Lesson Eight: The Joys of Nuns and Maxi-Pad Decor.

Recent events in my own career prompted Grandma to speak a little more about her own early experiences in Nursing this week. Where I find I can be a little too sensitive working in the community services field, Grandma understands this and explained that she really struggled when she started out in the Neurology Ward at Prince Alfred Hospital (which was part of the Sydney Medical school, you can have a look at a bit of it’s history here, and some cool old photographs here). Grandma found it really hard to deal with so many sad stories so early in her career, to the point where she would cry herself to sleep every night in her dorm. Unfortunately it was also common practice at the time for the other Nurses amuse themselves by short-sheeting your bed and lining the walls of the dorm with Maxi-Pads for your return; so crawling into her bed to cry was not as straightforward as it could have been for Grandma. When she did go home, Grandma was so reluctant to return to the hospital that her father would watch her board the train, just to be certain she did bloody well go back.

The huge difference between then and now being, that while I might complain about inadequate supervision or lack of formal debriefing, in Grandma’s day the hospital was run by Nuns. And by the pictures I have seen; quite angry-looking Nuns.

Once, after a public talk whereby one of the Nuns explained that the students should speak to their supervisor if they had any problems, Grandma plucked up enough courage to speak to her supervising Nun about the fact that she was finding the work very upsetting, and was questioning her decision to become a Nurse. The Nun’s educated answer to this was to accuse Grandma of being ‘Un-Christian’, and sent her on her ruddy way.

But Grandma eventually found someone else she could speak to about it and was transferred from Neurology to Surgury, which she found easier. Grandma reminisces on this saying that no one ever told her that perhaps her difficulties were all due to her youth and inexperience, and with time she would find it easier, which she did.

They all look so sweet! Grandma is top right.

This week wasn’t too hard with the Diana, basically I just needed to reduce stitches in one row and merrily continue to knit-one-purl-one while Grandma chatted away.

Grandma is pretty excited about a get-together my Dad has arranged this weekend, with the ‘old gang’ that used to live in the old neighborhood my Dad grew up in. It’s just two couples and their kids coming along, but they haven’t all been together in a long time so it’s quite special for her. My Dad has made up a bit of a memory board with a few old photos; I asked him to scan them for me, here are a couple:

This is Grandma and her Dad at the Perth Airport... when there was pretty much just a fence separating you from the tarmac.

Grandma, her Dad visiting Perth, my Uncle and my Dad (the little one!). Loving those matching outfits. Check out the great sparsity of land beyond the house! This is now middle-suburbia.

How pretty is the dress she’s wearing! Where did that one go?!

We finishing up the knitting, and Grandma showed me how to continue on with the pattern. I actually understood the next couple of instructions, so commented to Grandma that I should be able to get quite a bit done on my own this week (which is quite unusual given my aversion to reading patterns). She agreed but added that I “still better come next week!”

Aw, it’s nice to feel wanted 🙂

A keen eye would point out that I have dropped a stitch...and now need to await Grandma's instruction. Not so self-suffient as I thought...

Oh and have a look at the extra tab I’ve added of completed projects. Although Grandma didn’t help me with most of these, I still wouldn’t have been able to make them without her teachings (and a little bit of YouTube refreshers!). You can also see that I tell no lies about only being able to knit in straight lines 🙂

I’ve also finally worked out how to add the links to some of my favourite blogs along the sidebar. Yay technology!

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