Have you spent any time at the ER lately? I hope not!
But I have. A couple weeks ago with my wife and this past weekend with my son. Not exactly where I would choose to spend my Thanksgiving weekend, unless and until…..you really need too. And then you wouldn’t want to be any other place!
Usually when I hear ER stories they are not very complementary: too long a wait, too crowded, too bloody, too ………….(fill in the blank), etc.
But have you taken time to think what life would be like without our modern ER’s? I have and it isn’t a pretty prospect. In fact, in just the last few years we’ve had a few life threatening issues that were resolved in our Middle Georgia ERs and I’m very thankful for them. So, I thought that while we’re still in the Thanksgiving season I’d just remind us of how blessed we are to have our ER’s and the wonderful doctors and nurses who staff them.
As I was thinking about this my mind went to how our parents and grandparents used to handle ER emergencies in their day. Here’s a story I heard from one of our 23 wonderful guests at the farm for Thanksgiving. Our guest’s father, who grew up in Newfoundland, Canada, the easternmost island province that sits way out in the North Atlantic ocean, decided to go duck hunting with his brother when they were both twenty-something. They rowed their wooden boat a couple miles out to a small island where they separated and my friend’s father rowed himself another mile around to the other side of the island.
As he was taking his musket rifle out of the boat, it misfired into his bicep and blew away a good part of his arm. It was either do or die at that point and his father, being the hardy Newfoundlander that he was, decided to “DO” by arranging a tourniquet and rowing himself back to where his brother was hunting and then together they rowed a few miles back across the sound to home where his young wife, not the ER (because there was no such thing at the time), dressed the wound. She nursed her husband back to full health and strength using 28 loaves of bread, lots of butter and mustard to make a “Mustard plaster”. Even though compromised, he used that arm and hand to earn a living as a fisherman and logger and provide for his family all his life.
Years later he had occasion to visit a renowned surgeon in the area who inquired about his disfigured arm. When he heard the story his comment was “Good thing you didn’t come to see me I would have amputated your arm at the shoulder”!
Which goes to show what incredible human beings our forefathers were. In spite of that , I would have chosen an ER if it had been available wouldn’t you?
And to bring this saga right up to date, as I finished that last paragraph, I got a call from my son that he was having to take our granddaughter to the ER this morning. As the Morton’s salt box reminds us, “When it rains it pours” !
Thank God for our ER’s when we need them and the wonderful doctors and nurses who staff them!
Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week.
Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at email@example.com