Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

August 7, 2013

Ex-Memorial nurse remembers her old hospital with loyalty

As the city council prepares to demolish Memorial Hospital, I would like to share some memories of her.

I enrolled in the nurses training program as a naïve 17-year-old high school graduate in August 1943.

For three long years, she was our home away from home. We lived in the nurses home (now office building) with a house mother and lots of rules and regulations.

These were war years, food and gas rationing. No one had cars. The food wasn’t too bad, considering the conditions. I did draw the line at powdered eggs and brains for breakfast. Forget that.

We had 30 minutes for meals. Of course, everyone over us (doctors, older nurses, etc.) could go before us in line, so we learned to eat in a hurry.

We worked hard, and we studied hard. We had doctors who scared us to death and head nurses who could have put drill sergeants to shame.

 We loved her, and we hated her.

I think everyone, including me, threatened to quit at one time or another. My Dad would have no parts of that: “What you start, you finish.”

We were a busy place. These were also the “baby boomer” years. It was nothing to have 40 babies gracing our nursery at a time.

Penicillin had been recently discovered, and the doctors were prescribing it for everything. It was given by injection every four hours. (One person had that assignment.)

Another favorite duty (whoever had night duty in pediatrics) had the “pleasure” of operating the hospital switch board.

Of course, we knew very little about that job, which led to some interesting situations.

But, through it all, “Nobody better talk about our hospital.” We were fiercely loyal.

I went on to finish proudly and spent the better part of the next 30 years in her employ. She has been a big part of my life, and I will miss her.

Betty Pannone R.N.

Cumberland

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