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A Phoenix5 First-Person Story



by Dr. Stephen Strum

  I remember the day, driving home from my first ski trip ever in Colorado in the 60's.

I was at the U of Chicago School of Medicine and in my 3rd year. I complex wiring finally got my first car, a 1964 Pontiac Tempest Lemans. It had only 4 cylinders but it was my beauty. The engine was so weak that my medical school buddies and I had to push it over Loveland Pass.

On the way back to Chicago, outside of Omaha, the car started to really lose it. No power, like it was firing only on 2 cylinders.

I stopped at a local gas station and asked the mechanic for help. Remember, my Dad was an auto mechanic and I was not particularly naive about cars having gone to work in the station since I was 6 years old.

The mechanic told me the engine was blown; he would give me $50 for the car. I had spent $800 for the car and I could not believe the engine was blown based on what I saw him do. I was slightly empowered so to speak. I thanked him and puttered off into Omaha.

My buddies and I found a Pontiac dealer, left the car in front of the place with the keys and a note slipped under the door. We found some cheap hotel and spent a restless night trying to figure out how to get back to Med school in time, especially with our funds exhausted.

The next morning, we all went down to the Pontiac place and with great concern inquired about the car. We were directed to the mechanic in the service department. He looked grim. However, he said "Your car is fixed; here is the bill."

I did not know how to react. The car was fixed, but now how could I pay him?

I reluctantly looked at the bill.

My heart sighed: $1.98. I almost started laughing out loud. What was wrong? Just a distributor wire came off one of the spark plugs, that's all.

The point of this long but true story is that not everyone that seems to be an expert and is so decisive in telling you what to do, is an expert or cares about your best interests.

Dr. Stum is an oncologist and the Clinical Director of the Prostate Cancer Research Institute in Los Angeles.

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[Images are for illustration only and do not represent those involved.]

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This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not replace or amend professional medical advice. Unless otherwise stated and credited, the content of Phoenix5 (P5) is by and the opinion of and copyright © 2000 Robert Vaughn Young. All Rights Reserved. P5 is at <>. P5's policy regarding privacy and right to reprint are at <>.