My brother’s wife has had several operations in recent years...
and my brother has done such a wonderful job of taking of her that they tease him about being Nurse Betty.
I am thinking that I need a Nurse Bettys. How wonderful would be if there were a wormhole between here and Lakewood, where they live, and my brother could just hop on over here and help me take care of our boy, or I could bundle Nat up and ship him off to Uncle Andy.
He was doing quite well after the operation, but then staph infections developed in the calves of both of his legs. It hurts to walk, so he has been mostly camped out on the couch for a couple of days and we—and the doctor—are watching him like a hawk and feeding him horse-pill-sized antibiotics.
Back in our high school days, my two friends—Sue and Rhonda—and I joined the Candy Striper program at Harbor General Hospital (now Harbor-UCLA Medical Center), a large county hospital and research facility nearby. We thought we might like being nurses. I have a photograph of the three of us lined up in our red-and-white striped jumpers, but I can’t find it at the moment.
Candy Stripers were volunteers who did nonmedical things to help the nurses out. I learned a bit: I learned how to disinfect a mattress, and do tight, square “hospital” corners with the bottom sheet. I learned how to carry samples of poop to the laboratory for analysis, and descend into the bowels of the hospital to pick up surgical packs for bedside procedures, and run medical records from the emergency department to admitting.
None of us became nurses when we grew up. I don’t know how long Sue and Rhonda stayed with the program, but I quickly found out I did not really have the gift of being a nurse. I was able to transfer to the research laboratory and I began doing odd jobs for a medical team that was pioneering the techniques of liver transplantation in a dog model. I loved working there. I cleaned the equipment they used in the operations before it was sterilized, and I did other odd jobs for them. They even let me scrub in on the operations to watch and help suture the incisions on the donor animal.