An Adventure in the Snow
In Cooperstown, New York
by Frank L. Iber, MD
As a young, innovative and successful investigator in diseases of the liver, I was often invited to medical groups to present recent advances usually involving my own work. The audiences were mostly practitioners looking for something new to offer their patients. The meetings were well attended, and I particularly enjoyed visiting cities that were new to me.
These speaking engagements were made months before the event so as to obtain the speaker they wanted on the date of their meeting. This early commitment allowed me to learn what was desired from my lecture, what they had learned from recent guests, and plan my presentation for that specific group.
Cooperstown has a model and very well supported community hospital named Mary Imogene Bassett, after the daughter of the founder. I was engaged by the local medical society to give a lecture at the hospital on my work. The lecture date was to be late in the month of February. I found that Cooperstown was not easy to reach in the winter because there were no direct flights. I planned to fly to Albany and then drive from there to Cooperstown.
The day before the lecture, I was called by the organizer's secretary. She advised me that a snowstorm was expected and flights might be difficult. I was advised to fly and stay in Albany the evening before the planned lecture. Then I should drive down in daylight the next day to be certain of safety and timely arrival. When I arrived in Albany, there was moderate snowfall that intensified overnight.
By the next morning, 16 inches of snow had fallen, but the road crews were out and the roads were somewhat cleared. I was able to reach Cooperstown in mid-afternoon. My program had been scheduled for that evening. I was to stay in a motel very near the hospital. I readily found my room and announced my safe arrival by phoning the host's office.
An hour before my lecture, I walked over to the hospital for dinner in the cafeteria. The weather was miserable with heavy snowfall. I located the auditorium and the person who was to assist me in showing my slides. Then I returned to reading matter while awaiting my audience.
A friendly doctor came about 15 minutes before the starting time and apologized for the host who was sick in bed at home and would not be there. When the starting time arrived, there was ONE person in the audience in addition to myself and my new host. This host proposed that we cancel, but since I was there and so was one brave citizen, I felt we should proceed.
I delivered my talk and invited questions from the single-person audience but received none. I thanked the one attendee for braving the storm and suggested we should all depart for a safe trip home, when the single attendee spoke up. "Hold on there. I'm the second speaker!" Then he presented HIS lecture.
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Dr. Iber is a retired gastroenterologist, a specialist in diseases of the liver. He has written widely and taught extensively. He maintains many active interests in addition to his profession, including the travels of Lewis & Clark. He loves dogs, woods walks, and flowers. “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” He is a riveting storyteller. He and his wife live in suburban Baltimore MD.
1. Snow scene: shariblaukopf.com
2. Snowflakes: isitpaleo.info
3. Microphone: theranger.org
4. Smiling: www.clipartXtras.com
More information about Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital here:
This essay was first published by The Broadmead Journal of Poetry and Prose, Fall, 2018, p. 27.
Tags: #Snow #Doctors #lectures