We were talking in the pub today about doctors. There was a time when the doctor was one of the most important people in the town along with the pest controller and the local policeman. My friends were telling me about the doctor in their town long before I came on the scene. Dr. Proctor he was called. He knew everybody in fact he’d delivered quite a few of them - midwifes were few and far between back then.
He was well known for walking up to people in the street and publicly updating them on their ailments at the top of his voice. One friend recalls bumping into him in a crowded butchers shop where he loudly announced that my friend had not in fact contracted social disease, it was nothing more than a rash that could have been prevented if he’d paid more attention to his personal hygiene!
He didn’t have time for the Accident and Emergency services. If you had a gash he’d sew it up himself and if someone wandered in having fallen over as a result of over-imbibing he’d kick them out and tell them to come back when they were sober! He didn’t let his nurse do injections. He enjoyed them more than anything else. He would tell you to turn away because he was about to stab you, and before you knew it, the deed was done!
If someone went into the surgery with a cough he’d tell them they were smoking too much, and then light up a cigarette himself! Whenever he examined someone he invariably did so with a cigarette in his hand! He loved a drink too. He was one of the most popular characters at the local pub.
But he obviously had a darker side, a side no one was aware of. One August night he was found slumped in the churchyard. He’d taken an overdose and if it weren’t for a girl walking her dog between the tombstones he would have died there. But the ambulance arrived just in time and he was taken to the place he loathed most, the local hospital. He was pumped out and brought back to life, then put into a bed on a ward on the top floor. It was a hot night and he persuaded the nurse to open a window. When no one was looking he jumped out.
I’m told his funeral was one of the biggest ever held in the town. I wish I’d known him.