We have a new nurse in our family which reminds me of my mother at about the same age as our daughter now is. My mother and her sister both went to nursing school in Boston and began nursing careers in Massachusetts. I recall the tales my mother told of her experiences. Some of them were private nursing jobs in well-to-do Boston families who were caring for aging parents in their fancy homes. Meanwhile her sister and husband moved to Raton, New Mexico.
I smile when I recall the tale she told me when she worked as a public health nurse and was called to the home of a 44 year old female by her husband. The woman complained of severe abdominal pain and thought she had eaten something wrong. The couple had no children. My mother examined her and discovered that the unexplained weight gain the woman thought was just middle age setting in was not. My mother helped to deliver a healthy baby girl to the couple who were shocked, surprised and elated to be parents! My mother placed the newborn in an oven (heat turned off of course) while she attended to the new mother. It must have been thrilling to have such a surprise happy ending to the house call!
Another tale she told me was of delivering a baby in a taxi and instructing those present to place the newborn in the unread newspaper in the taxi. I thought that must not have been very clean, but my mother assured me that newsprint is sterile. How clever these nurses were in the 1940s. They had to be very resourceful as well.
My mother no longer worked as a nurse during her marriage and stayed home with all her daughters. Her sister remained a nurse throughout her career and ended it as a nurse in a doctor’s office in Raton, New Mexico. When the two of them visited in either Pueblo or in Raton, I heard many a nursing tale from both of them. My aunt had a patient come into the doctor’s office and die right in front of her.
Strange that my mother steered me away from medicine every time I mentioned wanting to study it. She had her reasons. Now I think I experience just as much of life as a teacher of 48 years as she did as a nurse in her career. We both went into helping professions. And now our daughter follows in her grandmother’s footsteps. We allowed her to choose her own career and experience the satisfaction which comes from preparing well and being dedicated and hard working. We need to thank all of our health care professionals and teachers for their dedicated work.