AUSPICIOUS ACCIDENTS (PART 1)
In a rural community, building a practice can be a slow process—especially when there are established professionals already well entrenched.
Without a doubt, Mitch and Ray accepting us and letting us begin practice with them was an invaluable boost—an implied seal of approval, both implicit and explicit. Nevertheless, there is only so much such a sanction or blessing can do. One still has to build his or her reputation with individual competence, character, and compassion. However, there are those tiny blessings that can make so much of a difference.
I received two on the same day.
Helen Gibson, Mitch’s longtime nurse and my assistant when I was in the office, came walking up to me—more quickly than usual. Because the door to a patient’s room was open just behind me, she bent over to whisper, “Dr. Larimore, there’s a cut butt coming in.”
I turned to look at her. “What?”
She put her finger to her lips and then indicated we should take a walk. I followed her to the end of the hall.
“What’s up, Helen?”
“Good news. There’s a cut butt coming over here to get sewed up.”
“Why’s that good news?”
“It’s Michelle Robertson’s butt!”
“Who is that?”
“Don’t you know?”
I smiled. “Helen, as you are painfully aware, there is much I don’t know when it comes to this small town. Good thing I didn’t start practice in a big city. Imagine what I wouldn’t know then.”
“Well, her husband, Charles—everyone calls him Charlie—is a big-time CPA here in town. Both his reputation and his physique are enormous. He’s one big man! But he’s always taken himself and his family to Asheville for their medical care. I don’t think he thinks much of our medical community. Worst of all, he’s a big supporter of the Democratic Party!”
This is an important piece of medical history in this particular office! I thought, smiling to myself. Mitch was one of the leaders of the local Republican Party—and party affiliations seem to be more poignantly important in this small town.
“Anyway,” Helen continued, “his wife, Michelle, is a well-known artist. She makes her own paper. It’s beautiful!” Helen paused—I guess for effect.
“And . . .”
“Well,” Helen went on, “apparently she and her boys were out walking down a hill below their home. Michelle slipped and slid for a bit. She apparently hit a sharp piece of rock and cut her derriere. She’s on her way over here now.”
“Thanks for the heads-up, Helen.”
Now it was her turn to smile. “Just thought you oughta know.”
So my first view of this prominent artist was her south end—as she was lying on her side facing north. Helen had cleaned the wound, and it was ready for me to stitch. But I thought a brief introduction—getting to know the patient a bit—would be appropriate.
“Mrs. Robertson, I’m Dr. Larimore. Sorry to have to meet you like this.”
She smiled. “I agree.” Michelle was a beautiful woman, with long brown hair, brown eyes, and a gorgeous smile.
“Mind if I take a look back there?”
“Not my best side. But help yourself.”
The laceration wasn’t too long or deep, but it was still actively oozing blood. “Shouldn’t take too many stitches, but I suspect it will leave a nasty bruise.”
“Drats!” she commented. “I’ll have to watch the afternoon soaps on my stomach!” She laughed, and I smiled.
As I numbed and stitched her derriere, Michelle explained that she had met Charlie in Washington, D.C., had two young boys, and moved to Bryson City, where Charlie began his CPA practice.
I suspected Michelle may have had some French blood in her. She asked questions about my training, background, and family. I felt as though I was being interviewed. In fact, I probably was.
“You know,” she said, “I believe I met your wife.”
“Yes. I was taking the children trick-or-treating last Halloween up on Hospital Hill. Don’t you live in Eudora Gunn’s house by the hospital—that long green house next to the white Victorian?”
In many towns, this would be considered an inappropriately personal question. However, in Bryson City almost everybody knew everybody’s business—personal or otherwise.
“Yes we do. At least until we can find something more permanent.”
“Well, your wife’s a lovely woman. If I remember, she looked like she was pregnant, and she had a pretty young lady at her side.”
“Yes, she was pregnant. Scott was born that Christmas, and that was Kate at her side.”
“Well, I was dressed as a witch. One of my boys was dressed as a mouse and the other a cat. Your wife seemed surprised at how ugly I was. Of course, it was just the makeup.” She laughed again.
When we were done, I had Helen update Michelle’s diphtheria-tetanus immunization, since it had been over ten years since her last one.
“It was a pleasure to meet you, Michelle.”
“You too, Doctor. I expect we’ll be seeing you again.”
Later, Reva Blanton, one of the two receptionists at Swain Surgical Associates—the practice owned by Mitch and Ray in which Rick and I worked while our office was being built up on Hospital Hill—told me Michelle had asked that charts for the entire family be set up at the office.
She also signed for copies of their medical records to be forwarded to us.
TO BE CONTINUED
PAST STORIES FROM BRYSON CITY TALES
- The Murder (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- The Arrival (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Hemlock Inn (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Grand Tour (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Interview (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- Settling In (Part 1); (Part 2)
- First-Day Jitters (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Emergency (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Delivery (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The “Expert” (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Trial (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Shiitake Sam (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Wet Behind the Ears (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- Lessons in Daily Practice (Part 1) — Anal Angina; (Part 2); (Part 3); (Part 4)
- White Lies
- The Epiphany (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Becoming Part of the Team (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Monuments (Part 1); (Part 2)
- My First Home Victory (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Fisher of Men (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Fly-Fishing (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Something Fishy (Part 1); (Part 2)
- A Good Day at the Office
- An Evening to Remember
- Another New Doc Comes to Town
- ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Part 1); (Part 2)
- A Surprising Gift
- The New Year (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Home Birth (Part1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- The Showdown (Part1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- The Initiation (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- Home at Last (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
© Copyright WLL, INC. 2017. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.