My fear of doctors began at an early age with my visits to Dr. Arthur Dunlap, a thin man who always had a cigarette in his mouth and blew smoke on me during examinations. He called me “Roughneck”, which I could never understand because I was quite the opposite of a “roughneck” (still am), but I came to realise that he called all his young male patients that. We had a pact, he and I – seeking assurance on every visit that he was not going to hurt me, he agreed that he would not unless needed to do so in order to provide me care. That was not much of a consolation.
All this took place at the Nobles Clinic (later the Wiggins Clinic) in Paris, Tennessee, where I had my tonsils out at age 4. I don’t remember much about that particular procedure because they put me under, and when I awakened I was too groggy to be overly concerned about what was going on. But I do recall the glee of hearing that ice cream would help me heal very quickly!
My visits to the Henry County Health Department were equally traumatic, cementing forever my fear of needles or any kind of invasive procedures. However, I did look forward to a stop in the local drugstore on the way home for an ice cream or chocolate malt at the soda fountain after these ordeals. Yes, a recurring theme. Today I tend to avoid much contact with ice cream or malts to sooth over a frightening visit, but still I am left with a bad case of “white coat syndrome” and no reward for being a good patient!
It will probably come as no surprise that the first thing I look for in a doctor is someone who won’t scare me! But for all these concerns, Dr. Dunlap kept me healthy as I was growing up, and for that I will be forever grateful. I could not find much about Dr. Dunlap other than his memorial on Findagrave.com.