…Let Me Go Home and Get Sober!

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Bottle of wine
Fruit of the vine
When you gonna let me get sober?
Leave me alone
Let me go home
Let me go home and start over!

So started the lyrics to the song, “Bottle of Wine”, written by Thomas Paxton and immortalized (at least in my memory) by the Kingston Trio.

I grew up in a non-drinking family, and to this day I seldom even have a glass of wine.  I may drink a glass once every month or so, but that’s about it.  So, being around those who did drink was a different kind of experience for me.

When I was in high school, my best friend’s dad liked to drink beer.  And sometimes, he put beer in the dog’s bowl and the dog would lap it right up.  It didn’t take much, of course, for the dog to become inebriated and walk crazily through the house.  At the time it seemed kinda funny, though in hindsight, it really wasn’t.  (Well, sorta…)

When I was processing some photos this weekend, I came across some pictures that we took of our dog, Lucy.  It must have been from some time ago because the “cover” that’s on her in this picture no longer resides with us.  Somehow, she’d managed to pull this cover (which was on the couch to protect it from her voluminous shedding) down over the top of her.  Just this part of her face was sticking out, and it reminded me when I saw it of what a dog with a hangover might look like and the words to that old Kingston Trio song sprang readily to mind.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (in honor of the release of San Andreas, the movie, this weekend): in 1887, reflecting a scientific spirit that was rare among frontier physicians, Tombstone doctor George Goodfellow rushed south to investigate an earthquake in Mexico. Though keenly interested in earthquakes, Goodfellow is best remembered today for being one of the nation’s leading experts on the treatment of gunshot wounds, a condition he had many opportunities to study in the wild mining town of Tombstone, Arizona.

Born in Downieville, California, in 1855, Goodfellow studied medicine at Cleveland Medical College and graduated with honors in 1876. He practiced briefly in Oakland, but then went to Prescott, Arizona, where his father was a mining engineer. After working for a time as an army contract surgeon, he relocated to Tombstone in 1880, one year before the Earps and McLaury-Clantons shot it out at the O.K. Corral. Since Tombstone was also home to dozens of other gunslingers and criminals, Goodfellow’s skills as physician, surgeon, and coroner were in steady demand.

Although he was a serious and studious physician, Goodfellow was not above indulging in a bit of gallows humor, which was well suited to a town like Tombstone. Describing the condition of one murder victim, he wrote that the corpse was “rich in lead, but too badly punctured to hold whiskey.” In his role as coroner, he deflected guilt from a vigilante lynch mob by officially ruling that the victim “came to his death from emphysema of the lungs, a disease common to high altitudes, which might have been caused by strangulation, self-inflicted or otherwise.”

Yet Goodfellow did much more than perform autopsies on murder victims and treat bullet wounds. He developed new methods of operating on the prostate gland and performed the first successful prostatectomy in history. He was among the first surgeons anywhere, much less in the remote regions of the Wild West, to use spinal anesthesia. He advocated an open-air treatment of tuberculosis that soon made the desert climate of the Southwest the home of hundreds of sanatoriums.

In a time when many self-professed doctors had little or no formal training and used treatments that often did more harm than good, Goodfellow was a dedicated scientist who believed diseases could be cured with rational methods. He made frequent trips east to remain abreast of the latest medical breakthroughs. He was also a talented linguist and an avid student of geology, rushing to the Sonora Desert on this day in 1887 to study the effects of a powerful earthquake.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: An earthquake in A.D. 1201 in the eastern Mediterranean is labeled the worst earthquake in history and claimed an estimated one million lives.


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