Just a Year Ago
It’s hard to believe that a little over a year ago, I retired. I have been in the medical field either as a naval corpsman, nursing school, or as a practicing nurse since 1967. It has been a giant learning curve. Even when some days seemed repetitious, as I look back I can see the sadness, joy, and humor that was all a part of my history. That was why I have written down the stories and have shared some of them with you.
When I graduated from high school in 1967, the war in Vietnam was in full swing. Although the government didn’t call it a war, it was. Few can deny that now and being of the right age, I was torn about the idea of the military. I got a job at the Walworth Valve Company in Greensburg, Pa. thinking I could earn some money until Uncle Sam called or I made up my mind what I wanted to do. I worked there for nearly a year until I got the letter saying I could soon be drafted. I knew that I didn’t want to be a Marine or Army soldier, so I enlisted in the Navy.
I was always interested in the field of medicine and signed on as a candidate for being corpsman. It was the one thing for which there was a demand. They were being injured and killed in Vietnam at that time. In basic training, one wise cracking first lieutenant asked, “How many are going to be corpsmen?” Several of us held up our hands. He proceeded to say, “Do you know the lifespan of a corpsman in Vietnam?” He finished by saying, “From the time they leave the boat until they almost reach the shore.” This added greatly to the pressure of boot camp.
My duty stations were in Orlando Florida and in Keflavik, Iceland. I never got to Vietnam, but lost buddies there. I got “early outs” to go to college and earned my bachelor of science in nursing in three years. I worked at Monsour medical center for a year before starting at Frick and worked there until my retirement. I worked the night shift for three years on a medical/ surgical floor. Then I worked the emergency department for five years.
Management approached me and asked if I would take one of the nursing supervisor jobs. After some soul searching I agreed. The supervisors had a lot of responsibilities in the day to day function of the hospital, from assigning of beds, making sure there was adequate staffing, finding coverage for sick call-offs, and other and various problems and complaints from staff, patients, and visitors.
A little over a year ago, after thirty-four years at Frick, I decided to retire and am trying to share those parts of my life in what I am now putting in my blog spot.