A ‘Yattch’ (a Yacht) A Pretty Girl, and a Million Dollars.” (Hold on to Hope)

        I got sidelined today with a stomach bug that’s been going around. Don’t worry; it’s already on the mend. I did manage to get in a half day at work, catch up on the paper work, and see a few folks sicker than me. Then it was on to the house.

        I don’t like being sick any more than the next guy, but I guess if a man never was sick he wouldn’t know what is means to be well. For a doc it is a good time to reflect on the plight of your patients.  Some of them are sick with terminal illness, and they feel bad every day.  Most of them handle it with a quiet dignity you can’t help but admire.

        I recall one old fellow who spent many of his last days in the hospital.  (This was before Hospice).  When I made rounds, I’d usually close with the question, “Is there anything else you need?”

        This man was frail, and all alone; his wife long since deceased.  He’d struggle to pull himself up in the bed and sit up a bit. “Yeah Doc, if you would, I’d like a ‘yattch,’ (a yacht) a pretty girl, and a million dollars.”        

        I’d reply, “I’m afraid I ain’t got that.”

         He’d look up, smile, and say, “Okay. You come back tomorrow anyway,” then curl up under the sheets.

        I’d straighten up his covers and say, “Well, I tell you brother, as soon as come across all that, I’m gonna let you know.”

        Really all I had to offer the man was morphine and kind words, but you just can’t take dreams away from anyone. Every day till he died I think he held out hope tomorrow would be a better day. I admire that simple grace.

        I’ve got the pretty girl, but the yattch and the million bucks are a ways off. Maybe tomorrow, who knows?

Dr. B

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6 Comments on “A ‘Yattch’ (a Yacht) A Pretty Girl, and a Million Dollars.” (Hold on to Hope)”

  1. newt221 Says:

    I know that you have two pretty girls…your wife and your daughter. You are kind and gentle. People recognize that and appreciate that you take the time to notice them. (especially when they are alone and possibly lonely)

    Glad you are on the mend. Get some rest.

    • drtombibey Says:


      Yep, I’d rather have my two pretty girls than the yattch or the million bucks any day.

      You know, I think that old fellow was lonely as all get out, but I believe I made his last days at least a little better.

      I should be all healed up by Monday and ready to go again.

      Dr. B

  2. That’s heartbreaking… I’ve seen with my own eyes the way someone terminally ill can hold onto hope, but at the same time, there’s a sort of quiet, calm expectation of the end. It does indeed lend these people a grace that’s hard to find anywhere else.

    Still, I’d rather a world with less of that kind of grace and less terminally ill people… Moving post, as always, Dr. B.

    • drtombibey Says:


      He was an inspiration to me. Somehow through it all he kept smiling. It was like he knew neither one of us was ever gonna live that lifestyle, but we could pretend for a moment to dull the pain. I think he enjoyed pulling my leg every day, and I never let on for a minute that I knew he wasn’t serious.

      When he died I think one of his last thoughts was “I wonder if Doc will remember me and this ‘yattch’ routine?”

      It was a long time ago, and I didn’t forget him.

      Dr. B

  3. junebugger Says:

    People tell me that due to all the heartbreaking deaths a doctor must witness, they become somewhat detached to their patient–is that true, though? It doesn’t seem to be the case with you! It must be difficult…becoming attached to a patient, then having to watch their health deteriorate. So I’m guessing ‘some’ measure of emotional detachment is necessary…?

    • drtombibey Says:


      You make an excellent point. If you took each death as hard as if it were a family member you couldn’t go on, yet each one is still personal.

      In some ways it gets harder over time, because after a while they are all your friends. Maybe it is just a small town thing, but I still cry when I go home, and go to funerals although I can’t get to all of them.

      I guess it’s from a good family and my music, but the Lord puts me back togehter pretty quick, and I don’t miss work over it. Still, I don’t forget them either.

      It is a strange resillency I don’t understand but for some reason God made me where I could cope but still care. When I get to Heaven I’m gonna ask why He chose me to do this gig, but I do my job on Earth ’cause that is what I was asked to do. It ain’t always easy, but it is what I do.

      Dr. B

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