Some of the girls who
were students at Chilocco Indian Agricultural school in 1955 had elected
home economics as their endeavor of study. One of the classes they were
required to take was a very basic form of nursing. It was more for the care
giving for their own families but there were those who went from that into a
regular nursing profession. Indeed, some of the students became doctors.
At the time there was
nothing of anything so lofty. All the skills taught were very basic.
“What is that quarter in
the middle of Mrs. Boory's desk?”
The girls knew their
teacher well, they thought. It was common knowledge she had a tight thought
out schedule. Everything was organized. This quarter smack-dab in the
center of the woman's desk made them curious. Money was scarce in the lives
they led. Well, it was more than scarce, it was practically non-existent.
Evidently this little fact she knew and was using it to catch their
The thing the girls
didn't know was that the woman had a hearing problem. She was actually
almost deaf. If they had been alert it would have been noticed how she
sometimes had a questioning stare on her face while they were talking.
However, the lady was so adept at concealing her disability no one ever
suspected. Years later when they were older women she confessed to the
lengths she had to go in order to keep the class active and interesting.
On this particular day
she was teaching them how to change the sheets for a patient who could not
get out of bed. One of the girls volunteered to be the patient. She was
rolled to her side and the sheets were rolled up close under her and then
the girl was rolled to the opposite side allowing the sheet to be removed
from the bed without having the patient sit up or move. This went well and
their next project was the changing and making up a bed. Several times Mrs.
Boory pulled the sheets off and they had to re-make the bed. This was when
they finally got to see where that quarter came into play. The woman took
the coin and tossed it on the bed when it had been made up to suit her. If
it bounced instead of falling flat on loose sheets, the team passed that
part of their training.
The girls were taught
how to make bandages from old sheets they had ripped up into strips. This
was easy for me because evidently Mother and Grandmother had taken the same
course. I was well acquainted with these bandages and in fact had grown up
with one or the other either on a foot, leg, arm, or hand.
Every part of home
hygiene was covered from proper hand washing to when and how to scrub out a
bathtub. There was never a dull moment in the class. Although I never had
the desire to become a professional in the medical field it must be admitted
this basic training came to my aid many times while caring for my family if
in no other way but to have an ability to meet some of the horrendous
emergencies to come up with children, grandchildren, grand nieces and
nephews or any other child who happened to be in my care, at least until we
could get to a professional nurse or a doctor.