Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nurse in Training

Sarah, my grandmother, on her wedding day 1905.
Life was just . . . different back then.
1901.
In rural Utah, one made do.
And soldiered through.
Later, perhaps, one learned the whole story . . .
Sixteen-year-old Sarah, fifth of eight children and oldest surviving girl still at home, was put in charge of her younger siblings while their mother went to the big city for several months of formal midwifery training.
It was a time of learning.
Hard work.
And learning.
Did I mention learning?
Things were going surprisingly well.
Then youngest sister, twelve-year-old May, developed a sore throat.
A bad sore throat. That shed white ‘pieces’.
Older sister, Sarah, thought she merely had a bad throat and nursed her as best she could.
Without any outside influences.
Like the local Health Officer.
She had her sister “gargle everything she could think of, but it was still very bad.”
At length, she sought the advice of her grandmother, who lived nearby, and who did what she could to help.
Finally, when May was nearly better, Sarah’s Grandmother called the Health Officer.
Who told Sarah she had just nursed her sister through Diphtheria.
Maybe sometimes we’re better off not knowing . . .

12 comments:

  1. Woah. Just... woah. If that had been me, I probably would've spent a good few days panicking and rocking back and forth...
    I have a hard enough time with my kids having just a cold!

    ReplyDelete
  2. OMG, and it's highly contagious. Can you just imagine if that had spread through the house? With mom gone? Yikes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. People grew up fast a century ago. Really fast. It's hard to understand just how things were, really. Your stories of older generations give us an idea, though.

    ReplyDelete
  4. People worked hard didn't they? From a very early age.
    And yes, knowing is sometimes more hindrance than help.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow. Like Delores, that's all I've got too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's true though. Sometimes we're braver when we don't know what exactly we're up against.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I wonder if one of the things she had her sister gargle with had anything to do with her recovery. Glad that she did - and that Sarah lived to be so pretty on her wedding day!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Maybe better not to know, yes....when it gives you the freedom to focus on one day at a time and the things you can do, rather than what might happen. Of course when you can know (or you can google) that's not going to happen. V thought- provoking.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It always amazes me how much fortitude some people have. They can survive almost anything. I always love these stories. Of course, I love all of your stories.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm impressed, and I do long for the days when we really took responsibility seriously. Thank you for adding this post to my Best of the Best by the Best!

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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