Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What a difference 60+ years make

In 1945, my brother was born with a cleft palate - the soft tissue was there, but was rolled back, leaviing a large hole. He was unable to suck, so was bottle-fed from the start. Mother had to cut a rather large hole in the nipple so the milk would drip into his mouth. He was about ywo years old when he had surgery to correct the defect. We lived in west-central Minnesota, so the surgery was done at the Gillette Children's Hospital in Minneapolis or St Paul. The local doctor made the arrangements, and Mother and Jim took the train to 'the cities.' Mom said that as she was registering Jim, a nurse asked if he was the Ross baby. When Mom said he was, the nurse grabbed him out of her arms and practically ran down the hall. When the paperwork was complete, they told Mom to go home and they would call when he was ready to be discharged. She was not allowed to see him. One of Dad's sisters was a nurse in another Minneapolis hospital. She thought that as a nurse she might be allowed in, but she wasn't. Mom finally returned home to wait. I think it was about two weeks before they called. By then Jim seemed to have forgotten us.

In 1969, just after he turned one, my son Dominic was in the hospital twice. First he had a virus that settled as a cyst under his chin, which they brought to a head and then lanced. He was in Cooper Hospital in Camden NJ for thirteen days that time, then was home for two weeks, and then back in Cooper with meningitis for almost three weeks. At that time, there were extended visiting hours on the pediatric floor for parents, but when visiting hours were over, we had to leave. I visited him every day, but there was no thought of staying at the hospital.

About ten years later, my daughter Carmen had surgery to put wires/pins in her hand to keep two broken metacarpals in place while they healed. That was a two-night stay I think at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia - one before and one after the surgery. I was there all afternoon holding the basin for her to vomit. We saw very little of nurses. I don't remember if I had to go home for the night, but I know I did go home. She was twelve or thirteen at that time, so understood that I'd be back the next day.

Another ten or twelve years, and granddaughter Alyssa had her tonsils out. Carmen spent the night in her hospital room, sleeping in a recliner.

Last Friday, my four-year-old great-nephew had surgery to remove a lump. The doctor called it a hemangioma (a group of blood vessels), and said it was certainly benign, but it is being biopsied anyway. This was outpatient surgery, although my niece was told to pack a bag for him just in case they needed to keep him overnight. An educator brought Aidan a doll dressed for surgery just as he was, and explained to him what would be done. His parents were there when he was taken into surgery, they were there when he woke up, and I'm sure one of them would have been there all night if he had needed to stay. How much better than the way things were done sixty years ago!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a repeat of earlier comment, as I clicked on the wrong line the first time. I very much enjoy reading your blog. Your knitting designs are gorgeous--but then they always have been. Your visit with Wanda sounds great--I will be in Kentucky the last part of September and hope to see her then.