County Doctor Meets The City Girl
Autumn 1925 someplace in Rural New England. A colder than average morning left a thick frost on the red and orange leaves this sunrise. Emmie’s uncle Paul was busy lighting the woodstove but upstairs her aunt Lizzie was trying to get her out of bed.
“Auntie I just can’t again. It’s my stomach those horrible cramps and I just feel so awful…” she moaned pulling the covers over her Colleen Moore inspired bobbed hair; now messy from three days in bed.
“Again dear? It’s been a few days like this. Maybe we should get you home?” her aunt said lovingly.
“No no auntie, I want to stay with you and there is nothing for me at home anymore. I’ll stay with you and…moaning..”
“Emmie I’m sure you parents won’t be mad at you forever for leaving Mt Holyoke and coming here…” reaching over and feeling her head “You have a fever and are clammy. I think we better send for the doctor.”
“No it’s ok..” but Aunt Lizzie was already closing the door and you could hear her telling uncle Paul to go send for the doctor. Despite feeling a very mature nineteen, an upper middle class upbringing, and growing up in the city of Boston she really hadn't seen doctors much and really didn’t like it when she did. She was feeling rather ill though and struggling to get from the bed she wandered over to her window the floor cold against her bare feet. Looking out she saw her uncle take off in his Ford farm truck.
Oh how different it was from her home. No electricity, no street lights and she’d never spent more than a few days visiting before, but now that she dropped out of her college and disappointed her parents so much that she was grateful to her aunt and uncle for taking her in. They didn’t have any children of their own and needed the help around the dairy anyways. It had been a hard two months but she hadn’t complained yet. That is until a few days ago when she started feeling sick. The pain hit her again and she fell back into the bed. She cried a little pulling the thick blanket over her head again.
Sometime later she heard footsteps coming up the stairs. Two sets of footsteps. “Emmie, I brought the doctor.” her aunt called out.
“Hello Miss Emmie. I’m doctor Richardson.” he said warmly as Emmie poked her head out from under the covers.
“Hi… I’m Emmie.” she was surprised that he was young, especially for a country doctor.
“He’ll make you feel better Emmie, I promise he’s from town you know! Known him since he was a wee one. Came back to help us after medical school.”
“Well, my father is the parson in town, and the Army paid for my schooling after the Great War. I just wanted to give back.
“I’ve seen you on Sundays… Didn’t know you were a doctor...” she murmured looking away from him shyly.
“Yes well I don’t advertise at services.” he said with a smile. “What’s wrong miss? your aunt said you’ve been in bed for days with cramps and have a fever now?”
“No, I’ll be OK Doctor just…”
“Emmie!” her aunt interjected “She’s just being stubborn. Emmie, let Danny… I mean Dr Richardson… let the doctor help you!”
“Well, then I need to examine you. Can you sit up in bed so I can listen to your heart?” Emmie did as she was told slowly raising in the bed. “I need to listen on your bare chest. I won’t hear anything through that night gown.”
“I...I..I… don’t have anything under it..”
“Oh I see. Well why don’t I leave you and your aunt to help you undress and cover up with a sheet and I’ll be right back.” he said walking from the room closing the door gently.
“Auntie! I’m so embarrassed!”
“He’s a professional dear don’t worry!” she said helping her to stand up.
Emmie turned her back to her aunt trying to preserve some kind of modesty as she struggled to pull her nightgown off and pulled a sheet around her self and sat at the edge of the bed. Her aunt going to the door to call the doctor back in.
“OK Emmie all set now?” the doctor seeing her holding the sheet tight to her body as he put the stethoscope to his ears. She only managed a quick nod and slowly lowered the sheet pulling it tight around the back of her waist. He leaned in and gently placed the stethoscope, cold from the fall air, on her chest. He listened and when putting the stethoscope under her bare breast she tried not to turn red with embarrassment. Looking across the room at her aunt who was just standing there watching.
“Take some deep breaths for me.” he said putting the stethoscope on her bare back. She did as she was told. “OK again deep breath… again… OK your heart and lungs sound good…” reaching into his medical bag he takes out a blood pressure cuff and sets out the instrument. He places it around her arm and pumps it up… and releases it… and does it again. “A little nervous?”
“Yes.. and cold..” she notices her skin beginning to goose bump from the cold air.
“Well it’s a cold day and you’re doing fine… everything is OK so far. Will you lay back for me?” Emmie lays back and before she can properly cover with the sheet the doctor folds it down around her hips. Emmie finally feels the flush of embarrassment come over her and quickly covers her chest the best she can with her hands.
She sees aunt Lizzie rush over with a small throw blanket and covers her chest. “There you go dear. I’m sure the doctor wants to preserve your modesty also.” Emmie takes a deep breath of relief and smiles at her aunt.
“Oh this will be fine.” he says as he presses on her abdomen starting just bellow her ribs and as he slowly works his way down asks. “Any pain?”
“No doctor just… discomfort…”
“When was your last menstrual cycle?”
“Finished last week…” she said meekly instantly embarrassed again.
“O.K. so I doubt you’re pregnant.” he said with a smile.
“I’m a good girl doctor!” she blurted out with an indignation and near anger. “Everyone thinks I’m some rebellious flapper for leaving school but I’m no whore!”
“I’m sorry Miss. I didn’t mean it like that. So sorry… I umm… well your aunt said you went to Mt Holyoke?”
“Yes but the only thing I was good at was Literature and Rhetoric.”
“Well I can see the rhetoric Miss.” he said with a disarming smile as he took the stethoscope from around his neck and listened to her stomach. “When was your last bowel movement miss?”
“A week ago…”
“OK I think I know what’s going on… let’s check on that fever first though. Can you roll on your stomach for me?”
“I don’t have an oral thermometer.”
Emmie rolls over leaving her back side fully exposed. “I thought this was for babies.” she said quietly but angrily.
Her aunt says from the corner of the room “Its ok dear don’t worry.” as Dr Richardson spreads her bottom and slowly guides the thermometer in. Emmie lets out a small huff as she feels the cold glass against her bottom.
“So Miss what kind of literature do you like?” he asks as he waits for the thermometer to be ready.
“Now is not the time.” she mutters.
“Do you have any books here?”
“No… but please just… finish”
“OK well…” slowly taking the thermometer from her bottom. “Just a very low fever nothing to worry about… I do think you’re badly constipated though. I’m going to do a very quick rectal exam.”
“What’s that?” Emmie said nervously.
“I’ll just put a finger in your rectum to be sure everything is OK. I promise it won’t hurt. Can you roll on your left side for me?”
“Auntie! Please!” she cried out as she rolled over. “I am going to die!”
“No Emmie it’s ok the doctor knows what he’s doing.”
“No don’t let him!” but all her aunt did was come closer and hold her hand.
“OK Miss, just bring your knees up to your chest.” resigned to what was happening she did so quickly and as she heard the doctor put on rubber gloves she buried her head in a pillow. Her most intimate places now fully exposed. The doctor slowly pressed his finger inside her and then twisted it...then slowly took his finger out.
“I think you’re very full down there. I think you’ll be fine though.” Helps cover her up with a sheet. “Can you sit up for me?” Silently she rises. “I’m going to head to the pharmacy to get you some medicines, not to worry. While I’m gone I’m going to have your aunt give you an enema… I’ll come back this evening and I bet you’ll already feel a lot better. Do you have what you need here to give her a good enema?”
“A what?!” Emmie cried out.
“Oh deary not to worry I’ll get some water warmed up and it will be fine.”
“Auntie please no! I know what that is and please.”
“It will be fine Miss don’t worry a bit. I’m sure you aunt knows how to do one properly.”
“Just soap and water Doctor?”
“Yes not too much at first and give her a second one to be sure she’s cleaned… And for dinner tonight just some chicken broth… Oh and after the enema treat Miss Emmie to a hot bath.”
“Oh yes Doctor! She deserves one.” The doctor smiled and walks from the room. “That wasn’t so bad was it Emmie?”
“Auntie! It was horrible! Some man saw me naked and stuck his finger in my bottom!”
“Look dearie I’ll go make up an enema, I promise it won’t be that bad and then you’ll feel a lot better…”
Auntie left Miss Emmie alone in her room, still naked under the sheet. Emmie wasn’t sure what to think about any of this. Yes she was a little relieved that nothing was seriously wrong with her. At the same time she felt beyond embarrassed from her experience. It didn’t help that she found the doctor a bit handsome and knew in such a small town she couldn’t avoid him. She laid back waiting for her aunt, dreading the enema, and not wanting to see the doctor when he returned tonight.
County Doctor Meets The City Girl PT2
Night was falling quickly as Aunt Lizzie put dinner on the table and lit the oil lamps in the kitchen. Uncle Paul was washing up and Emmie up and dressed for the first time in days came downstairs.
“Feeling better dear?”
“Yes Auntie much better.” Emmie replied quietly still processing her morning. “I finally got some sleep to.”
“Well I have some broth for you as the doctor ordered and once your uncle comes to the table we have some chicken soup for ourselves.”
“Thank you.” Emmie said as a car pulled up to the house.
“Oh Danny is here!” her uncle could be heard yelling from the washroom.
“Oh yes he said he’d be back tonight and he’s Doctor Richardson now!” Her aunt yelled back,
“He’ll always be Danny to me and he’s got some packages.” He uncle yelled back and leaving the washroom went outside to meet him.
Emmie sat at her place at the table hoping the doctor wouldn’t come in but her hopes were dashed when she heard two sets of footsteps coming up behind her.”
“Lizzie I told Danny to stay for dinner and he has some things for Emmie.”
“Great…” Emmie muttered under her breath as he sat down.
“What did you bring Emmie?” her aunt asked cheerfully.
“Oh I’ll go through it after dinner. I ran into town for medicine and some other things.Are you feeling better Miss?”
“Much better… Thank you.” she said curtly then sank into silence. All through dinner every one chatted about town gossip, the church building repairs, and when they finally my get electricity themselves. Emmie though did say a word would gaze off at Dr Richardson and if she thought anyone noticed she’d quickly go back to silently eating.
“Emmie why are you so quiet tonight? Still not feeling well?” He aunt ask concerned.
“Yes that’s it still a bit under the weather…” she said not looking up.
“Oh you should be feeling a lot better. I’ll check on you again after dinner ok?”
“NO!” she blurted out then quietly “No, no i’m fine just….”
“Emmie!” her uncle yelled out “He’s a doctor and you were very sick. Just do what he says.”
“Uncle Paul I’m!...”
“Emmie please don’t worry us!” she said getting up and taking one of the oil lamps from the table. “Paul please do some of that womens work and clear the table for us? Emmie, Doctor, please we’ll go to Emmie’s room.” The doctor silently took his bag and she led them up the stairs.
“I feel much better now Auntie! Please! Let’s just..”
“Emmie!” Her aunt sternly said as the doctor had a smirk come across his face.
“Your auntie has a real stern side when she needs one Miss.”
“Yeah I guess she does…” Emmie said quietly resigned to whatever happens next.
“I’m just glad she’s taking good care of you. Not many city girls are willing to go help out their aunt and uncle like this. You’re one sweet person for doing that.”
“Thank you.” She said feeling a bit disarmed… “I’m NOT Undressing in front of you though.” she said sternly.
“Well let’s just do this. I want to be sure you’re not backed up again. Just lift up your dress and lower your knickers… just to your knees… and lay on your side again for me?”
Silently Emmie did as she was told. Lowering her silk knickers down they shimmered in the lamp light and was not something most country girls would be wearing. She crawled onto the bed slowly and pulled her knees to her chest as she heard the gloves go on… Somehow she wasn’t scared this time. She certainly felt embarrassed but also a little excited.
“OK Emmie just relax.” he said pressing his finger slowly inside her. She let out a little gasp as he seemingly pushed a bit deeper than last time… but then relief as his finger slowly come out… “I think you’re just still tired.” he said as the glove came off. “Why don’t you get up and make yourself proper again.”
“See Emmie not so bad.” her aunt said from the shadows.
“No, thank you doctor.” Emmie replied fixing her dress and pulling her knickers back up.
“Here if you start to get sick again use one of these. Just glycerine suppositories.” he said with a smile taking the package from the bag. “But also have your aunt give you one prune a day.. At least. Country food is a bit heavier and your body is adjusting.”
“OK thank you again.” she said finally smiling for the first time today but still not sure why. “Mind if I just stay here and rest?”
“OK Emmie” her aunt said.
“May I bring Emmie the package I brought for her?” the doctor said gently.
“Oh yes of course Danny… Doctor…” her aunt said with a smile as he left the room.
“Oh God auntie this has been a bad day… But i feel better now.”
“Well dear get some rest and I do wonder what Danny brought you.”
“You mean doctor?” Emmie said jokingly as he entered the room.
“I notice you didn’t have any books of your own and said you liked literature so you can borrow these from me and I got you a new copy of “Mrs Dalloway” hot off the presses in town.”
“Oh wow!” she said shocked.
“And a few jazz records for the phonograph for you to borrow… I better go now though..” he said suddenly sounding uncomfortable.
“Thank you.” Emmie said as he quickly packed his bed and headed out quickly.
Emmie was alone again and as she changed into her night gown could hear her aunt and uncle talking in the parlor. “Gee Paul, I think the doctor fancies our niece just a little bit. I mean it was beyond nice for him to go to town for the medicine, buy her a book, and some records… But then he ran off.”
As she heard her uncle laugh at her aunt’s comment she called out from her room. “Auntie!” and when her aunt ran upstairs to see what was the matter she said. “You know when you teach me how to make that roast on Sunday… See if you can invite doctor Richardson for dinner… As a thank you.”
Her aunt smiled and tried not to hold back a laugh of her own and slowly closed the door.