Jeffrey R. Steinbauer

The snowstorm had started on Friday, before I’d gone on call for my group. At first I’d thought the weekend would remain quiet, that the small town where I practiced might just slumber under a fresh blanket of snow. But by early Saturday morning, things had gotten busy at the hospital. Several emergency-room visits, phone calls and admissions from the nursing home changed the stillness I’d felt amid the snowfall. In no time, there was the familiar stress of trying to bring order to a day that was rapidly becoming chaotic. 

Sometime that afternoon, I looked up from a chart to see the town sheriff standing at the nursing station. Although we were acquainted through weekly Rotary Club meetings, he now was barely recognizable–bundled in heavy winter clothing, his head covered by a parka hood. Flakes of snow lingered on his jacket and caked his boots. Beneath the hooded parka, his eyes were severe and his face ruddy; together they broadcast an unspoken weather report. He was not smiling.

“Doc, we need you to come with us,” he said.

This was an unusual request, coming at an inconvenient time. There was much to be done–phone calls to …

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