September 17, 2014
Off the record

I honestly enjoy trips to the doctor

Jim Grisso
Posted 7/29/09

This may sound crazy (like most of my ramblings), but I actually enjoy seeing doctors -- some docs, that is.

I would assume you all have at least one doctor whose “bedside manner” makes you feel at ease. I’ve had the privilege of being under the care of many in my lifetime.

One of my favorites is Dr. William Gray, a dermatologist who practices in Cheboygan. I must like him. I drive more than 160 miles roundtrip from my home near Roscommon twice a year to experience dermatological treatment as well as verbal abuse.

He previously practiced in Gaylord. As a former Gaylord resident, I first met him in the Alpine Village about 10 years ago. It’s been all-out war ever since.

You see, he holds his medical degree from Michigan State University, and, as anyone acquainted with my Maize & Blue cotton’-pickin’ heart knows, I’m a Meeeechigan man through and through.

In fact, our M-MSU semi-annual war of words is so intense, I almost cancelled my visit last fall after the Spartans came away with an extremely rare football victory. Dr. Gray (I call him Bill) brought out his green and white artillery unmercifully on that visit.

Not only is he a good-natured guy. Bill is one of the best dermatologists in these parts. He literally has saved my hide (and possibly my life) more than once.

I have a history of skin cancer (melanoma). He surgically removed the first lesion from my shoulder blade in his office. There was no recurrence of that one, but the second time a much more threatening lesion appeared at the inner thigh of my left leg. So, he sent me off to, of all places, the University of Michigan Hospital to have it removed (he kids me that he really hated to send me to that place). I asked him if we could schedule surgery on a Friday before a football Saturday in the Big House.

While we may joust every six months, Dr. Gray is a very skilled, and serious, doctor. However, every time I leave his office with “burn” marks on my face, hands and arms -- compliments of what I call his “zapper” -- I always wonder if that’s his way of getting in the last word.

To add insult to injury, my veterinarian is a Michigan State guy, also (no, he’s not my personal physician -- he treats my dogs). Dr. Roger Greve of Gaylord has been taking care of my pets for more than 30 years, and he, too, is one of the best. I guess that’s because he earned his degree from “Moo U.”

I’ve written about him before and told of the numerous times Roger and his staff have gone the extra mile for my dogs -- from pulling out porcupine quills at 2 in the morning to crying with me when he was forced to put them down.

Another current doc of mine, thankfully, is a Maize & Blue man. His name is Dr. Richard Hoyner who practices dentistry in Gaylord. As a UM alum, he happens to be the president of the Gaylord University of Michigan Alumni Club. As a “friend” of UM, I’ve served as the club’s vice-president for more than 30 years. We get along just fine.

However, the one thing that bothers me is when he’s talking Michigan football while working on me. I never liked one-sided conversations.

Besides possessing a warm, friendly personality, Rich, like Bill and Roger, is at the “top of his game” as a professional.

I’m sure everyone out there has the privilege of being served by medical professionals like these three guys.

I know one thing for sure: they sure help relieve my “white coat syndrome.”

— Jim Grisso, a Roscommon area resident, was publisher of the Gaylord Herald-Times for 40 years and has been a newspaper journalist for 50 years. He can be contacted at jgoblue@live.com.

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