Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Doc Sturtz

Old Doc knew everyone and it seemed that everyone knew him..... no matter where you went!

I vaguely remembered Doc Sturtz from my childhood, after all he was my pediatrician.  Years later I got a chance to get reacquainted with him as I introduced myself to him at a party.  Doc came up to me and said who are you?  You look familiar!  I told him my name, and for one split second his eyes seemed to focus on something beyond me.  He immediately snapped back and said, You are Charlie and Sally's boy.  He told me a quick story about my mom when she was younger and then he was off talking to someone else.  Conversations with Doc started abruptly and ended the same.... with everyone.... no matter who you were or who you thought you were.  He was funny like that and I admired his brassiness. 

That was our first meeting and over the years we had many more.  Time would slip by and I would not see Doc for a couple of months or maybe a year.  When I would run into him after a lengthy absence  he would say "As I Live and Breath.... if it isn't Jimmy Cummings". A big smile would spread across his face, a pipe would  appear out of nowhere, then the sound of a match being struck.... puff puff puff.  He would start a conversation with  Say Jimmy.... I remember when your Uncle Walt... or your Aunt Mary did this or that.  I learned more from Doc about my mom, dad, and relatives than I did from them or anyone else.  This story telling went on over the years and I am thankful for all of the family "biographies".

Doc was a hero!  During the war and throughout  his many years of being a Doctor.  Doc had retired from  pediatrics and was practicing family health care.  I called him in a panic early one Saturday morning.  My wife and I had spent a sleepless night worrying over an observation that our infant son's pediatrician had made.  A spike in the measurement curve of the growth of our babies head.  This is one of those many parental nightmares.  I explained this to Doc, and he said meet me in my office in 15 minutes!  Doc took the time to explain how the  developmental measurements of a babies head are taken.  He showed us that if the tape measure is not placed in the same spot each time, it could look like an abnormal growth spike.  He calmed our fears but strongly advised us to follow through with the MRI that our babies pediatrician had recommended. Whew.... big sigh of relief.  His last words of solace to us..... Your Doctor's mother only carried him for 9 months but I carried him for 9 long years..... out came the pipe, then the sound of the match being struck..... puff puff puff..... If Doc liked you, then you loved him......

I am going to miss you Dr. George Sturtz

2 comments:

Jeff Hayes said...

I was born in 1969 and was born with spinal meningitis. My mother was approached by Dr.Sturtz and he asked her if I had been baptized yet, She replied, "No." She then asked him, "why do you ask." he then shot back at her and said, Cause he's not going make it through the night.
My mother always said his bed side manner needed allot of work. Twenty three years would pass before I would ever get the chance to meet Dr. Sturtz. Mom always credited Dr. Sturtz with saving my life. One day Mom, My wife, and I were at the Alex Bay health center. I was bringing my own child in for a check up when my mother recognized Him. She pointed him out and informed me of who he was, so I approached him. I introduced myself to him for the first time and I told him the story about him caring for me in 1969. I then stuck my hand out and said thank you for saving my life. He stood back, looked me over from head to toe and he locked on my jacket and said "You a Cowboys fan?" I replied, "Yes, I am." Sturtz looked at me with a face of stone and said, "If I'd known you were going to grow up to be a Cowboys fan, I would have let you die." and from there on I absolutely loved him. and when we would run into each other on the golf course, we would usually finish together and he always had golfing tips for me. They do not make men like this anymore. I cant begin to thank Dr. Sturtz enough and I was absolutely honored to say I knew him. He will be greatly missed and may he rest in peace.

Ryk Groff said...

I worked with him many years ago in the ER at (then) HGS. He was a character, and a nice one at that. Great doctor and as far as I could tell, all-around great person. He will be sorely missed.