Showing posts from 2017

Sunshine in the Bayou

Saturday, May 22, 2094
Before dawn
Somewhere in the Bayous of Louisiana District

Patient: Lillianna Fontaine, age 21. G1, P0 (well, P1 now), 38W 4D gestation. Delivered a healthy baby girl at 03:32. No complications, despite being a little early. She weighed approximately seven pounds. Approximate, because my hanging scale is probably near New Orleans right now on the Adeline, instead of being used in a mosquito-infested swamp in the middle of nowhere Louisiana. Lillianna promptly named the squalling baby Sunshine Jane. Ironic, because for the last day and a half, we had not seen the sun; only the heavy, steel sky and its sheets of rain.

An hour after the rain ceased, one of the wagon's wheels bogged down in the soup. Coincidentally, Lillianna's labor began in earnest around the same time. Both events halted the five-wagon train for the day, and I expect it will be another day before we are able to travel once more. Cody Fontaine, Lillianna's husband, claimed we were nea…

Off the River, and Through the Woods

Wednesday, May 19, 2094
Alexandria, Louisiana District

No patient notes today. I'm weary from travel, but wanted to get a few things written down, if for no other reason than to decompress.

When we docked at Davis Island, two armed River Port Security officers stormed aboard the Adeline. My stomach dropped like a lead weight into a pond, and all the bile tossing around in there threatened to resurface. I quickly retreated to my room when I saw them on the dock waiting for the ship to moor. If they were coming for me, I wanted my belongings. When I heard boots stomping on the hallway outside my door, I cried.

By some miracle, they passed. I watched, baffled, as they towed a handcuffed passenger off the ship and down the dock. The rumors spread that he had seditious material, and had been distributing the printed propaganda at every port call we had made. The man's name was William, and he often kept to himself. I had no contact with him during our journey. I feel ashamed, but I …

Physician, Heal Thyself

Monday, May 17, 2094Yazoo Landing, Mississippi District 21:30
Patient: Cora Thomas, age 28. A massive outbreak of norovirus swept through the passengers and crew, with only a handful of people unaffected. I was one of the unfortunate ones who huddled in their bathrooms with their heads near the toilet. Do you think that is why sailors call bathrooms the head? Probably not, but it was one of the miserable coherent thoughts to stream across my exhausted brain. 
Just over 24 hours after it all began, I emerged from my cabin, shaky and weak, and smelling of my medicinal oil blend. Bless the cook's heart, he had a broth soup prepared with crackers on the side. A few other passengers nodded wearily to me as they passed. Everyone had the pale, wan skin associated with recovering illness. As Captain Barnhart slouched toward me, I saw the same shell-shocked stare. It didn't stop him from tipping his hat and smiling as he greeted me. I had enough sense to ask about his recovery, to which…

The Life of a Steamboat Doctor

Saturday, May 15, 2094
Port Pemiscot, Missouri District

Once word got out yesterday there was a physician on-board, the floodgates opened wide. I'll admit that hearing greetings of, "Hey, Doc!" and "Hi, Doctor Cora" has brightened my time here.

06:30 - Patient: Teddy Knox, age 7. Foreign object removal from left ear canal (two pearls). Loaned his mother, Callie Knox, needle and thread to restring her grandmother's necklace. Callie insisted I take a dozen apples as payment.

07:13 -  Patients: Identical twin brothers Ed and Ned Dorley, age 56. Both complained of a toothache in the same lower right quadrant of the jaw. Both presented with nearly identical abscesses in size and shape. Applied coconut oil infused with garlic with sterile swab, and provided enough for self-application three times daily. Will follow-up with them each evening. Graciously declined payment of a 2-yr old faithful egg-laying hen.

09:50 - Patient: Bucky, a Pekingese puppy of nine mon…

Melvin vs The Pelican

The first entry in Doc Cora's casebook

May 14, 2094

I'm surprised I am able to write this at all with my hands shaking as much as they are. My eyes keep straying to the locked cabin door, and the churning in my stomach has nothing to do with the rocking of the Adeline. He found me. Wilkes saw me on the boat, and now he can track --

Well, that was odd. I guess this will turn out to be a physician's casebook sooner than I had planned.

Earlier, footsteps pounded in the hallway outside my cabin, and muffled shouts followed. One passenger nearly plowed me over when I peeked into the hall. I followed the ruckus up the stairs - no, the companionway - and found a crowd of men and women leaning over the port side of the steamboat. Shouts and shuffling feet joined the hissing of steam and the churning of the paddle-wheel. By the time I reached the swell of passengers, they had begun tugging on a thick jute rope. Several men and even two women hauled a soaked and shivering m…

An Interesting Discovery

While sorting through my books the other day, I found an interesting journal. It's the patient casebook of Dr. Cora Thomas. I found it intriguing, so I will be posting one of Cora's entries each morning. Maybe you'll find it as fascinating as I did.