When Dr. Meyer turned his car into our farm driveway, I headed over the hill.
Our community lost a doctor last week. Dr. Pelzl had served our area for many years and he will be remembered for uncountable instances when he came to the rescue of those who chose him to be their doctor.
He delivered babies, pulled fishhooks out of ears, tended invalids, as well as serving on the school board, being a member of the community civil defense team and serving his church as long as he was a resident here.
In other words, he did more than just doctor. He ingrained himself into the community in which he practiced. He made house calls.
There was a time when I was a kid that doctors made house calls as a regular part of their practice. Specialty medicine was not yet widely practiced when these medical men and women could be found traveling the dusty gravel roads in the countryside that sometimes turned into mud. They were what you might call "jacks of all trades" as they diagnosed ills of all kinds.
We had such a doctor who tended my grandmother. She had suffered from congenital heart failure for many years and was housebound in our farm home. Dr. Meyer worked out of the Sioux City Methodist Hospital. The year was 1957, and the dusty, black car he drove was of 1940s vintage.
I remember him crawling out of that car with a black bag that had seen its better days. He was a big, burly man with a giant stride. On this particular day when he came to visit my grandmother, he stopped to visit with my dad on his way into the house. I knew what they were talking about.
As a kid, I had fallen off a high fence and landed squarely on top of a car jack and split my nose open. Little did we know at the time that this accident would affect my hearing. In those early grades I could not pass any hearing test. I heard my parents talking about my problem, trying to come up with a solution.
One of those solutions that I overheard them talk about was the removal of my tonsils and adenoids. Dr. Meyer was to play a role. I knew what Dr. Meyer and Dad were talking about when he entered our house. I decided to vacate the premises.
After seeing to my grandmother's condition that day, I heard my name being called from the farm yard. I reluctantly trudged back to the house where Dr. Meyer was patiently waiting.
"Where did you go?" my dad asked. "Dr. Meyer wants to look at your throat."
"Hmmmm. John's tonsils are inflamed, Clyde," the doctor flatly droned. "I think if we take those tonsils out it may help his hearing."
My fate was set.
Long story short, I ended up on the operating table at the Methodist hospital with an ether mask covering my face. The last thing I remember before going under was watching Dr. Meyer flick his cigar ashes in the operating room's wash basin. I don't think they do that anymore.
The result of the operation did not result in improving my hearing, but I did breathe a bit better. I think we paid Dr. Meyer with a half of beef and a hog. They don't do that anymore either.
I was thinking about that last week when we learned of Dr. Pelzl's passing. In his obituary it was stated that he was caught speeding so many times to the hospital that the highway patrol actually issued him a special license!
We didn't see Dr. Pelzl or Dr. Meyer pull themselves out of bed at 2 in the morning to go and attend to a patient with a problem. But, they did that many times.
Doctors like Dr. Pelzl and Dr. Meyer earned their keep. Rural people and others appreciated their work. They were special people.
See you next time. Okay? Stay safe!