Many times over the
years during my life time I found myself placed in a position where I was
responsible for people who were youthful. From the beginnings of my cerebral
palsied child need for care to my own teenage children, their friends and
many others, all have given me wonderful memories. The experiences I had
with the head nurse at Chilocco did one thing for me. It made me
compassionate and tender with those who were weaker than myself. I always
remembered the abuse this woman dealt me and I think this made me want to
protect those young ones who were struggling so hard to survive. I could go
over in my mind now, there were so many, especially when we lived in Dallas,
where mothers and fathers were working just to provide. Monkey blood was the
order of the day (mercurochrome with not the pain of merthiolate). Children
asked for “monkey blood” as soon as they knew it did not sting and then they
wore their red badge. Parents never complained. They seemed thankful someone
cared enough for their child to cover a scratch with medicine. It is
strange how our mind allows us to heal our own wounds by trading rotten
involvements for beautiful times with other youthful people. Maybe because
of this, my love I had for my alma mater was never sullied. The joys I had
while I was there are always with me, after all, this is where I was taught
my home economic background. I believe it was the practice cottage that
burned a couple of weeks ago, January 2005. This was the house where we
stayed while we were taught to care for the employee's children on a daily
Back to Chilocco at the
year of 1956.
I looked up from my
typewriter to see a girl standing beside the nurse.
“Could you come in
here please? I want you to see this girl's arm,” my friend called to me.
“Well, what is it?” I
There wasn't any blood
dripping but still, I just wasn't that excited about seeing something
unsightly with a medical problem.
As if the girl was
proud of her battle scar she turned her arm over so I could see the inside
of it and stuck it out toward me.
There was undoubtedly
the most awful injury that could have been seen. It was in the form of teeth
marks. There was already infection around the bite. The inside of her arm
was swollen and red looking.
My friend began to
take care of the wound as she visited with the girl.
“You will have to come
in this evening after school so I can dress this again. The doctor will be
here then and you must see him for this. When did this happen?”
“This week-end. I got
in a fight!”
“No kidding.” My
nurse friend as usual was short on words.
I had to ask, “why is
that so infected so soon?”
“Because the mouth is
the dirtiest part of the body. All kinds of bacteria grow there on the
teeth. This is like her having been inoculated with all sorts of deadly
germs.” The knowledgeable woman was always willing to educate.
The girl did return
that evening to see the doctor. With antibiotics she was soon healing up.
Her experience had made her a little wiser, hopefully.