One of my early interactions with a doctor occurred not long after our family moved back to New York. My sister Sharon and I attended junior high school in the nearby town of Brasher Falls. This was pretty exciting. It was the first time we had been to a school where grades seven, eight, and nine had their own school building. We were used to grades one through eight in elementary school. Grades nine through twelve attended a high school. It was also the first time we rode a bus to school and didn’t have to walk.
We were playing softball on a makeshift ball diamond behind the school. While dusting off from a hard slide the third baseman told me there was a hole in my blue jeans at the knee. Reaching down to check the hole revealed a big lump on my knee cap. The lump was about the size of a quarter and maybe a quarter inch high. There was a cut on my knee, but it wasn’t bleeding much because of the dirt packed into it. The knee wasn’t real painful, more of a discomfort. Coach took one look and sent me to the nurse.
The school nurse was a jovial lady in her forties and not overly concerned about my injury. She had me sitting on a wooden chair and she sat in her desk chair. She pulled my pant leg up above my knee, placed my leg in an elevated position on her lap, and extracted a nice thin rounded rock from under the skin of my knee cap. This wasn’t real bad. When she lifted up the flap of skin where the rock had been and poured it full of alcohol things got bad in a hurry. The injury wasn’t painful, but that alcohol set me on fire. My whole leg was shaking like a leaf in a windstorm. She topped that off by scrubbing the wound with a large swab of mercurochrome. A school van took me home.
Mom agreed the cut needed stitches. Dr Cudlips office was a mile down the road. Dad had our car at work so off I went on my bicycle. The doctor recleaned and stitched up the injury. Returning for a follow up the doctor removed several pulled stitches and put in new ones. On my second follow up he scratched his head and asked, “How did you get here?” My answer, “On my bike”, didn’t impress him at all. He said, “Son, these stitches will be pulled out before you get home if you ride that bike. If you have any left after a week tell your Mom to cut them out. You’re wasting my time!!”
Dr. Cudlip was right. Mom removed the remnants of my stitches a week later………..and the scar isn’t too bad.