Jun

10

House Calls

June 10, 2021 |

House calls are fast, economical, and necessary on the fringe of civilization or where people hate hospitals.  

I’m no human doctor, but since getting a motorcycle am continually consulted by text, message, or email to look in on someone in Slab City. This oasis in the desert has no doctor, and the hassle of bussing to a hospital to sit interminable hours in an emergency room is not worth the trauma. Instead, they call someone like me and we’re at their doorstep in five minutes.  

Today my two calls were within a mile. The first was a senior who one week ago had a stroke, followed by a heart attack, and fell on his nose on the sharp entrance to his trailer. The paramedics were called, made their diagnosis, put a bandaid on his nose, and he refused to go to the hospital. When I saw him this morning, the left side of his nose was gone and the nostril small opening coated with pus that flapped like a billows. We cleaned it with a Q-tip, and then I used an old trick from the Amazon that modern medicine has forgotten. We broke an antibiotic capsule in half, and dabbed the powder straight on the raw wound. It would heal, I know from personal experience, in a few days with no need for the ridiculousness of oral antibiotics when they can be applied topically.  

‘I’m not a doctor,’ I always remind before jumping on the motorcycle, ‘But call me if there’s no immediate improvement.’ I’ll make a follow-up visit in three days. 

The second house call was to a man who had been bitten on the small toe by an unascertained spider two weeks earlier. Left untreated, he had described by text that the toe looked like a sausage that his poodles wanted to eat. I was greeted at the gate by those pets who tried to bark me off, but I went around the fence to knock on the trailer side. He stuck his head out the window, and yelled them quiet. ‘I can’t walk on the foot, but here it is.’ He stuck it out the window and I did a diagnosis. The natural defenses were kicked in, with no swelling of the lymph along the leg, and I knew it would heal if he followed this treatment. ‘Soak it in Epson salts twice a day for 15 minutes, keep the foot elevated, and take these three antibiotic capsules. Break them open one-at-a-time to sprinkle 1/8th capsule on the open would every eight hours.’ He turned around and accepted them into one hand, and shook mine with the other.  

I never take payments except suppers, and referrals.   


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