Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #323

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #323

…On one hand, A.O. wanted to give Maggie the world, yet when it comes to revenue streams, his compassionate heart would trump his family’s bottom-line needs…

A Lonely Path by Dan Crystalis

A Lonely Path by Dan Crystalis

A single solitary figure sits huddled against the back corner of a room; whose corners are all too near to one another. The pungent light of a dwindling candle wavers forth and back, barely illuminating the tattered pages of an obviously well read black book. Once surgically skilled hands, thumb painfully, yet knowingly to the Gospel of Saint Matthew Chapter 5 verse 4:

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted”, thus saith the Lord our God, by the way of Alpha Omega Campbell, good and faithful servant. He goes to his knees to pray for the health of his dearest Maggie Lou. She has not taken her husband’s arrest very well. No other than he, has she depended on for the last 37 years of her life. What will come of her if she loses him to prison?

Unfortunately, it is partially due to her cozy lifestyle that her husband is sitting on a cold steel bench. Over the years, many of which were prosperous, Maggie Lou Campbell had become accustomed to:

  • The house maidImage result for household servants
  • Chef
  • Chauffeur
  • Gardener
  • Tailor

And whatever else she wanted within reason.

For his part, Alpha Campbell had lost perspective, as it relates to finances. On one hand, he wanted to give Maggie the world, yet when it comes to revenue streams, his compassionate heart would trump his family’s bottom-line needs. Yes, that sweet potato pie is wonderful, but the Lewis State Bank would prefer cash.

Equally unfortunate is the fact that the folks with cash in hand are those who are most desperate. Those that have not… ‘Doc Campbell, please help my baby, he won’t stop crying and I have tried everythin’ I know.’ Or, ‘If you could get this bunion off my foot, I would be so grateful.’ And lastly (badly), ‘Our doctor Image result for dollar sign gifsent us here. He said you will keep our affairs private. My baby girl is too young to have her own baby… what will people say.’ These have the dough.

  Two hundred dollars ($200) in the 1950’s is a goodly amount of money, just as the three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) is more than substantive for a private hospital. $10 soothes a colicky baby, $65 dollars pays for the surgical removal of that painful bunion, but 200 big ones will get you an abortion.

Before modern day pictures (sonograms) of a moving, womb-bound neonates, who may dissuade the mother from aborting, instead, no baby — problem solved. Maybe now Auntie Margaret will stop asking about that recent weight gain.

Perhaps most debilitating for the Campbells, is the fact that the white folks of Tallahassee are not permitted to be treated at Laura Bell Memorial Hospital; no white floor or wing for fair skinned Floridians, even if they wanted to be treated there.

          Stop and reflect upon the last paragraph.

braceT LFT

Black Tallahassee is minimally educated, mostly poor, but white Tallahassee is a university town, capitol to the state and very much in need of affordable healthcare.

Whites are remarkably discouraged from stepping foot into LBMH. City fathers have even diminished it by calling it ‘Campbell Clinic’, a.k.a. not worthy.


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #322

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #322

…This is out of my hands, Carolyn. The Leon County Sheriff is after him and he has aced me out of this case, flat out barring me from any input…

aced-out-001

In the midst of this playful banter, the telephone rings. It has its origins from a Florida exchange, as suggested by the type of ring.

“I’ll get it!” Lyn is hoping it is the call she has been waiting for. “Hello?”Image result for old telephone gif

“Miss Hanes, is that you? This is a voice from your past.”

“It is Mrs. Ford now, Joe Slater. How are you?”

“Its getting busy here, but I will always have time for you.” Detective Joe is a grizzled veteran of the Tallahassee community, including the ins and outs of everyone’s business, though not in a nosey way. He merely knows a lot.

“I’m glad for that because I’ve heard some scuttlebutt about Doc Campbell; manslaughter Joe? He couldn’t hurt a fly, you know that.”

This is out of my hands, Carolyn. The Leon County Sheriff is after him and he has aced me out of this case, flat out barring me from any input.”

“What did Campbell do?”

“He treated a girl or two from Jacksonville way, you know, got them out of trouble.”

“You know what I think about abortion, Joe, I do not approve of it morally, but making it a capital offense is wrong. Penalties should fit the crime.”

“Yeah, I understand that, but one of the girls died.”

“Oh,” period, end of sentence.

“But she had been seeing another doctor back east and she was allergic to penicillin.” Slater knows the details, but he is being trumped by a shadowy machination.

“It sounds like he is being railroaded, am I right?”

Image result for railroaded

“The Pensacola & East all the way!” He refers to the railway where a young Alfrey Campbell was nearly run over by in 1896. “Somebody wants him out of the way, gal. Some see him getting in the way of progress, if you know what I mean. He and Maggie still own some fine property, though some of it is slipping into curious hands.”

“Who is helping him, Joe? He must have representation.”

“Well, that is part of the problem. James Ferrell passed away a couple years back and R. Worth Moore is no James Ferrell.”

“Enough said. Bob will fly me in tomorrow. I will call from the airport.”

“You got it, Lyn and I wouldn’t waste any time getting here.”

“One more thing….Who is the Sheriff of Leon County??”

“W. P Joyce.”

  “Hummm,,,,,,,,, interesting.”

She knows something.


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #321

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #321

Chapter Nineteen

Trials and Triumph

…Does she or doesn’t she…

Does she or doesn’t she?” Bob Ford knows the answer to that question, posed by advertisers for Miss Clairol, but he best not spill the truth about the color of his wife’s hair.

“I think that the visual medium of television is a bit too nosey for my taste.” Lyn Hanes-Ford laments about the potential invasion of privacy.

“But only your hair dresser knows for sure!” The wily fly-boy is watching way too much television now that he is semi-retired. “You know, your hair was darker when I first met you.”

Carolyn’s steely blue eyes are focused on her husband’s direction, her attention drawn away from the banging of artful keystrokes, those recounting Bob’s former heroics. She muses, “Let’s see, didn’t you typewriterget your crew lost over the Arabian Sea, nearly running out of fuel?”

Ford does not remember it that way and why is she tinkering with the story of the Pacific Clipper. “Hey sweetie, you know that we were flying by the seat of our pants and I thought you finished that account last year.”

Lyn fluffs her shoulder length blond locks. “I just had a bunch of notes on paper, no structured text, when I started “The Day”. Now I have time to tell the whole story… that was an amazing experience, Bob!”

“Okay, you were a blond when I met you.”

“I thought you would see it my way…”

In the midst of this playful banter, the telephone rings. It has its origins from a Florida exchange, as suggested by the type of ring.

          “I’ll get it!” she is hoping it is the call she has been waiting for. “Hello?”

          “Miss Hanes, is that you? This is a voice from your past.”

          “It is Mrs. Ford now, Joe Slater. How are you?”


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #319

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #319

…As a direct result of leaving the care of A.O. Campbell, Audrie Franich infects, reacts to an antibiotic treatment from another doc and her frail body gives up the ghost…

Image result for give up the ghost painting

Give up the Ghost by Vincent Xeus

“But…” Ifs and buts may as well be candy and nuts. The Franich girl is quickly becoming a victim of yet another misjudgment. First, she gets pregnant by her merchant marine husband, who goes out to sea and leaves her alone. Secondly, she goes to a white Jacksonville doctor, who makes a lame attempt at an illegal medical procedure; abortion without getting your hands dirty… plain lazy. Then, to correct the second misstep, Doc Campbell is compelled to restore a pre-pregnancy state for young Audrie, the lesser of the previous evils, but it now leads to the final wrong in an error-packed 5 months.

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In the intervening month, Audrie Franich, the young mother of two children, dies. As a direct result of leaving the care of A.O. Campbell, she infects, reacts to an antibiotic treatment from another doc and her frail body gives up the ghost. Mother of Audrie, Mary Gray will be at the deathbed, convinced that her daughter is telling her that it is Doctor Alpha Omega Campbell who performed an abortion on her. Not a doctor in Jacksonville or another at Havana.

 

All this time, A.O. has been drawing unwanted attention to himself. Despite repeated warnings by his legal counsel, Campbell receives other young white women with different, yet similar conditions as Audrie Franich.

One such is seventeen and unmarried. Her future husband insists that she have an abortion. He will pay for it for now, and then they can marry. Are they getting things backwards? Yes of course, but in 1955, women do not have children out of wedlock, at least the respectable ones. The baby delivers anyway, but lives just two days.

Another woman, who cannot keep straight who she is married to and when, needs an abortion to align her life properly. She cannot have the child of the man she is divorcing, because her new husband would not approve. This picture is so convoluted that the doc is unable to separate out the facts from the fiction. What does he do? Yes of course, he tries to help, even though this patient ingested large doses of quinine in a “do-it-yourself” attempt.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #319


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #318

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #318

…Out in the hallway, Mary Gray’s imagination is running away with her. To her ear, she hears a baby’s cry. “Oh, what a miracle!…

Magical art from Jae Nelle

Magical art from Jae Nelle

Despite A.O.’s lecture, his patient misses the third day. “My Daddy’s jetty wouldn’t catch Doc. I ain’t in no shape to walk here ya know.”

No legal disclaimer or otherwise would cover this procedure. He prays that the girl is bacteria free.

“I think you are about ready, Audrie. This should be the last time.” He will be glad to wash his hands of this one.

 Just as he spread the girl’s legs for the final gauzing, her weary uterus expels its lifeless occupant with absolutely no warning.

With the adept skills of Smoky Burgess (a catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League of Major League Baseball) A.O. fields the exiting baby cleanly. Lillie Chevis lets out a shrill squeal in reaction to a once in a lifetime happening.

Out in the hallway, Mary Gray’s imagination is running away with her. To her ear, she hears a baby’s cry. “Oh, what a miracle!” she storms into 205 in time to witness the doctor placing a blackish limp little body into a bag. “I heard a baby crying.”

Lillie stops Mrs. Gray from advancing further than 10 feet away.

  “No, Mrs. Gray, you are mistaken. This baby has been dead in the womb three or more days. You knew that comin’ into this.”

Her daughter, dripping with sweat from the effort and the closeness of 80% humidity, lays motionless. She sobs uncontrollably, disoriented and amnesic. “Let’s go home, darlin’.”

  “Get a hold of yourself woman. You are 150 miles from home.”  He wishes that he have had Maggie Lou latch onto her and keep her at their house, which is on the same property as the hospital. He presses 205’s intercom button,

“Pack Audrie up good after I’m done scraping,” he instructs Lillie.

Mrs. Gray is speechless. Staying at a Negro’s house? How did it come to this? She thought this whole thing would be done in an hour. Now it is four days and she must be civil to a black couple, who is holding her daughter against her will.

Audrie is too overwhelmed to protest. Mother Gray’s bigotry is tainting her good sense.

“No, Mr. Campbell, we’re goin’ to Concord… I’d rather take her to her Daddy’s.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #317

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #317

…The fact that A.O. was not considering his dealings with Audrie Franich as an abortion has distracted him…

atari-pitfall-001

As young Audrie Franich is taken to the second floor room, where numerous hand-sized lives have been taken, without having had the chance to fulfill God’s intended purpose. This beleaguered doctor, assailed by both needs and the needy, has forever wrestled with the moral aspect of this one small corner of his business. Just what does his Maker and God, looking down from above, see? Is He sorely disappointed with the man, born Alfrey Campbell, or does He gaze with compassion and grace? A devout servant and worshiper has a single soiled corner in an otherwise spotless house.

Alpha Campbell, the doctor, speaks with a new desk nurse named Edwina Stephens. “When I’m done packin’ the girl, make sure that Miss Franich comes back for two more days of packin’ of the uterus. It’s a damn shame I can’t keep her here. What would be the harm in it?”

“Yes, sir, Dr. Campbell, three days,” Edwina is new and nervous. So new, that she is making the worst possible of innocent mistakes. One of her duties is the appointment book. She was not around in 1954. Had she been, the woman she has replaced, Lettie Golden, would be having a coronary, as would Attorney Sinclair Clavitt. Back then, there were but a scant 15 minutes between that appointment book and infamy.

The fact that A.O. was not considering his dealings with Audrie Franich as an abortion has distracted him. More lessons not learned.

distracted

“I want to be there with my baby!” mother Mary cries out.

“This needs to be a complete sterile area, Mrs. Gray. Please wait in the hall.” Head nurse, Lillie Chevis, is a skilled doctor’s right hand. She has been with Dr. Campbell since he opened his hospital in 1947. She had left Florida A&M Hospital because she shared A.O.’s vision. But only her height exceeds her employer, nursing skills notwithstanding.Image result for sterile

“Thank you Lillie...

A.O. has been packing her cervix with sterile gauze, when after two or three more times the uterus would reject the dead fetus.

It is important that she does not miss a packing, lest infection set in. It is a gradual process, but a known way of encouraging the womb to empty itself. No need for invasive surgery.

Image result for concord florida“We will repeat this packin’ until you go into labor. Then you come a callin’ in a big hurry and we will be done.”

For young Audrie it is a tedious process, traveling back and forth from her Daddy’s house at Concord, Florida is not her idea of solving her problem. Concord is no more than a speck in the Panhandle; map makers have ignored it with unsettling regularity. Daniel Boone would have had a difficult time finding it, with directions, a compass and a local Seminole Indian companion.

“Yes, Doc Campbell, I just want this whole thing over.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Image result for daniel boone

“Daniel Boone – The Home Seeker – Cumberland Valley” c. 1940 by N.C. Wyeth

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #316

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 316

…Well, he said that you had a reputation for helpin’ girls like me, you know, white girls not affording no more children and a husband out at sea….

Image result for merchant marine artwork

Out at Sea by Hans Breeman

“When did you notice that somethin’ wasn’t right?” Campbell had put his stethoscope to her lower belly earlier and came to an early conclusion. He wants to peel away the layers of her previous treatment. “And why did you come to me, ‘stead of Doc Wright?”

Well, he said that you had a reputation for helpin’ girls like me, you know, white girls not affording no more children and a husband out at sea.

  “Really… all the way from Jacksonville and he knows ‘bout a little ol’ black doctor in the Panhandle. Did he tell you I ain’t got a wing at my hospital for white folks? My doctor friends don’t think I have the right to fix up whites. I reckon you all must have different colored blood under that pale skin; Blue blood Confederates are you?” A.O. knows that the lies he was told as a youth, was that slaves were inferior to their white masters. He has left much of that emancipation baggage behind, though the memory of being rushed across the railroad trestle still is fresh in his 20th century mind. The saying of that time was, ‘Once a slave, white-folk-bingo-001always a slave.’

How ironic it is. White folks have the money to pay for his services, but they cannot occupy a single bed at LBMH. House calls and services rendered at FAMU Hospital do not put a dent in the $250,000 mortgage, now a mighty anchor tied around his ankle. His beds are occupied by people caught in the margins of society.

“You have to help me Doc Campbell, my baby ain’t movin’, I know it.”

“Do what’s right Mr. Campbell!” Enter Mrs. Mary Gray. She had been mulling around in the background, watching her daughter, Audrie Franich, twisting A.O.’s arm in an attempt to bring this nightmare to an end. “My little girl needs some way out of this mess.”

          Mary Gray’s tone was not at all kind, downright demanding. It was like she was making a deal with the Devil; the only way out, but distasteful none-the-less. She appears to not have much use for black folk, though it may be a fruitless prejudice, especially in northern Florida. But unavoidable does not translate into acceptance.

“Go in and see Nurse Lillie and tell her to take you to Room 205.” Down and down the slippery slope. A.O. Campbell has a soft spot for folks that have seemingly nowhere else to turn.

(Lera Lynn music featured on True Detective)


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #315

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 315

… Equity, in the hot summer of ‘55, comes on the form of a distressed young woman, with $200 dollars in hand and a suspected dead fetus lingering in her womb…

pitfall-001

Is there a fairy tale character like Peter Pan flitting around Laura Bell Memorial Hospital these days?

braceT LFT          As blissful and carefree things are for the Fords, the opposite is true for Alpha Omega Campbell. He is actually blissfully ignorant and seemingly carefree to the point of carelessness. Things on Virginia Street are falling into serious disrepair and the doctor’s Image result for peter pan gifcash flow has slowed to the equivalent of the leaky bathroom faucet in his and Maggie Lou’s master bedroom.

To survive these lean days of the summer of 1955, one property after another is sold at less than market value. Demand for the land that Maggie had inherited from John Ferrell, has slowed in the wake of the Korean War.      Now, post-World War II was a very different climate. Returning GI’s were snapping up parcels in cities like Tallahassee, no matter what the cost. But that was when A.O. was in the midst of his heyday and in no need of real estate equity.

Equity, in the hot summer of ‘55, comes on the form of a distressed young woman, with $200 dollars in hand and a suspected dead fetus lingering in her womb. She is hardly Tinkerbell spreading pixie dust at the back door of LBMH. Instead, a massive cloud of dank dust rises into the Frenchtown air.

Image result for sob story

“I’ve hired this musician to play a sad melody while I give you a sob story why I didn’t do my homework. It’s actually quite effective!”

  “I was bein’ treated at Havana. The doctor there gave me some awful tasting-stuff to settle my stomach. I’d been with child for four months and the mornin’ sickness was getting’ to me. My mother suggested I visit Dr. Wright, I don’t know why. He wasn’t my baby doctor; guess that he was away on holiday or such.”

          “When did you notice that somethin’ wasn’t right?” Campbell had put his stethoscope to her lower belly earlier and came to an early conclusion. He wants to peel away the layers of her previous treatment. “And why did you come to me, ‘stead of Doc Wright?”

          “Well, he said that you had a reputation for helpin’ girls like me.”


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Sob Story by Schernego Roman

Episode # 315


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #314

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #314

… “Damn right, Carolyn! Well actually, I did not know that, but when it came to the rights to Cinderella and of Peter Pan… $500,000 drunken dollars, probably parked next to their whiskey barrel.”…

cinderella-peter-pan-001

Walt Disney holds out his silver cigarette case, as a deal-sealing gesture would look.

“I don’t smoke, thank you.” Carolyn pauses thoughtfully, continuing, “Don’t you think that all the smoke you inhale may have long term health effects?”

“These?” he closes the case, “Clark Gable has been smoking since he was 15 and he isn’t slowing down. 60 damn movies and he lights it up in most of them. Beside that, my doctors say I’m as healthy as Prince Charming.”

“Ah, a Cinderella reference,” she comments, then adding a historical tidbit, “Did you know that Sircigarette-smoke James Matthew Barrie has relatives in Tallahassee?”

“Damn right, Carolyn! Well actually, I did not know that, but he, or rather, his family was a sticky wicket when it came to the rights to Cinderella. And of Peter Pan… $500,000 drunken dollars, probably parked next to their whiskey barrel.” His bitterness boiled to the surface, but settles down, “By all accounts, Barrie himself was a literary genius. Too bad we weren’t contemporaries.”

Lyn Ford nods, easily empathizing with collaboration and will abandon the smoking issue for the sake of consolation. But she does not jump up and down.

“I am Walt Disney, Carolyn!”  No ego here! Am I chopped liver in your world?”

“Not exactly, Walt, more like steak tartar.” She has not made up her mind.

“Oh yes, with a thick slice of Vidalia onion on top. But you seem to be dodging my proposal.” He is used to getting is way. As he will gladly tell you, ‘I am Walt “the man” Disney!

Lyn comes up with a solution. “How about we make a hand shake agreement to start an open-ended project? No hurry, no deadlines. You are in the full flower of your creative bloom.”

          Another massive cloud of smoke rises into the California air~~~~~~


Alpha Omega M.D.

Image result for cinderella and peter panImage result for peter pan gif

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #313

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #313

Chapter Eighteen

LOOKING DOWN

…Call me Walt, call me Disney, call me Dizzy, and just don’t call me late for breakfast…

meanwhile-caption-001Why thank you for your kind words, Mr. Disney, but I’m just a backward Southern girl.” A pretentiously shy Carolyn Hanes-Ford senses some form of amorous advance by THE Walt Disney. He has been gushing effusively about Lyn’s work on the movie, The Day the Earth Stood Still and further claims to have read nearly everything Lyn has penned. Had he not been able to name titles and themes, this chain smoking Hollywood playboy would be a prime candidate for a casting couch expert; ‘I could send your career through the stratosphere, baby.’ Perhaps she was mistaking schmoozing for seduction.

“Backward? Mrs. Ford… please! My people tell me that you are one of the leading experts on Image result for tomorrowland disney 1950'sunidentified flying objects. That is why I invited you and… Your friend… where is the dashing Mr. Ford?”

“I believe you could find him at your TWA Rocket to the Moon exhibit in Tomorrowland. Knowing him like I do, he is trying to fly that thing.”

“It is not interactive,” injects the amused animator.

“That makes no difference to him.”

“Well okay,” he concedes. “Disneyland is all his… may I call you Carolyn?”

“Please do, Walt.” Familiarity abounds.

Call me Walt, call me Disney, call me Dizzy, and just don’t call me late for breakfast.

Lyn would not be calling him for breakfast anytime soon, but that last long draw on his Pall Mall cigarette had that ‘Thank you for a great night, sweetie’ feel to it.

Getting back to my original reason for inviting you here… I’m talking about my memoirs and you writing them. You seem to be just the person to tell my story; the perfect combinations of grounded core values and wonderfully open imagination.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Walt Disney Mickey Mouse Partners by Jennifer Hickey

Episode #313


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