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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Doctor/Nurse (11/02/06)

TITLE: Dr. Dabbs Takes a Leave of Absence
By Jan Ackerson


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.

Positively pathetic.

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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This article has been read 1829 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Paynter11/09/06
Oh, I know who this is! Absoltuely brilliant - you had me totally gripped and chuckling right down to the last line. Fantastic.
cindy yarger11/09/06
And to think we read these nyrsery rhymes to our kids - good fun. I can you smiling as you thought up each one!
cindy yarger11/09/06
sorry for my typos!
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/09/06
Delightfully creative!
Tessie O'Ryan11/09/06
Absolutly Adorable! A great springboard for a children's book, I think.
Joanne Sher 11/12/06
Simply DELIGHTFUL and fun - I couldn't wait to see who was going to show up next! I caught what was going on very soon, and didn't want to stop reading from that moment on. I have a guess as to whose this is - hmmmmm. Guess I'll find out if I'm right! I love your ending too!
Lynda Lee Schab 11/12/06
A+++++ for creativity, Jan! Too cute for words. Loved, loved, loved it! :-)
Pat Guy 11/12/06
Oh Jan! I, too didn't want to stop reading! This will be a classic itself one day!

And guess what? I found a word that was easy to misspell, 'for' what you were using it 'for.' (you probably have already spotted it anyway) Right after the March 28 paragraph. ;)

Loved it Jan!
Jen Davis11/12/06
Loved it! This is off the chart for creativity. Your voice and word choice is superb. Excellent work of a very talented writer. One of my favorite lines: “I told her that at seven, he was far too young to be tending sheep.” Your ending had me laughing out loud:) Great job!
Ruth Neilson11/12/06
and here the doctor thought that he would be gaining an adventure. Very cute.
Jan Ross11/12/06
Incredibly incredible! Your imagination! Wow! I'm still chuckling! Masterfully crafted, but then I would expect no less from you! What a gift you have! :)
william price11/12/06
Too cute. Extremely clever. But what ever happened to Dr. Foster after he stepped in a puddle right up to his middle and never went to Gloucester again?
Only you Jan, could come up with something this smart.
God bless.
Betty Castleberry11/12/06
This is delightful, and I just LOVED it! What a fun read. Thank you for writing this charming piece.
Stephen Paynter11/13/06
Hey, I'm another fan. Great fun! Keep writing!!! Wonderful!

Linda Watson Owen11/13/06
What a treat!! ROFL! Jan, let me state the obvious again...You're a Master artist of the short story! What a delight!
Dennis Fletcher11/15/06
What can I say that hasn't already been said? This is wonderful. I loved it.
Donna Powers 11/15/06
Very very funny! I loved this from the beginning to the end. A wonderfully funny article. Thanks for sharing it!
Sally Hanan11/15/06
Glad to see you do another funny piece, and this was was SO creative! Thanks for the laugh.
terri tiffany11/15/06
Wow - are you creative or what!! This was so well done - in a way that was unique. Hope this does well because it is a keeper!!
Suzanne R11/16/06
ROFL - just gorgeous! Well done!
Julianne Jones11/17/06
This was one of those entries that I read again and again and each time enjoyed a good laugh. Great writing. Jules
Deborah Porter 11/29/07
Jan, I'm doing the editing for the book for this particular challenge now, and this winner absolutely made my day. Jan, you're a legend! Your imagination is incredible, and this one is a treat of a read. When it got to being called to carry out reconstructive surgery on an egg, I was laughing out loud. Thanks for the smile and day brightener.

Love, Deb