My Doctors Over the Years

The first family doctor I remember was an osteopath, Dr. Reed. He was like a family friend and always came to the house to tend to whomever was sick. While he was there, he always played our piano. He saw the whole bunch of us through a bout of really bad flu, and took care of me when I had rheumatic fever. He took out my tonsils. The last time I saw him was at my cousin's wedding as he was her family's doc too. (He'd have come to mine too if I'd gotten married in L.A. He was a family friend as well as our doctor.)

Next came Dr. Hanks. He was my doc in Cambridge MD when I expected my first child. I think he might have been the only doctor in that town and was mightily revered. I waited hours for him sometimes, as it seemed he always had an emergency. He delivered my baby, and gave me this good advice, "Feed her when she's hungry."  I'd been trying to keep her on a schedule.

A Navy doc I'd never seen before delivered my second child in the Port Hueneme SeaBee base dispensary and I remember his name, "Dr. Affley," and he was from Point Mugu. I'd never seen him before or after. My newborn daughter and I both got an infection during this delivery. We moved back to L.A., and there I saw one of my classmates' father, Dr. Trotter,  whom I knew and he took care of our infection problems. Didn't charge me anything. 

We moved back to Oxnard, and my last three children were delivered by a civilian doctor, Dr. Huff. He was a tad on the crabby side and reminded me of my dad. Of course, once I had the kids, I had to take them to what had finally become a hospital on the base. Sometimes, whatever problem the kids had, and those docs didn't solve, I'd call Dr. Huff and he'd tell me what to do--usually an "old wive's remedy" and they always worked. When my last child was born at nearly 10 pounds, the doctor said, "Now that you know how to do this, I suppose you're going to quit." (He was right, I did.)

When we moved to Springville where we live now, I didn't have a doctor of my own for a while. I took the ladies I cared for to various docs--some good, some not so good. Then I got them started with Dr. Sidhu because so many providers took their individuals to him. Because we had a doctor living across the road, he came to the rescue several times for my ladies and my mom and dad. Often he came at night in his p.j's and riding his four-wheeler. I went to him as a patient until he moved away.

My mom stayed with us for a while after my dad died, and she somehow broke some bones in her back. Dr. Sidhu took care of her. He was so good with her, hubby and I started seeing him and have been with him ever since. The only drawback with him is he's popular too, so often we've had a long wait. Now, with the Covid going on, the wait has shortened as people don't really want to go to the doctor unless absolutely necessary. Besides being personable, he always remembers everything about us.

And I must mention one other doctor, Dr. Rao, who recently passed away. He was a much loved pediatrician, but I knew him as a member of our writing group. What a charming man, and funny too. We all loved him, and he will definitely be missed.

I know I've been blessed when it comes to doctors. So what about your doc?



Our doctor for years was a high school classmate of my aunt's. He was an osteopath and was sane and sensible. Years later when my company changed health insurance, I found another one. She was our doctor for twenty-seven years until she gave up her practice. She was a friend as well as our doctor, and I miss her.
I loved Dr. Rao. I edited his book, and I am so glad we were able to get it published for him.
Enjoyed your doctor tour, made me think about my doctors over the years...
Thank you, Lorna and Madeline for reading this and commenting. I wrote it because someone was surprised that I was happy to see my doctor.

Popular posts from this blog

Reunions: You Can’t Go Back Again (Because ‘There’ Is Gone) You hear about people going to Reunions: high school, college, family, war vets, et cetera. Well, not me. For example, my high school, St. Augustine’s Diocesan on Sterling Place in Park Slope, Brooklyn, was already out of business when the passenger jet made an unscheduled crash landing on its doorstep in the late 1960’s, erasing all prospect of reunions. No matter, I wouldn’t have been attending anyhow. As for St. John’s University College, whose ‘campus’ was in a seven-story former bank building on Schermerhorn St. in Downtown Brooklyn---it’s condos now and even if the doorman would let me in for old times’sake, I’d pass. I spent all of 1956 and half of 1957 at St. Augustine’s as a transfer student, having come from a low-rent seminary that was supposed to prepare you to become a member of the Franciscan Order of Teaching Brothers. St. Anthony’s ‘Juniorate’ (odd name for a high school, right?), no doubt why we boys simply referred to it as ‘Smithtown’, located as it was in the Town of Smithtown on Long Island, among the potato fields of Suffolk County. My short story: I got kicked out after two years, told I was mistaken in thinking I had a ‘vocation’ (I won’t bore you with my sins). So how’d I get there in the first place? Well, you’re graduating from eighth grade in St. Anthony of Padua grammar school (same ‘St. Anthony’, no coincidence); you’re twelve years old and, since the age of five-and-one-half, been shuttled from the school to the looming red brick Church next door when the steeple bells summoned us to prayer. There, all us boys, in our dark-blue worstered trousers, white shirt and clip-on black tie, have been kneeling for all eternity on the hard wood kneelers in the pews in the Lower (basement) Church, interminably humming the five Decades of the Rosary amidst the fourteen Stations of the Cross, as the priest parades up and down the marble-floored aisles spewing swirls of sweet smoke from his incense-burner. No surprise then: After the Good Franciscan Brother reveals to our class that some among us may be ‘called’, on Easter Sunday, at Mass in the Upper Church, drunk on incense fumes, I actually see God point a long index finger at me through the fog, and over the swell of the organ while the choir pounds out the Hallelujah Chorus, I hear Him say to me, clear as a bell: “You! You! Pack your bags!” Upon graduation in February, 1954, I boarded the LIRR, Ronkonkoma Branch, with my ticket punched for Smithtown. One recent Sunday, in the grip of an irresistible impulse to see Smithtown once more, I get on the LIE and head for the North Shore of Long Island. To get to the school, you must drive through the hamlet of Kings Park, once home to the Kings Park Psychiatric Center, which I see from my car on Route 25A, is still there, sprawling on top of a hill but empty, decommissioned. And I remember then being aboard the ancient yellow school bus, the name ‘St. Anthony’s’ painted in black on its sides--captive boys being taken to the movies in Kings Park on a Sunday afternoon more than half-a-century ago--the hospital full of life, the inmates hooting and hollering to us from their barred windows as we speed past. It’s a high point of the trip, riding past the Looney Bin: a happy feeling, I remember, as if them up there and us in our bus were connected. No more acres of potato fields as far as the eye could see along Rte. 25A now-- replaced by row upon row of suburban tracks, Divisions and Sub-Divisions. I drive onto the grounds of St. Anthony’s. It is not a functioning school, it’s obvious. There are some broken windows in the elongated two-story structure, and the white paint is peeling. I think of Iroquois Longhouses, I suppose because of the stretch of the building. I get out of the car and what strikes me is how small-scale everything appears: the buildings, the playing fields behind the main house, the grass badly in need of cutting. The chicken coops are gone as well as the fenced-in execution ground where I beheaded and plucked my first chicken for the Sunday dinner, on orders from the Brother in charge of the Refectory. Everything smaller than I remember it. For it’s vivid, larger-than-life in my memory. Jerome Megna, the pool shark; Joe Rogus, the polio-stricken basketball star; Bill Cullen, the gay librarian from Brooklyn and my best friend; the school’s principal Brother Henry, vain about his PhD in history; Brother Patrick “The Claw’, who taught Latin, had a crippled left hand and the DTs from drink; Brother Linus, the math teacher, who’d feel you up if you weren’t fast on your feet. I swear I remember them all, the faces and their names. I even remember the movie we saw that Sunday in Kings Park in 1954. The Bridges At Toko-Ri; William Holden, Grace Kelly and Mickey Rooney starring. I wrote the movie review for the school paper, The St. Anthony Star. Funny how it all stays with you. The important stuff.

Need to Catch Up With My Blog Tour?

Mrs. Odboddy, Undercover Courier by Elaine Faber