FROM EMBRYO ENGINEER TO COUNTRY DOCTOR

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Plowing at the 1951 Miami Valley Threshers Reunion. The engine is a Case 65, Gilbert Enders as engineer, Elmer Egbert as steersman and Jack Egbert as plowman. Mr. Egbert says he has bought a 6 bottom plow for this years Reunion
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M.D. Cornell, Illinols

Part III

Rural communities provide many opportunities for a good life
along with the many hardships. Among these are the associations
found in different church, political, fraternal and professional
groups.

As to church affiliation, I am a Methodist because my mother
was.

Politically, I am a member of the party that elected Lincoln,
freed the slaves, put down the rebellion, re-united the States, and
established our Nation’s financial credit above that of any
other country in the world.

Fraternally, I am a member of the Independent Order of Odd
Fellows; the Modern Woodman; the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons;
the Knights Templar; the Mystic Shrine; the Order of the Eastern
Star; and the While Shrine of Jerusalem.

The Star and the White Shrine include both men and women in
their membership. This gave my wife and me opportunity to share in
our associations with its members. We served in various offices;
she as Worthy Matron of the Eastern Star, and as Worthy High
Priestess in the Shrine; I, as Watchman of the Shepherds.

Professionally, I am a member of the American Medical
Association and of Emeritus Membership of the Illinois State
Medical Society, and of the Livingston County Medical Society.

VACATIONS

Several different summers we were able to get away on a little
vacation and sightseeing tour of various parts of the United
States. Our first trip was through the west. We visited the usual
scenic spots of the Black Hills, Pike’s Peak, the Rockies,
Yellowstone Park, and a Colorado Dude Ranch. One summer we actually
took that long-delayed Niagara Falls trip. From there we went on to
Collaner, Ontario, to see the famous Dionne quintuplets born on my
birthday. It was my privilege to visit with Mr. Dionne, with the
two midwives, and with Dr. Dafoe. In later years my wife and I
enjoyed several winter vacations in Florida.

COUNTY CORONER

The years 1936-1940, I served as coroner of Livingston County.
This office brought me into contact with various local, state, and
federal government leaders, all of whom I thoroughly enjoyed.

However, with these added duties to my regular practice, I began
to slow down in strength, and to find myself confined more to
office calls than to the active practice I had formerly
preferred.

HEART ATTACK

On November 13, 1940, I suffered a severe heart attack of
coronary emboli. After six months as a bed patient, I began a slow
partial recovery. The attack marked my last day of office practice.
During the next ten years I also underwent operations for the
removal of a cataract from each eye. Arthritis, too, has joined the
series of physical difficulties.

INTEREST IN MEDICAL PROGRESS

With the aid of radio, contacts with colleagues, and friends, I
have kept interest in the swift advance in medicine and changes in
our way of life. Both have interacted to make the place of the
country doctor as I had known it, passe.

World War II took many of the young physicians, and the ones
available for general practice did not care to buffet the air ships
of a rural practice without the services of a well equipped
hospital. Few, if any, of the obstetric deliveries are made in the
homes today. The wonder drugs: the sulfas and the biotic, have
revolutionized the old methods of medical treatments. New and
improved mechanical devices have become efficient in both diagnosis
and treatment.

An almost complete hard road system through the country and the
more dependable cars are a big improvement over the roads of
several decades ago. I recall that in addition to our family cars,
I really wore out approximately 20 autos in my rural practice. At
least ten of these cars were Model T Fords. The old solid tire was
among my mud-fighters, too.

Here is a good picture of the up and down type Saw Mill. This
mill was established during or right after the Civil War. Water was
the source of power and the saw a blade operated by a pitman. A
thousand feet of lumber was considered a good day’s work. Later
when the water dwindled a stationary engine supplied the power. By
1920 the old mill sagged at all the corners and in the middle and
was so badly worn that it refused to do any more work; so the owner
engaged my father to saw what logs remained there. The old mill
finally crumbled to ruins. It seems sad to think that no one
thought of preserving the old historical landmark to honor these
pioneers who did so much to develop this part of Wisconsin.
Clarence Mirk, 2362 N. 85St., Milwaukee 10, Wis.

CALL OR CAB?

Recalling mud roads brings to mind a little incident to break a
doctor’s routine. One stormy night when I answered a knock at
the door, I found a rather anxious appearing man who greeted me by
asking, ‘What do you charge to make a trip out to the Tom
Smith’s.’

I answered, ‘Five dollars for a night call.’

He then asked if T could go immediately, and I told him I’d
be ready in a few minutes. When I got out to my garage, I found him
waiting for me. He asked if he might ride along. Always liking
company on those lonely night trips, I told him I’d be glad to
have him.

When we reached the Smiths, the man got our first and then
handed me five dollars. In surprise, I asked, ‘But where is the
patient?’

He answered, ‘There isn’t any. I have come on an
unannounced visit to see my sister, and since the taxicab would
charge me ten dollars to make the trip, I thought I’d take your
services instead.’

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