.”

        “All I can really teach you is how to stay out of trouble.   I’m not gonna teach you the differential diagnosis of hemolytic anemia as well as Dr. Woodley down there will.  But I can help your gestalt.  For example, if anyone here has any complaint from the waist up and they’re over forty- five, you consider it heart ’till you prove it ain’t.  It usually won’t be, but you can’t miss anything that might kill ’em before you get another try at it.”

        “A little scary.”

        “Don’t worry.  I’ll check behind you on everything.  So far, it doesn’t count for you.  I’m just gonna help you to be ready when it does.”

        “And don’ t forget Temple’s Law.  Very important.”


        “Temple’s Law number one.  ‘A woman is pregnant till proved otherwise.’  In all these years I’ve never accidentally x-rayed a pregnant woman, and we ain’t gonna start this month.”

          He wrote it down.

         “And speaking of women, don’t chase any around here or I’ll send you packing.  I ain’t got time to run interference for any stupid behavior.”

        “Yes sir.  I’ve got a girlfriend back at Sandhills.  I’m very loyal to her.”

        “Good.  I like loyalty.  I think you might get an “A.”  I’ve never had one get an “A+, though.”

        ‘What do you have to do to get an “A+?”  

        “You have to play bluegrass music.  You don’t have to be a muti-instrumentalist, although there’s nothing wrong with that.  If you are good on one, that’ll do.  And if you can sing tenor it will cut the gig, too.  They’re almost as hard to come by as a good fiddler.”

        “Yes sir, I won’t forget.  Oh, I need to run out to the car.”

        It wasn’t but a minute and he was back toting an old battered case.  “Do you know Jerusalem Ridge?”  He opened it up, pulled out a fiddle, and low and behold rendered is as fine as anyone I’ve heard since Indie went to the Nursing Home.

        “Son, do you do the Cherokee Shuffle?”

        “Sure.”  He bowed it to perfection.

        “Have I ever got somebody who’s gonna want to meet you.  After we finish up, we gotta go over to the Nursing Home.  I’ve got a buddy over there, Dr. Indie Jenkins.  Man, he is gonna dig you.”

        “Sure boss.  Wherever you go, I’ll follow.”

        I knew I liked this kid.  He might be the most well prepared student I’ve ever had.  We’re gonna get along famously.

Dr. B

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10 Comments on “Professor Bibey”

  1. Cindy Carter Says:

    Kudos to you for taking those who are in need of training under your wing. I went to a Doctor in Atlanta that did the same thing. When I went in to his office, I never knew who I would see walking around behind him like a duckling following its moma. But, everyone of them was polite and nice.

    I only scared one of them. Didn’t mean to. But, trying to get blood from me is kinda like getting it from a turnip. I have endured a lot of “sticks” and “slaps” trying to make my vessels behave. One little guy tried all he could. He gave me a rest and came back to try again. I was trying to make light of the whole ordeal because I was beginning to feel like a pin cushion. So, I asked him to stand in front of me in case I fainted. He did not think it was funny even when I said it with a smile. He left the office and never came back. One of the vetrans had to come in and mine for gold.

    Anyway….Not every patient likes to be eyed by a “student” either. I never complained ever. The more they know, the more they can grow.

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Cindy,

    Kudos to you too. We Docs learn from our patients, and of course our med students do too. They are always appreciative of the patients who help teach them.

    My students say they often learn more from the patients than the professors.

    Dr. B

  3. Pamela Villars Says:

    Great tale; needs to be part of pre-med core curriculum. Patients everywhere salute you, Dr. B.

  4. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Pamela,

    I consider that the highest of compliments. Somewhere along the way when medicine got turned into a business too many people forgot the number one rule of all- the patient is your boss and you exist to serve them.

    That reminds me of another story- I may post it in a few days.

    Dr. B

  5. rekx Says:

    Hey Dr. Tom…I am happy to see that you are still practicing/picking/writing…my wife is a doctor too you know (resident psychiatrist)…we just went to her dr. christmas party…I think I am starting to figure you docs out…but I don’t think they have me figured out just yet!

  6. drtombibey Says:

    Hey rekx,

    Yeah, I’m still at it. I’ve reached the age where I could quit, but I just can’t give it up. Who else would look after all my bluegrass buddies?

    Love your picture- I always think of bluegrass merged with the Philharmonic when I see it.

    My wife was a school counselor before she retired. Her background is in Psychology. I guess it takes a woman with an advanced degree in human behavior to figure out what do do with a bluegrasser.

    Dr. B

  7. Karen Says:

    Hey Dr B
    So glad to hear you’re actively mentoring. When I was at University I had to do prac teaching blocks at various schools. I was always so thankful for those teachers who were willing to take me on and share their wealth of experience. Like doctoring, teaching should be all about the relationships with the kids. Sadly, it’s often not. I used to say that I wasn’t the best math teacher, or English teacher. But I could guarantee parents that I would get to know their kids and what made them ticked. It was my hope and prayer that along with the ‘head’ knowledge that the kids would have when they left my class at the end of the year, they would also have a strong sense of self and know that someone valued them for who they were – not what they did.

    Funnily enough I’ve just reconnected with a couple of kids I taught back in 2000. They were in their final year of primary (elementary) school when I taught them. They’re now in their twenties. I was tickled to hear what they were doing. One of the boys, Damian, was a special project of mine. I know teachers aren’t supposed to have favourites, but the reality is that you connect with some kids on a different level to others – doesn’t mean you treat them any differently, but you do feel differetly about them. He was a rough and tumble kid from a totally dysfunctional home. He had a temper that was as unpredictable as the firecrackers on the 4th of July. I invested so much time and energy into that kid. He had bucketloads of potential. I was delighted to find out just yesterday that he’s a fully qualified boat builder and has a 4 month old daughter.

    By taking on students you are ‘paying it forward’. Some patient, somewhere down the track will benefit from what they learn from you.

  8. drtombibey Says:

    Ms Karen,

    I enjoy having a student, especially one like this who is genuinely eager to learn and likes people.

    Dr. B

  9. pandemonic Says:

    He’s learning from the best. Perhaps he can take over your practice someday when you retire?

  10. drtombibey Says:

    Ms Pande,

    You are downright telepathic. We have had some of those discussions. Country Docs are hard to come by, and I told him he might need to look after me in the Nursing Home some day.

    Dr. B

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