Friday, March 20, 2009

A memory from Sweden

One year, the year I graduated from school, we were invited to work in a hospital in a town nearby. There must have been a sign that nursing staff was going to shrink, and ours was probably a test to see if we should go to nursing school. I did not last long, for the opportunity to go to America came up in the middle of my early 'nursing' career.

There are many gaps in my memory of this summer. I do not remember where we lived, only know that it was somewhere in the hospital. We were tested for a difficult life, we were glorified cleaning women, I remember washing down walls made of white little squares of tiles, in a hall that seemed to stretch into the next county. I remember being told I had to work at night, checking up on patients when they rang their bells. There was one nurse covering three buildings and slaves like me in each of those three buildings. People who knew nothing in other words. It was the scariest time I ever lived through. There were patients who died before the real nurse managed to make it to our building. When I experienced death the first time, and cried hysterically the nurse assured me that it was not my fault, this patient was supposed to die that night or the next. I must have tried to forget this episode of my life. It was too hurtful to remember.

I remember one occurrence that scared me spit-less. I discovered a ( I can't remember the name of the object. the thing the doctor puts in his ears to listen to the heartbeat of the patient) Anyway, this thing was hanging on a hook next to the doctor's white coat. I stuck it in my ears and listened to my own heart. The sound was so loud and so deep and so disturbing. I have never forgotten it. I guess there was a measure of guilt attached to it, for I was not supposed to touch this man's equipment. I was overjoyed when I found out I could emigrate to America


LMK said...

A stethoscope is what you were using to listen to your heartbeat. You have so many experiences! Please keep sharing, even the scary parts like these.

I would love to hear more about what drew you to emigrating into America, I know you have touched on it before, but I would love to know more.

Thanks again, Svensto, for sharing your stories.

Haphazardkat said...

How helpless you must have felt!
I too have memories that escape me or seem shrouded in a fog when I look back on them. Terrible memories that my mind protects me from even when I would worry at them like the tip of a tongue to a sore tooth.
Happy First Day of Spring, Svensto!

vancouver, wa

Deborah said...


I also have non memories....but I'm sure that they are memories that are best not remembered :(

And again, Happy Spring!

Anonymous said...

This brings back memories of when I quit school and left home at 17... I was so lonely and so scared. Probably a lot of people experience those feelings right after they leave school, I suppose.

You have such a way of describing things! I almost feel like I was there. :)
Hugs to you!

Stella said...

This made me remember when I was 12 and the neighborhood babysitter (toddlers!) A woman I sat for with a 3 and 4 year old had a friend there with a tiny infant, just out of the hospital. They gave me all these instructions, but I was scared to death of this brand new creature and sent for my mother!

Jo in Minnesota