Doc Ch. 26


We were up at first light and getting ready for the trip home. I was starting to get a little fed up with the way my women were fussing over me, and treating me like I was an invalid. I could take just so much! Finally I went outside, to see about getting things ready to move. That's when the shit really hit the fan. They all came over and started raising hell with me, that I was going to injure myself worse.

Finally I yelled, "That's enough! I'm not some two-year-old child you can boss around. If I think I might hurt myself, I'll stop."

I could see this was a big mistake, because all four of them started tearing up. I was really starting to feel like a heel, so I pulled them all close, and cuddled them. I let them know that I still loved them, but that I was not a total invalid. I was capable of doing, and thinking, for myself.

After finally getting them settled down, I got into my medical wagon and grabbed one of the extra bottles of penicillin. I headed back towards the house.

Doc Williams met me at the door. He said that his sister Liz had breakfast almost ready, and that we should come in and wash up. I gave him the bottle of penicillin. Once more I cautioned him to use a small amount, at first, and to keep an eye on the patient for any allergic reaction.

"What kind of reaction should I watch for?" He asked.

"Well, the most common allergic reactions are going into shock, shortness of breath, stopping breathing, and/or convulsions."

He got a scared look on his face and said, "Those sound pretty serious what do I do if they have one of those reactions?"

I explained, "If they start going into shock you treat them by keeping them warm and elevating their legs just like any other shock patient. Convulsions, just make sure that they are safe and do not bite or swallowed their tongue. If they stop breathing, or their heart stops, you can perform artificial respiration and CPR."

Judging by the confused look on his face, I could tell he didn't understand much of anything I had just told him. Rather than confuse him even more I told him.

"Maybe we should wait another day before we leave. I will teach you how to do all these things."

That brought a look of relief to his face. I told him that maybe after breakfast he could round up some of the others who might be interested. I would hold a general first aid class. He got so excited that he was ready to rush off and start gathering the others, right then. I told him there would be plenty of time after breakfast to get a class going, and if we didn't get it all today, an extra day wouldn't hurt anything. It would even give me an extra day to heal.

After we finished eating Doc Williams rushed off to gather the others who might be interested in learning a little first aid. While he was gone, I had my ladies help me assemble some supplies from the medical wagon. I would need them to teach the 'students' some basic first aid, and CPR.

As soon as we finished gathering the supplies, we went into both of the wagons, to see what we could do about making them more comfortable.

At first we rigged a hammock, of a sort, to make it more comfortable for the long ride home. That didn't work. As soon as I lay down in it, it felt like I was being folded in half. This caused a lot of pain. It took both Dawn and Running Deer, to help me get out of it. We tried using two mattresses. This didn't seem to help much, either. Little Doe had the idea of trying a couple of feather mattresses, which she could get from the general store. That helped some, but I could tell it was going to be awful warm lying on feather mattresses that tended to conform all around me, as I settled into them. Once again, I had to have help getting back out and was wondering how much cushioning they would provide once we started going down the road and the mattress started settling in upon itself. This was getting very frustrating.

Finally I said, "This is becoming more of a hassle than I think it's worth. I think I'll be more comfortable riding up on the front seat most of the time. If all else fails, I can get out and walk beside the wagon. If we get an early enough start we should be able to make it before it gets dark.

While we were trying to decide all this Doc Williams returned with two older women, and one teenage girl. Next a man I had never met, showed up. Doc Williams turned to the man and introduced him as the town's barber, explaining that the barber had been known to have to sew up wounds, and set broken bones, when he (Doc Williams) wasn't available. He thought some of the training would be beneficial for him, also.

I welcomed them all. I said I would be teaching them some basic first aid. My wife Moon would be teaching them some of the uses of homeopathic medicines: such as Willow bark tea as a mild pain reliever, fever root to help bring down a fever, and other natural medicines.

We started with some of the basic first aid such as how to set a broken bone, and splint it, so it would not move. Then we went on to bandaging a wound, and applying pressure to help slow down or stop bleeding. I also showed them how to tie a tourniquet, and when to loosen the tourniquet so that the blood flow would not be cut off for too long, because the loss of circulation may cause the patient to lose that limb where the tourniquet was applied.

We worked on this for most of the rest of the morning. There were questions asked about what to do in specific cases, which I tried to answer as best I could, explaining that this was just basic first aid. For the more complicated cases, they would need more advanced training.

We broke for lunch, while the midwives questioned me on complications regarding helping with birthing a baby. I explained that while most births were straightforward, there were some (such as a breach birth) where there really wasn't much that they could do besides trying to turn the baby and making sure that the cord wasn't wrapped around its neck. There were other ways to remove the baby, such as an operation called Caesarean section, though this was a 'last resort' option.

After lunch we carried on teaching artificial respiration, which was basically breathing for the patient, if necessary. Basic treatment for shock intensified after I explained that if a patient went into shock, it could kill the patient just as easily as the wound itself. It was something to be watched for, in almost every case. The thing that shocked them the most, was teaching them how to perform CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation). Basically, that is restarting the heart, which is performed in conjunction with artificial respiration, to keep them breathing.

This shook them up when one of the midwives claimed it was against the Bible bringing someone back from the dead. I explained that they weren't really dead, yet. The human body could go three to five minutes without a heartbeat or breathing, before it was truly dead. Any time much more than a few minutes would cause brain damage, or death. But CPR, or artificial respiration, could help save their lives, whereas by doing nothing they would surely die.

I wasn't sure I was getting through, though, because the one midwife kept crossing herself and mumbling something about the Bible. I have nothing against people's religious beliefs, but they shouldn't let them get in the way of helping save someone's life. I tried explaining to her the ways the Bible said to cherish life, but I could tell I wasn't getting through to her. We spent the remainder of the afternoon practicing on each other. I had to explain to them to not use as much force practicing CPR, as what you would normally use, since you didn't need to cave in each other's chest using full pressure. After about an hour of practice, a man came to the door of Elizabeth's house. He was holding a telegram addressed to me. I read it, quickly.

Deputy Sheriff Thomas stop Prisoners delivered to Hill City jail by band of Sioux Indians led by Sub Chief Spotted Owl stop Citizens of Hill City and surrounding area are in an uproar about the treatment of the prisoners by the Indians stop Afraid of possible violence stop Return as soon as possible stop

Judge Mitchell

After reading this, I decided we needed to leave immediately. We said our goodbyes to Doc Williams and his sister, and made arrangements for them to meet us at uncle Henry's ranch in two weeks. He was to bring or notify anyone else interested in learning first aid, to meet us there at that time.

We hitched up both wagons, and started off immediately. I was sitting on the front seat of my doctor's wagon, with Dawn driving it. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, since the seats was well padded, and was also sprung. It was the front bench seat out of my Power Wagon!

We made pretty good time, until we were about a mile outside of town. I heard gunshots coming from the town. Much to my ladies' objections I climbed aboard my horse, and took off at a dead run to town. Upon arrival I saw mob outside of City Hall, the building where the courtroom and town jail were both located. Pulling my pistol I fired into the air getting the mob's attention.

"Just what the hell is going on here? This looks like you people are trying to take the law into your own hands! I'm telling you as long as I'm the law, here, there will be NO mob rule!" I screamed at them. "I want all of you to disperse and go home! The first one of you that tries to take the law into your own hands, will either be locked up, or lying dead in the street!"

My side was really hurting, now, and was starting to bleed again. That just pissed me off more.

"I thought I said 'GIT!' And don't y'all even think about heading to one of those saloons or taverns! As soon as I have things settled here, I'm going around to make sure all of them close up for the night!"

With a bunch of grumbling they started to make their way away from the jail. After they dispersed, I went inside to see what the situation was. I was surprised to find the prisoners all locked into one cell, and the Indians that had escorted them, in the other. This pissed me off, again! I turned to Judge Mitchell and the Jailer and asked just what the hell was the meaning of locking up the Indians?

Judge Mitchell stammered for a few seconds and then said, "The mob was all set to lynch all of the Indians! We were afraid that would cause a new Indian war. So we decided to put the Indians in a cell for their own protection. If you care to look you'll find that the cell door is not locked."

I was still pissed off and said, "So is it becoming standard practice to lock up your deputies?"

Judge Mitchell looked at me funny and said, "Deputies?"

"Yes! I deputized these Indians to return the prisoners to the jail, since I was wounded and unable to bring them in, myself."

"Wounded! No one told us anything about you being wounded!"

Finally, he looked down and saw the blood soaking through my shirt.

"Did anyone even give them a chance to explain what happened? The one Indian, Tall Bear, saved my life by killing his own brother. These Indians deserve a hell of a lot better treatment than this!"

"We didn't know, these Indians just rode in holding guns on all of these white men. And we didn't know what was going on."

"You realize most of them do not speak English. I know that some of them do, such as my father-in-law Spotted Owl. Hell since He's a sub chief of the Lakota Nation, directly under Chief Red Cloud by not considering his opinion it could be taken as an insult to the Lakota people. I'm trying to avert having a new Indian uprising by having the Lakota work to uphold the laws in this area. And it seems visit every time I turn around someone's trying to throw a monkey wrench into the works. You know, according to the Laramie treaty, all this land legally belongs to them. Having them help uphold the law could be a real good thing letting them have some say will make him feel a part of the process instead of as an outsider looking in."

Judge Mitchell thought for a moment and then said, "I'm just not sure, Clay. Having the Indians enforce the law isn't going to set well with most of the white folks in the area. There may be a lot of resentment, and possible violence."

"I don't give a damn how much they resent it. If they cause any trouble they're going to find their asses locked up, and coming before you on the bench. These Indians are people, and they deserve the same respect that any other person gets. If someone shoots at them, or causes any other trouble, I expect they will have the same punishments as if it had been done to a white person."

The judge was starting to get pissed off about my attitude and said. "Just who the hell do you think you are? I am the law, here, not you. You're just here to uphold the law not set policies!"

I took off my badge and slammed it down on his desk and said, "If you are the law, then you can just get out there and do the enforcing of the law yourself! If you are going to just look the other way, and enforce the law only for a select few white bigots, then I quit. But like it or not, if these Lakota are not treated fairly, you can plan on them doing things their own way. I promised them that if they worked with the white man, in the white man's way, they would be treated fairly."

I then got all of the Indians out of the cell, to take them back to the ranch. Unfortunately, at that time, both my wagons rolled into town. My ladies jumped down, and rushed over to me. Upon seeing that my wound had opened, they started fussing over me again, and raising hell.

'Some days you just can't win for losing' as the saying goes.

Edited By TeNderLoin, the Old Fart, and PC Bondsman

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