Friday, April 13, 2007

Medical Care Progression in Marietta

My sister was born in what as called the Old Hospital in Marietta. I wonder what it was called before it was Old Hospital and was the only Hospital? Probably “The Hospital”. There I had my head sewed up on two occasions and my father wound up there one time when an inmate slammed a cell door on his hand and another time for appendicitis and my grandfather died there.

I was not born in a hospital. I was born at home. Dr. C.A. Means made a house call and delivered me. He was faced with a challenged. I was what they called, “born dead”. I was not breathing. He worked and worked trying to slap life in me. His hard work paid off. He got me breathing and probably complaining and screaming because I had a pain in my butt.

Dr. Means ran a one-man office above Atherton Drug Store. I don’t think you called for an appointment. You just went and sat in his waiting room. When he was ready for a patient, or the next patient, he would stick his head out, decide who was next and motion you on in. As I remember it, he never had a problem with deciding who was next. I would be the only one sitting there, so I was next.

His office was a big room that smelled of rubbing alcohol, iodine, and other disinfects. I remember some kind of stainless steel machine that looked like a toaster with steam tooting out of it.

Dr. Means was a short and every time he saw me he would light up. He saw me walking and talking and be proud of his work. He never charged me.

When I was in the Navy on a Halloween night there was an explosion of a gas leak that blew up Atherton’s Drugstore. It would have destroyed Doctor Means’ office also. By then he was elderly and a retirement age. I don’t know, but if had not already retired, I’m sure not having an office to come to was an incentive to go ahead a retire.

Then, in the 1940s and 1950s there were not many doctors and they all seem to come from a handful of families. If someone said they went to Doctor Haygood you might ask which one, Merl Haygood? Felton Haygood? And the Bensons and Hendersons were the same way.

I think the only time I spent the night in the Old Hospital, or maybe a few nights, when I had my tonsils out and was circumcised. No comment.

When I was under five I had a super cape on and was jumping from bed to bed in my sister’s and my room and missed a bed. I think I was pretending to be Mighty Mouse. I was more impressed with him than Superman, I could identify with him more. When I missed the bed my head hit the corner of a dresser and put a gash across my eyebrow.
I was taken to the Old Hospital and Daddy had to hold me down as Doctor Haygood put in several stitches. And we had to go through the same process when the doctor took out the stitches of me kicking and screaming but surprisingly they were removed quickly and painlessly, while I was still violently objecting.

Afterwards, back home, I felt kind of silly telling people I cut a gash in my head while jumping bed to bed playing Mighty Mouse so I told them I ran into a door. I thought that should be plausible. I may have been the first to "blame it on the door". I remember telling the woman who lived next door to us that I ran into the door and I could see her smirk. She knew I was fibbing. I got mad and frustrated.

My grandfather died in the Old Hospital. I remember, one Sunday after a movie at the Strand Theater, knowing he was in the hospital slipped up the back of the hospital to see him. I wasn’t old enough not to be accompanied by an adult. When I got to his room I heard a ruckus. I eased the door opened and there was my father and his brothers trying to hold their father down. He seemed to kicking and trying to raise out of bed, he was delirious. That was the last time I saw him alive. He died the next day.

Another time in the 5th grade a friend, in a temper flare-up, pushed me into the fire escape. It put a big gash down the center of my forehead. I already wrote a posting about that. Again, Daddy had to hold me down while Doctor Haygood put in stitches.

I wasn’t real happy at the moment, but after the bandage was removed and I had a healing scar down with stitches down the center of my forehead I was proud of that scar, it had a “Frankenstein’s Monster look to it.

I broke my arm in the early 1950s. I was at a professional wrestling match at Larry Bell Auditorium waiting to see the last bout which was to feature a gorilla or a bear (I forgot which) and a man. But meanwhile I was showing off for a cute little girl sitting in the bleachers with her parents. I was doing fantastic tricks leaping off the top row, hanging by my ankles and dropping, but when I went in for the flip trick I fell off lopsided and broke my arm.

They put me to sleep and set my arm. It was the first week the new Kennestone Hospital was opened for business and they were still trying to get organized by trial and error. Kennestone was only two three stories high Shortly after I spent the night there after they set my arm my youngest sister was born there

Now, it is a Wellstar Hospital and has grown and grown to take up the whole block and looking for ways to cross streets. It also has other medical and administration offices sprawled all over Cobb County. It is a huge complex and comes has a plush look, visually, which I’m sure your insurance premiums help pay. It is bigger than I think than any body can comprehend.

If it keeps this rate of growth up in not too many years you will probably have be on the medical staff, a patient, or a visitor to enter the city limits of Marietta., or Wellstar, it will be the facility.

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Blogger cbish68 said...

It's a little off topic, but this what your post reminded me of.
My father-in-law came over last week with some panaramic photos he had taken of a few historic spots around Cobb County, GA. He had photos of the Belmont Hills Shopping Center, the Jonquil Shopping Center and the Marietta Square. He talked about going to the Strand theater with his brother in the 1950s to see cowboy movies. They would watch a double feature movie, then a short cliffhanger series, then an animated cartoon and finally a newsreel. He said they could walk down to the Strand from their house on Cherokee Street and spend all day there watching movies and eating popcorn and drinking sodas for about a quarter...

6:20 AM  
Blogger ET said...

I probably know your father-in-law!

6:28 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Wow, you've made me remember some old hospitals around here. Doctors were few here as well. Their offices were just like you described, and with plaster chipping off walls. When I compare them to clinics/hospitals today, they really seem like scenes in a horror movie.

And yeah, I agree about Mighty Mouse ;) Very interesting post Eddie.

8:55 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Thank you and you a very good post today too.
Wait! You didn't say mine was good, you said it was interesting. Yours is very interesting and also very eye-pleasing.

11:54 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

Your doc reminds me of a pediatrician my daughter had when she was in the hosp., not expected to recover from pneumonia. We had not seen him in a while, and then we saw him at a high-school basketball game that our daughter was playing in. His daughter was on the other team. He was so thrilled to see our "baby" doing so well that he cheered for her everytime she had the ball. About 2 weeks later, she got a letter from him, telling her how great it was to see her healthy, happy and able to play ball.

1:39 PM  
Blogger ET said...

Doctors like that are medical professionals - and the hell with the business end of it.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Things really do change, don't they?

12:44 PM  
Blogger ET said...

The buck rules!

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you got those stitches did they give you novocane shots or a drug in coke? I got several in the nose and both feet in 1967 & 1972 with nothing else. They sure stung!

8:49 PM  

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