It's just what the doctor ordered
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:00 PM
Vic Viray hails from Pampanga in the Philippines, but he's about as American as anyone can get.
He grew up with four sisters and one brother. It seems that Vic's mother was continually puny, and so his father told him that he needed to become a doctor in order to care for her.
He took his father's advice but while finishing up his medical degree, a friend invited him to Lexington, Ky., where Vic nabbed a residency. Not long after his arrival, a young, cute nurse was working in the ER.
Vic looked at the nurse, Margaret; Margaret eyed him right back and thus in short order, they were in love. In fact, they still are after more than five decades of marriage!
The Virays have never been sorry in regards to their decision to become Crawfordsvillians. Dr Haller's long-time partner, Dr. Wallace retired, and so Vic, along with his family, arrived in our fair city as the former's partner.
Dr. Viray worked at the hospital for 30 years, although it changed names a few times.
When I asked Doc Viray how many surgeries he thought he might have performed, he couldn't put a specific number to it but we both agreed, it was "Quite a few!"
In those days, a surgeon did about all types of surgery, and that he did indeed, barring brain and heart. He loved it, though, as ya' never knew what was coming next.
His morning surgery might have been delivering a baby via C-section whereas in the afternoon he could be setting a broken arm. He loved to cheerily announce, "It's a boy!"
He did not enjoy having to tell family sad news, but luckily, much of his work was joyful. At that time, if he was on call (every three nights usually) he might be awakened in the middle of the night and off he'd go.
The four Viray children were positive about one profession they would steer clear of - medicine, and that was mainly because of those late-night phone calls.
One of Dr. Viray's biggest accomplishments was that he was never sued and he contributes that to being genuinely concerned for his patients, keeping up with knowledge and working hard to insure a successful surgery.
We did get a laugh out of the fact that, unlike most physicians, that Doc Viray's hand writing is exceptionally good. Since his hand writing was so legible more than once, the pharmacy would call and double check that it was his signature on the prescription!
One comparison he noted in regards to how it was when he began and how doctoring is currently, is that today with such quick access to information on the Internet, Facebook, Twitter and the like, that sometimes a patient knows as much or more than the doctor on certain diseases.
Also, in the Philippines he told me that a doctor or other professional was often paid with a chicken or rice. Occasionally, there was a payment problem in America as well but he had his office gals work something out as he wanted to make sure his patients were taken care of.
Both Margaret and Vic have done a great deal of volunteer work in the community, Margaret in the local schools, and the Well Baby Clinic and Vic in Habitat for Humanities and Boy Scouts. He does most of the repairs in their only Crawfordsville home which they've lived in for over 30 years and told me that he thinks he enjoyed Scouts as much as the kids did. He felt it was an exceptional way to influence kids' character and conduct.
Margaret and Dr. Viray agreed whole-heartedly that Crawfordsville has been good to them. Vic said that when they came to town few people locked their doors and they would find all kinds of presents at their door steps, such as vegetables or dishes of mushrooms.
One fun experience Dr. Viray shared was when he and Dr. Millis were the first ones to register for the canoe race. It was a shallow year and after a little while carrying that boat, they were the first to drop out.
Although the Virays have done some traveling (their favorite trip was their Australian-New Zealand one and Vic has been back to the Philippines four times), they mainly seem to be homebodies, enjoying their two sons, two daughters, five grandchildren (especially their identical twin grandsons), church (where Vic serves as an Eucheristicc minister), each other and life in general.
Vic asked me why I chose him for the column. There are many reasons, but probably the top ones are that I have always admired his intelligence, work ethic and humor.
Thus, Vic (and Margaret) Viray claim this week's Around the County title!