May 2014 - Comments Off

Country Doctor

Jan-Erik Asplund

Under the advice of his mother and father, the boy sought out tales of the great doctors of old; Henry Gray, Laennec, Hippocrates the Greek, Jean Astruc, these names and more, and the collected legends of the work they undertook to further mankind's understanding of the roots of disease, its diagnosis, its treatment, et al., swelled the boy's brain with dreams of greatness; the accumulated knowledge of their deeds invested him with ambition, and as if by radiation or osmosis, he found himself realizing that he wanted, above all, to become a great healer, another prophet of the body, and its workings; there no longer being any standard routes to medical officialdom, as there were in the old times, however, the boy also found himself at a complete and miserable loss for how to accomplish this; he mulled over the question for a time, sitting in bed with his hands in his lap, staring up at a poster of Joseph Lister, who famously discovered that antiseptics prevented wounds from becoming infected in surgery; a realization soon came to the boy like an apple falling from a tree; he put an ad in the local weekly requesting "sick and sad" clients who wished for reprieve, and soon he began to travel the countryside in his father's carriage, having received a number of responses, and he visited patients in their homes in the hopes of one day joining a group he had once only read about.

Published by: in Issue 2: Spring 2014, Volume 70

Comments are closed.