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went to Wawota every week for mail and supplies. But we kids thought the
most important thing about our closest town was that it was where candy
Dad returned from Wawota, we asked for candy. Sometimes he had some.
Mother didn’t want us to have it too often because it was bad for our
youngest brother, Uncle Ernest, took over his parent’s farm, five miles
from us. He bought candy every week – but by the time he got to his
home, it was usually gone. Dad claimed that whenever he bought candy, he
brought it all home to share with us. I always believed him.
is the Cree word for “pile of snow.” It’s very accurate in the
winter. When Dad went there, he usually took the horses and a wagon. When
the snow got deep, he used the sled instead.
snow makes traveling by car slower and more dangerous, but it’s the
opposite with a sled. A sled is quieter, smoother, safer, and easier for
the horses to pull than a wagon. While a car may be more likely to break
down in the winter, sleds rarely broke. They have no moving parts.
with horses is safer than with an automobile. If you point your car
towards a brick wall or a steep drop and give it the signal to go fast, it
will. A horse won’t. Horses have horse sense, which is better than our
soon as Dad loaded the cream in the sled, the horses knew they were going
to town. Dad didn’t really need to drive them. He could have napped on
the way and the horses would have gone to the right place. Don’t try
that with a car!
reason that driving a car is so much different than driving a horse is
that you don’t really drive a car. You operate it, like any other piece
you drive an animal, you make it want to go where you want. You drive
cattle by getting behind them and annoying them a little so they want to
walk away from you. We always drove horses by just letting them know where
we wanted them to go.
horses did what we wanted because they were trained so well. When we got
ready to train a 3 or 4 year old horse, we put a halter on a trained horse
and on the young horse and tied a rope between the 2 halters about 30
then put the same type of harness on each horse and also placed a bridle
and bit over the halters previously placed. The long reins were attached
to each horse’s bridle.
we drove the team, the young horse would learn to be guided and controlled
as the trained one.
procedure was done day after day until the young horse was trained.
the snow got deep enough to use the sled, it usually drifted around
everything that stuck up from the ground. Snow is soft, so anything you
could bump into was cushioned. Also, it was difficult to drive off the
road because the snow got higher at the edges.
don’t have brakes, but horses don’t go very fast. The horses stopped
the sled by slowing down. They knew not to bump into things. The
combination of horse sense, roads that kept you on them, slow speeds, and
cushioned obstacles made winter driving very safe.
was no such thing as a heated sled. We had to bundle up when we used it.
The cold weather didn’t bother the horses, though.
kept the two most agile horses in the barn over the winter to pull the
sled. He let the plow horses out, and they took care of themselves. They
knew where to find grass. Instead of drinking water, they ate snow. Most
of the time they stayed near a stand of poplars that blocked the wind.
coats grew long and shaggy over the winter. Dad sheared their necks before
harnessing them in the spring. If he didn’t, the hair would bunch up
under the yoke and irritate them until sores formed.
aunt’s husband also went into town once a week for the mail. They lived
ten miles from their town and didn’t have cream to sell. Instead of
taking a sled and horses, her husband skied the twenty-mile round trip
every week on cross-country skis. That really impressed me, especially
after I tried skiing a short distance on them.
miles was about as far as a horse could pull a sled in a day. If you
wanted to go further, you took the train. Trains could go 35 miles per
hour, even on snowy tracks. That was very fast in the 20s and 30s.
the winter, they put snowplows on the front of the steam engines. Some of
the fancier trains had a rotary mechanism instead. It got its power from
the engine and threw the snow off the track. It was fun to watch, but I
don’t know if it did a better job than the plow.
they raised the roads and paved them with asphalt, people started using
cars and trucks instead of trains. Because the modern roads made car and
truck travel more comfortable, people traveled further in them and used
trains less. The trains didn’t need to stop as often, so the train
company closed many of their stations. Often, that killed the towns they
were in because so many businesses relied on the trains.
high asphalt roads usually stayed free of snow because the winds blew it
into the side ditches. That was great for cars, but bad for sleds.
the weather warmed, the snow turned to muddy slush. The only way a horse
could get traction in that was if they had special shoes with cleats
screwed into them. So, in spring, the horses got “golf shoes.”
never gave them the rest of the attire, though.
think farmers’ kids could get to school before 9:30 in the morning, but
some days even 9:30 was too early.
the end of December, the sun didn’t come up until after 8, but Dad was
up two hours earlier to put fuel in the heater and cook stove. About an
hour later, Mother came down and made breakfast. By 8, we children were
dressed and ready for breakfast.
one-room schoolhouse was a mile and a half away. We walked the distance in
about a half hour when the roads were clear, but snow slowed us down. If
the snow was deep, my sister and I might take the cutter.
cutter was a small sled the Shetland pony pulled. Lavina always drove
because she was three and a half years older than me. When we got to
school, we put the pony in the barn and gave it the sheaf of oats we put
under the seat before we left home. The pony made that sheaf last all day
– first nibbling the heads, and then eating the straw.
more fun than taking the cutter to school was skating down the creek. The
same creek that passed within a hundred yards of the school was also
five hundred yards from our house. When it was frozen hard, I could skate
to school faster than Lavina could drive. I usually came home with Lavina
because skating uphill isn’t fun.
in the spring, when it stayed light longer but the ponds were still
frozen, my friends and I used to skate on a pond near the school. When the
ponds melted we played ball after school.
the shortest days of winter, the sun set near 4, when school let out. We
went straight home and put the pony in the barn before dark. Also, I
always filled the water barrel with clean snow before dark.
is mostly air, so filling the water barrel took more trips than you might
expect. Sometimes I watched the snow melt after I dumped it into the
barrel. While I put in a lot, it melted to just a little water. I kept
bringing in buckets of clean snow until the barrel was close to full. On
the days Mother did laundry, I was really quiet at supper.
I got invited to a friend’s house for dinner when they had a birthday
cake. My birthday was in July, so I usually didn’t invite friends to my
birthday dinners. I did invite friends over when Grandfather Perry came to
was a politician, so he knew how to make people like him. Kids like candy.
Grandfather brought lots of it. He never showed up without a ten-pound tin
of hard candies.
always looked forward to Grandfather’s visits, and my enthusiasm showed
at school. The day after he arrived at our house, I usually arrived home
from school with a few friends. He gave everyone candy. Some of my friends
walked more than three miles out of their way for those few pieces of
candy. I don’t know what Grandfather was running for, but he had our
wasn’t all fun. We learned a lot, too. One day, I decided to stay inside
and read at recess as the other kids played outside in the snow. When the
teacher rang the schoolbell all the kids lined up on the porch. Because I
was already inside, I didn’t think I needed to go out there. I was
teacher got angry with me and made me stay after school. Teachers were
allowed to beat their students then, as long as they used the correct
leather strap. She took out her two-inch wide strap and made me hold my
palms up. Ouch, that hurt – but it didn’t work.
still like reading.
There was a good bible school in Carman, Manitoba,
near where my mother’s relatives lived. When Lynn and Pearl were 15 and
16 we moved there so they could attend.
We took the train to Carman, about 200 miles east.
The animals used a boxcar and the people rode in coach. Shortly after
arriving, we rented a small farm.
The land around Carman was flat and fertile.
Mother’s relatives had been very successful growing potatoes, and Dad
expected to do the same.
Apparently, many other farmers had the same idea as
Dad, and there were too many potatoes the next year. The price dropped
Dad and others shared the cost to rent a boxcar and
ship their potatoes to where they could get a higher price for them.
They sent the potatoes to Winnipeg, the capital of
Manitoba. They couldn’t sell them there, so they sent the car on to
Chicago. They had the same problem there.
Soon, the potatoes started to rot. They couldn’t
just abandon them, though. They had to pay someone to clean out the
We lost a lot of money that year, not just from the
potatoes, but the hospital bills, too.
When the snow melted in the spring, the river got
high and flooded its banks. Our farm had about six inches of water on it.
While that’s great for the soil, it’s dangerous for people.
The floodwater was polluted with waste from the farms
upstream. It contaminated our well and I came down with a bad case of
was glad I made it to my sixth birthday, but the hospital bills almost
bankrupted the family.
Lynn and Pearl graduated after three years and passed
their provincial exams that June. Mother wanted to stay near her
relatives, but life was better for us in the Moose Mountains.
I was five years old, the whole family caught typhoid fever. I got it the
worst. I was so sick, I had to stay in the Carman hospital for three and a
Every day, Doctor Cunningham smiled at me and said, “You’ll be better tomorrow.” But when he spoke to my parents, he said, “I don’t think he’ll make it through the night.”
protect the other patients, I was in a private room. After a couple of
weeks, my mother convinced the doctor to let her move in with me. She
slept on a cot next to mine in the hospital room for 3 months. I’m sure
that had more to do with my getting better than the doctor’s smile.
yeah. There was that medicine. I wonder what was in it. Most medicines
back then did more harm than good. – And this sure tasted like one of
did everything I could to avoid taking the medicine, but the nurse
wouldn’t give up. One time I decided to not open my mouth. I guess
she’d dealt with kids like me before – or maybe the instructions were
on the bottle. She just held my nose shut until I opened my mouth. - And
she didn’t let go until I swallowed.
was no way to convince her to let me skip a dose. She said the doctor told
her to give it to me. If she didn’t follow the doctor’s orders, she
could lose her job.
That got me thinking… If I were a doctor, she’d have to listen to me. If I said, “No more medicine” she’d have to stop.
when I decided to become a doctor. I know that doctors help lots of people
and make good money. Those were considerations, but not the real reason. I
just wanted nurses to listen to me.
you know, since I’ve been a doctor, no one’s held my nose and made me
swallow disgusting goop.
Stay in school, kids. It’s worth it!
I never met Grandfather Husband. He died three months
before I was born in 1917. Each of his four children inherited enough
money to buy a Model T, and they all did. My father was also able to hire
a carpenter to build a two-story frame addition to our log cabin.
money allowed us to be more comfortable, but I wonder how Grandmother
Husband felt losing her husband and most of her savings at the same time.
She had enough money to move into town and buy a house.
same thing happened to Mother when Dad died in 1943. We children inherited
most of the family assets, but Mother lived another 41 years. My wife
informs me that this family tradition has ended.
Model T wasn’t really a necessity, but it was fun to drive. When I was
12, Dad let me drive it from the house to the gate, about a quarter of a
mile away. I couldn’t drive on the road until I turned 16 and got a
Model T was very different from a modern car. The clutch was also the
gearshift. It didn’t have a gas pedal, but it did have a pedal for
Dad took a wagon or sled into town every week, but sometimes he used the
Model T. The upholstered seats and soft rubber tires made the ride much
the depression, no one could afford gas, so Dad turned our Model T into a
Bennett wagon. That’s where you remove the engine and make it so horses
pull the car. It was still as comfortable, but you didn’t need gas. Some
Americans did the same thing with their cars, but called them Hoover
don’t know if Prime Minister Bennett or President Hoover caused the
Depression, but blaming it on them made people feel better. Bennett
didn’t help his image much when he visited the western provinces. He
traveled in a luxury railroad car and stayed in the best CPR (Canadian
Pacific Railway) hotels. He never took side trips to see how the farmers
most famous quote was, “I don’t see any hard times in the West.”
That gave him a hard time in the next election. He lost. So did Hoover.
1935, some other folks rode the railway from British Columbia towards the
nation’s capital, Ottawa. They weren’t riding in luxury Pullmans,
though. They hopped freight cars. They were unemployed because of the
Depression and wanted government help.
group got pretty famous as other unemployed men joined them in the
“On-to-Ottawa Trek.” By the time they got to Regina, the government
wanted to arrest the leaders. When the police tried to do it, they created
the “Regina Riot.”
don’t know if you’d call us unemployed during the Depression. We were
just as busy, but made much less money. The price of wheat dropped so low
that it wasn’t worth harvesting. We had to keep planting it every year
so the weeds wouldn’t take over the fields, though.
though we planted all the fields, we only harvested enough for our own use
during the next year. Dad brought some to the mill in Arcola to have it
ground into white flour and saved the rest for seed. Luckily, we didn’t
have to pay money to mill the wheat into flour. The mill owner accepted
wheat as payment.
didn’t have much money to spend during those years. One thing we
couldn’t afford was my high school education.
school was free, but it was seven and a half miles away. I could ride my
bicycle during the beginning and end of the school year, but not during
the cold months. From about November through April, I’d have to board in
town near the school. We didn’t have enough money for that during the
people stayed in school through the eighth grade. There were lots of
schools for those grades, so they were close to everyone. Mine was only a
mile and a half away. When I graduated, I knew the only way I could go to
high school was by correspondence.
courses are very difficult, but I managed to complete the 9th,
10th, and 11th grades. Then, I got discouraged. I
didn’t continue to the last grade
the time I was 22, the economy had recovered and we had enough money for
me to board in town. So I graduated from 12th grade there. I
was the oldest student, but at least I was younger than the teacher.
Depression kept me on the farm a few extra years, but we didn’t suffer
the hardships many people did during that time. The economy didn’t
affect us strongly because we produced almost everything we needed.
never had much money, so some people might call us poor. We always had
everything we needed, so some might call us well off. No matter what we
had, we were always happy.
used to be a schoolteacher, so when she read to us at bedtime, it was more
like teaching than entertainment.
favorite bedtime book was Emily Post’s book on manners. She started each
evening’s reading with a quiz about the previous night’s lessons. Once
we showed we understood them, she went on to new topics.
glad Mother taught us manners so well. It’s important, but rarely taught
first college I attended taught classes like that, though. It was the
least academic school I attended, but the most valuable.
1939, my brother-in-law arranged for me to get a scholarship to his
college in Tennessee, Freed-Hardeman Christian College. I was already a
minister of the Church of Christ in Saskatchewan, but after attending the
College for a year, I did a much better job.
Hardeman was an excellent public speaker and always drew large crowds at
the annual meetings in Nashville. They held them in the country’s
largest auditorium, the Ryman. It held 8,000 people. These days, they call
it the Grand Ole Opry.
Hardeman spoke there four years in a row and always filled the auditorium.
The fire marshals had to block as many as 2000 people from entering. They
listened to him outside over loudspeakers.
talks were polite and logical, full of down-to-earth wisdom. I felt lucky
to be in a class he taught at the College.
day, he told us about a minister of a midwestern town who resigned and
went on to another job. The church elders were happy with his work, but
later discovered that he’d left unpaid bills all over town. They paid
the bills to preserve the church’s reputation.
Boys,” Mr. Hardeman said. (This was how we knew something important was
coming.) “It doesn’t matter how far the bird flies, the tail gets
college professors were doctors, and we wanted to call Mr. Hardeman,
“Dr. Hardeman,” but we knew better. Whenever anyone did that, he got a
lecture about how his father was a doctor, but he only had a masters’
about everyone in the school was from the hills of Tennessee, so they
thought I talked funny. I only needed correcting once.
including me, always called Americans “Yankees.” I didn’t realize
that rural southerners don’t appreciate Yankees – and especially being
day, after using that expression, I found myself surrounded by four large
members of our basketball team. The biggest one said, “We’ve never
heard of Yankees. We’ve heard of damn Yankees, though.”
was the last time I ever called anyone a Yankee.
enrolled in the Regina’s teacher’s college in 1940. I looked forward
to earning a teacher’s salary starting the next school year. I was
surprised that I didn’t have to wait that long.
fine spring day, the principal of the college called me to his office. He
said he knew I’d pass the exam in June. Rather than make me finish the
term, he offered to give me my credential and a teaching position
immediately. Yes, that was a fine spring day. There may have been a
blizzard going on outside.
got a fortunate break because the war factories were paying such high
wages. Teachers could make much more money in the factories, so many of
them quit teaching. Many schools in the province were without teachers.
was sent to replace a young woman who had just quit her job in a one-room
school. She was a qualified teacher but was having disciplinary problems
with three of her students.
law at that time required all students to stand by their desks every
morning and do the opening exercises. That consisted of reciting the
Lord’s Prayer and singing God Save the Queen.
days, it would be illegal to require anything like that. The law was
probably changed by some students who did what the three Jehovah’s
Witnesses did in my predecessor’s class. They refused to participate.
are several ways to deal with a situation like that. She chose to notify
the school board. Three of the members, farmers, came into the class,
pulled the kids out of their seats, and forced them to stand during the
kids still didn’t say anything. The teacher tried that tactic one more
time, then quit – two months before the end of the term.
my first morning teaching, I said, “I understand there have been
problems with people not willing to participate. I will not try to get
three people to do what their conscience doesn’t want them to do, but
you have to stand by the side of the desk.” Everything went smoothly.
Manpower Board operated during the war years to increase the efficiency of
the war effort. One fine spring day, they decided to fix the teacher
shortage with a new law. It forbade anyone teaching on April 18th to leave
teaching without permission from the Board.
think the military is an honorable profession, and I appreciate the people
who serve, but the Manpower Board's decision meant that I wouldn't be one
summer vacations, I took science classes at the university. I always had
to assure the Manpower Board that the classes would improve my teaching
credential by allowing me to teach more classes. By the time the war ended
in Europe, I had completed all of my premed requirements.
the 1944-45 school year, I was principal of a small high school. When the
janitor quit, I took his job as well. I appreciated the extra money, and I
didn’t mind sweeping up after everyone went home.
sweeping up, I went home to the hotel, where I boarded. I ate my meals
downstairs in the restaurant.
in small town hotels weren’t like city restaurants. You ate whatever
they cooked. It was like being a guest in someone’s home.
Hoefer often ate at the restaurant with his host family. Israel was a nice
gentleman, and a member of the Jewish Colonization Organization. The
Organization had about 7 members in our area, all farmers who hosted
Jewish families from Eastern Europe.
Europeans learned to farm as they learned English. When they got their own
farms, the hosts accepted new families.
is hard work, and everyone ate lots of food. The restaurant served pork
roast one day. No one realized it until people were getting seconds. One
of the farmers shouted, “Isreal, you can’t eat pork!”
Israel just smiled, pointed to the roast, and said, “Pass the chicken."
think a family from Europe wouldn’t like the cold remote country in
Saskatchewan, but Israel’s guest family thought they were in heaven.
immigrant couple stopped by my office once a month to see how their
children were doing. In Eastern Europe at that time, the Jewish kids
weren’t even allowed to go to school, so they really appreciated the
education we provided.
told me about a Jewish expression that said you have to teach your sons
either a profession or a trade. Otherwise, you’re teaching them to be a
parents wanted to make sure their children were learning in school, not
just going there. I never met other parents so interested in their
year as a principal ended on June 25,1945. I had been accepted at a
medical school in Los Angeles and wanted to start there in the fall. It
wasn’t that easy, though.
had to go to the Manpower Board in person to apply to quit teaching.
Because the war had already ended in Europe, they let me go.
also let me take some of the money I had saved – enough for the first
year’s tuition and books. The bank could send the rest of my money to me
in Los Angeles in monthly checks of $14.27.
didn’t go very far, even in 1945, so I had to work as I attended medical
school. That was OK. Compared to the weather in Saskatchewan, every day in
Los Angeles was a fine spring day.
started medical school with money in the bank – and that’s where most
of it stayed. The Canadian government only allowed the bank to send me
$14.27 per month while I was in the United States. It was hard making ends
meet those first few months.
Christmas, I had a job at the school using my farming experience. Instead
of taking care of cows and horses, I took care of rabbits and white rats
in the lab. It paid 75 cents an hour. I kept that job for my entire four
years of medical school.
lab was really a two-bedroom house adjacent to the school. Dr. Louisa
Burns used the front bedroom as her office and the living room as the
library. The animals stayed out back on the veranda.
care of the animals wasn’t a full-time job, but I didn’t need much
money. They let me sleep in the second bedroom in exchange for also being
the security guard.
made sure the animals had all the food and water they needed during the
week, and I cleaned their cages on Saturday afternoons, after the lab
class. I turned in my hours to personnel every week and got enough pay to
take care of my needs.
about every day, I walked down the street to the bakery. They sold a
shoebox of day-old pastries for only 25 cents. I stopped by the Safeway on
the way home for a quart of milk. That’s mostly what I ate for the first
year or so. I never got tired of it. It would have been difficult to eat
other foods because there was no refrigerator in the lab.
my second year at medical school, we did lab work on ourselves. I was
surprised to discover I was anemic. I hadn’t been getting enough protein
that time, the school put a refrigerator in the lab for the professor. She
didn’t use it much, but encouraged me to. I never thought that
refrigerator had anything to do with my anemia, but now I’m not so sure.
always feels good to do something nice for another person. When that
person has no idea they’re being helped, it makes you feel even better.
Maybe Dr. Burns requested that refrigerator for me.
ate a lot better after getting the refrigerator. I also started using the
log gas burner in the lab to cook potatoes and sausages. I never cooked
anything fancy, but my anemia went away.
during my second year, I started working as a male nurse. The agency sent
me out on 12-hour shifts, from 7 pm to 7 am. I always got back in time for
my 8 am classes. When you’re young, missing a night’s sleep now and
then is OK. I considered it training for residency.
animals didn’t go hungry when I nursed. I had set up the cages so I only
had to fill the food and water once every day or two. The groundskeeper
showed me how to set up a clock so its minute hand pulled up a gate once
an hour that caused food to drain into a bowl, allowing the animals to
access the food.
that time, I felt financially secure. I didn’t pay rent; I didn’t need
transportation; I had two part-time jobs; and – regular as clockwork –
$14.27 each month.
male nursing registry sent me to Beverly Hills one night in 1947 to take
care of a 27 year-old man.
father, a retired surgeon, met me at the door and said, “You may not
want to take this job at all. I will not be angry if you leave because
there have been two men here today already and he chased both of them
paused for a few seconds, maybe to see if I’d leave – but I didn’t.
Then he explained the situation.
and his wife had very successful careers and retired to Beverly Hills.
They converted one of their garages into an apartment for their son. He
was out there.
son was an aspiring actor, but never got the lead roles he hoped for.
Sometimes that depressed him and he got drunk. Very drunk. This was one of
were worried because they hadn’t heard anything from him since he threw
out the second male nurse. At that time he was very drunk and talking
hesitatingly. They didn’t know if he had more alcohol in the apartment,
but if he drank more, it could be fatal.
son had blocked the apartment door with furniture and wouldn’t answer
the phone. They didn’t know if he was still alive.
look at the apartment,” I said to the father, so he brought me out back.
looked around carefully and noticed the bathroom window was down, but not
locked. We took off the screen and pushed up the window. He brought a
stepladder over and said, “If you’re not afraid, you can crawl in.”
probably knew he was manipulating me with a dare, but I didn’t catch it.
Even if I had, it wouldn’t have made a difference. I was curious.
crawled through the window and into the bathroom. I got onto my feet,
opened the bathroom door, and entered the living room.
young man was sleeping on the couch. I confirmed he was breathing, and
then went back to the bathroom window to tell the father his son was O.K.
was about 9 or 10 at night. I sat on a chair and watched the young man
until he woke up, about 4 am.
are you?” he asked.
said, “Your father called the male nursing registry and they sent me up
know they did,” he said. “I ran two of them out, and I’m going to
run you out too.”
if you want to,” I said. I was pretty muscular at that time. But my real
advantage was that I hadn’t been drinking.
got up and said, “Help me get this furniture away from the door.” When
we finished, he turned to me and said, “Get out of here.”
not going,” I responded.
put you out.”
stared at each other for a few seconds. Then he broke into a big smile and
said, “I like you.”
offered to make breakfast, and he said O.K. He ate a little even though he
was miserable from the hangover. My shift was over at 7 am, but he asked
me to come back that evening.
evening, he slept in the bedroom. I slept on the couch. He woke feeling
good and took me out to breakfast. He said he was going to tell his father
to call the registry and ask for me the next time this happened.
– And it did. Every four to six weeks the registry sent me to that house in Beverly Hills. I should have named my first car after him. His nursing fees paid for it.
all my years of practice, I only had one patient I was afraid of.
1947, during my last year of medical school, the male nursing registry
sent me to a job in a mental institution for the evening. One man had been
extraordinarily agitated that day and the superintendent of nurses wanted
a male nurse to watch him that night.
patient had a tumor in his brain caused by advanced syphilis. It made him
aggressive and violent. I’m sure he was a nice man. The disease made him
act that way.
was about 30 years old and had been a soldier in World War II. He was
large, strong, and in excellent condition.
the superintendent of nurses brought me to his room, he was facing away
from us and didn't know we were there. We saw him happily sitting on his
bed, pointing his imaginary rifle at imaginary people in an imaginary
got that one,” he chortled. Then he took aim at another part of the
room. His finger tightened and his arms jerked.
one I missed,” he sighed. Then he took aim again.
nurse gave him a pill, and an hour later he was sleeping peacefully. My
job was to watch him for the night.
woke about two in the morning and said, “Who are you?”
nurse wanted me to watch you,” I explained.
don’t need the nurse and I don’t need you,” he yelled.
said, “I’m going to get you” as he swung his legs over the side of
this time, I was on my feet and moving towards the door.
patient had a wide leather belt around his waist that was connected to the
frame of his bed. He couldn’t get too far from his bed, so I felt I was
safe standing a few feet away.
came running at me until the strap tightened – then the bed started
moving towards me as well. I don’t think it even slowed him down.
headed for the door as fast as I could run. He followed me into the
hallway and stopped abruptly when the bed jammed in the doorway.
nurse heard the racket and came over to where I was – just out reach of
my patient’s thrashing arm.
had a hypodermic needle filled with a sedative and wanted me to hold his
arm still so she could inject the medicine.
let him get a hold of you because he’s very strong and dangerous,” she
said. She told me to grab his wrist with both hands the next time he
reached for me and she’d get a shot in him.
she got the medicine in, he started to relax. He fell asleep on his bed at
waited another 15 minutes before rolling his bed back to its place.
watched him until 7 in the morning, the end of my shift. Normally, when
you watch a sleeping patient, you can relax or read a book as long as you
stay aware of the noises coming from the bed.
never watched a patient more closely than I watched him that night.
I know from my medical studies that we all blink several times each minute. I didn’t blink once in those last four hours. – And I was ready to dash for the door at a moment’s notice
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