At his retirement reception in the early nineties he asked me to share some remarks:
Unlike my two older brothers I never wanted to be a doctor growing up for good reasons: the incomprehensible terminology, the strange hours,the technical minutiae, so of course I decided to write computer software for a living.
But even though my career path has diverged from my father’s don’t think that I don’t want to be like him, I still wanted to be the same sort of a person my father is, just not share the same profession.
Organized Facts o’ Life
For most kids you can image their father sitting them down and explaining the facts of life. For “Dr. Dave” that just wasn’t good enough. Instead we got a multi day trip complete with documentation filed carefully in a three ring binder.
Each year dad would take one of his four boys on a trip which could be our choice. Favorite activities included backpacking and snow skiing in the Rockies.
Our trips always followed the same patterns. We would both start the trip excited and full of energy, and then slowly but surely Dad would wear us down. Not that he wasn’t anything but supportive and enthusiastic, just that his limitless reserves of energy would seldom be exceeded.
For me this would usually result in what I now know as a migraine headache about the 3rd day. At the time we thought it was “altitude sickness”, but now I know it was my body telling me I was exhausted because I couldn’t keep up with my father.
What is sad is that in my thirties I still wish for the energy level
of my father who is in his sixties!
For my Dad, being a physician (or doctor to those of us without
medical training) is a great privilege. For my Dad the best part of it is examining a friend’s sick child as a favor.
This would result in some strange events, like the daughter of a
member of the church showing up on our front porch with a sowing machine needle lodged in in a finger.
Other times it was a little less gruesome…
After my future wife Trish and I had been dating for a few weeks, her little brother, who was six at the time, got a large splinter in his foot. I happened to be there and suggested that we let good ‘ol’ Dr. Dave remove it. After much convincing, my future mother in law reluctantly agreed.
Nick, Trish’s little brother, turned out to be less than the model
patient. He was anxious when we got over to my Dad’s house.
He was on the edge of tears before my Dad even got close. We
positioned Nick, and Nick asked my Dad. “Is this going to hurt”.
My dad, honest as ever said “Yes. It will hurt.”
Then Nick yelled “Ohhh…my…Goddddd!!!!”
Nick’s mom said “Nick, Dr. Dave hasn’t started yet.”
Needless to say, the splinter removal was a complete success.
I Know Your Father
During my teen-age years I was something of a reckless driver. I
managed to total my Dad’s Volvo by running it into a parked car, as well at run my car into a curb at 40 MPH. In my mind I was a cross between Han Solo and Speed Racer, but in reality I’m sure I had an entire regiment of guardian angles working overtime.
In any event, my best friend’s Dad had just purchased a new sports car, and my best friend couldn’t wait to show it off for me. That evening. an entire group of friends piled into the new car, and my friend demonstrated how quickly the car would accurate. The flashing lights behind us informed us that we weren’t alone in witnessing the demonstration.
After the officer wrote my friend his ticket he said, “Boy, I will
not let you drive this vehicle home.” He turned to me “What is your name”. I told him, and apparently he didn’t know much about me because he then said “I know you father and he is a very responsible man. I’m confident that must be responsible as well. So you will drive this vehicle back to where it belongs this evening.” While my friends tried to stifle their laughter, I promised the officer I would drive safely.
The point of this story is that growing up in Temple was living in a world where the phrase “I know you father” was always uttered with respect. Sometime that respect earned me things I didn’t deserve,and other times it seemed set unreasonable expectations for me.
I had a brief career at Scott & White first in Research and
Education,and the in X-Ray files. Working one evening in X-Ray files I answered the phone. A surgery resident had called from surgery for a report on some X-Rays taken earlier and wanted me to read the
results. I explained that I was not allowed to do this due to hospital policy, but I would be happy to deliver the X-Rays wherever he wished. The resident continued to insist and I continued to refuse and the resident hung up.
A few minutes later the resident arrived asking for the “illiterate
moron” who was on the phone. A coworker dealt with him while I
unsuccessfully tried to hold back tears around the corner.
Well, I’m sure the tables were turned when my coworker reported what happened the next day and the resident discovered, to his chagrin no doubt, that the illiterate moron’s father was the Associate Dean of the medical school.
I also knew that, should my father have to deal with this himself, he would be fair and try to treat it just like any other incident.
Scott & White
For my father, loyalty is absolute. Dad is a member of the family of all physicians and has been a part of the Scott & White family.
For my father that loyalty has meant long hours and many years of service.
His loyalty is also shown by the fact that I have never seen dad speak badly about any other person or physician. Never. Not once.
When some news story about a Scott & White or a local physician would come to my attention, I knew that Dad was the single worse source of information.
In conclusion, some people go there whole lives without knowing there fathers. But I know that a stranger could spend five minutes with my father and know what kind of person he is.