Friday, December 30, 2005


dec, 30th, my nursing days

After reading Deni`s blog I kept remembering things that happened when I was working at our local hospital.

All my life I wanted to be a nurse. While still a girl Scout, I became a member of our First aiders-- took the course and passed it. I was just 16 at the time, but was very interested in Medical situations.

Back when I was only 10 years old, my brother was Hospitalized with osteomylitis and had an op on his leg. Doctors told my mother and father that if they didn`t remove his leg he wouldn`t live thru the night. But, My Mother refused. Her faith was so strong that she felt he would make it thru with his leg intact. Thank God that she was right as she never could have handled it if he had died. I can still remember the first time i saw his leg. He was in the hospitsl for over a year and when his second Christmas there arrived the Dr made arrangements to have my bro brought down to the salarium near the huge tree. They allowed my parents to bring us kids up to see him opening his gifts by the tree. he wasn`t able to get out of bed, but we didn`t care. We were just glad to see he was still there. When you are small and don`t see someone for over a year you begin to think they are gone for good.

When I asked him how he was, he said his leg looked awful. So,I asked him to show it to me. It had a long hole going from just below his knee down to the top of his ankle. It did look awful with many places having pusssy globs , other places looking red and bloody and you could see where the skin was trying to heal over the open deep empty space. You knew if you touched it the skin would peel of. It made my bros and sisters sick so they walked away, but even at that age of 10 yrs i already was interested in being a nurse.

I got a job at our local hospital a few weeks before I graduated from high School. I worked on what was all private rooms and called " The Gold Coast". I worked 3pm to 11 pm 6 nights a week. After I had worked there a few months with daily on the floor training I started being in charge when the only Nurse went down for supper. It made me feel important. I was just 18 years old and trusted with so much athority. I did everything a registered nurse was allowed to do except give a needle. I took charge of all meds for all patients and even did the counting at the end of the day. the Nurse signed her Initials after mine to make it legal. They were so short of Nurses back then and so there was just the one nurse working on that floor second shift. If there had been more Nurses, I would never have learned so much or been allowed to do all the things I did. Even special nurses had to come to me to get the drug cabinet or the linen closet door unlocked.

But there were some things that happened that were scarry. One time I was in the linen closet straightening up the shelfs when one of the special nurses noticed the opened door and shut it not knowing I was inside. Mechon was at supper and I had all the keys. I started pounding on the door and the special nurse said " Dorothy, is that you in there?" When I said yes, she asked where to find the keys to let me out. Told her in my pocket. I would never lay them down while I was in charge.

The spec.N called down to the head office, told them that she needed to get into the linen closet and couldn`t find the nurse. So they sent someone up to unlock the linen closet . Was I relieved as while I was in there noone was watching the board or patients.

Some nights after everyone was asleep it would be so quiet that I would play solitare while the nurse knitted-- both in the closet in case the head of nurses happened to come on our floor. had a tiny pack of cards. But I didn`t continue playing cards for long. I got bored and wanted something to do. So I started asking for permission to go down and either help on the childrens floor or on the floor where all the poorer patients were. They appreciated any help they could get. That floor had many beds to every room and there wasn`t enough nurses to do a good job.

On that floor was where I met the Nurse that had cared for my bro years before. She asked my name and then asked if he was related- told her yes, my brother. Well, one night while I was down helping her a dr came into the nurses station. Mrs jennings told me that was the Dr who had saved my bros live and she introduced me to him. She told him I was the sister of the lad he treated yrs ago. His reply to me was " I didn`t save your brothers life. I had done everything humanly possible and I knew I was going to lose him as there was nothing more I could do. It took someone much more powerful than I to save your brothers life". I never forgot his words. He would take no credit for himself.

Well, to get back to what happened on my own floor- lots happened.

One evening while I was alone on the floor I heard a patient yelling " Dautty, Dautty, get her out of here". He couldn`t say Dorothy and called me Dautty. I hurried to his room ( he never would use the buzzer, just yelled my name). There I found the patient from down the hall in just her johnny shirt and in his room. I tried my best to hold the gown around her as I hurried her down the hall to her own private room, past visitors on the way. You can just imagine what that was like. This patient had dementia, but her niece was head of nurses and refused to let us do anything to keep her safe in her room, nor did she want to spend the money to give her a special nurse. Another time I came out from helping another patient and peeked in her room to check on her like I was forever doing. She was nowhere to be found. I checked the bathroom, even under the bed and in the closet. Then I started walking down the hall checking each room as I went passed it. Finally I heard a noise coming from the small utility closet. When I opened the door, there she was hiding behind the large mop cart. Down the hall holding her gown shut again. When mercson came back from supper, I told her what happened and if something wasn`t done soon, this patient was either going to get hurt, or she might even follow visitors onto the elevator and leave the hospital. Thats when merchon called the patients Dr and he came and insisted she be contained in bed with the fishnet. Well, if we thought that would make our carinng for her easier, we were wrong. This woman would try to grab your hand when you were feeding her and try to bite you. I soon learned how to safely get the food into her mouth and pull my hand back real fast. We knew she had incurable cancer and when she got worse they finally got her a special nurse. merchon told me that she was going to go while she was at supper and I would have to help the sp nurse fix her up. I remember telling her " She better not". She was right. Still just 18 , almost 19 and here I was holding a dead person while her nurse washed her up. I heard Merchon`s footsteps coming down the hall. my one thought was Thank God! Now I can get out of here. Wrong!! All Merchon did was open the door and say " be careful Dorothy, don`t let her face touch the pillow or it will bruise it", then she turned walked out and shut the door leaving me there to finish helping. I will never forget how it felt .

Then there was this Priest- same one who called me Daughty. He didn`t trust anyone in white uniforms- Nurses or Drs. But I could give him his pills and he would take them for me. So, I started going to work an hour early even though I wasn`t paid for it. I did it to give him his afternoon pills so he received them at least twice a day. I could walk in with the day nurse and she would give me the pills right in front of him and still he would take them from me, but noone else. He was such a little man wearing his reddish purple expensive robe. It got so that merchon told me to drop whatever I was doing if I could and go to his room when he started yelling my name. He used to tell me that the nurses were trying to kill him with the pills. He was a sweetheart and it hurt knowing he was dying.

Then there was the patient who was bedridden who rang her buzzer. Merchon answered that buzz, came back and asked me to go see if I could figure out what she was upset over. She was saying " Please shut off my stove, my coffee is boiling over." I stood quiet and listened to find what she might be hearing, I hear a drip, drip, and went into the bathroom and shut off the dripping faucet. The patient smilled and told me Thankyou.

Then I remember this very intelligent lady who had been a teacher in the Albany Teachers College. We had her as a patient till she got quite bad. Then she had a private nurse. I had gotten permission from her nurse to stop and talk to her on my way down the hall when I first arrived. I had talked to her for weeks before this. This went on for over another week, when this one day as I reached her room, her Nurse put her hand up to stop me from entering. The nurse came out into the hall and told me that the patient had gone into a coma no more than I left last night. I asked her if she minded if I still stopped in to speak to her and she said ok. While I was talking to the patient she suddenly said "Dorothy?" in a questionly manner. I told her, yes it was me. Her nurse jumped out of the chair and started across to her while I just looked at her and shook my head. She never uttered another word and never came out of the coma. The Nurse said she was going to tell the patients daughter when she came back from supper. I told her to please never tell any of her Family that she called my name. She looked at me puzzled. I told her nothing would hurt her family more than to have spent all night there with her without a sound from her and hear that she spoke a workers name not theirs. I felt that would be a cruel thing to do to her Family. Yes, it sure hurt every time we lost a patient, especially one that we had been treating for a long time. You do start loving some of them.

There was one patient who asked me to stay with them when I went to their city for advanced nursing. His wife said It would be like the child they never had. They would get me a car to drive back and forth to The hosp., and his wife said we would go shopping and turn the bedroom into what ever made me happy. Trouble was I ended up getting engaged and since he had a daughter, I knew if I married I would become a wife and mother instead of a registered nurse. I had gone to the other Hospital, been showed all thru it, plus saw the nurses Quarters . But they were filled for that quarter and I would need to wait till the next Jan. to enter. Then I took my weeks vacation and started watching Walts little girl at my parents home. The head nurse that was that patients niece called me and told me to report to another floor when I came back. So, I called the hosp head and told him I was quitting. He called me 4 times after that trying to change my mind. The last time he added that he would see that I went back to the same floor where I had worked before. But by then Walt had asked me to marry him, so I recalled the head of the hosp to tell him I wouldn`t be back when my vacation was over as I was getting married. I married the orderly in Dec, so never went in Jan. I used to baby sit for this same Hosp head Nurse when i was in grade school and she wasn`t a nice person then either, but I did love the kids and her husband was a great father.

There were many patients that were special and many more incidents I could tell about. But, I have told enough to show how much I loved nursing. Even today, I still have a love for Nursing.

Incredible to know that you still remember all these from your past

Such lovely to hear chapters.
You really loved to be a nurse, didn't you ?
that was a great story dot. there is nothing better than getting a caring nurse when you are sick. i have seen the good and the bad. you never forget either kind. yours is the first blog i went to this morning and i just woke up. it is 7:30 a.m. here . i am not sure what the weather is going to do but it looks like rain. well have a great day and a happy new year. talk to you later.
Jac, it is easy to remember things when you were enjoying what you were doing, and much to easy to get attached to many of them.
One thing i didn`t mention that i recall was a young spoiled girl which made her a hard patient. She kept complaining long after the Dr told her parents that she was well and needed to be discharged to free the bed for one who realy needed it. But she loved all the coddling and gifts her mother kept giving her since she entered the hosp.. I knew why she wanted to stay. You see she had a crush on the fellow ( orderly) I was dating. She would lay in bed moaning while her Mother was visiting, but after she left, the girl would get out of bed and stand in her doorway waiting for Walt to come on our floor. Then up the hall she would go to catch him. One of my duties caring for her was to give her warm sit baths. I told Merchon that I would like to push her under the water ( kidding of course) and Merchon laughed saying she would also be glad when her Mother caught her daughter running up the hall feeling great. Merchon and I both knew Walt was the only reason the girl was pretending to be still in pain so her mother wouldn`t take her home. Finally the Dr just discharged her and told her Mother to take her home. Saw some fakers, but she was the worst. But she wasn`t the only one who tried chasing Walt. There was a student Nurse from another hosp that was doing her interning at our Hosp.. She even gave him a couple pictures of herself. Wonder what she would think if she knew I still have those two pictures in my photo album as Walt gave them to me back when she gave them to him. Yes, I realy did love nursing.
my teachings never were a waste as they helped me raising my kids and caring for my Mother after her hip op and later her hip replacement, plus caring for two daughters who spent all one summer under netting after being badly burnt.
Hi Mr Hanney, Is it raining there yet? It is snowing here right now.
Yes, I to have seen some who never should have been allowed to care for patients. Walt had one when he was in the coma from the Carbon monoxide poisioning. She took his finger pulse clip off his finger while straightening up his sheets and walked out. One of my sons asked me what the noise was that he was hearing. I checked and told him it was the finger clip trying to take the pulse of the side rail she had clipped it onto. I went out to tell his nurse to come replace it on his finger. I could have done it, but it was her job. A little while later the fellow in the next room`s wife had gone down to supper. She came back to find her husband had pulled the tube out of his throat. Walt and this fellow were her only patients to watch in this seriously ill ward. Both my daughter and son along with the wife of the other fellow went to the office and reported her. She was removed from that wing. A week later Walt was moved to another foor into a reg. room, and who was there working- that same Nurse. Back when he was in intensive care I assked her to see Walts file. She refused saying the rules of the Hosp didn`t allow it. I told her I knew the rules forward and backward and that I had worked there and there was no such rule. That scared her and she immediately let me look at his chart. So she not only ignored her patients, but also didn`t know the Hosp rules.
Hi Dot, I came across to tell you I was fascinated at your comment in Mr. H's blog about your clock. It is a wonderful possession for you and I can imagine how you love it and won't part with it.

Your nursing stories are very interesting although sad in that care in the hospitals don't always measure up these days either. My brother was in for a proceedure and received wonderful care. But my dil's father was in another hospital and it was a horrible experience.

I hope you have a Happy New Year and 2006 treats you well. Shirl
Thanks Shirl. I tried to go to your blog to thank you for coming to my blog, but I didn`t find a way to post there. So, if you should stop back, thank you and I wish you all the best in the coming year.
Came to check up dates...ok, now I know is your holiday. well, good bye then.

What will I do with the wishes I brought for you. I can't throw it out just because you are not here.
I will leave it here for you.

If it is wishes that makes you to dream
If it is wishes that makes you to hope
Happy new year with dreams all around
Happy new year with hopes all around
Here is my wish to dream and to hope.
Happy New year to you,
Much too smile about too!
As you wake up each Morning
May your worries be few,
Your life filled with pleasures
In all that you do!
Happy New Year my Friend,
May all your dreams come true!!

Jac, nothing like your poems, but the best my sleepy mind can muster at the moment. Thanks for the nice wishes.
wonderful !!!
You amaze me!!!
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