The Blacktip Island medical clinic will host a proctologist next week as part of the small Caribbean island’s visiting physician program. (photo courtesy Nathan Bevier)
Blacktip Island residents are busy cataloguing their medical woes this week in anticipation of the arrival of the Caribbean island’s first visiting physician of the year.
“There’s not enough people on Blacktip for us to have a full-time doctor,” island mayor Jack Cobia said. “The good news is there’s a regular circuit of traveling docs willing to swap a few days in the island clinic for free lodging and diving.
“We get about three itinerant doctors a year,” Cobia said. “Last year we had a cardiologist, a GP and a dentist. We had a chiropractor, too, but we only covered half her lodging, and none of her diving. Next week, we get our first proctologist.”
Community leaders were busy spreading the word about the upcoming visit.
“A proctologist might seem a bit offbeat, but it’s an M.D. willing to come here, so we can’t be choosy,” longtime resident Frank Maples said. “Truth be told, we’ve actually quite the need for a proctologist. You wouldn’t believe the issues we have with a-holes.”
The doctor was equally upbeat about his visit.
“I can’t wait to probe into the islanders’ medical issues,” Dr. Buddy Pucker said. “A tropical island that small and that isolated, there’s no telling what I’ll root out. That’s the draw. With luck, I’ll discover something previously unknown that they’ll name after me.”
Not all residents were happy with the physician’s visit.
“Don’t need some stranger poking and prodding us,” resident Antonio Fletcher said. “Blacktip folks self-medicate just fine.
“We’re naturally healthy, you know,” Fletcher said. “If we get sick, or hurt, well, we just suck it up. And apply the appropriate alcohol, externally and internally.”
Others were more antagonistic.
“So-called Western medicine leaves a lot to be desired,” said Clete Horn. “Daddy went to see a visiting doctor once. Died ten years later. There’s a lesson there.
“People wanna see some off-island quack, that’s their business,” Horn said. “But you can get better results just drinking pond water. And ‘Tonio’s home brew’ll cure most ailments, without him chucking pills at you.”
Dr. Pucker will have clinic hours Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, weather dependent.
“If the seas lay down and the vis is good, I may have to cancel an afternoon here and there,” he said. “But I’ll make it up with Tuesday and Friday office hours. By appointment. Or teleconference. If possible.”
The island council released a tentative schedule of future visiting doctors.
“Between now and Christmas we’ll also have a hepatologist, cardiologist and, with luck, a psychiatrist,” Cobia said. “That covers the Big Four of Blacktip Island demons.”