Contributor: Bob Klein
It has been such a long time since I've been back, and the idea of recalling my Duke years fills me with joy. Yes, I have a "Stead Story," about one of those Sunday morning sessions we used to call "Sunday School."
I knew the experience would be very stressful! I had prepared a talk on agammaglobulinemia, but was petrified about standing up and giving it to that audience, especially with Dr. Stead in the front row, watching me with those piercing eyes.
On the night before, I had my first date with my wife-to-be, Corny Force. We were dancing and all I could talk about was agammaglobulinemia and my forthcoming presentation. Because of that, I suppose she thought I was very strange, whispering "Agammaglobulinemia" while we were dancing to Good Night Sweetheart! The next day I woke up with a fever.
Three hours after the talk, which I managed to give despite coughing and shivering, I was admitted to Drake ward in the six-bed unit, under Syd Osterhout's care with a diagnosis of "primary atypical pneumonia."
Dr. Stead visited me the next day, and I recall two things he said, "Bob, I have always thought it's good for doctors to get sick now and then because that helps them know what patients are experiencing."
He gave me that famous Stead half-smile and added, "You did a great job explaining agammaglobulinemia, as I knew you would, and I knew the Sunday school talk would be a difficult experience for you, but I hardly thought it would be enough to land you in the hospital!"