Just yesterday I had to have surgery. Not to worry–it was nothing more serious than kidney stones and after an uncomfortable day yesterday, and a day of rest today, I should be fine. But I also have a new appreciation for doctors in the Regency era.
There is an excellent article about Regency doctors and their training here which makes you realize that if you needed medical attention in 1810 or so, you were not in the era of high-tech medicine we have today, but neither were you in the era of the totally uneducated, illiterate and untrained medicine men. Doctors learned from formal schooling, from each other, and mostly from their own experience.
Another fascinating insight into 19th century medicine can be found in this book, which I discovered and enjoyed several years ago. It is the diary of a midwife who practiced in New England from 1785-1812. Through daily entries we see how she treated her delivering patients, how much she charged and was paid (not always the same thing!), sexual practices of the day, attitudes towards women, politics at play, and a host of other things. The barter system established through the use of “credits” at local shops was especially interesting, as it foreshadowed the development of the actual banking system we use today. I highly recommend this book.
And while I was sitting in the prep area yesterday, anxiously awaiting my turn to go under our super high-tech, modern kidney stone lithotripsy machine, the next chapter of my latest story with Darcy and Elizabeth kept playing in my head. So back to work I go! In the meantime, may you read and enjoy these two resources!