Bryson City Seasons: More Tales of a Doctor's Practice in the Smoky Mountains

Bryson City Seasons: More Tales of a Doctor's Practice in the Smoky Mountains

by Walt Larimore, MD


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Welcome to Bryson City, a small town tucked away in a fold of North Carolina's Smoky Mountains. The scenery is breathtaking, the home cooking can't be beat, the Maroon Devils football team is the pride of the town, and you won't find better steelhead fishing anywhere. But the best part is the people you're about to meet in the pages of Bryson City Seasons.

In this joyous sequel to his bestselling Bryson City Tales, Dr. Walt Larimore whisks you along on a journey through the seasons of a Bryson City year. On the way, you'll encounter crusty mountain men, warmhearted townspeople, peppery medical personalities, and the hallmarks of a simpler, more wholesome way of life. Culled from the author's experiences as a young doctor settling into rural medical practice, these captivating stories are a celebration of this richly textured miracle called life.

"The whole book is delightful. My only criticism: there wasn't enough of it!" Margaret Brand, MD, co-laborer with Dr. Paul Brand in leprosy work in India

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310256724
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 09/27/2005
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,194,211
Product dimensions: 5.38(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.88(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Walt Larimore, MD, has been called "one of the best known family physicians in America" and has been listed in the Best Doctors in America, The Guide to America’s Top Family Doctors, and Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, Who's Who in America, and the International Health Professionals of the Year. He is also a best-selling author who has written, co-written, or edited thirty books. He writing has been recognized with a number of national awards, including a Christianity Today Book of the Year award, a Retailers Choice book award, three Silver Medallion Book Awards, three Gold Medallion Book Award nominations, and three Christy Award nominations. He and his wife, Barb, have two grown children, two grandchildren, and live in Colorado Springs area with their tabby, Jack. His website is www.Dr and his Morning Glory, Evening Grace devotions can be found at www.Devotional.Dr

Read an Excerpt

Bryson City Seasons

More Tales of a Doctor's Practice in the Smoky Mountains
By Walt L. Larimore


Copyright © 2004 Walt Larimore
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-310-25672-0

Chapter One

It was one of those sweltering summer afternoons in the Smoky Mountains that are unknown to outsiders and a distinct surprise to first-time visitors-humid, sticky, and unyielding. The heavy air lay over us as though it didn't want us to even move.

"You didn't tell me, Walt," my bride of nine years complained. We were heading toward our tenth wedding anniversary that fall, and I had already begun scheming, behind her back, with the help of our friend Sally Jenkins, to give Barb a bedroom makeover and a special trip out of town.

"About what?" I asked, trying to feign innocence but suspecting she had somehow found out about my shenanigans. One thing that was almost impossible in Bryson City, North Carolina, was having a secret remain a secret. Somehow news wafted through our town as easily as mountain breezes.

"About this heat!" Barb exclaimed. "If I had known it was going to be this hot in the mountains, I might have just stayed in Durham and let you come up here by yourself!"

Barb turned to smile at me-one of those "you know I'm kidding" smiles I loved. She turned back to face the mountains. "At least I would have asked the hospital to put an air conditioner in the house!"

We were sitting on the park bench we had placed in our backyard when we moved to Bryson City, North Carolina, over a year ago. It looked out over an exquisite view across Swain County Recreational Park, then up and into Deep Creek Valley, and finally over nearly endless ridges all the way to the most distant mountain ridges-deep in Great Smoky Mountains National Park-that separated North Carolina from Tennessee.

"Maybe I could call down to the Bryson City icehouse and have them send over a block or two for us to sit on."

"You mean that old building down by Shuler's Produce next to the river? It doesn't look like it's been open for years. How about you go get us a glass of ice water?"

I nodded and ran into the house to get a glass for each of us-being quiet so as not to wake up our napping children-and then tiptoed to the back screen door and out to Barb.

The view was mesmerizing, and we had now seen it through each of the four seasons-my first year as a practicing family physician-since finishing my family medicine residency at Duke University Medical Center.

"I didn't know it would be this hot," I commented. "But then there were so many things we didn't know about this place until after we settled here, eh?"

Barb threw back her head and laughed. My, how I loved her laughter!

"True enough!"

We both fell silent, reflecting on the beginning of our medical practice here. I had left residency so full of myself. Indeed, I had been very well trained-at least for the technical aspects of practicing medicine. But when it came to small-town politics and jealousies, the art of medicine, the heartbreak of making mistakes and misdiagnoses-all piled on the difficulty of raising a young daughter with cerebral palsy, dealing with one very strong-willed, colicky little boy, and transitioning a big-city girl into a rural doctor's wife-well, the task was not only full of unexpected events, it was downright daunting. Barb turned her ear toward our house for a moment. I could tell she was listening for the children. Kate and Scott were napping, so we had the windows open-both to capture any passing breeze that might happen along and to hear the children if they were to awaken.

My thoughts turned to our small hospital-a sixty-mile drive west from the nearest medical center, which was in Asheville. In the early 1980s, Swain County was still a slow, small, sheltered mountain hamlet. Most of the folks were natives, as were their parents and their parents' parents. Most all of the physicians, and the nurses for that matter, were in at least their third to fourth decade of practice. They had their way of doing things and didn't "hanker to outsiders"-whom they called "flatlanders" if they liked you, or "lowlanders" if they did not. They especially resisted any "newfangled" ways. "Be careful if you say anything negative about anyone, son," Dr. Bill Mitchell, or Mitch as everyone called him, warned me. "It'll get back to them-and me-lickety-split."

Rick Pyeritz, M.D., my medical partner and also a classmate in our family medicine residency at Duke University Medical Center, was on call this day for our practice and for the emergency room. In Bryson City, the on-call doctor was on call for hospital inpatients, the emergency room, the jail inmates of the Swain County Sheriff's Department and Bryson City Police Department, the National Park Service, the coroner's office, the local tourist resorts and attractions, and the area rest home and nursing home. The fact that one of us would cover all the venues in which medical emergencies might occur made it very nice for the other six physicians not on call that particular day.

"When the kids get up, how about we all take a stroll up Deep Creek?" Barb asked.

"Sounds like a great idea!" Deep Creek was the southern wilderness entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The creek was wide, tumbling, and ice-cold-a great place to go tubing or to just hike in the solitude of the park.

We looked across the valley. I looked at Barb as a small breeze caught her hair and blew it across her forehead. She swung her head to flip it out of the way. "But until the kids get up," I inquired, "maybe their parents need a nap?"

"Just what do you mean by nap?" Barb wondered out loud, tossing a suspicious look my way.

It was my turn to smile and silently look up at the ancient creek and across the ageless mountains.

Suddenly we were startled by a loud sound. We turned to see a car screeching around the hospital and heading down Hospital Hill toward town at a rapid rate of speed.

"Wasn't that Rick?" asked Barb.

"It was! Wonder where he's going?"

In a small town it doesn't take long to find out almost anything.

Even though on call that Saturday afternoon, Rick had found some time to lie down on his couch for a nap. Living in houses owned and provided by the hospital, we were just across the street from the hospital. We had been friends since our internship year at Duke. Our varied backgrounds, interests, and character traits-he a New Englander and I a Southerner; he a single man and I a married one; he a backpacker, naturalist, ornithologist, jogger and I a sedentary family man; he an introvert and I an extrovert-drew us together like opposite ends of the magnet. However, we shared a love of family medicine and a desire to serve the families that honored us by choosing us to be their family physicians-and we were both equally attracted to this rugged wilderness area.


Excerpted from Bryson City Seasons by Walt L. Larimore Copyright © 2004 by Walt Larimore. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Map of Bryson City 12
Part One: Summer
1. Dead Man Standing 17
2. Eyes Wide Open 25
3. Auspicious Accidents 31
4. Answered Prayers 38
5. Rotary Lunch 53
6. Death by Emotion 60
7. The Invitation 72
8. Barbecue and Bacon 78
9. A Touchy Subject 86
10. Family Time 90
Part Two: Fall
11. Chicken Pops 99
12. Swain County Football 106
13. Hospital Politics 112
14. The Bobcat Attacks 120
15. Dungeons and Apples 126
16. A Tale of Two Surgeons 131
17. Tanned Feets 140
18. Wise Counsel 146
19. An Anniversary to Remember 153
Part Three: Winter
20. Mrs. Black Fox 161
21. The Littlest Cherokee 168
22. Christmas Firsts 173
23. The Silver Torpedo 184
24. Another New Year’s Catch 189
25. Turned Tables 193
26. Doctor Dad 198
27. The Phone Tap 208
Part Four: Spring
28. Labor Pains 219
29. Staph and Staff 225
30. The Ribbon Cutting 230
31. Mountain Breakfast 234
32. Walkingstick 238
33. One Big Fish 247
34. Memorial Day 250
35. The Parade of the Century 257
36. Lost Boy 261
37. Facing the Music 266
Part Five: Another Summer
38. Flesh-eating Bacteria 271
39. The Best Medicine 277
40. The Blessing 281
41. The Runaways 285
42. Great Scott 289
43. Miss Flame 293
44. The Summons 299
45. Distant Thunder 307
Author’s Notes 311

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