The New Modern Multi-Specialty Complex (Home is Where the Heart is)

        The new office is a modern, efficient, multi-specialty clinic.  It offers all the newest services.  There is no question it is better for patients.  When I am worried someone has a clot in their leg I’ll be able to send them downstairs for an ultrasound, get an answer from a Board Certified radiologist in real time, and have it all done on a co-pay rather than have to farm them out all over town.  This is a good thing.  

        Perhaps the best benefit of the impact on the competition.  They used to grumble at times about being ‘inconvenienced.’ Now they fall all over themselves to help my patient when we call to arrange some of the tests we don’t do in house.  I don’t understand how people can forget it, but the patient rules.  Without them we have no reason to be.  I am glad the competiton is there to spur us on, too.  Whatever health care system emerges, the patients should be empowered by choice and freedom.  If a doc or an institution gets lazy and does not live to serve they need to get canned as a reminder of why we are there.  It ain’t so we can belong to the Country Club.

        Even though the office is new, I guess there is room for one gray haired old-fashioned doc.  I hope so.  I set up my personal study to be an exact replica of my old one.  I have the same desk and bookshelves.  I do have a new desk chair per request of the boss, but I kept the blue ‘C.F. Martin & Co. est. 1833’ director’s chair that came from Johnny’s Jewelry and Pawn.  

        My door looks more like the entrance to a bluegrass night club than a doc’s study.  Someone already grumbled it looked unprofessional.  I like that.  So do 98.93 % of my patients.  Many of them are bluegrass.  Bill Monroe still stands guard at the door.  Memorabilia from years of Neuse River shows covers the door alongside Bill’s larger than life picture.  My family still watches over me right by my desk.  The same signed photos of artists of everyone from Scruggs to Hartford to the obscure are scattered around.  There is a poster of a young Darin Aldridge, and one of Butch Baldassari from one of his Nashville mandolin seminars.  My office ‘Little Martin’ guitar sit behind my desk in case the power goes off and I need to gather the flock.  My Kentucky mandolin is out on loan, but it’ll be back next month.  I have all my old books, though much of the text has been rendered obsolete by on-line data bases.

        All my old staff is there.  Lynn and Myrd are closing in on a quarter century.  We merged with another fine group of fine folks.  They seem great, but just in case I built in the same old safe-guards I had before.  If anyone on the office staff is ever rude to my people, there is a secret code word that’ll straighten it out, and my folks know how to find me.  

        It will be rare this will be needed though.  For some reason no one ever seems inclined to make my people mad.  Along the way we had a few who did, but they don’t work there anymore.  My people are all I got and I intend on sticking by them to the end.

        I’m gonna stick by my office people too.  One time a patient took to cussing one of them.  I told him these ladies work harder for him than I do.  If he was gonna cuss someone he’d either have to chew on me or go somewhere else to the doctor.  He apologized.  I still see him. 

        I know people aren’t at their best when they are sick and I try to make allowance for that.  But I am getting older.  I used to allow three cussings per patient before I’d get too bothered by it, but I put the word out I am too old for all that now.  With the new place I cut my limit to one.  So far, everyone seems to go along. 

        We are near the tracks.  When the train comes through it isn’t loud enough to disrupt patient care, but when the whistle blows it does remind me all of life is not sickness and other adventures await.  Maybe Corporate shouldn’t have chosen that location, because that lonesome pull of the train whistle reinforces my independent streak every time she passes through.  Bluegrass folks love trains.

        Bill Monroe is on my door for a reason.  When you come into my office, you have to go right by him.  Monroe was a proud man, and stubborn to a fault.  I keep him there to remind me I need to work on flaw in myself.  At the same time Monroe was devoted to excellence, and took no grief from anyone less committed to their craft.  I like that part of Monroe.  

        Even though we are new and modern I don’t want anyone to forget I am doc, not a businessman.  I figure every modern multi-specialty complex needs an old curmudgeon and I am ours.  Someone has to remind us where we came from and not to get above our raising.  It has to be me.  I am the only one who is old and gray enough to get away with it.

       So far the new office is a good gig.  As Grisman says, home is where the heart is.  As long as I have a stethoscope and a few folks to try to help out, I’m okay.

Dr. B

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8 Comments on “The New Modern Multi-Specialty Complex (Home is Where the Heart is)”

  1. Carmen Says:

    It’s all good…but your words about Bill…I like that. I’m a huge admirer of the man and his gift.

    • drtombibey Says:


      Monroe was dedicated to his art and lived with purpose. That is all any of us can do. Bluegrass may have emerged without him, but it would not have been the same.

      Dr. B

  2. Billy Says:

    I took a free seminar given by a local writers group. The lady told us to use “sticky” words to paint pictures in the readers mind. I suddenly realized when reading this you paint visions in my mind with “sticky” words.

  3. newt221 Says:

    Home is also where your “people” are and your brought your people with you to the new house. So, you are one step ahead.

    But, it also takes a heap of living in some place to make it a home too.

    Having familiar stuff around doesn’t hurt either.

    • drtombibey Says:

      Ms. Cindy,

      Without my regular people it would have been a difficult transition. I might not have been aboe to get there without ’em. At the very least it would have been a painful journey.

      Dr. B

  4. Dr B
    Most people accept that you’re human and you have life beyond that of a doc, and will appreciate a touch of “home” in your office. Occasionally you’ll find a malcontent who will complain no matter what. Your office shows a level of character patients need. My doc has showed me slides of his family trips, talked to his wife on the phone with me there and I don’t mind any of it. I feel a lot easier around him knowing he loves, listens to music, dances, takes trips across the continent and talks to his wife like she’s his best mate.

    • drtombibey Says:

      Ms. Sharon,

      I had to have music and writing to relieve the pressure. My patients were kind to let me play and it extended my doctor life for them.

      Dr. B

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