Our exhibit hall has an intriguing display capturing medicinal practices in time. Everything from stethoscopes, to doctor's bags, to examination chairs and beds. We even have our own skeleton!
Additionally, we have a perspective from a doctor-farmer captured in time. Read below to see what Dr. E.P. Trittschuch of Lewisburg thought of his practice in 1960, when this article was published in the Dayton Daily News on July 17:
What has happened to the "old-fashioned" country doctor who was once hampered by slow cars (or slower horses and buggies) and dirt roads?
There aren't enough of them left, according to a Preble county physician, and it's because of the pace of living.
"I've been practicing in this community 41 years and I've seen all the changes," Dr. E.P. Trittschuch of Lewisburg said.
"The flocking to the cities is draining life from the heart of semi-rural America.
"But, I wouldn't trade my life with anyone I know in the city."
Dr. Trittschuh is a doctor-farmer. He has delivered more than 3,000 babies at home and in one year removed 144 pairs of tonsils in his office-clinic.
He figures that 37,000 visits is a conservative estimate of his record book.
"We still have much of the old look," he said, leaning back in a swivel chair.
"Our town doesn't have a registered pharmacist, so we dispense medicines.
"But we keep them in the clinic rather than trying to carry them all in a bag.
"All insurance plans approve our small clinic...we have a laboratory and can handle most things right here."
Dr. Trittschuh was born in New Madison, grew up to teach school for four years before entering medical school at University of Cincinnati.
He worked as a farm hand for 50 cents a day when he was 13 years old. His parents had been thrifty farmers and after finishing medical school, he elected to locate in home territory.
"Mrs. Trittschuh and I moved here in the teeth of the flu epidemic," the country doctor recalled.
"It was night and day. She had to learn to help in many ways.
"She still helps the nurse and me with the tonsils.
"We keep patients over night. Mrs. Trittschuh takes care of them through the night in our own house.
"She has cleaned the office every day all those years, too, because no one does it to suit her."
Dr. Trittschuh fell victim to an investment swindle in the 1920s. He signed up to invest $100 per month for a total of $5,000 in companies controlled by the late Samuel Insull. He still seeths at the thought, but said he found comfort in learning that city dwellers were also victims, not just banks and individuals in rural areas.
"That turned me sour and I decided to save by buying land," Dr. Trittschuh said.
"Little by little I picked up pieces, then fit them like a jigsaw puzzle, and today we have 500 acres.
"Last year we sold 350,000 pounds of milk from our herd of 60 registered cattle.
"I own all the equipment, just hire help and spend part of every day working at one place or another."
Has the country doctor altered his schedule?
He keeps morning and afternoon office hours and averages 40 patients every day. He can be found close by, between or after hours.
He no longer delivers babies, even in his clinic, because "I'm nearing 70 and can't go back to sleep like I once could."
Dr. Trittschuh believes everyone is "busy doing what other people think they should do, rather than what makes them happiest, thus best fitted for their work."
Ready to leave his office, a harried mother changed his tack. Two of her little girls had fallen off a swing, both needed stitches.
His nurse, meantime, asked about a charge. The elderly patient, with a bad foot, was sent on her way without a fee.
"Dr. Trittschuh says he can pass the saving along to the patient and never feel it," one nurse mused.
"If a large family comes in for vaccinations or shots, the price may be cut in half.
"He has no patience with people who can pay and won't, but is terrible tempered at what he considers over charging.
"His philosophy is that anything given away comes back in surprising ways."
Once a state ciphering champion, Dr. Trittschuh's grandchildren like to match wits with him. He has slate blackboards in the office, his living quarters and an old farmhouse which he is remodeling. To be safe, he gave blackboards to his daughters, Mrs. D.D. Douglas and Mrs. Robert Hoff, both of Dayton, and his son, E.P. Trittschuh Jr., an Arcanum teacher.
Dr. Trittschuh, president of the Preble County Medical society, thinks debts "incurred for wanting and getting things too fast dim life's purpose."
"Whatever the job, if money is the chief motive, the job will suffer," he said.
"Country doctors have a good life, away from the pressures.
"Some day doctors and people will switch back to the simpler, less complicated life.
"After all, life is a cycle, the only changes are short-circuits, set-backs or detours.
"It depends on how many of those you want."