Sunday, December 4, 2022

House calls

[The Family Circus, December 4, 2022. Click for a larger view.]

A doctor who makes house calls? It’s a set-up, Billy. The teacher will know you’re lying.

[“P.J.” is the most plausible excuse. That, or “I left it in the pocket of my other knee pants.”]

comments: 4

Sean Crawford said...

I might know why doctors stopped making house calls. In the Heinlein novel To Sail Beyond the Sunset which takes place around 1900, there is a paragraph of a doctor saying that in the old days if people wanted you to come to their house they showed sincerity by going to the trouble of hitching up the horses and driving out to get you. But with the invention of telephones they could be tempted to call for something unworthy of a special trip.

Michael Leddy said...

Ha! I would like to know the details of house calls: Did the doctor check in with the office at the end of each visit? Or was there an itinerary with several patients?

There’s a William Carlos Williams poem (not at hand) that says something like “They call me and I go.” Some of his patients paid in chickens and produce.

Sean Crawford said...

Come to think of it, in classic novels bedridden folks get visited at home. Maybe doctors rode a circuit, the way Lincoln rode a six month circuit as a lawyer (but not for six months) I would guess Williams lived in the time of community nurses, needed then because people didn't have the resources they have now.

I just remembered: This would be back when doctors and nurses carried a blag bag. I read a sf short story once (Lewis Padget) where an idiot-proof black bag falls through a time warp into the present day. In a different short story (James Gunn) the blag bag had a fluorescent screen inside which the medic could read when he hooked up lines to his patient. Such bags were so common we had one around the house, probably from the thrift store. We had a bulky leather brief case too.

My mother, as a school girl before WWII, required a community nurse to come and teach granny about the four food groups, as mother was getting mouth sores. Her teacher noticed she had stopped speaking in class.

Michael Leddy said...

“Send for the doctor” (before telephones even) sounds like something I’ve heard in movies.

I made a post years ago with five or six links to pages about the doctor’s bag. Every one of those links is now dead. But I later found a Life photo, and an anesthesiologist commented on its contents.

We had a nurse come visit (not our choice) after our first child was born. There are many ill-prepared parents where we live, so it’s a good thing. I think with our second child they left us alone.