The Farmer's Wife: Week includes reminiscing with old friends


At Book Club last week, we got on the very subject I ranted about in this space; all agreeing many young people today seem entitled. Then, one neighbor reminded us we were sounding like every past generation of “the old folks” despairing of the young'uns.

Well, yes, we agreed, we did, but things are definitely worth talking about. And then I laughingly suggested they all should have been at my table a couple weeks ago when four of us old nurses got going!

When one of them called to say they were coming to see me, I was so tickled. They planned to eat at a restaurant, but I convinced them to let me fix lunch. I knew we might get noisy and besides, we would not be ready to leave when we finished eating.

To understand where we were coming from, we all worked many years at what was then Lutheran Community Hospital, and three of us had been supervisor/emergency room types.. The fourth was mainly inservice, but had hung out with us enough to have heard the “war stories”.  And there were plenty. 

This was in the days before pagers. And some doctors did not answer their phones, or they answered them and fell back asleep. A couple were famous for working on acreages or even farms in some afternoons, so it would have taken a sheriff's deputy to find them.

Only a couple weeks later, four of us class of '59 nursing graduates were together over another lunch, this one at Ruby Tuesday. Fortunately, it was not crowded, and the kind  young lady who waited on us kept the coffee coming and did not shoo us out.

What both groups agreed on was the care is nothing like it was! Who has heard of a back rub? Shoot, we had to ask for a wash cloth and towel to wash our faces! Forget about a clean nightgown or sheets. Sure, we were only there for 24 hours, but it was once standard for laundry to come around in the early mornings with packs that contained towels, sheets, and gowns. Not any more.

One commented her doc had not touched her the last time she was in to see him. He was buried in his computer, asked some perfunctory questions, and told her to come back in 3 months. It's kind of discouraging, I think for the MD s, also. (My spell check kept wanting to make that a small D.)

But we all got a laugh when the newly minted Dr. Bainter described his first holiday shift in the ER; I gather it was busy! I told him he has now had his Baptism. The Fourth on a four-day weekend can be crazy; I won't go into detail; use your imaginations!