If a Picture paints a Thousand Words....
When I made rounds as a nursing supervisor, I was often asked to look at photographs of weddings, vacations, new babies, children, and grandchildren. I could share the hospital’s families through their own eyes; graduations, births, proms. It was nice to be able to see just a bit of their lives away from a work setting.
There was one incident stands out as the most vivid and shocking photographic memory that I can recall. It occurred when a nurse asked me to look at her vacation pictures. She had gone on a cruise and spent several days on a Caribbean island.
She was a very intelligent, dedicated nurse and when she invited me to look at her photographs, I felt obligated, as with any of the other staff, to do a quick review. I had always managed to take some time to look through other nurses’ photos. If they were important and integral part of their lives, they were important to me.
Her photographs were beautiful, the sand and the sea, as well as the trees and flowers. I was casually flipping through the pictures until I saw what seemed to be a picture of a man, but there were breasts. The person in the photo was raised up from the sand on elbows with breasts dangling completely bare in all of their glory and buttocks were squeezed into a pair of “Daisy Duke” cut off jeans.
I was about to ask who was this person, when I bit my tongue. I recognized the person in the photo. It was the nurse who had gone on the vacation and who had taken the pictures.
This nurse had a square, mannish face. She had large hips, legs, and thighs; very large. She was the last person I would expect to see in a pair of short cut-offs shorts and being bare breasted, but there in front of me was the proof.
When I looked up, the other nurses in the unit were all watching me. They saw my face as it went from being puzzled to recognition and then absolute astonishment. They already knew what picture was lurking in that stack of photos and what photograph I had just seen. They were just waiting to see my reaction.
I am still puzzled why a person would keep a picture like that in with her other photos. Why she would allow me and her co-workers to see it? She wasn’t afraid to show me her photographs, but I was afraid I’d never be able look at another set of her pictures without some fear and trepidation.
One of the nurses later said to me, “I knew exactly when you saw that picture and exactly when you recognized who it was in the photograph. Your face reddened and you shook your head.”
No wonder I did. I think anyone would have reacted the same way.