by Randy Townzen
When you're 8 years old and too sick to go to school, it seems like a really big deal.
About 1963, a sore throat and high fever had me sick, whining I'm sure, for the sympathies of my parents and older sisters. It was the start of winter. We had a single floor furnace, so Mom bedded me down on the couch close to the heat with lots of blankets, two channels on TV and a rare treat of orange juice. But I didn't get better. We didn't have a family doctor, so my worried Mom called the new doctor in town for help. Back then, doctors made house calls, and it wasn't long until this tall, dark haired gentleman arrived at the house, wearing white shirt and tie, carrying his little black bag. After a brief exam, his strong confident voice pronounced "tonsillitis", and left a prescription and instructions.
Days later, I still wasn't better. Mom worked at Daisy Manufacturing in Rogers, Dad worked construction. There was a "building boom" of sorts going on. Not homes or commercial buildings, but chicken houses. Both couldn't afford to miss work. I don't know how or why, but without a call the good doctor came by to check on me. I remember he looked down my throat and in my ears, then reached in his bag for every sick child's dread... "the shot".
My older cousin was sitting with me as nurse, and she left the room while the doctor rolled me on my side for the needle in the hip. About that time, my Mom called from work. Concerned, she had gone to the office and borrowed the phone to call and check on me. The doctor didn't hesitate when it rang, just picked it up and in that same strong, confident voice said "Now Mom, everythingis going to be fine". And it was. I recovered quickly after that, milking sympathy from sisters and parents for the giant needle I endured.
Dr. Don Cohagan was that Good Doctor. The story is, his Dad told him to try to set up practice in Rogers, the next town over. But it seems Rogers told him they had plenty of doctors and a good hospital and didn't need any more. So Doctor Cohagan came to Bentonville where a new hospital was being built and a young doctor was welcome.
Last week, Dr. Don Cohagan passed away. Not only did he serve Bentonville with his medical skills, but he and his family have been dedicated to making it a better place. Dr. Cohagan tried very hard to create a Bentonville History Museum. We want to continue with his dream.
Funny, I can't remember how we paid for house calls back then. I know we didn't have insurance. But, I guess if you couldn't pay right away, they know where you lived.