Perry Armstrong Loyd

September 11, 1881 - January 13, 1964

Story by Earl L. Loyd, M.D., his son, written June 5, 1970

My most vivid memories of my father relate to that period of time when I was a medical student and later as a general practitioner from 1942 to 1945 in Salina. During my student years my brother and I thoroughly enjoyed "talking medicine" with Dad on our visits home. I am afraid we often excluded Mother from these discussions. I recall on one occasion I used the term "belly" to describe the location of a patient"s pain. Mother immediately objected to such a term as being somewhat vulgar. Thereafter I used the word "abdomen" a somewhat more socially accepted term but, in my opinion, less descriptive.

In the summer following my sophomore year in medical school my father and his good friend Dr. Porter Brown taught me how to administer ether anesthesia. I was rather proud of my newly learned skill and perhaps a bit overconfident. I remember after one rather long operation the surgeon, Dr. Nelson, complimented me but tempered the compliment with the comment that the blood was "dark much of the time" indicating, of course, that I had given too much ether.

1939 Photo of Herlan, Virgie, Perry, Mable (holding Marlene), Earl

During my three years of practice in Salina it was my privilege to administer anesthetics for my father in his tonsillectomy cases. It was his habit to start his cases early in the morning -- no later than 7:30. He usually called me the evening before "to be on time." If I had not arrived at the hospital by 7:15 he would say to the Surgical Supervisor, "Call Lavon, He was supposed to be here."

I recall one occasion when I admitted an elderly man, a friend of Dad's, to the hospital in a deep coma. After examining him I announced to the family that he could not live more than 48 hours. My father took me aside and told me I should not make such positive predictions -- that it was not always possible to determine how long a patient may live. He was right. In 48 hours the man was conscious and visiting with his family. A week later he was back at work on his farm. He lived a number of years and ny father took great delight in informing me from time to time how well his friend was doing. As a result of that experience I learned to "hedge" on any prognosis I was to give.

Another experience involving my father may be worth recording. I agreed to perform a tonsillectomy on a negro girl - - a student at Kansas Wesleyan where I was the school physician. Because I was a little unsure of myself I asked Dad to be available in case I needed assistance. This proved to be one of the wisest decisions I ever made. I had partially removed the first tonsil when the patient screamed splattering blood on my glasses so I could not see. A nurse summoned Dad who quickly and efficiently completed the operation. To everyone's relief -- especially my father's that was the last tonsillectomy I ever attempted. It was about that time I decided to specialize in a non surgical field.

During the years I was in private practice in Jefferson City, I enjoyed discussing cased with Dad on my visits home. I was always impressed with his knowledge of general medicine even though he was in the rater restricted field of Eye, Ear, and Throat. His comments were always pertinent and frequently quite helpful to me.

I suppose the deepest impression he made on me was his honesty and compassion for people. . I remember about a month prior to his death I was visiting him when he got a call to examine a small boy with a throat infection. I accompanied him to the office and I noted that after treating the boy, the father paid $2 for the call. On the way home I commented that t$2 was a rater low fee for his professional services. His quiet reply was to the effect that the fee was quite adequate and that he happened to know the family was having a difficult time financially.

Dad, of course, was not a famous physician and he was not widely known outside of central Kansas, but if success is measured in term of honesty and integrity, humility, and compassion as well as technical competence, then he truly was a successful physician.

For years he walked to town, a stalwart figure
Pacing out the seasons and the days
In pensive strides that matched
The calm and prayerful pattern of his ways.

On such a walk he might meet an acquaintance,
Or nod, or smile, or touch a hand to brim;
Yet in his eyes a depth, an abstract gaze,
For waking was a way of thought to him.

We rest upon his strength an understanding,
We set our hearts upon the wide, smooth shelf
Of his deep nature, and we stand the taller
Because he stood so straight and true himself.

For Ray Parsons' home page and related stories use your "BACK button".

Send mail to Ray Parsons by clicking here.