Good things arriving in the mail

Do you look forward to getting items in the mail?

Oh, I mean other than the junk mail.

Even from childhood, I remember good things arriving in the mail. In the years of WWII, probably around 1943 or 1944, I was pleased to receive the Jack and Jill children’s magazine for a few years. There were puzzles and stories for the 6-12 age group, but I stopped receiving that magazine by the time I was about 9 and instead received Boys’ Life. Actually I didn’t receive it, but rather my brother and I received it. He was three years older than me and so we got it when he joined the Boy Scouts at age 12 – the age then for moving from cub scouts to boy scouts.

Other nice things that came in the mail included greeting cards, postal cards and postcards for various holidays. Greeting cards were especially welcomed at Christmas and birthdays as they sometimes carried a monetary gift. Postal cards (those pre-stamped cards from the U.S. Post Office) were usually for mundane things, but postcards were better – often scenes from far away from home where relatives or friends lived or where they traveled.

In an earlier column I may have mentioned that I have a postcard collection including many that my father had received from the early 1900s celebrating birthdays and holidays, especially Chistmas and Easter as well as some scenic travel postcards. Unfortunately, these days, more of my mail seems to be less fun when there are advertisements and worse: BILLS.

Sixty years ago I also remember receiving a letter, not unexpectedly, from my local draft board. I had not turned 18 until I was a freshman in college and at that time I immediately asked for and received a deferment, II-S (2-S) deferment, that was good until I had graduated and was ready to begin teaching.

That 60 years ago letter said that I must report for a physical before the draft board would determine my new classification. They did not want to bother with any deferments any longer if I weren’t physically fit.

I met the other fellows, about 30 of us, at the draft board in Dayton, Ohio, and they loaded us on a bus to get our physicals at a base in Cincinnati, Ohio. The ages of our group went from 18 to about 22. We did the usual lineup in our undershorts, stripped totally when we got to the doctors. Then there was the paperwork which included a “test.” The test wasn’t exactly an intelligence test. It included some easy arithmetic, but also included identification of some engine parts and some tools and machinery as I recall.

At the end of this experience I remember announcing to (blaming my) mother for having such a healthy child that I would now be classified I-A. However, I did luck out in having a draft board that met its quota from volunteers rather than having to do much drafting, thus allowing the draft board to give me a II-A classification, a classification given to those who had certain occupations important enough to stay in the civilian population. In my case that was teaching science and mathematics.

At the time there were 22 different draft classifications under five Roman numerals, I, II, III, IV, and V, with a number of sub-classifications. Another example was II-C which was similar to my classification only it was for agricultural occupations. I-W was for conscientious objectors. Also, the deferment classifications were used for those under the age of 26. I remember hearing, though I don’t know whether it was the truth, that they did not like to draft those over 26 because by then they were too set in their ways.


So much for a little history. The other day I received, again not totally unexpected, a letter I had hoped would never come. This time it announced that my primary care physician was moving into an administrative position and would no longer be serving individual patients. That meant I needed to find another doctor.

This month marks my 50th year in Marshall and that letter meant I would now have to find a fifth primary care doctor. I have come to believe that it is better to have a primary care doctor than to just show up at urgent care. Find a doctor who remembers me and knows my medical history. But it had been so long since I had to find such a person!

When I first came to Marshall, my doctor was about 30 years older than I was, so when he retired, I thought I would go for a doctor who was my age or younger. I found one. That lasted for about five years. That doctor left for Alexandria. So again, I found an even younger one, thinking that it might be the last one for whom I would have to search. Not so. That doctor also decided to move to Alexandria.

So again I found yet another doctor younger than me who has been great. So now I am old enough that I don’t even know any doctors close to my age! Oh, Fiddlesticks!


So, what’s a fellow to do? I had received one of those advertisements in the Marshall Independent that showed pictures of 84 people at Avera (“nearly 100 providers” it said.) Now how do I decipher all of the acronyms?

I can’t remember not knowing that MD stood for Medical Doctor, but CNP, LICSW, PhD, DC, PA-C, DO, OD, DNP, PNP (Is that like BnB?), DPM, CRNA, FNP, RN (I did know that one), CPNP, FNP-C, and DPM. To be fair, there was also some non-acronym identifications, but of the acronyms, seven were further classified as Family Medicine. Not only that, I know folks who have primary care doctors who are not under Family Medicine, but are described as Internal Medicine.

I do have a suggestion, they need an 85th provider under the category FADD, in other words, someone who can Find A Doctor Doctor.

Until next time: Oh, Fiddlesticks!