Wake-Up Call

Tales from a Frontier Doctor

Sterling Haynes

In his second book, Wake-Up Call, Sterling Haynes begins by telling us that at the age of seventy a left hemisphere stroke rearranged his brain. “My right creative side took over and I started to write poetry and humour. I was left with a partially paralyzed right foot, but a writer’s creative right brain. I think I got the better of the deal, a new brain in trade for a foot. The funny episodes in my medical practice became hilarious. The sad, melancholy parts of my life’s memories looked less bleak.” Haynes shares the humorous and sometimes bizarre tales of his life as a doctor: a man shoots off his big toe in a drunken binge and then begs the doc to get him to Sunday Mass on time; an inmate swallows a spoon to avoid solitary confinement; an accident with a Murphy bed leaves a man hanging for more than ten hours.

“I worked long hours, made house calls, went out with the ambulance and flew to remote accident areas, sometimes receiving payment in kind: hinds of beef, lamb and moose, bags of potatoes and turnips and, on one occasion, a big game guide brought me a four-point buck in payment for delivering his first son, leaving the dressed carcass in the centre of my waiting room. “ Haynes tells it like it was in these tales of a frontier doctor, from Williams Lake to Alabama.