“House Call”


Evan Jasica (Galveston, June 2005)
This photo reminds me of my 10th birthday, which I celebrated with a sleepover-pool party. My buddies arrived at the house early Friday evening; we ate Mario’s pizza, watched Poltergeist on a Betamax VCR and went night swimming. At around 10PM, while running around the perimeter of our backyard pool, my friend Jonathan got a sharp rock stuck in his foot. My mom, to whom the accident was reported, quickly surmised that the rock was lodged too deeply in Jonathan’s heel to be removed with her fingers.

Since my father, who is a physician, was away that weekend, and because driving a dozen boys to the emergency room wasn’t an option, my mom paged Dr. Freddie Barr, who was one of my dad’s plastic surgery residents at the time. While we waited, my exasperated mother took advantage of the time by lecturing my friends and I about the dangers of running around the pool. I remember feeling very embarrassed about that lecture.

Within a half hour, Dr. Barr and his wife, whose evening plans had undoubtedly been interrupted, were at the house, and I remember the young doctor joking with my mother about the irony of making a house call to the home of the chief of surgery.

Dr. Barr turned my brother’s bedroom into a makeshift-OR, and I remember my friends and I, scrawny, shirtless, clad in swim trunks and damp towels, all standing huddled in the doorway as we watched the doctor use a hemostat to work on Jonathan’s heel. Once he sterilized and bandaged the wound, Dr. Barr showed us the offending rock before handing it to Jonathan like a field surgeon handing a soldier the bullet that felled him.

“No more running around the pool,” he said to us. “That’s right,” my mom said, teeth clenched. Less than an hour later, my friends and I would nearly drown my friend Bailey during a rowdy chickenfight. This would go unreported to my mother. (Galveston, May 1983)

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1 Response to “House Call”

  1. Taren says:

    Great story Keith. I love your writing style. So clean. Like a freshly all-over licked newborn calf. More stories!

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