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 months. Owner reported multiple episodes of vomiting. Emesis confirmed on the floor of my cabin. Cause determined to be the six inches of twine found in vomitus. Instructed to withhold food for 24 hours, then slowly introduce boiled rice and chicken.

10:30 - Patient: Captain Hezekiah Barnhart, age 34. Reluctantly requested consultation in his quarters for a boil in advanced putrid state on his posterior. Lanced and packed with oregano-soaked gauze. Applied sterile dressing, to be checked twice daily. Requested that I dine with him this evening as reimbursement for my careful attention.

Lunch was an entertaining two hours, eating while the passengers relayed their stories. While a few teared up, the overall mood was cheerful. I remained a smiling observer. One passenger requested Captain Barnhart sit at our table as he limped by on patrol, which he politely declined with slightly reddened cheeks. I have yet to see him sit today.

Numerous small tasks such as removing splinters, giving lactation advice, and being a listening ear to an elderly woman traveling alone occupied my afternoon.

This journey has taken me by surprise. Last night, I lay awake fearing Gordon would force the Adeline ashore, board her, and take me into custody despite the fact he cannot legally do this. That man threw the law out the window as soon as Missy died. Oh, how I miss her.

Twenty more passengers boarded at Pemiscot, five disembarked. Saw no sign of Gordon Wilkes. Today kept my hands and mind busy. I am grateful.

Postscript: Melvin Strube's gash shows improvement, no infection. He does complain of a sore neck, though I'm not surprised. The pelican has been hanging around.


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