Remembering when a doctor healed ailments all on his own

To begin with — the title of these reports is The Old Men of the Mountain. Old is the predominant word, but so is Mountain. In quite a few discussions with the Old Men of the Mountain, many times “Mountain” has nothing to do with it. It is the word Old.

With Old comes how things were years ago and how these things were simpler. Loyalty to your employer, and the employer to the employee, was common. Younger people might not understand this. It is involved and the Harvard bean counters have taken over and people are now collateral and the OFs hate it.

Another aspect of “back then” was that doctors were doctors. The OFs make sure in most of their discussions that doctors today have more to deal with and it may be necessary for them to operate the way they do.

The OFs generally start the conversation when the topic comes up “Ole Doc (enter name) would have treated that right in his office,” and then they would go on with the story. The essence of the story would be an aliment the OF had that the “old family doctor” would treat right in his office and not send the OF off to some specialist that treats only warts.

Many stories crop up that fit the criteria of then and now, some of which definitely point up this fact. A few such stories follow.

An OF accompanied a friend of his to the doctor because that friend was breaking out in boils. These boils were mostly small, yet some were pretty good-sized.

The friend went to the school nurse in Schoharie Central School who sent him to the school doctor. When he arrived at the doctor’s office, the doctor looked at the friend’s arms where the majority of boils were. 

After looking at the boils for a while, the doctor said, “OK boys, come in the back and we will take care of those right away.”

There were no questions about insurance, or family history, or had the kid recently come in contact with some animal, or the manure pile. No questions. The OF said they just went in the back.

The OF said the doctor had the kid with the boils hold out his arm and the OF was to take hold of his hand and hold his friend’s arm stiff. The doctor then took what looked like a rolling pin and rolled down his arm and the boils popped like bubble wrap.

Blood and pus ran down his arm and the friend tried to tough it out but couldn’t and yelling became quite loud until the doctor was done. The doctor cleaned up both arms and put a black-looking salve on them and wrapped them in gauze.

That was it! There was no going anywhere else because the doctor took care of the whole thing.

The doctor told him to increase his hygiene and to get some Fels Naptha soap and use that. Problem ended!

Another OF said he woke up one morning and could not move his head in any direction and when he did the pain in his neck was excruciating. The OF said he was very young at the time (it was the early fifties) and his wife took him to the doctor in Esperance and she did not even have her driving license yet (did this scribe mention they were young OFs?). The OF said it was panic time.

When he reached the doctor’s office, the doctor took them in right away. The OF said he barely made it in because not only could he not move his head, but his legs did not want to cooperate either.

The doctor said, “Well, what do we have here?” and took the OF into the office.

The OF said the doctor checked him over and then the doctor went into his inner office and brought out a large-sized book and started reading. The doctor then said to the OFs wife, “I think I got it.”

Then he disappeared again and came back with a needle as long as a yardstick and the OF said the doctor told him to put his head down. The OF said he did and the doctor stuck that needle right into the left side of his neck from the back. (As the OF gets older, the needle gets longer.)

“Whatever he had in that needle he pushed into my neck and it was hot,” the OF said.

Within seconds, the OG was better. He had no more pain and everything worked.

“Plus,” he said, “I am 80 years old now and I’ve never had that problem again. Whatever the doctor found in that book and whatever he pumped into my neck did the trick. We never asked what it was, and the doctor never said. We just thanked him profusely, paid our 10 bucks and went home.” 

Would that happen today? “Nah,” the OF said. “I would probably see two or three specialists, and wind up in the hospital and it would cost the insurance company thousands.”

There were quite a few of these early-doctor stories that were rather intriguing but if this scribe can remember them we can use them at a later date. This is not the horse-and-buggy days but simpler days.

This scribe poses the question: Are the OFs, “old” because of the doctors we went to when we were young, or is it the young doctors of the OFs’ old age that are keeping us here, and up and about?

By the way, did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He’s all right now.