Monday, February 27, 2017

Review - Come Walk With Me by Dr. Melvin Cheatham

Dr. Melvin Cheatham came into my life when my primary doctor, Dr. Cho, was worried about my abnormally large head. While I do not recall Dr. Cheatham, both of my parents say that he cared about me as his patient and did everything he could to diagnose my problem.

As it turns out, a subdural tap on each side of my head produced fluid but nothing else showed that would indicate any disease, infection, or cause for the larger-than-normal head size. And because the fluid shot out too quickly, and landed on the floor, they were unable to test it.

Cutting edge, at the time, EMI scans (now called CT scans) showed nothing out of the ordinary and all the other tests came up normal. But that concern, while mostly alleviated, was still there over the years. My mother said several years after visiting him, she took me back to see Dr. Cheatham even though I was no longer his patient. He noted that I seemed to be perfectly normal and was happy to see me.

All of this is just second-hand information to me. Even though I was there, I was too young to remember. But it speaks to his character as a man and as a doctor. So when my mother sent me a signed copy of Dr. Cheatham's book Come Walk With Me, I was excited to learn more about this mystery doctor that helped my family.

You see, working on this #40yearsagotoday project has taken me back to a time that's historically relevant to me and has sent me down a path of self-discovery. Not only am I learning about me as a baby, but I'm also learning about my parents and the rest of my family as well. So as I dug into my past, I became very fortunate to make contact with Dr. S. N. Charles Cho, the doctor who delivered me and cared for me as a child.

Even though it was only a few emails, I was pleased beyond my wildest dreams to make contact with Dr. Cho. I attempted to do the same with Dr. Melvin Cheatham but have been unsuccessful so far. So his book is the next best thing.

The book itself is about Dr. Cheatham's adventures in Africa serving as a doctor for the World Medical Mission in Tenwek, Kenya. Most interesting to me were the earlier parts of his life where he becomes a doctor through a very interesting chain of events. His work in Africa is extremely impressive but at times the passages get a little too graphic. I think this is just a doctor reciting back what he has done or seen and doesn't mean to make it graphic in a bad way, I just think he's being a doctor and keeping it realistic. I just struggled with the depressing reality of life in a country like this.

Aside from the biographical and medical themes in the book, Dr. Cheatham also talks about how God and his Christian religion impacted his life and his practice. I am not religious but I never felt like he was preaching to the reader. He was just simply stating his beliefs and, like the descriptions of surgeries, wasn't trying to rub anything in your face.

In the end, I got a nice impression of what Dr. Cheatham is like. Certain parts of the book are sad with people dying or the poor conditions many in Africa live in, but it wasn't overwhelmingly depressing. Some stories were positive and some of the patients made amazing recoveries. I would highly recommend the book for anyone going to Africa for medical or missionary work and for those traveling to the Tenwek region of Kenya.

And if you happen to know Dr. Cheatham, please have him send me an email ( I'd like to chat with him.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

40 Years Ago Today - February 25, 1977

It wasn't even two weeks after my last visit to Dr. Cho that I was back again, this time with the flu.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

40 Years Ago Today - February 14, 1977

I spent my first Valentine's Day with Dr. Cho getting a "well baby check." Things went "OK" at the check-up.