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“He Really Needs The Practice”!
By Bob Stockton   


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Recalling the warm and fuzzy bedside manner of the Navy surgeon.

©2010 Bob Stockton. Excerpted from "Listening To Ghosts," (Xlibris Press). Unauthorized use is prohibited.


I think that it began roughly three weeks before submarine training graduation. I became aware of a gradually increasing pain on the right side of my lower abdomen. The pain would come and go and at first I gave it little thought but as the week progressed and the pain became more intense I figured that I’d better hustle over to sick bay and get something to manage whatever it was that was bothering me. After all graduation was only a couple of weeks away. The Corpsman looked me over, asked a few questions, poked me around the area where I was having pain and then referred me to the Navy doctor on call for further evaluation. I got more of the same from the doctor along with a few obligatory x-rays and was placed in an exam room to await the verdict. After a while no less than three Navy docs entered the room and began going over the lab and x-ray results with me. Finally the doctor that I had first seen gave me the scoop: “We think that you have an acute appendicitis, but we’re not exactly certain.” Pointing to doctor number three he continued, “This is our surgeon, Dr. so and so. We’re going to have him remove your appendix just to be on the safe side. He really needs the practice.”

A real orator that doctor number one. Knows just how to build confidence in his patients, I thought. And with that epiphany they swept out of the exam room, leaving me in the hands of a corpsman and nurse whose job it was to Immediately prep me for surgery as I had been too nauseated to eat for more than a day. It was going to happen now while they still had me captured! They removed my offending organ that very afternoon. After one day post op the clinic Chief had me operating a floor buffer (“no vacation here, sailor“) and three days post op I was back in the same class with which I had started. Graduation day was still on schedule.



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