TCU and Midland

Written by John McElligott

I wish that the TCU kids would tell us what TCU  was like back in the day. To me is was a place only the rich and famous attended. I followed their football team every year… even now.

I remember a quarterback named Sonny Gibbs who went on to play professional ball. I watched Ross Montgomery, Cliff Hoffman, and… remember Denton?  Denton was also known to many as Glenn Whittington. He was the only person who I know that went to TCU on a scholarship aided by Doc Dodson.

The girls who went to TCU are numerous, and I will let them write stories…. Diane, Margie, Victoria, and many more. TCU must have been fun.

The closest my family ever came to attending TCU was my #3 son, Jamey. He sold TCU all its food supplies and concessions from Cisco Foods.

Well, I hope TCU has a storyteller. Scott Rogers where are you? I don’t want to pass on without hearing at least one good story about this dream school I’ve only seen on TV!

How I ended up a Tarheel

Written by Bill Wood

I always thought I would go to the University of Texas and play football. I was sorely disappointed when the offer just “kept not coming”. I had offers from some smaller schools and a lot of interest from Duke, who ended up telling me that maybe a year of two in junior college would be better for me to begin with. Then came New Mexico Military Institute. They had me out for a visit and it seemed pretty exciting! I just turned 18 on August 1st and was there for QB camp August 15th or so. I had no idea about the seriousness of the military aspect until I began to settle in there. We had a really good team. Most of the top drawer athletes were there on one year deals from the three service academies. I played quarterback there just a few years after Roger Staubach, just for example. We came within one very close loss to making it to the Junior Rose Bowl. I had a good year, more running than passing but still more passing than high school. I actually played all three sports that first year, although I was so late getting to basketball, I practiced a lot more than I played. In baseball, I was the third baseman and we were a winning team.

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University of North Carolina

Written by Bill Wood

     Chapel Hill North Carolina is a LONG way from Midland, Texas. There weren’t many Texans around when I was there from 1966 till graduation in 1968, but it was always really fun just BEING from Texas. It was, at the very least, a conversation starter. I loved my time and experiences there including those wonderful hills and trees, the life long friendships, and the fascinating history that spoke from so many places there. Of course it was special to my ears to hear both the history and the people speak with a such a delightfully pleasing southern accent. 

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Notre Dame University(NDU) and Why everyone thinks I went to college there… but only in my dreams!

Written by John McElligott

My Notre Dame University (NDU) story goes back to the 4th grade at St. Ann’s and includes my best friend, Joe O’Neil. Joe and I became good friends and altar boys at the church starting in the 3rd grade with Latin classes. We later found out what wine tasted like when we began serving mass. Anyway, I loved serving mass. Later, I loved staying at Joe’s house and being looked after by Momma Tish and Oscar. Momma made the meals and Oscar took us anywhere we were allowed to go…mostly the Country Club.

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My introduction to Duke

Written by Charlie Clark

It was the best of times, 
It was the worst of times, 
It was the age of wisdom, 
It was the age of foolishness…

—Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities

     I remember my first visit to DUMC, to the office of Paul Toth, PA, in late August 1971 for an interview for a position  at Duke on Nott ward. I was still active duty USNR and had just flown in from USNH Guantánamo Bay, Cuba to be discharged after my two-year stint of active duty. I had previously been on five years of inactive Naval reserve duty while in college. I had driven from Norfolk, Virginia to Durham for the interview and had to be back to Norfolk Naval base, Virginia the next day for my formal discharge. I was only given a one day leave from active duty for this purpose. I was an HM3 hospital Corpsman . 

     I remember meeting fellow classmate (class of 1974), John McElligott, exiting Paul’s office as I was entering his office. We were both there for interviews. We were both hired and later met on Nott ward at the DUMC. John worked in the plastic surgery suite and I worked as a patient care attendant for six months, then switched over to the plastic surgery suite as a scrub technician. During my time on Nott ward I met future fellow classmates of 1974, including John McElligott, Pat Riley, Mike McDougall, John Miller, Jennifer Scheid, and several others, including members of the previous class of 1973 and future members of the class of 1975.
     Nott ward was located in Duke University Hospital on the fourth or fifth floor as I remember, down the hall from the plastic surgery suite. Nott ward was designed as an experiment to  allow former military , mostly Vietnam era, Navy and Marine Corpsmen  and Army medics to utilize their military medical training as “patient care attendants” who would perform tasks previously only assigned to nurses and some tasks that were previously done only by physicians.  A supervising RN was always in charge of the ward. Nott ward was considered a proving ground for future PA students at Duke. It was a combination plastic surgery/burn unit/ENT/ophthalmology ward. Burn unit care and postoperative care. The plastic surgery department ran the burn unit. We were trained by plastic surgery residents to perform specialized tasks. The residents were happy to train us and happy to allow us to perform those tasks so that they could attend to other functions. They were also happy to be able to catch a few hours extra sleep at night. In those days residents had to draw blood, perform blood gases, start IVs, insert NG tube, catheters, etc. They were glad for us to perform those functions. Also while working on Nott ward we were assigned medical terminology to learn and we also attended pharmacology classes. Some of us had to take chemistry or biology prerequisite classes before being admitted to the PA program. We were given the time off to attend classes at North Carolina Central University when needed.
     Second year PA students who were on rotations at Duke who previously worked either in the plastic surgery operating room or worked on Nott ward seemed to collect there during their lunch breaks or in the evening when making rounds. There was a great sense of camaraderie among the PAs who had previously worked there and the prospective PA students who were presently working there. I’m not sure if Nott ward presently exists. I’m pretty sure it would not serve the same function.
     My two years as a student in the DUMC PA program from 1972-1974 was a time of learning and creating many lifelong friendships.  I was in awe of the caliber of the medical staff and of the nurses who worked at DUMC. I was impressed by the instructors in the PA program. There is a great sense of family at DUMC and there was a great sense of camaraderie among the PA students, my classmates. 
     I miss all of that. I miss the tutelage of Jay Skyler and Reggie Carter, both responding ”don’t worry about it” to most of the questions asked that didn’t involve endocrinology or physiology. I miss the Friday afternoon happy hours at the Hofbrau and the occasional pizza nights at Jimmy’s pizza palace. I fondly remember the pig roast/keg drinking/volleyball tournament following our anatomy final, in the pouring rain. I vaguely remember attending Pat Riley’s wedding at the Duke Chapel following the pig roast/volleyball tournament. I remember the Saturday afternoon two hand touch football games between the class of ‘74 and the class of ‘75. I miss all the tennis matches with classmate, John McElligott, and Dr. Nicholas Georgaide, and Dr. Henry Neal, of the plastic/oral surgery department. I sort of remember attending football and basketball games with my classmates. Following a horrible motorcycle/dump truck accident in which Pat was seriously injured, requiring a prolonged hospitalization with multiple broken bones and collapsed lungs, I remember picking him up at his apartment every morning and stuffing Pat Riley into his Gremlin with his straight leg cast and hauling him to classes. I’m happy they don’t make gremlins anymore. His accident occurred while we were both riding motorcycles back from North Carolina Central University where I attended chemistry class and he attended both biology and chemistry classes. He had turned off to go to his apartment before going to work in the Duke plastic surgery suite , and I had continued on to Duke. The next time I saw him was in the emergency room and it was a miracle he survived. I sold my motorcycle that night. I do not miss that part of my Duke experience.
     My Duke training/experience, especially in the area of physical diagnosis, has been the foundation  of my medical education. It prepared me for 16 years of practicing as a PA, and later with medical school, three years of internal medicine residency, and in the daily practice of medicine,  office and hospital based. Now that I am retired I think back fondly of my Duke classmates, my Duke days.
     Thank you Mr. Duke.

The Rocket Lounge

Written by John McElligott

The Rocket Lounge was just down the street from Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita-Falls Texas. Now what was I doing there and why? 
Well I was a student  at Duke University School of Medicine in the Physician Associate Program. I was just elected to run for National Student President of the AAPA (America Academy of PA’s) and Sheppard was were the national meeting was hosted. 

Jeff Heinrich was the current president and he was a class ahead of me at Duke. He was also just being medivac from Vietnam as I was arriving at the party just south of where Jeff was serving with the famous 9th Marines in the DMZ and Dong Ha area. Jeff was wounded by a grenade that exploded in his area during a fire fight. He carried a huge scar on his forehead for the rest of his life along with his Purple Heart Pin. He wore this pin every time he put on a suit and was moved to the head of many lines at bars and restaurants  because of his heroism as a Navy Corpsman with the Marines and his PH pin. 

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The Day Charlie Clark won the wrestling championship while partying at the farm.

Written by John McElligott

Being a student a the Duke University School of Medicine PA Program had it’s fair share of good times. This is one of them.

Many of our classes were with the medical students and one in particular was anatomy  and anatomy lab. Now this is why the PA’s coming out of Duke were the best of the best except for Charlie and me. We were the greatest of the great!! We made sure that there was a party/pig roast after the major finals at our farm rental houses that had a big volleyball court. Accessories included a refrigerator with a 50 gallon keg of beer alongside a place where we could place a whole pig that was roasted by our friends who worked in the Burn Center with Charlie (CNC) and me. So… we had PA students, Medical Students, Burn Center employees, hyperbaric chamber employees and many residents who were training us in surgery and medicine. 

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Duke Days (AKA The Best Days of My Life)

Written by John McElligott

YEAR # 1. My Duke days will begin much like Charlie Clark, aka CNC , Charlie in Charge, at Paul Toth’s office in August of 1971. I was recruited for a  surgical position along with Dick Bucky, Pat Riley both of who had military or surgical experience. Following my meeting with Paul Toth PA I went out to find a place to live. It seems that we were all directed to the same apartment complex “Colonial Apartment Complex”. Later I found out there were many PA students and Former military applicants who lived there. CNC Jeff Heinrich, Mike Mc Dougal, Bill Smith and a few other that I cannot remember. I was placed in the Department of Surgery supervising the Department of Plastic Surgery technicians who did everything from working the Burn Unit to passing instruments during surgery. We had a 3 room suite just a across the hall from Knott Ward where CNC was placed as a medical assistant. Bucky, Pat and I worked  for famous plastic surgeons like Kenneth Pickerel and Nicholas Georgade. These two had a new facility appointee named Tommy Thompson who was our boss but Bucky was the oldest and made the schedule and made sure the cases were covered. This was fun and I had been to OR school as a Navy Corpsman before being transferred to the Marine Corps. Bucky lasted a few months and left due to personal issues and I was put in charge. When Bucky left, CNC was brought over from Knott Ward and became a scrub tech and assisted in the Burn Unit. We had 2 chief residents one at the VA Hospital and one at Duke Hospital. Under them were residents 1-3 year and interns from the General Surgery program. It was a blast and we were skinning corps at night and banking the skin for burn patients. Contest ever time we did a skinning to see who could go from the feet to the neck with out breaking a hole in the skin. This routine lasted until we started the PA program the following August of 1972. 

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