Doc Ch. 25


Now I had four women surrounding me, all trying to talk all at once. Suddenly, Dawn stopped, and slapped me right across the face. Then she stepped back with a look of horror on her face. The others just stared at her, also in shock. Suddenly she was in my arms, crying and begging me to forgive her. She said that she was so scared of me dying, that something inside her just snapped. She said she hadn't meant to slap me.

I just wrapped her in my arms, trying to ignore the pain of my side. I was whispering in her ear that everything would be okay, while trying to comfort her until she stopped crying. After several minutes she finally started to settle down. Looking up at my other wives, I noticed that all three of them were glaring at me.

Finally, I asked them, with tears in my eyes, "What did I do? All of you seem to be angry at me, but I don't think I've done anything wrong! Are you tired of being my wives? Are you going to leave me?"

The next thing I knew I had all four of them crying and trying to hug me at once.

"No! We were just afraid you were going to die. We were afraid we would be widows before we even became mothers."

Moon then glanced up to my face and noticed me trying not to show the pain I was obviously having.

Turning to the others she said, "Clay! You should say we give you pain!"

On hearing that, all my wives turned me loose. They pulled back a step, so as to keep from hurting me any more. Seeing the looks on their faces, from having hurt me, I quickly pulled them close again. I ignored any slight twinges of pain, so as not to cause them any more distress. I assured them that I was okay; that I was very sore, but should be able to go home in a day or two.

After that, we sat and tried visiting. It was a chore just trying to keep them from fussing over me. It seemed like every time I tried to do something, one of them was there trying to do it for me. I finally got tired of it.

"Girls, you've got to let me try to do things for myself. I'm not helpless. The sooner I start to do things for myself, again, the sooner I'll be better."

I could see that this didn't set well with them, but I was getting a little fed up with them trying to pamper me.

After that, things started to settle down a little bit.

I asked, "How did you get here, and where are y'all going to stay, while you are here? I should be able to go home a couple days, if we can work out how to get there."

Running Deer spoke up then and said, "When we found out you were hurt, we loaded everything into the wagons, and came here as fast as we could. We have Doctor Wagon, and House Wagon, parked outside."

I was surprised that they had brought both of the wagons so I asked," I understand you bringing the wagon that we live in, but why you did you bring my doctor's wagon?"

"Knew you were hurt. We thought you might need Doctor things."

I thought for a minute, and concluded that maybe they were right. There were many items in the wagon that might make things easier for my recovery. There were also many more medical supplies then I normally have in my first aid kit.

I said, "Maybe you're right. There are things in that wagon that we may need. I should be ready to travel home in the next couple of days, but I doubt I will be able to drive, right away. One of you will have to do the driving for me."

"Is okay. Running Deer and Little Doe drive House wagon. Dawn and Moon drive Doctor wagon," Moon said.

"Yes, that will work. However, right now, I don't think I can handle being bounced around too much. We'll see how things are in a day or so."

We continued to talk for a few hours.

Doctor Williams' sister came in, with a bowl of chicken soup. She said that it was time to eat. Turning to my wives, she said that she had food for everyone in the kitchen. She would feed me, while they were in the kitchen eating. Then she said I needed to rest. This started all my wives saying how they would help take care of me.

Seeing that my wives were ready to argue about this, I butted in. I said how Doctor Williams had told me about his sister wanting to study medicine, and how this would be good experience for her. This seemed to calm them down, some; but I could still see they were anxious to take care of me, themselves.

After we had eaten we sat around with the women fussing over me. Doc Williams came in with another man that I'd seen before, but never met.

He said, "Clay, I'd like you to meet Clem Aldrich, our local blacksmith. I know most blacksmiths just do rough metal work, but Clem is kind of an artist. I was wondering if you would let Clem take a look at your instruments, and see if he could possibly copy them."

This got me kind of interested. If Clem could copy them, then possibly I could have a spare set, and Doctor Williams could have a set of his own. Moon then ran outside and brought back my Doctor's bag from the wagon. I set about showing what my instruments were, and how they worked. This got Clem excited, and he brought out a couple of sheets of paper. He started to draw how my instruments looked, and how they worked.

After a minute he asked, "These are great tools but wouldn't some of them be better if they were smaller?"

"Yes, the smaller the better for some, but they still have to work the same. Are you able to do such precision work?"

"Yes. I was originally trained as a gunsmith but there's not enough work of that kind to make a living, so what I mostly do is blacksmithing. I still got all my gunsmith tools, though, and I can do precision work with them."

This got me really excited! If he could make these tools, and another set of some of them at about half the size; it would make things a lot easier, since I didn't have everything thought I needed. I had Dawn bring me some paper and a pencil, from the wagon. I started to sketch out more instruments, to see if Clem could make them.

As I was sketching a couple of clamps and hemostats I wanted; I noticed Doctor Williams and Clem, both, staring at me. I stopped and asked them what they were looking at.

Clem said, "I've seen pencils before, but never one that could write such a fine line. Where did you get something like that?"

He held up the pencil he was using. It looked like something a kindergartner or a carpenter would use. It was about half an inch across, and very bulky.

I thought fast and said, "I got a bunch of these back East. I've got a couple I'll give you. They are good for sketching, because they make such a fine line."

I was just glad that I wasn't using a ball point pen. I wasn't sure how I would explain that!

Clem studied what I had drawn and said, "I'm pretty sure I can make those. Do you want them in different sizes?

"If you can but like another set just like these and two sets about half the size of this one. How long do you think it will take you to make them?"

"You should be able to have them in two or three weeks."

Doctor Williams then asked, "Clay, he won't be able to make them shiny like these. How can he stop them from rusting? If you use oil it would poison whatever you use them on."

Thinking about this I said, "You have to use mineral oil to protect them from rust. Then you boil them and clean them with alcohol, before you use them."

"That might work. We do have to keep an eye on our patients for infection, but that 'horse stuff' you have should work. Think you can get more of that for me?"

"I'll leave you some of what I have. I think I have the instructions on how to make more, in one of my books. I know it is actually made from the mold that you can find on some fruits. I'll have to look through my books, and do some experimenting, before I'm sure."

I paid Clem for instruments he would be making, and he grinned.

He told me, "I think I might make a lot of extra copies of some of these. It will be something to do while we're snowed in this winter. I can see a lot of other uses for some of these. Especially the one that clamps shut," he added, pointing to the hemostats.

"Yes, those are very handy for a lot of things. But remember to use good steel to make them. Spring steel works best. That's what these are made of. Then, these are plated to prevent corrosion."

Clem thought for a minute then said, "I've done some electoral plating on guns with gold and silver. But it is very slow and expensive to do. Would that help?"

"They would both work great. However, gold is soft, and would wear off faster. If you use silver it would last a lot longer. On most things you would not have to plate them. But for medical instruments, if they were plated with silver, there would be less chance of infection."

I was the glad I had paid the extra money to have the ones that Shoemaker had made, plated with silver.

After receiving the extra money for the plating, Clem left, anxious to get started. We sat and visited with Doc Williams and his sister, about possible medical school for her, and the first aid training I would give everyone in the coming month.

Doc Williams said, "I know of several people in the area who could benefit from some medical training. Three are midwives. I know they would find any extra training really useful. Hell, I think I'll join the class myself! The extra training will help me, as well."

I was starting to get really tired now. I told Doc Williams and his sister Helen good night, as they would be heading home early in the morning. I expected my wives to go outside, to sleep in the House wagon, but they started carrying in bedding. They made a huge pallet on the floor of my room.

I asked, "What are you doing? Wouldn't you be more comfortable in the wagons?"

"No. We sleep here in case you need something in the night," Little Doe said.

Seeing that I would get nowhere arguing with them, I said, "Okay. Well, get to sleep. I want to leave here, first thing in the morning. I'm not looking forward to how bumpy the ride is going to be. It's over twenty-five miles, so it's going to take all day."

I fell asleep thinking of the upcoming bumpy ride. I decided that one of my first priorities was going to be to copy the springs and shocks from my Dodge Power Wagon, for both the House wagon, and the Doctor wagon.


Edited By TeNderLoin and The Old Fart

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