We had one doctor in town, his name was “Doc. Wallace”. I remember him being old but I have no idea what his age would have been when I was a kid. Regardless he was either really old, or he had some kind of palsy, because his hands shook.
Doc Wallace had a little office on main street, it was nothing fancy, there was a waiting room but I don’t remember there being any kind of a receptionist. He hung a sign on the outside door if he was out, and if he was in, he hung a sign that said “busy” on his treatment room door. Most items he needed for treatment was on shelves in that room, but if he had to order a drug he called our local drugstore which was across the street.
I only remember using him twice. Once was when I came down with the mumps. I woke up with a fever and before long the side of my face was quite swollen. I was kept in bed and he was called at which time he offered to come out to the house because he needed to come that direction to see another patient anyway. He examined me, declared it as mumps and I don’t remember him giving me anything to take but told Mom I should put an ice pack on it, stay in bed and to keep me quiet until the swelling ws gone. I laid in bed for what seemed like a year, but it was probably not over two days. As soon as I decided the swelling had gone down, I was up and at 'em again. Getting yelled at of course by Mom not to overdo.
Not long after that, I felt feverish again and the other side swelled up! Mom didn’t call the doctor this time, but it was back to bed for me. Another year passed……..well, 2 or 3 more days passed and I was up and outside again. I, and my folks thought all was well, I had lived thru the mumps.
A few days later, here they came again, only this time I remember being really sick. Both sides of my neck and on down into my chest was swollen, I hurt badly. Back to bed with another ice pack and Doc Wallace was called again. This time he declared they had gone down on me, and I was to stay in bed and not move for a week, no matter how well I thought I felt! He told me if I didn’t do what he said I would die. Since I felt like I was going to anyway, I didn’t argue with him.
Another year passed……….and finally, I was allowed up and out.
The only other time I remember seeing Doc Wallace was in his office in town. I had a spot on my upper forehead next to my hair line that kept itching, and then it moved downward towards my eyebrow. Mom figured it was ringworm and we tried “over the counter salves”. They didn’t work, and neither did the home remedies we tried. Then we went to town to have Doc. Wallace look at it. He set me down on a chair in his treatment room and turned around and took a bottle off his shelf. Then he set down right next me and stuck a cotton swab in the bottle. I remember the medicine was deep purple. He said to me, “now you must sit very still, because if get any of this in your eye you will be blinded” He told me not to move, not to even blink. I was scared by then, so I did what I was told.
There he came at me with his shaky hands telling me to sit still! I only remember thinking that you get any of that in my eye, it’s going to be your fault if I go blind, not mine! He smeared some of the medicine on it, then gave it another swab in about 15 minutes and I was sent home. Within a week the spot on my forehead was gone.
There was so much more to all the things old Doc Wallace did for our little community, I remember riding with Mom and Dad several different times when we would need to haul one of the oil field workers who had been injured into town to get them patched up. Eventually he closed his office, and our town never had another doctor. He was a wonderful person and missed by many.
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