One night in 1963 my Dad, Cecil Lewis fell sick. We lived out on Bull Creek. This wasn’t the first time he had been deathly ill from the same cause. He had a long history of stomach ulcers since soon after he and momma married in 1948.
The doctor told him he would need to stop drinking and watch what he ate. When he felt his ulcer acting up he went on a diet of soda crackers, sweet cows milk and raw eggs. Usually a few days of consuming those three things he would improve and go back to eating a regular meals with us.
But then than night in ‘63, Bonnie Gay loaded him up and headed to Brackenridge with him. They both knew it was more serious than his regular bouts with ulcers. They left Kenny and me there at home sleeping.
It was close to an hours drive to get from way up Bull Creek all the way to the hospital. It was all country roads and city streets with red lights. I remember her saying how he was begging her to go faster. I have told before how high of a threshold for pain Cecil Lewis had, but he was feeling this.
Once they arrived at the Emergency Entrance the hospital workers must have seen the urgency, as they rushed him straight in to start to work on him.
Dr. Raleigh R. Ross was on duty or they quickly summoned him. The good doctor and his team cut him open because his stomach had ruptured. He ended up taking out 70% of his stomach, to which I have no idea what that means. But once the patient was back on his feet and doing normal things it wasn’t hard for him to get full at the supper table.
Dr. Ross during a follow up appointment told Cecil that he thought it would be good for the healing process to drink a beer or two each day. Now he was talking to a fellow that had drank hard as a teenager, all the way through his Navy years and for a little while after that, but put all drinking aside by the early 1950s.
In typical Cecil Lewis fashion, he thought if two beers would be good for him, then four would be twice as good in helping him heal properly. It wasn’t long before he was consuming lots of beers and hard liquors of all sorts. And all that is part of the Cecil Lewis story right up until passed on in 1995.
So when I say Dr. Raleigh Ross caused Cecil Lewis to become an alcoholic, I say that only because it was doctors orders for him to drink those two beers a day.