May I diagnose you?

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

 So I had a great week due to two things:  (1).  A dog and (2).  Dr. Red Duke.  

First regarding the dog, I was at Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston and got to love on this precious Collie who looked just like Lassie.  He was there because he is the mascot for PAWS Houston, a wonderful organization that helps to maintain the relationship between terminally and/or chronically ill people and their own pet.  It’s not a therapy organization, but an organization whose purpose is to provide hospital visits by the patients’ own pets.  How great is that?
So not long after I got to love on the PAWS mascot, I was coming around a corner and almost ran right into Dr. Red Duke.  He is one of my heroes! Throughout the 80’s and probably into the 90’s Dr. Red Duke ran a national syndicated television spot on health.  He would discuss particular ailments or medical advancements of the day.  His spots were always very informational and well done.  I am quite certain I have seen every one of his segments.  It was his demeanor and his plain people talk that made him so engaging.  He sometimes would air shows from the hospital where he would be dressed in typical trauma surgeon attire, but my favorites were when he would film from parts unknown where he would be in his jeans and cowboy hat, and very often on a horse or with his dog by his side.  I can still hear him in his thick Texas accent as he signed off from each show, “From the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, I’m Dr. Red Duke.” I just loved him! 
But let me tell you the rest of the story.  I have always had a fascination with health, and specifically gory diseases and strange growths.  Maybe I should have been a doctor or mole inspector or something….  Nothing thrills me more than getting to pick some funky bodily growth off myself or off anyone else who will let me (including my dogs).  Oh how I love a good fungus… 
So since I have always had a fascination with health, diseases, and drugs, and since my idea of a wonderful Sunday afternoon in college was curling up to The Physicians’ Desk Reference (I loved that 10 pound book!), I was also the first to diagnose my friends and family whether they felt they needed a diagnosis or not.  I suppose it could be a little annoying when I would interrupt someone mid-sentence on a subject completely unrelated and say something like, “Will you let me look at your tongue?” Anyway – as a result of all that diagnosing I was always doing (and still do), my friend Sami started calling me Dr. Debi Duke. 
It has stuck through the years and to this day Sami will call me up and say, “hey Dr. Debi Duke, I have a question for you….”.  So - I want to thank the real Dr. Red Duke for making medicine so interesting and for being the inspiration behind my own curiosity in the world of health and medicine. He's a real Texas Legend and no doubt, one-of-a-kind.  




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