Folks, as you can tell from the headline of this column, which you can guess was either taken from Major General Douglas MacArthur’s iconic quote upon American forces retaking the Philippines …
Folks, as you can tell from the headline of this column, which you can guess was either taken from Major General Douglas MacArthur’s iconic quote upon American forces retaking the Philippines or the title of Ray Stevens’ 22nd studio album, I am back writing the column this week. Please forgive my sabbatical. I was not just running amuck chasing exotic women and drink - that was how I spent my twenties. As many of you know, my father was in what seemed at the time to be a very serious car accident. I say “seemed at the time” because, despite the fact that he was “t-boned” on the autobahn known as Snowdown Road and airlifted from the scene with serious internal injuries, he’s now - less than two months later - driving around in a new car looking trim the way a guy who’s lost 15 pounds because he can’t stomach bland hospital food can. Getting skinny and a new ride: if you had just had just been on a two-month vacation and not been on Iuka Facebook and just ran into him, you might think he was having some sort of three-quarter life crisis. He is moving a little slower, but the guy is 81 and can probably still hit a golf ball further than I can, broken ribs and all.
The whole process was surreal. My father was in phenomenal shape for his age - a fact that brought some confusion to the emergency room at North Mississippi Medical Center’s emergency room. My mother, a nurse for decades and the only girl of four hard-headed children, is a woman used to getting her way by sheer force of will. So, God bless the poor hospital pharmacist who didn’t believe her when she said my father didn’t take any regular medication:
“Well, what does he take for his cholesterol?”
“He doesn’t take any prescription medication.”
“What does he take for his blood pressure?”
“Do you know his diabetes medication?”
“Now, I know an 81-year-old American man has to be on some sort of prescription drug.”
I pulled the pharmacist, obviously distraught over not getting to mark anything on his forms, out of the room before my mother did him physical harm. Out in the hallway, I leaned in and whispered to him:
“Hey, man, you want to know his secret?”
The pharmacist snapped his pen to paper, ready to record this miracle drug.
I went on, “Have you ever heard of this drink called Jogging In A Jug?”
The pharmacist stormed off muttering words not fit for a family newspaper. But, he didn’t bother my mother again.
I think the issue with modern medicine is they try to fit everyone into one category or another. And they cannot imagine some people do not fit neatly into one category. Like this exchange my mother had with the emergency room doctor:
“Mrs. Clark, how many steps would you say your husband takes in a week?”
“Well,” Mom replied, “he walks about two miles every morning.”
The doctor never looked up from filling out his forms, “And does he use a cane or a walker?”
Mother’s face said “Who walks two miles a day with a cane you ignoramus?!” but, as polite as she could, she did manage, “Well, sometimes he carries a stick to beat back stray dog attacks.”
Nurses, man, making doctors not feel stupid since Florence Nightingale.
Despite these little incidents, our family couldn’t be more thrilled with the care we got in Tupelo. They got Dad on his feet and out of there quicker than we could have hoped. And the first responders on the scene, the well-wishers and the prayer warriors we cannot thank you all enough. Dad is back driving himself and even coming into the office. That is truly a testament to him, his generation, and how crazy a man can drive his wife until she starts pushing him to get out of the house and leave her alone for a few hours.
Nate Clark is a local attorney, husband, and dad.