Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Medical memories

The Madison Memorial Hospital officially opened in 1951.  This is how it looked during construction.  This hospital played an important part in the story of my family.  All five of my siblings were born here.  My mother worked as a medical technologist at this hospital.  This is where I came for several nights to get that penicillin shot in my bum when I stepped on a nail.  It is also the place where my Uncle Gerald and Aunt Juanita first met each other as Juanita worked there and Gerald came to visit his sister.

I was not born in this hospital.  I was born in the Ashton Memorial Hospital which opened in 1950.  This hospital was also very important in the story of my family.  My mother served as a WAC during WWII which ultimately led to her going to college at BYU using the GI Bill.  She went on to train as a medical technologist at Los Angeles County Hospital.  Upon returning home to Ashton, she was the first medical technologist at the new hospital which made her father very proud.

While working at the hospital she met my father who was a patient in 1951.  They fell in love, married in February 1952 and I was born in November of that same year.  My mother always told me about how much the nurses loved styling my longish dark hair.  My mother began working part-time at Madison Memorial as it was nearer to the farm.  I'm sure she worked partly because extra funds were helpful but I also think that there was a need for her skills.  While she worked my brother and I stayed with a woman (I believe her name was Flossie) who lived next to the little log cabin house of my Uncle Roger and Aunt Elna. Later on when there were more of us she engaged an older lady to stay with us when she had to work.  This child care provider taught me how to play solitaire with face cards.

I loved to visit her at the lab.  If she were on call and called in, she often took one of us with her.  I remember her bent over her microscope in her white lab coat counting blood cells with a little clicker.  I also remember my father taking Farrell and I to see our youngest baby sister at this hospital after she was born.  Things were stricter then and we could just view her from down the hall while our mother held her up high.

This was our family doctor, Blaine Passey.  He and my mom would share humorous barbs and I'm sure that they knew each other through the hospital as well.  My most memorable visit was the one when I had a horrible ear ache and he relieved my pain by puncturing my ear drum.  It worked!  I was pain free.  My mother's medical training became an important thing for our family.  After my father became ill and we moved to Arizona, she became the main provider for the family.  She always told us how thankful she was to have a profession that paid her the same wages as a man would receive.

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