nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

from the pages of an old diary – illness in the community

with 4 comments


In her diaries, my great-aunt wrote about her own health, as well as the health of others.  She was a nurse, trained at McLean Hospital in Boston, so her interest in health is not surprising.  Her diary entries are filled with her visits to the sick.  She often brought either ginger ale or ice cream with her when she visited, and these must have soothed many a sore throat and helped to get needed fluids into the ill person.

In May of 1955, a flu went through the community.  Through the diary entries, you can follow as different people become ill.  On May 6, 1955, my great-aunt came down with the flu, probably contracted as she visted the sick.  She was in bed for eleven days.  In those days, the doctor made house calls and he came twice to see her.

~

~

flu in the community – 1955

                -response to a diary entry for May 16, 1955 and entries for the previous two weeks

~

 Mon cloudy cold.  Katie M.

came in P.M. brought ice-cream [and] gin [ginger] ale. 

I am feeling better.  I cleaned up-stairs

some.  R.C. called too at noon.   

                                 –          A.M.W.

~

1.

Sunday

visited Jesse

Tuesday

took Madge ginger ale

Wednesday

took Mrs. B. ice-cream

combed her hair, made her bed

~

should stay away

but ginger is good for what ails you

and ice-cream soothes the throat

~

I’m a trained nurse

it’s expected

~

2.

Saturday

chills, fever 103

Doctor saw me twice

~

3.

nine days, in bed

I hear comings and goings downstairs

most won’t come up, or stay

afraid of flu

~

4.

Monday

better today, out of bed

puttered around upstairs

Katie came

brought me ice-cream and ginger ale

a little gossip

~

remedies for the flu

~

~

©  Jane Tims   2012

Written by jane tims

February 29, 2012 at 7:08 am

4 Responses

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  1. My grandmother was the only nurse in the rural community in which we grew up. She exposed herself to many ailments and diseases trying to care for and comfort the sick and dying. She delivered babies too. What a brave life she led, putting herself in harm’s way without benefit of modern medicines. I appreciate the memories this post calls back for me.

    Like

    Carol Steel

    March 3, 2012 at 11:42 am

    • Hi. My Mom used to tell us stories about how my grandmother (who was also a nurse) would go away to stay with local mothers about to have their babies. Perhaps she and your grandmother would have had a lot of stories to share! Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      March 3, 2012 at 9:13 pm

  2. Love ginger ale for tummy upsets – always have a few small cans on hand… I’m glad we have flu shots nowadays – it’s been over twenty years since we’ve been down with it. Your great aunt was brave to go out and help others…

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    Barbara Rodgers

    February 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    • Hi Barbara. I think about our nurses through the decades who continue to put themselves at risk. They must be exposed to every germ making its rounds. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      February 29, 2012 at 5:53 pm


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