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“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Friday, August 19, 2022

     The Car

    I'm going to make this brief, because I really ought to be studying, but I also need a break from reviewing diagnosis and treatment of dementia (JUST what I want to hear about right now.) I have to recertify my boards in 45 days, and I cannot wait for this to be over with. 

    At any rate, my father was a car man. He acquired cars the way some people acquire cats, and he was vastly reluctant to sell any of them, even when they were no longer being used. The only car I think he ever was eager to sell was a Jag XKE he got third hand, and he only sold it because he was tired of fixing it. (This happened when my sister and I were very young, and we never really forgave him for selling it. Every time he went on an errand we would go with him, and fight about who got to sit in the passenger seat and who had to squeeze in behind the seats - it was a two-seater.) But Jags are notorious for electrical problems, and this was no exception. So it was sold. 

    I still don't know why, but a few years later he bought a Mercedes 600 - a limo. Then a second one. He had fun driving them for a few years but eventually they sat and moldered in the oversized garage he built after we moved to the house I live in now. The cars, of course, became nonfunctional after a while. One of them still is, but the other one has been slowly and painstakingly restored for the past three or four years by a local garage that specializes in Mercedes. I took my own car there for maintenance for a while, until I inherited my aunt's Subaru and sold the other car. 

    The restoration project took years because that particular model of Mercedes is no longer made. The owner of the garage had to track down parts, remove and steam clean the gas tank as it was full of deposits and corrosion, and so forth. But just as I returned from my summer trip in mid-July I received a message from the owner that they had sold the business, were retiring, and needed to return the car to me. So I got help to clean and reorganize the garage, and donated all the medical equipment that was in there to make room for the car... and it was delivered this afternoon. 

    It sat in the driveway and I opened the garage door for it. This car is a tank; eighteen feet long, six feet wide, a true model of mid-twentieth century auto engineering. Sitting in the driver's seat, I actually felt intimidated. It took me a minute to realize that the gearshift was on the steering wheel column and to figure out how to open the car door, even. I eased it in behind its twin, got out and admired it. 

    Now, I have to figure out how to get it sold, and the other one too. As I said, the other car does not run. A couple of years ago my brother tracked down someone who specializes in vintage cars. He took a look at them and advised that we not restore them, as whoever buys them would probably like to do that themselves, but Dad really enjoyed the whole process and would have the caregivers drive him down to the garage about every other week so that he could have the owner bring him up to date. They were very kind and patient with him and they have told me more than once how much they enjoyed talking to him. I'm glad to have the car back for the moment, at least, to bring back memories as I drive it down the street to keep it in good condition.

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    Yes they are a massive tank - would be a huge restoration project. They are still in great demand by collectors here.

    By Blogger paul kennedy, at August 25, 2022 at 5:33 PM  

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