Professor Bibey Returns to Country Doctor Life

        My med student got an ‘A+’ on his rotation and went back to Sandhills.   When he left, I had to revert back to just Dr. Bibey, country doctor.  No more Professor Bibey, at least for now. 

         This kid was extra special.  Not only did he treat all my people with dignity and respect, but the young man had the good sense to treat me like I had enough wisdom to be worth his time to hang out with me.

        I explained at the onset I couldn’t teach him the finer points of rhabdomyolysis as well as his Professors, or what he could read in Harrison’s Text Of Medicine.  I hoped I could show him how to live in a small town and stay out of trouble; to to be kind to people, how to accept criticism but not tolerate abuse, and how to work and study but still enjoy life full throttle.

        I have a saying I like- “I’ll do all my crying ahead of time.”  It means I’m gonna do all I can for my patient while they are here.  I think about them all the time.  If I can’t figure out what to do, I call on one of my consultants to give me a fresh perspective.  I have built up a lot of social capital over the years, and one of them will help me out.  The funeral is not where I want to think of something else I might have done.

        I hope I taught him about redemption, too.  The only Perfect One died on the cross, and all of us are gonna fall short.  The trick is to do our best, but also accept we are only human.  It is the best we can do.  In the end we are going to lose every patient we have, and it hurts every time.  You have to find some way to carry that burden.  For me it was playing music and writing.  It beats drinking whiskey, although I can see how a Doc could turn to it easy enough.

        We had a time of it.  We saw sick people and heard out the troubles of both young and old.  We ate good and drank a bunch of coffee, picked music with the great Mike Marshall, and talked of books and plans.  He’s just getting started and I’m on the home stretch, but a man’s gotta have his dreams and we both do.  He said he was even gonna consider coming to Harvey County to practice.

        If he does I want for him to look after me when I’m in the Nursing Home or over at Harvey Hospital.  He’ll know when my time has come.  If he has ’em play Bill Monroe in my ear, and then put coffee down my NG tube; well if I don’t come around it’s over sure enough.  I don’t want him to worry; it won’t be his fault, but just a thing- my time to go.

        “But,”  I said.  “Don’t worry about that, we gotta a lot more time to keep on rocking, and not in the chair yet.”  We couldn’t say good-bye.  Instead I’ll say, “See you on the next rotation.  Keep at it pal, you’re one of the good ones.”

Dr. B

Explore posts in the same categories: med school days, Writing


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6 Comments on “Professor Bibey Returns to Country Doctor Life”

  1. julius Says:

    Dr. B, it’s great to hear that you enjoyed your student’s company. As one myself, I wish there were more attendings like yourself, teaching the more practical side of medicine, such as how to deal with abusive patients and family, and also what to look out for when treating something like chest pain, as it could be heart, lungs, stomach and a host of other factors. It’s unfortunate but true in your statement, that we eventual lose all of our patients. That sentence is hard to imagine. But, as you said, we have to keep doing our best, and put that moment off as much as time will allow. I’m glad you student enjoyed the rotation, as I’m sure you enjoyed it just as much as he.

  2. drtombibey Says:


    If you are in a a N.C. med school, we do community med rotations for two of them. Would love to have you. I will contact you by e-mail.

    Dr. B

  3. Amber Says:

    He’ll miss you Im sure…. and he’ll tell his friends about the funny old cuss who taught him about being a REAL doctor. Thats how it always goes… well you know that.

  4. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Amber,

    Yeah, I think it was a different rotation for him. At least it wasn’t boring!

    Dr. B

  5. Ches Says:

    Thanks for commenting and having motivated me. You have interesting articles here. Keep on writing!

  6. drtombibey Says:


    Keep on digging my friend. You will meet many interesting folks on wordpress.

    Dr. B

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