Medicine

The Bookshelf

Bookshelves barely exist today. Those that remain often contain old books left over from a former era or perhaps ones with some sentimental memory attached. I must admit that I still like the feel of a real book and I like to highlight and make notes in margins. I can do that with my Kindle but it just does not feel the same. I will admit though that clicking on an unfamiliar word and having the definition pop up on the screen is a valuable feature of electronic readers. 

1970s Print

This framed print from my office is a drawing by Robert Conley.  Conley’s art was in tribute to nurses who cared for his terminally ill wife in the 1970s. I love it for many personal reasons, but I’m sharing it today to point out two essential medical books of that era. The Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) and The Merck Manual seen here were essentials in any clinical area. The PDR was published each year and contained page after page of details about each prescription drug available.  It was heavily used by doctors and nurses alike. The Merck Manual explained diagnoses and treatments. I am willing to bet that you do not recall seeing either of these in the past thirty years and younger readers will not likely remember ever seeing a doctor referencing a book of any kind. 

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The reason, of course, is that now all this information and so much more is available and up to date electronically. This easily accessible data saves time and, no doubt lives. One only needs a handheld device to answer any inquiry. 

1910 Manuscript

Recently I ran across a few pages I had photocopied from an old book at some point long ago. I have no recollection why I had them or had kept them, but I’m glad that I did. Especially since that out of all “Twenty Books” in the “One Volume” I had chosen to copy Book VIII entitled “Sexology.”

Library of Health – Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease

Edited by B. Frank School, Ph.G, M.D.

Graduate of Jefferson Medical College and Philadephia College of Pharmacy

Table of Contents:

Anatomy, Physiology and Preventive Medicine, Curative Medicine, First Aid Measures, Diagnosis, Nursing, Sexology, Simple Home Remedies, Care of the Teeth, Occupational Diseases, Garden Plant Remedies, Alcohol and Narcotics, Treatment by Fifteen Schools of Medicine, Beauty Culture, Physical Culture, the Science of Breathing and the Dictionary of Drugs. 

Historical Publishing Co.          Philadelphia, PA


In the next few posts, I will summarize some of the wisdom contained in this 108-year-old manuscript. So if you have questions about courtship, matrimony, procreation and more HANG ON! The answers are on the way. 

Part 1 of 4

 

 

Pediatric Horror Story

Nurses in Training

As mentioned on the “About” page of this blog, I taught nursing a long time ago. I began teaching in 1978 which was when nurses wore white uniforms, hose, shoes and cap. The cap was symbolic of the nursing school from which one graduated. Mine was modestly winged with a black stripe indicating I was an alum of The Kentucky Baptist School of Nursing.

Teaching men and women who aspired to become a nurse was both daunting and rewarding. When the students were brand new they learned mundane tasks in the lab such as proper hand washing and sterile technique. In the classroom they learned subjects like pharmacology and anatomy.

Clinical Rotation

The most challenging days were when the students were taken into the clinical area for real hands-on hospital experience. I went in before 6 a.m. to review charts and choose one or more patients for each student to care for from 7 until 11 o’clock.  They would bathe, treat and monitor the patient and document everything in the nurse’s notes and on various graphs and forms in the chart. Meanwhile, as their teacher, I was running from room to room to instruct, supervise and observe their performances.

Post Conference

Following the hectic morning of caring for patients we would meet together for post conference. During this time each student presented their case(s) for the day. One by one they would state their patient’s diagnosis, age and other demographics, medications administered, tests and lab results and treatments rendered. It was an important part of the clinical experience, because the students were able to demonstrate what they had learned and answer questions from the group. It was, also, a way for each student to learn information from 10-12 different cases.

I will never forget some of the things I learned here, especially during the years I taught Pediatrics, since it was not the field of nursing in which I was most experienced. During post conference, students might share good news about blood work indicating a child’s recovery from leukemia, the troubling account of a toddler intentionally burned by one of its parents, maybe assisting with a spinal tap or accompanying an infant for X-rays.

One hot summer day we were gathered in a conference room while I listened dutifully to each student and added or corrected information as they presented their cases. One student went into great detail describing her little boy’s injuries which consisted of many lacerations and a fracture of the lower left extremity requiring surgery. She explained how the child was brought in by ambulance from his home in the country. She was dismayed at how, though he was only 10 years old, his parents let him handle many farm chores. She explained while accompanying his father in the field, he had been savagely injured by a wild animal. She had everyone’s attention and was clearly becoming excited as she continued to talk about the attack.

I sat speechless, a rare condition for me, but I could not make myself interrupt her animated presentation. She went on and on until finally one of her classmates asked the question everyone wanted to know: “What kind of animal was it”?  To which she breathlessly responded it was, “A bush hog!” 

Bush Hog Rotary Cutter Parts

Bush Hog by Pixabay