Anna says about Dr. Calloway: “He’s so stiff there isn’t even butter or salt there—jes’ starch.”
While he was a devoted and outstanding doctor, at home he was tough on all that he loved and also on himself. He told Anna about the day of Fritzy’s birth, “I gave it my best. Nature didn’t.”
Anna from Atlanta begins with the sad tale of a birth gone wrong, a gut-wrenching reflection by the retired doctor Don “Donny” Calloway about the delivery of Fritzy, the son of his best friend and fellow doctor in town.
“It was the fall of 1923. The dark-haired crown of the baby eased out slowly, and I caught him squarely around his shoul- ders—head first. The damn cord was wrapped twice around his neck. I cut it off quickly. ‘Hurry!’ I yelled at the top of my lungs. Everyone in the delivery room moved as if I had just given them a jolt of electricity. You could see tears of fear in some of the nurses’ eyes. I couldn’t take time to do more than notice.
I knew we were doomed as soon as I saw that cord. My nurse rushed the oxygen tent over and a second nurse tried to clean out his gagging mouth and lungs. He was making a deep gurgling noise. We ignored the noise and worked on what was causing it. Just about that time, a helpless feeling began to roll over us like a low-hanging cloud. There wasn’t a thing we could do. We peered through the window of the oxygen tent to see if he would start breathing on his own—and he did, but he still wasn’t moving, and that was a very bad sign. The damage was already done. There was a dead silence in the delivery room. All I could think of was that I would have to tell Joe.”