Archive for the ‘Acquisition Syndrome’ category

news on “Acquisition Syndrome”

May 2, 2012

I spoke to my agent yesterday. The feedback from test readers is excellent and the publisher is satisfied to go press very soon. I hope to find as many new friends as I did with “The Mandolin Case. I hope to post many more specifics, dates, links, etc very soon so stay tuned.”Dr. B


Project Updates

March 4, 2012

        My progress, as in every other aspect of my life, is slow but moving in the right direction. My health slows me down but it has not stopped me.

        “Grandpa’s Mandolin Book,” a Coloring Book For All Ages.” I just sent in one last fret-board diagram, and have completed my part for this one. It’ll take a few months after that, but I promised spring and I’m gonna make it. Everyone has been patient. Under normal circumstances I’d been finished with my part back in the fall. It might be my favorite project of all, but my health problems slowed me down. This book was inspired by and is dedicated to our grandchild. When my son and his wife announced the pregnancy, I was so excited I had trouble sleeping, and dreamed up the book as a way to start the child out on the mandolin.

        “Acquisition Syndrome,”From Healing Art to Business.” I turned in my last edit to my Lit agent, who sent it in to the publisher. They like it and believe it will go to press about the same time line as the children’s book. Be forwarned. If you don’t want to know of the greed and exploitation that sometimes invades what should be a healing art, don’t read this one. On the other hand, there is hope. In his journey, Bones Robertson found that most people are good. 80% will do the right thing because that is their nature. The other 20% will do the right thing when they begin to realize that it is their best interest to do so. You can improve the odds they will do right once you understand what motivates them. Of course there are some folks you just can’t deal with, and just have to hope to avoid. There are some of those in the story too.

        “The Kid and Dr. B.”  This is a mandolin duet CD (Along with storytelling and some generic medical advice) with Darin Aldridge. Also Wayne Benson put a cut on the record with his fine student, Jacob Moore. “Cuz” Alan Bibey also plans to send in a cut. I can promise you this: All of these guys are good. If you hear a clanger note, it’s old Doc, and not them, but we’re having fun. I was very pleased they wanted to contribute a cut as I wanted to honor the teacher student relationship. My teachers along the way have been Darin, Wayne, “Cuz” Alan Bibey at Roanoke and other workshops, and also “America’s teacher,” Butch Baldassari, who we’ll always miss. I went to two of his seminars in Nashville back in the 90s.

        “Practical Theory for Mandolin” by Wayne Benson and Dr. B. This one is due out in 2013. I am but the scribe on this project. I have taken lessons from Wayne since 2007, and this is a written documentation of Wayne’s lesson plans. We just started the project and it will take a year or so to complete. I believe it will allow the less intuitive player (like me) to play the mandolin at a higher level than they would have been able to without his roadmap.

       So, in spite of illness, I’m trying to stay busy. I’m only good for about two hours a day of productive activity, but I can’t just roll over and give up. I’d surely die if I did.

Dr. B

Doctors Gone Broke

January 9, 2012

        The headlines were splashed all over the Internet this weekend. Doctors, esp in Family Practice and General Surgery, are going broke. What amazes me is that anyone is surprised. This trend began decades ago and the end result was predicted by most of us in the trenches. No one paid us any heed. In the end the perpetuation of big biz mis-truths only served to enrich insurance executives and empower elected officials. It was a mistake. Try to get help from them if you have a belly-ache.

        I am old enough to remember when “managed care” came to town. At that time some touted a no co-pay plan. I was one of the very last docs  to sign on. “But we can see you for free,’  some patients said.

        “Don’t you understand what they are doing?” I asked. They are like Potter in ‘A Wonderful Life.’ They aren’t selling you anything; they are buying. They are buying you all up in mass. Once they have you they can do anything with you they wish. You’re not going to like having to beg them for your medical care in a decade.”

        I also predicted co-pays would soon exceed our office visit charge at the time. My nurses would witness to this fact. It didn’t take long. Soon co-pays exceeded our old office visit charge from just a few years prior. Where did the money go? As the headlines indicate it wasn’t to country docs. Insurance companies run ads on television that cost more than our entire annual office budget back in the early days. Many of their executives make more in a year than what a country doc could make for decades of sweat equity.

       The trend took hold though, and once I could plot out my demise on a graph I signed on too. It was that or run aground at the hands of rich and powerful people.

       I recall when I started practice. People said I would do well  because I was well-trained, did well on Boards, liked people, and I cared. A good friend of mine who had an MBA said, “In a decade that will not be enough. If you don’t have the right business connections you will not stay afloat.” He was right and I am glad I listened. I did my best to survive in a world that came to be dominated by money and power instead of patient’s needs.

        If you were stranded on a desert island and could have two kinds of  doctors, you should probably choose Family Practice and General Surgery. It wouldn’t be pretty, but they could handle about 80% of what comes in the door. Think about it. What other two would you want? How about Radiology and Dermatology?  You get my point.  I have nothing against any specialist. I can see thanks to modern ophthalmology and I am alive due to the efforts of my oncologist and his staff.

        Primary care and general surgery are not sexy or glamorous specialties in a silly celebrity oriented modern world and have been ignored to the brink of extinction. And the kids going into medicine understand. They face a lifetime of excessive regulation which strangles any hope for efficiency. They will be underpaid and  overworked for the foreseeable future. They are not dumb. When some mid level executive who is ABCDA can make three times a seasoned doctor’s salary it is discouraging.

        Oh well, the money/power people didn’t pay me any attention when I was young and healthy. Now that I’m old and sick I’m certain that won’t change. I have been at work on “Acquisition Syndrome” for a few years now, and it addresses many of these issues in real life practice. It is fiction, but as I’ve always said fiction should show the truth but tell no facts. It should be out this spring.

        I’ll be back soon to report on bluegrass. Maybe it’ll take over the world and make it a better place. Oh well. A man has to have his dreams.

Dr. B

Here’s a link to the article:… – Cached

Blessed be The Readers

December 18, 2011

        Here we are near the end of the year. Bless all of you readers and artists out there. I developed a very bad illness (brain tumor; it’s hard to type that) late last spring and you have helped me so much. Prior to the tumor my day revolved around my patients. It was  a constant human interaction and while it was stressful, I enjoyed it. I miss them. All of you, my electronic human connections, have bridged the gap and allowed me to feel useful while I am confined to bed or chair much more than I have ever been used to.

        Also I must add I would have never made it through the year without my wife who now has a 210 pound baby on her hands. She is the best. My children have been most helpful too. Even though they have busy lives, they call often and visit as much as they can, which is pretty regular. God bless them too.

        I continue to peck away on my projects. This year I have all plans to release the children’s mandolin coloring book, my second novel, “Acquisition Syndrome,” and a mandolin duet CD with Darin Aldridge (  Also Wayne Benson and I will start “Practical Theory for Mandolin,” which may take a year or more to complete. It is based on Wayne’s lesson plans. I believe his method via this book (or personal lessons with him) will help the less gifted musician (like me!) play at a higher level. Check out “My Art Projects” page on the right hand side bar of my blog for more details on these projects.

        Again, if you are an Amazon Prime member “The Mandolin Case,” and also “The Bluegrass Brain Cancer Boogie” are available as a free download as part of Amazon’s promotion of their program. Check in with Amazon and see my post of 12 14 2011 for details.

       I hope all you have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year. As a writer, and a man who thrives on social interaction, I thank you. If you are a writer, musician, blogger, FaceBooker, (At first I though it was called “My Face”) a commenter, reader; really any human being who cares about a life of grace and dignity, I thank you. I am confident I would not have fared as well without you.

        I’ll be back soon.

Dr. B


November 28, 2011

        This post is to update folks on my art projects. As my last post indicated, my brain cancer diary in now on Amazon. We also hope to publish it in a booklet form soon. You can look it up in Amazon under Kindle Store and “Brain Cancer Boogie.”

“Grandpa’s Mandolin Book,” a coloring book for children of all ages, is now at the prototype stage. It still has some flaws and will go through at least one more revision before it goes to press. A half-dozen prototypes are in the hands of musicians, both professional and amateur, for advice. I hope it will be available after the first of the year, no later than late winter. More details are in my blog archives.

I am almost finished with my final edit of “Acquisition Syndrome.” After that it goes back to my editor Dorrie for her final touches and then on to my agent and the publisher. We are still on track for a spring release. I always liked old Bones Robertson. In this story he shows more than ever how to be decent person but not be trampled on. The lessons were so powerful I felt compelled to pass them on before I’m out of here. (There is no evidence my time is near, so don’t worry yet) In addition there is plenty of bluegrass subplot here, this time with more banjo in the mix. (Can’t have bluegrass without banjo huh? (( except for the “Manzanita” LP perhaps) 

“The Kid and Dr. B” A mandolin duet CD with Darin Aldridge that also features story-telling and a bit of doctor advice. I anticipate early spring on this one.

In January 2012 I plan to start a mandolin instruction book with Wayne Benson called “Practical Theory for Mandolin.” It is based on Wayne’s lesson plans. ((I have taken from him once a month since late 2007)  I plan to devote most of 2012 to this project. This book is designed for the amateur mandolinist who wants to get involved in jam sessions, be in regional bands and play for small festivals, church socials, fundraisers, and private parties. A working subtitle might be “How to play Mandolin if you thought you could only play the Radio.” So if you want to sound like Wayne, my pal Darin Aldridge, “Cuz” Alan Bibey, tone master Adam Steffy, rocking Sam Bush, Darren Nicolson of Balsam Range, red-hot melody man Emory Lester, Mike Marshall or Chris Thile….well, this book alone will not do it; be prepared to start young and spend six hours a day.

        Instead this book is designed for folks who do something else for a living but still want to play the best they can. I am of the opinion that if you start the mandolin as an adult, have a job, kids, bills, etc that it is unrealistic to for most of us (me included) to expect to play at a top shelf professional level, but my hope is this book will allow you to approximate that level of play after you learn some fundamental improvisational skills out of Wayne’s play book. He is going to proof every stage of this project because it is based on his knowledge and lesson plans. 

        After 2012? Who knows? I might be a little less productive on the blog for the rest of this year. My wife loves Christmas, (I call her “The Christmas Queen”)  the kids and grandchild will be in, and I love the holidays with all of them. I will be in touch though so don’t give up on me.

Dr. B

Minnie the Myna Bird

November 20, 2011


        If you read “The Mandolin Case” you know of Minnie the Myna bird at Lou Bedford’s Billiard and Bowl. Since those days she has learned a  new trick.

        In the past she served as a doorbell of sorts and would let out a loud call if anyone had arrived at the B ‘n B front door. Over the decade or so after “The Mandolin Case” Lou taught her some different whistles.

       When Bones came to visit she mimicked a loud perfect imitation of an ambulance siren. For Snookers Molesby it was always a wolf whistle. And when Riley Harper showed up one day the bird instinctively chose the generic “bad guy” call Lou taught her; Darth Vader’s “Imperial March.”

        I know it seems like trivia, but when “Acquisition Syndrome” is released this spring you will have a leg up on the new reader.

        I’ll be on the blog this week, but the kids will be in for the holiday, so it’ll be somewhat limited. Talk to you soon.

Dr. B

Slow News Day

November 6, 2011

        Not much to report today. For the first time in my life I had to miss a gig due to illness. Don’t worry, it was only a medication adjustment situation and not advancement in my illness. Enough about that. I only like to read of sickness in journal articles. I do apologize to anyone who was expecting me. It couldn’t be helped.

        So, instead of boring you with all that sickness biz I decided to update you on my projects. “Grandpa’s Mandolin Book, a Coloring Book for Children of all Ages” is coming together. This weekend my Lit agent e-mailed me the illustrations from the graphic artist. He captured what I was trying to say. I am very excited about this book. I believe it gives a way for adults to interact with children and for both to learn some basic music concepts.

        In the edit of”Acquisition Syndrome” I should finish my revisions by mid December. This will give my editor Dorrie time to go back over it one last time and then submit it to the publisher. We should make my self-imposed deadline of sometime this spring to release this novel.

        I have a mandolin duet CD in the works with Darin Aldridge. Our first session was excellent and we believe we will finish sometime before the first year. This should be ready for a spring release also. I don’t get away from home as much as I used to but Darin will have it for sale in his travels. Also my Lit agent will see to it that it is available on Amazon. I hope to have some bluegrass/book venues in 2012 if they are within 150 miles or so of home. This would be N.C., S.C. and maybe some in Virginia and Tennessee.

        I will be back with more fiction posts soon. I am recovering from a couple bad days but again moving in the right direction and there is no evidence that I’m gonna be overwhelmed by this. We have an old saying at the office. “Don’t worry till Dr. B says worry.” Y’all don’t worry yet.

Dr. B

Acquisition Syndrome- My second novel (in progress)

October 30, 2011

        “Acquisition Syndrome” is the story of Bones Robertson and medical practice in Harvey County after the death of Dr. Henry”Indie” Jenkins. After Indie died things were about the same in Harvey County over the next decade. The doctors continued on in mom-and-pop type practices that financially floated from month to month. They  made house calls, nursing home visits, and hospital rounds as well as office work.

        Slowly things began to change. Change came to the cities first, and over time it made its way to rural areas. Bones recalled when the first managed care folks came to Harvey County. He was always suspicious of people from out-of-town who showed up in fancy cars and wore expensive watches who were here to “help.” Medicine became about money, power, and control. It became increasingly difficult for small entrepreneurs to stay in practice and became nearly impossible to recruit young doctors who were not inclined to join small organizations that did not have significant capital reserves. Bones began to realize without some changes in the way they did the business of medicine the practice he started, Harvey Family Practice, would not go on after his time. He and his partners decided their hand was forced and they would need to align with some larger entity to stay solvent. “Acquisition Syndrome” is the story of that transition.

        As you might suspect, Bones gathered much of his intelligence from nontraditional sources; car dealers, his old buddy Snookers Molesby, and banjo pickers and other assorted bluegrass musicians.

        A major subplot of the story and involves the development of Billy Spurgeon.  Billy grew up and Harvey County and was the only student at Sandhills University Medical Center who gave consideration to rural primary care medicine, but Billy was concerned about the future. He trusted Bones to make the best decisions for the group he could and planned to come home as much own faith as anything else.

        Bones never claimed to be a businessman. His goal was to align with an institution that would also allow him the latitude to practice medicine in the most patient friendly manner possible, and also not be taken advantage of. It was quite a struggle for him. I’d tell you how worked out but it would take a blog post of novel length, and besides it’d ruin the story for you so I guess I’ll wait till spring when we anticipate the book will be released. We are in the final edit and it still has to go through layout, graphic artists, test readers, line editor, etc. etc.

        So, stay tuned. I will keep you posted as to the progress.

Dr. B

A Reason I Write

August 28, 2011

        I got a message from a reader. Along the way, she  had several tragedies in her life and was treated unfairly at times. She read “The Mandolin Case” and it gave her hope that there were people out there who still treat people fairly; doctors who do love their patients, care about their families, and try to do the right thing. She said as she read the story her understandable bitterness dissipated for a moment.

                Because of my recent illness I had to slow down but I still write. That kind of feedback makes every hour of struggle worth it. To know my book made the life of one human being a little better; a person I have never met but who knows me only through my written words is a huge thrill to a writer. It is why I write.

                I’m making small bits of progress on “Acquisition Syndrome.” Because of my visual impairment progress is slower than I’d hoped for but I to have it out by spring. It is still in need of serious edit, but  they do like the content of the book. It shows what I hoped to show. I believe that medicine should be a healing art and not a business. Yes, I made a decent living but I always put patients first and worried about the money later. We own our home and educated our children, we will not miss any meals, so it was all good. That was enough. The modern trend of treating patients as “customers” or cash flow revenue stream is no fun. I hold out hope “Acquisition Syndrome” will show this. I wrote the book to try to pass on some life lessons I believe important and should not be lost. I hope y’all will bear with me and take a look at it when it is finally released. If you like it I hope recommend to people. 

        All the best and thanks for reading.

Dr. B

Soon to be a Book: “Acquisition Syndrome”

July 17, 2011

        My draft of “Acquisition Syndrome” is now on the way to my agent via Fed Ex. There are still many steps before it makes it print. (Agent, publisher, graphic artists, page layout and design, revision suggestions by my editor Dorrie O’Brien,  proof copy tests readers, line editors etc etc. To be ready by Christmas is optimistic, but maybe we’ll be lucky. AFter the first of the year is more realistic.

        You will not be surprised that some of this book is a light-hearted romp through the world of some bluegrass picking doctors. Those of you who know me well will also not be surprised the book also has some serious undertones.

        The subtitle is “From Healing Art to Business.” You may have noticed the trend in recent years medicine has become too business oriented and not as patient centered, at least not enough to suit me. The book explores this unfortunate trend and the human factors of greed and exploitation that underly it. I assure you the story will not please big business or big insurance whatso ever, so when they come looking for me, just say, “Dr. B? Oh he’s just some crazy bluegrass picker down in North Carolina, Harvey County I believe. Trust me, they are gonna be some kind of unhappy, so please, if it ain’t one of our kind, don’t point me out to ’em at a festival. I think regular folks like us will enjoy the book, though.

        You can count on this: The story will take you deep inside the world of modern medicine to places you did not know existed and will expose traps I hope you avoid in your travels. The story is fiction but it is true fiction. As I’ve always said, fiction should show the truth but tell no facts. I worked on this book very hard even the summer I was sick, and I hope I did that. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as “The Mandolin Case.” With the support of the bluegrass community ‘the Mandolin Case” made it all the way to #1 on the Amazon Country  Book list last summer. I recall the one publisher who said bluegrass people wouldn’t read. Now they have shown interest in “acquisition Syndrome.” I told my agent I wasn’t trying to be mean but sorry, I dance with who brung me. If that guy didn’t have faith in us before he’ll have to wait in line a little while. And  like Dr. Bones Robertson in “Acquisition Syndrome” I’m a nice fellow, but can have a tenacious side if someone disses my people.

        Will keep you posted on developments.

dr. B