Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography Page: 83
This book is part of the collection entitled: Rescuing Texas History, 2010 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries .
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delivered a child. As I was leaving Mrs. Koon compressed her
mouth and gave me a searching look. She had good reason to.
At a bone-shattering canter through more rain, for again the
sky was dripping, I covered the five miles to my gravid patient.
The mud chinking of the two-room farmhouse of hewn logs
was melting in the rain. At the door I saw four faces crowded,
all awaiting my arrival, four penetratingly attentive women's
faces. Assistance, it seemed, I would not lack, nor criticism,
Fortunately the delivery proceeded with total lack of un-
toward incident. Miraculously the head appeared, the shoulders,
and so on. Helping hands providentially appeared, and the after-
birth was whisked away. All that remained for me to do was tie
off and sever the umbilical cord. This rite I performed with
what I fervently hoped was professional aplomb. Perspiration
trickled down my spine. It was furnace hot in the little cabin.
Now all I had to do was wrap a gauze bellyband around the
brick-red mite to keep the stump of his umbilicus in place. I
hummed a little. It was rather exhilarating. Smiling a brisk
smile, I looked into the watching faces. What had happened?
Glumness on every side.
"How come, Doc," one of the women said, "how come you
put that thing heading down? Ain't you skeered what might
happen to this pore little child?"
"Happen?" I said, as coolly as I knew. "Happen to what?"
"That thing," she retorted, and pointed to the umbilicus.
"He's going to wet the bed the rest of his born days, unless you
turn it up. I should think you'd know that, Doc." The others
nodded in absolute assent. Obviously they would not be recep-
tive to a lecture on obstetrics.
"If it will please you, madam," I said with gravity, "by all
means let's switch it up." The mother, all eyes and exhaustion,
smiled in relief. Triumphantly my beldame audience nodded at
But they did not rest on their laurels. I found a cup of warm
Here’s what’s next.
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Atkinson, Donald Taylor. Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography, book, 1958; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143566/m1/95/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.