Transcript/Biography

Up
Down

"They were just starting to treat pneumonia. And I can remember coming back, and they were using the sulfa drug on pneumonia when I was in school. What a wonderful thing it was. Now, we have antibiotics. That's made a big change."
   Question: "Do you remember when the first time that you were aware of penicillin, or that it was brought to your attention?"
   "Well, we got – On ship, we never got any, but we heard about it. Of course, when I got back to the Great Lakes, I was on a scarlet fever ward. And I well remember – I can tell you a story about that. It came in, and it wasn't – penicillin now has Novocain in it or procaine in it. And it was the old yellow stuff, and you had to take it every four hours. We'd give it to those corpsmen. They'd roll over and we'd give them a shot and, boy, that really got sore. I just give them a little sympathy and didn't think too much about it. We just had to do it. Then, I got the sore throat, and they started doing that to me. And I had a lot more sympathy after that! That corpsman come in every four hours and give you a shot in your – the thing that really hurt, with no Novocain in it or anything. [Laughs.] But, it just started coming in when I got back from the Navy to where it was really available…
   "Well, the best thing about a rural community, you know the people. There's a lot to talk about. You know the definition of a small town: 'Not much to do but lots to talk about.' And then you also – In a small town, you know whose check's good and whose wife isn't…
   "Well, at one time, you did a little bit of everything. It's kind of changed now, with transportation more, and so forth. Now, a rural doctor – It's like Andy Rooney says, it's like a rural doctor, all he does is just tell you to see the doctor that does something. But, at one time, you did everything…
   "If you notice the front office out here, that door is never locked. I mean, that's a hang over of when they didn't have phones all over. They could come in and call you on the phone. They didn't have pay phones, and this room was always open. We've had babies delivered out there. Had one woman, she'd come over – Had a bar across the street. She'd come over here when the bar closed. And then when the girl came in the morning, she'd get up and go home. But she slept in there. And we've had babies delivered in the office, and so forth. One of my favorite stories I tell – they used to have telephone operators. And I got up one day and came down here, and they didn't show up – somebody – I couldn't remember just who it was. And I called up the telephone operator and said, 'Mrs. Stires, who in the world called me this morning?'
   "She says, 'Doctor, you haven't had a call all night.' And I apparently dreamed. I got up and put my clothes on and came down to the office to take care of somebody [from the dream, laughs]…
   "This door here is always open. I haven't ever had any trouble. Except one day, Fast Eddie stole my television set, ran off with that. He's one of the local boys…
   "We took care of everything. Anybody had a problem, they called the doctor. I had one of the kids call up and tell me his pony was loose out on the highway. What should he do? The kid's folks were gone. So, we had to take some people out of the office and go out and round up the pony. Another one I like to tell about is the old gentleman being nice to me at Christmas time. He came in and told me he had a goose and it was – the weather was cold. And I said, 'Well that will be fine. Just put it in the car.' It never crossed my mind that it was a live goose. So he put the live goose in my car, and it really goosed my car pretty good. [Laughs.]"

Dr. Charles Ashby – Country Doctor

   

Other Excerpts from Dr. Charles Ashby’s Interview:

Doctoring at a Bomber Plant