February 2--I have approached the other doctors in my family practice about taking a short leave of absence. I saw an ad in my medical journal today that looked intriguing—it mentioned an “exotic setting” and “unique patients.” Ten years of ear infections and sprained ankles have left me longing for a bit of adventure; I think I’ll apply.
February 15—That was quick—I got the job, and have been asked to start as soon as I can tie up loose ends here. I’m replacing a Dr. Foster, who went to Gloucester.
March 2—They were right about the “unique patients.” My first patients today were a husband and wife who came in together, a Mr. and Mrs. Spratt. I’ve never seen an odder couple. Mr. Spratt couldn’t weigh more than 115 pounds, and his wife is easily triple his weight. I advised Mr. Spratt to eat more fat, and his wife to eat more lean.
March 5—Today’s most interesting case was a Mr. Willie Winkie. A charming man, quite small in stature, he came in complaining that he walks in his sleep. Just last night, his wife realized that he had left their bed, and found him outside dressed only in a nightshirt, babbling about curfew times. I treated his mild hypothermia, and prescribed a sleeping pill.
March 11—A Mrs. Nimble brought in her son, Jack, with minor burns to the soles of his feet. When asked about the cause of the burns, she told me that Jack had been jumping over candlesticks, of all things. I dressed the burns, and prescribed medication to treat Jack’s hyperactivity.
On a side note, I’d like to jot down my observations about the people here. They are a happy lot, generally healthy and content, but perhaps a bit simple. They are partial to whimsical names and quaint clothing, and are especially appreciative of a good rhyme. Although I am enjoying my stay, I find that I yearn for a deep or meaningful conversation.
March 17—A breathless patient rushed into the office today, nearly hysterical because of a spider bite. I examined Miss Muffet and determined that the bite was not that of a poisonous spider, and gave her a mild sedative for her anxiety. We also discussed adding greater variety to her rather limited diet of curds and whey.
Later, I consulted with a Mrs. Blue, who is concerned about her little boy. She complained that he sleeps when he should be looking after the animals. I told her that at seven, he was far too young to be tending sheep.
March 18—I had perhaps my most serious case to date this afternoon. A young boy and his sister were brought to me with multiple injuries sustained in a fall down a steep hill. Jack’s injuries were the most severe: a skull fracture and concussion. Jill suffered mostly cuts and bruises, and a few splinters from the wooden bucket she was carrying.
While I was admitting Jack for overnight observation, another patient arrived with severe gastrointestinal pain. (Interestingly, this patient was also named Jack—by far the most popular name here.) I determined that Jack Horner had simply eaten too much plum pie. Some syrup of ipecac and a stern warning should convince him not to overindulge.
March 21—I’m beginning to realize that these people have no common sense at all. A Mr. Piper came in today, moaning and clutching his abdomen. He had picked—then eaten—an entire peck of peppers. A peck! I sent him home with antacids and the promise that the pain would pass. No sooner had he parted than another patient presented, having partaken of nine-day-old pease porridge.
March 28—I was called to Rosy Elementary School today. The children were playing some silly game, and they all fell down. Minor injuries only.
For more disturbing was the patient who awaited me when I returned. A mother had nestled her infant’s cradle in the bough of a tree, and it fell when a gust of wind toppled it from its precarious perch. The baby was only frightened, thankfully, but—what was that mother thinking?
More and more, I’m longing to return to my old practice.
April 1—That’s it. I’m leaving tomorrow. I was called to the outskirts of town today, and asked to attempt reconstructive surgery…on an egg.
One, two, buckle my shoe--I’m out of here.
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