Thursday, September 12, 2019
Poplar Mountain Part 30 by Dellani Oakes
The doctor examined his hands carefully, nodding, frowning and tutting. "This one's infected," he muttered. "Where were you fencing?"
"By the bull."
"You've got a mighty fine infection, young man. You need a shot. Should help set you to rights. I think you got something off that piece of wood in your hand. I'm gonna take that out, then I'm giving you a shot of penicillin. You can take that, can't you?"
"So far as I know. Ain't never had it before."
"That's right. You're outrageously healthy." He chuckled. "Except for the occasional cut and a sprained wrist, I hardly see you."
Luke started to sit up. Doc pushed him back down.
"You stay put, boy. I can do this fine with you lying there. Give me a minute to get things together. Will, you okay with blood?"
"Does it make you squeamish?"
"I birth cows and sheep, Doc. Don't reckon it bothers me more than most men."
"Can you stand to help me get this splinter out?"
"Yes, sir. Want I should sit on him?" He chuckled.
The doctor smirked, his pale blue eyes twinkling. "That won't be necessary."
Doctor Starbuck bustled about getting everything together. Lucius gladly lay on the table, waiting. Will washed his hands carefully as instructed by the doctor, and waited too. When everything was ready, the doctor came over. He turned on a bright light, focusing it on Lucius' hand. He cleaned the skin with soap and alcohol and brought out a syringe full of clear liquid.
"I'm gonna give you a shot to deaden the pain. That's a biggun and deep. I'm gonna have to cut on you and you sure don't want to feel it. It'll need a couple stitches. Will, hold his arm still for me, son. This is gonna sting some."
Will did as he was told, holding his brother down as the doctor gave the shot. Lucius cussed loudly, glad the doctor's wife was at chapel. Embarrassed, he apologized.
"Son, if I'd got that shot in the thick of my thumb like that, I'd sure say that and more." He draped sterile cloth around the hand and asked Willem to hand him instruments as he needed them. "You could have a great career in an operating theatre, my boy," he complimented when they were about halfway through the procedure. "You've got a steady hand."
"Got to as a jeweler," Will replied.
"I imagine you do at that. Almost done," he told Lucius.
Lucius felt a tug and a trickle of warm liquid. The doctor dabbed at his palm with gauze, coming away red. As he watched, the doctor prepared a needle and thread. Will leaned around to look, earning a nudge in the ribs.
"Give me room, boy. If you want to see, come on the other side."
"This is pretty neat, Luke. He's sewing you up slick as can be. Not even Mama makes such little, precise stitches."
The doctor beamed. "Shouldn't leave much of a scar. See?" He pointed to the wound. "I use little, bitty stitches close together. It heals better and leaves less scar tissue. That way, his hand won't lose mobility."
When the stitching was done, he bandaged the hand and gave instructions on how Luke was to care for it, when he could use the hand and so forth.
"I hope you're remembering that," Luke told his brother. "I feel like I've been nipping at Granddaddy's stash."
The other men laughed. Doc took out another syringe.
"I'm gonna give you a shot of penicillin, Luke. It'll help that infection. I drained some puss outta there where it festered. Got to give it in the bum. Roll over and drop them pants."
With his brother's help, Luke rolled up on his side and pulled his britches down. This needle hurt even more than the one in his hand. The medication stung as it went in, leaving a lingering tingle of discomfort. Easing his pants back up, he favored the left cheek where the medication went in.
"If he isn't feeling better by tomorrow, you bring him back down. Meanwhile, lots of fresh water, light meals—some of Miss Rachel's excellent chicken soup. She knows how to treat a fever better even than me. And rest."
"I ain't contagious, am I Doc?"
"No, I shouldn't think so. You don't need to worry about the family. Or that beautiful girlfriend of yours." He winked, nudging Luke.
"How do you know about me and Dollie?"
"Son, you kissed her in front of God and everyone yesterday. Reckon the whole county knows by now."
Luke chuckled. He'd forgotten about that little slip up. "Reckon so."
"Better make an honest woman of her soon or you're gonna rupture your spleen. Since that's a real messy operation, I sincerely hope you don't."
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
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