Page 7 - Dr. Austin MacDonald, Down North
ISSUE : Issue 39
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/6/1
would happen, like acute hemorrhage and stuff like that. It's amazing what you can do from outside the body. They knew exactly how to do everything so that there was no infection, and no diffi? culty. They could look after the newborn baby. They knew exactly how to produce a sterile dressing for the baby's cord. On a white cotton, like that, they'd lay the string out--those were sterilized in the oven until they turned brown like toast-- the string to tie the baby's umbilical cord, and the cotton that it laid on. That was the sign there were no bugs left on that. But they didn't practise on their own, mind you, unless they got caught and couldn't get a doctor. That he taught them, too--get the doctor if you can. But if you can't, these are the things-'-to do. The first summer we were down there, very few people came to get teeth pulled, that is, very few of the fishe'en from Neil's Harbour. And the few that did come, they'd all been down to a lady at the Cove. I was told she had magic powers. And she could make spells on people that had toothache, and she could charm the toothache away. So they all went there first. And if her charms failed, then they came to me and got the tooth pulled out. But a lot of them, well, toothaches, you know, get bet? ter quite often. (Any idea what kind of a charm she had?) She said certain words-- she wouldn't tell me. She said she got it from her mother, and she got it from her mother, and it went a long ways back, pro? bably. They were very potent women, these. She could charm warts off, too. And as far back as she knew about it, they had this power to charm warts and toothache. And it wasn't till after she died that all the people that got toothaches started coming to me to get them pulled. (In their homes, or in the hospital?) Oh, whatever. Sit them on the running board of their car and take them out and throw them in the ditch. I always carried lots of lo? cal anesthetic, you know, the carpels of novacaine--that's what we used then. And then procaine, which was a little less tox? ic. I used to get them from Pollett's Drug Store in Sydney. And they would send me fresh supplies all the time. You never knew how many you were going to need. You needed about two carpels per tooth, on the average. We got down there in June. Well, the next spring. The Newfoundlanders used to come over and fish off our coast in what they called "hookers"--they were the two-masted schooners. And they carried usually from 10 to 14 dories, with two men to a dory, and the skipper. So they would come off our shore, and at night they would be an? chored in a long line right off Neil's Har? bour. There'd probably be 20, 30, 40 of these schooners. Quite a sight. And every evening the boats would row in from the schooners. And they'd have 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 men in them. It'd be usually the skipper and some of the crew. And he'd be bringing them up to the office to get "teeth hauled"--pull teeth, you see. I'd pull them, whatever they had. And my reputation down along the south coast of Newfoundland became tremendous. They heard from word of mouth, from one to the other, about this doctor over in Neil's Harbour, where they fished every spring--sometimes they came back in the fall. And he pulled teeth with- out hurting you! "He'd freeze an old son cfiow Van f00 Fully Licensed Enjoy sumptuous Oriental and Canadian Cuisine in a relaxed and elegant dining atmosptiere Daily Luncheon Specials t Banquet Facilities Available Take Out Orders Delivered . OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK Major Credit Cards Accepted Gift Certificates Available Ample Parking s'M60 Grand Lake Rd., Sydney 562-0088 or 539-2825
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