Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Retrospective Part Five

I apologize.  It has been many months since I sat down in my mancave to compose the fifth in a series of retrospectives on the history of diagnostic ultrasound, and my part in it.  Please read the first four by scrolling down through my archives to get a feel for what I am writing about.  My last post was about echocardiography.  To the left you will see one of the first real time ultrasound machines I used as a sonographer.  Echocardiography was pioneered  Dr. Harvey Feigenbaum.  His book is widely thought of as the bible of echocardiography.  ISBN 0-8121-1692-7  That is the ISBN number.  Google it.  The machine you see to the left was crafted partially by Donald Baker, who is the husband of Joan Baker.  Joan is (As far as I can tell without doing google search) is the first ARDMS registered sonographer.  I did a quick search.  Google has no idea, neither does Ask.com.  Let's leave it to popular legend. But I know Joan.  She currently travels the world and teaches Sonographers how to scan properly without damaging muscles and tendons.  I have never met Donald.  I would love to shake his hand.

 I worked in a hospital in north Texas in the 1970's.  I took care of people with my new ATL machine until the salesperson of the machine greeted me.  His name was Clark Ulmet.  I hope he does not send the Nazgul down on me and my family for using his name, because he got me really started in the ultrasound business.  His daughter continues the tradition selling healthcare products. Clark got me in touch with a radiologist in Tyler TX.  He and his partner asked me to help out starting a mobile business.The owner actually flew me home in his private plane.  He and his partner got me interested enough to eventually gain my own private pilot's license.  At that time I had a full head of hair. When you have a head of hair, anything is possible. I said let's do it.


I arrived in my toyota pickup truck with a 70-ish boat on the hook and got a cheap apartment on the south side of Tyler.  I reported to a cheap ass office that smelled of smoke and other substances like cheese, and vanilla, and I would grab that big machine and  I would bully it up on a wheel chair lift on a Dodge Ram Van and wrestle it into place with cords, ropes, whatever was around.  I would then take off to visit three or four hospitals and see patients. We kicked the crap out of East Texas.  James and I delivered damn good health care to so many people.  We both arrived home and ready for a shower. All sonograms recorded on a video tape.  Echos were a combination of video and some pink thermal paper.  We used a microphone to tell the interpreter what we were looking at.  Most interpreters had no idea what they were looking at.  The tradition stands to this day.

Needless to say I learned how to fish. Crappie, Bass, Catfish.  I pursued my other love:  Music.  I played 5 days a week in a band called the "Country Boogie Band", and made some good money playing keys.  I met my current (and only) wife there at one of the hospitals I took care of.  In the next installment I will tell about my journey to the University of Alabama.  And a meeting with a most wonderful doctor named Navin Nanda MD.  He taught me everything about color flow Doppler, Pulse wave, CW and a KFC bucket load of other things.  And Yes, I am a Texan.  Be well.  TJW
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