Bahamian Clinic

I thought I'd continue my memories of our years in the Bahamas.
(This is not a picture of my mother...sorry, I don't have a digital one of her as a nurse.)

My mother is an RN, so when we went to the Bahamas, she was able to put her skills to work. As a child, I knew she was treating people and saw some gruesome stuff, but I'm sure I didn't know the half of it. We took care of a little girl with a tummy bloated with worms. A woman had convulsions in our house. People cut each other with machetes in a fight. It seemed everyone had sores and boils.

I got a boil once; they hurt! I didn't get sick too often down there, which is surprising seeing that we never wore shoes and animals ran free all over the place; pigs, chickens, goats, etc. Also there weren't very many toilets. People just used the bushes. My father did contract hepatitis from contaminated water. There weren't any poisonous snakes or spiders. We didn't even get malaria from all our mosquito bites.

Being the child of a nurse isn't always that great. Nurses aren't always compassionate when it came to things that are "good for you". I had to drink my powdered milk everyday...YUCK!...and eat my vegetables. Also the remedies were often worse than the ailment. My mother had a bitter liquid that she would swab in the back of your mouth for sore throats. It was horrible! I'd wouldn't tell her that my throat hurt. I'd hardly be able to swallow. But, she'd find out and pull out that brown bottle of medicine.

My mother needed midwifry training, so we moved to Nassau for a year. She told of delivering 10-20 babies a night. People who could afford it, would come to the capital island and hospital to have their babies there. Some couldn't even speak English. My mother would have to find someone who could speak Creole. They called their babies "pickaninnies".

We then went back to Cat Island, where my mother ran a clinic. That building was made of cinder blocks, painted pink! We actually had a kerosene frig and stove and running water. The water was pumped up from a well into a tank. We had a real tub and sink and flush toilet. We also had glass windows that opened and closed with little cranks. It was luxurious.

One of my favorite nursing visits with my mother was when we visited a newborn that she had delivered. The dark smooth skin seemed almost like velvet, with soft fuzzy curls on his head. Superstitions are strong and a strip of black cloth is tied around a baby's wrist the minute he is born to ward off any spirits. They couldn't understand why we weren't afraid.

I learned a lot from my mother being a nurse. I still call her before I call my doctor.


Dee Yoder said...

Wow, Vonnie! What a lot of childhood experiences you have. These will make awesome stories!

LauraLee Shaw said...

Man oh man, what tales! I cannot even imagine! You are so rich with wisdom and experience...shows me how BORING I am! ;)


Related Posts with Thumbnails