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Bag Balm and Duct Tape: Tales of a Vermont Doctor

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When young Dr. Beach Conger accepted a hospital appointment in rural Vermont, it was a mail-order marriage without either party seeing the other. He envisioned living out the rest of his days splitting wood, healing the sick, and being adored as a kindly country doctor. His new patients figured they had their work cut out for them, breaking in this whippersnapper M.D. from When young Dr. Beach Conger accepted a hospital appointment in rural Vermont, it was a mail-order marriage without either party seeing the other. He envisioned living out the rest of his days splitting wood, healing the sick, and being adored as a kindly country doctor. His new patients figured they had their work cut out for them, breaking in this whippersnapper M.D. from Berkeley, California. Beach Conger's tale of his training in the art of country doctoring is a joy. Listen in on the hilarious consultations as he finds a cure for vitaminia, induces laconic Vermonters to talk about "private" problems, and even reconstructs the formula for the "Green Pills" his predecessor invented. He especially brings home that most basic consideration -- the need for every doctor to be supervised by a responsible person, i.e., a nurse. "An engaging blend of rustic wisdom and big-city know-how." -- Publishers Weekly


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When young Dr. Beach Conger accepted a hospital appointment in rural Vermont, it was a mail-order marriage without either party seeing the other. He envisioned living out the rest of his days splitting wood, healing the sick, and being adored as a kindly country doctor. His new patients figured they had their work cut out for them, breaking in this whippersnapper M.D. from When young Dr. Beach Conger accepted a hospital appointment in rural Vermont, it was a mail-order marriage without either party seeing the other. He envisioned living out the rest of his days splitting wood, healing the sick, and being adored as a kindly country doctor. His new patients figured they had their work cut out for them, breaking in this whippersnapper M.D. from Berkeley, California. Beach Conger's tale of his training in the art of country doctoring is a joy. Listen in on the hilarious consultations as he finds a cure for vitaminia, induces laconic Vermonters to talk about "private" problems, and even reconstructs the formula for the "Green Pills" his predecessor invented. He especially brings home that most basic consideration -- the need for every doctor to be supervised by a responsible person, i.e., a nurse. "An engaging blend of rustic wisdom and big-city know-how." -- Publishers Weekly

30 review for Bag Balm and Duct Tape: Tales of a Vermont Doctor

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dennis Bathory-Kitsz

    One of the funniest and most touching of the Vermont personal histories. The writing is erratic, but the stories are worth hearing. Conger came into Vermont during the transition from rural pocket to modern suburb and cuteness zone.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laura (Books, Interrupted)

    As you can see by how long it took me to read this book, this was a difficult book to get through. It was chosen for book club out of about 5 selections with a Vermont theme because it seemed to be the most appealing. Since the book club is based in Vermont, we wanted to read something based in the state. The book started out slow as he's describing the countryside and transition to living in Vermont, in a "slower" pace of life than he was accustomed to previously. It read like a journal that was As you can see by how long it took me to read this book, this was a difficult book to get through. It was chosen for book club out of about 5 selections with a Vermont theme because it seemed to be the most appealing. Since the book club is based in Vermont, we wanted to read something based in the state. The book started out slow as he's describing the countryside and transition to living in Vermont, in a "slower" pace of life than he was accustomed to previously. It read like a journal that was adapted for publication for the serious reader and the casual reader. The serious reader notes were a bit hilarious and at times unnecessary because it could've easily been worked into the story instead of being added to it to be published. Many of the chapters (or should I call them journal entries?) seemed to be mostly him complaining about everything that is wrong with Western medicine. About halfway through the book is when it got better when he learned how to treat patients rather than the disease. It took him moving to a small town to learn that everything he learned in med school and practiced elsewhere isn't necessarily the right way of practicing medicine. He learned that he needed to treat the person and earn their trust rather than treat the disease. I don't remember the specific point in the book when it happened, but I do remember suddenly enjoying the story and appreciating his humor, grace, and appreciation for the hardy lifestyle of Vermonters who don't take shit from outsiders they call flatlanders. The book was obviously dated with there being references to specific treatments and medications that are no longer recommended, which will happen with many books on the topic of medicine. Because I felt like the book read as a journal and it was dated, I got bored easily and had trouble getting back into it at first. I did not finish it in time for book club, but did pick it back up when a friend and I started talking about it. I finished it so that we could discuss it more in depth and he felt similarly disappointed in the title being misleading.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mary Ann

    His book starts out very slow because he describes the countryside and the history of the area. Then he gets into the patients and their complaints. He also has serious reader alerts. He hypothesis is that there will be two types of readers - serious and sex fieds. He will put alerts for the serious reader but the sex fiends are on their own. The serious reader alerts can be very boring and at times irrelevant. There are times where it is very funny and poignant, and other times where I was look His book starts out very slow because he describes the countryside and the history of the area. Then he gets into the patients and their complaints. He also has serious reader alerts. He hypothesis is that there will be two types of readers - serious and sex fieds. He will put alerts for the serious reader but the sex fiends are on their own. The serious reader alerts can be very boring and at times irrelevant. There are times where it is very funny and poignant, and other times where I was looking for where the section ended and got on with the story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lorelei

    Story of a Vermont doctor. This book started out really bad. I mean really bad. The guy sounded like an advertisement for everything that is wrong with Western medicine. Not at all likeable, and really obnoxious, if that isn't redundant. However, he grew on me, as I suppose Vermont grew on him. By the end I was reminded of so many things I loved about Vermont and the people there, I really appreciated his transformation from a git into a proper country doctor, and as far as I am concerned ended Story of a Vermont doctor. This book started out really bad. I mean really bad. The guy sounded like an advertisement for everything that is wrong with Western medicine. Not at all likeable, and really obnoxious, if that isn't redundant. However, he grew on me, as I suppose Vermont grew on him. By the end I was reminded of so many things I loved about Vermont and the people there, I really appreciated his transformation from a git into a proper country doctor, and as far as I am concerned ended on a good note.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Funny book, I especially enjoyed the "serious reader notes," and their commentary on healthcare. One of my favorite lines, " It might seem, at first blush, that nothing would make a person happier than to hear that her pesky little ache is not a harbinger that her ultimate demise...will soon be hoving into view." I can really relate to this as a PT, when I see people who simply need time, not some magic intervention, to get better. Funny book, I especially enjoyed the "serious reader notes," and their commentary on healthcare. One of my favorite lines, " It might seem, at first blush, that nothing would make a person happier than to hear that her pesky little ache is not a harbinger that her ultimate demise...will soon be hoving into view." I can really relate to this as a PT, when I see people who simply need time, not some magic intervention, to get better.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    This book was a really fun read, and confirmed many of my suspicions about the way that doctors think. It was interesting to learn about dealing with symptoms in individual patients (as opposed to populations - blame the day job).

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    I feel privelaged to have worked with Dr. Conger and anyone who knows him, can truly hear his voice in this book. The core of rural medicine is explored with humor and grace.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    humorously written and down home, which I always appreciate!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tricia

    eh... felt like someone writing about my job. I use books to take a break from working.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    p00p all about him and his ego and his nurse. nary a bag balm and duct tape story in sight. bummer

  11. 5 out of 5

    Judy

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dave

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ginger Smith

  14. 4 out of 5

    Diane

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sue

  16. 5 out of 5

    Beth Griffin

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Coletti

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Heise

  21. 5 out of 5

    Susan Roach

  22. 5 out of 5

    BJ

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dylan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kpnieman

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sherri Parker

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leah Smith

  28. 5 out of 5

    Andree Sanborn

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karla

  30. 5 out of 5

    Steve

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