Mr. George was standing and looking out the window as I approached him I asked,
1 “How are you today? “The room became very quite and Mr. George just stood there looking out the window. Suddenly he turned an in a loud voice said, “Why do you care? I’m dying isn’t that enough?!”
I took a deep breath, as I moved closer to Mr. George and said,” Are you dying right this minute? We are all going to die sometime but often times, we never know how or when.”
Mr. George was very quite as he stood there looking down at his feet, then slowly he raised his head saying, ” This cancer is so painful and that is when I feel like I’m dying and I’m alone.”
He then stepped back from me and very sadly said,” Everyone that comes in here asks the same questions, but they never ask me how I feel or what they can do to make me feel more comfortable.”
I took a step closer to him and began to explain, “Not everyone is comfortable dealing with cancer patients and many are not comfortable with their own feelings to say anything. Please come and sit down beside me and tell me really how you feel?
On a scale from 1 – 10 where do you rate your pain?
How you rate your pain before being medicated lets me know which dose of pain medication to give you and after I will be able to evaluate its effectiveness.
Let’s also explore what you need to say to anyone who enters your room.”
Mr. George just stood there for a moment with tears in his eyes and sat down beside me. I asked again, “Please tell me how you feel? Where is the pain? What level is the pain?”
His voice broke as he cleared his throat with the tears running down his face.
He said, ”I’m in so much pain all over it’s a level 10 and I’m scared.”
I looked at him as I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Mr. George, before you say another word let me get you some pain medication.”
He looked at me with much relief and said, “Okay.”
When I returned, I gave him the liquid medication with a sip of cranberry juice.
I sat down beside Mr. George and explained, “You can have this medication every two hours and sooner if needed just let me know”.
He looked back at me and said, “Thank you.”
I smiled and said, “Each time someone enters your room. Say to them If you can’t say anything to me at least say Hi!’ Tell them you need pain medication now. If you can do that, hopefully, it will make you feel less alone. I will let all my staff know if they pass by your door or see you, to say Hi. Can we try this?”
I continued, “Don’t be afraid to ask if someone would just come and sit with you. This our job to make you feel secure, pain-free and not alone. Do we have a plan?”
It was September 1977 and my sister from Germany asked, ” that we take our next vacation in Germany”. We thought it over and agreed to go if we could get our passports with in the next thirty days as that is when our vacation would begin. Surprise, surprise our passports came with in two weeks. We then were able to get first class seating on Lufthansa it would be an 8 pm flight out of Miami International Airport to Frankfort, Germany with a connecting flight to Hamburg. We would arrive at 11:30 am there time. faxing copies of our antennary to her sister in Flensburg, Germany to confirm the time they would meet us at the Hamburg Terminal.
The days flew by and before I new it we were on our way to the airport. It began to peek when the limousine arrived to pick us up. Upon entering the airport which is enormous but sky caps were so helpful guided us to the right counter. With tickets and boarding passes in hand we entered the waiting area.
It was here that a new level of excitement arose as they announced we are now boarding first class passengers for Lufthansa flight to Germany. I actually began to get a headache as I imagined what if something went wrong while in Germany and they kept my wife as she was still a German citizen and what would they do to me being American. Second fear was what if we got hijacked. I tried everything to settle my mind. Finally in the plane and as we climbed up to about thirty thousand feet the plane leveled off. In no time down the isle came the stewardess confirming what we had chosen to eat. In no time two stewardesses returned with a warm hot meal. With my belly full I was able to relax so much I fell a sleep.
I was suddenly awake as my wife nudged me saying set up here comes the warm wake up towels. The stewardess was passing out these warm scented towels to help you wake up for Breakfast. Too me it felt like we had just finished eating supper. Time was also flying by and as the breakfast trays were picked up the captain announced we were on approach to Frankfurt Airport. What a sight from the air as I looked out my window I felt like I was going into a story book tale. There were small thatched roof houses and then there was homes with large red tiles. scattered about were small villages and the Frankfort. In no time we taxied up to the terminal and were on our way to collect our bags to get aboard a smaller prop-jet plane to Hamburg. The flight from Miami to Frankfort had no turbulences, but the flight from Frankfort to Hamburg was such that the plane rattled and bounced up and down. One of the passengers be hind me was laughing and spoke in German to his friend, my wife interped it to me,” he told his friend that this route has always had the worst turbulences’ od any flight path”.
Holding on and frequently checking my seat belt I viewed out the window which continued with farms and small villages with thatched roofs. Many of the fields facing the roads were lined with trees. My wife pointed out that when she was a young girl during the war that when she was walking to or from school and the air raid sirens sounded she had been told to go lay down flat in between the trees or bushes so the planes wouldn’t spot her and fire.
Finally A big city was in sight and the captain announced would be landing. Once on the ground we taxied up to the terminal. One of my fears of being hijacked did not happen. Entering the terminal up ahead we could see many people shouting and waving. then my wife in a teary voice there is my sister and her husband. Then the only word I understood was welcome and the rest was in German spoken at to me was 100 miles a minute. Collected our bags and making our way out of the terminal to their car. What lined up in front of the terminal was a whole line of yellow Mercedes Benz cabs to pick up fairs.
Leaving the park plaza and slowly merging into the very fast thick traffic we were on our way to Flensburg were they lived. What so unique was the different makes and model years of cars. For a moment it looked like being in New York city at rush hour. Taking over an hour of driving through some of the small villages I had viewed from the air and then merging onto the highway that went into Flensburg. The biggest surprise was the cobble stone streets and that Flensburg sits close to the water. Lined up were all types of boats and ships. Next we took this road that went up this very steep hill lined with stonewalls and old red brick buildings. I asked my wife how do they get downtown from here. She replied, “they walk up and down the stone steps following the path.” We were at there apartment not far from the to of the hill.
Everyday we did shot day trips down the hill to see one hundred years old churches, viewing the beautiful buildings and in the center of town was this large fountain and next to it was and outdoor patio restaurant which we had to stop and have some hot coffee and the most delightful piece of pastry. On other days we traveled to see some castles then to see my wife’s other sister in Duisburg which is near Dusseldorf. Once there we walked along the Rhine river and visited some of there 100 year old churches.
For me the restaurants with there ambiance each so different food was ever so delicious and with very healthy servings along with good German beer to help it slide down better. Desert was always saved for the next stop where of course I had to have the biggest slice of black forest cake and very hot coffee. “smack good”.
A word to the wise if you go there you need some very comfortable walking shoes as many streets are still cobble stone and there is and endless amount of hills. Oh yes learn the some very basic language to greet them or to thank them. You will find as I did many try to speak to you in English.
In no time the two weeks filled with day trips and the wonderful food, I was ready to come back home. On one day trip from Flensburg we drove in ten minutes in Denmark. I found this to be very interesting and can say you need to be ready for the climate and with plenty of film or disks to try and capture the beauty.
Flying back to America was ever so different and was going too be short. That is due to the time change we left at 11:30 am and arrived back in Miami airport at 8:00 pm on the same day. The flying time is the same but changing time to America time is what made all the difference. As we departed the plane and were in the limo home all my fears were gone. The only thing that happened I could feel I had gained some weight from the food I found so easy to eat. I got to loose the weight and then I will be ready for my next flight to somewhere mystical.
Every time I hear “I’m walking to New Olean’s” I have a flash back to Bourbon street in New Orleans and my very first time I went there. I was told the very place you have to go is to Pat O Brien’s and order a drink called a Hurricane, then try and drink it all in so many minutes which I found out there was a champion all ready. The Hurricane comes in a special glasses which you can keep.
Being in the Air Force an stationed at Kessler Air Force base on weekends it was discovery time. My drinking buddies from the airman’s club encouraged me to go with them New Orleans. I was excited and could not wait as it was a warm summer night in 1966.
One had a car so we all piled in and headed west to New Orleans. Listening to the sounds of the other I could feel they were just as excited. As the warm breeze gently flowed into the car mixed with the scent of jasmine and magnolia blossoms made the night even more enticing and intoxicating.
Finally on Canal street and avoiding the trolley tracks and lining the median strip and sides of the roads were these large clumps of moss hanging from these trees that look to be at least 100 years old. They reminded me of what you would see in the scary movies and these were loaded with bugs and possibly some snakes. Yet everything worked together being so beautiful and at the same time very scary.
As we got near to the night clubs you could hear ” I’m walking to New Orleans” being played. In an all night parking place we were just a short walk to Bourbon Street. Suddenly we were mixing into crowds of people all coming and going some a little drunk and singing and humming as they walked along or hung on to each other, some riding in open carriages, people were laughing an appeared to be having a wonderful time.
Well you know the very first place we hit was Pat O Brien’s, which was well lit and crowded with wall to wall people. You almost had to swim to get near the bar. Finally I was holding on to a famous Hurricane drink. Sipping it oh-Boy it was every bit as good in taste and what a glass. Being a young airman on a pass you know we attempted to swallowed it down and while ordering another. With the place being so packed we found our self out side, but if was a little cooler and we were all feeling a little buzz from the drink.
Being that the doorway and sidewalks were so crowded the horse drawn carriages with its passengers would be so close you could reach out and touch them but instead they would speak saying, “hello, having a good time by the way there is a party going on further down the street if you want to go just follow us”. It seemed like a few we turned a few blocks we all entered this large fenced in patio surrounded by all beautiful carved wrought iron.
There was so many people site of the carriage we were following. Then out of no where someone said, ” the bar is this way and the food is on a table in the back. The drinks were cheap but everything else was free so my buddies and I were taking our fill.
Then there was this quartet band playing jazz music and even one the song that every one everyone was singing to “Well I’m walking to New Orleans.
Time passed as it does when your having fun, suddenly it was getting day light the crowds had thinned. Looking around I found my buddies one at a time as we walked or better we stumbled out to the cobble stone we were holding up each other trying to sing as we headed to the car. The parking lot attendant woke us up and said, “do you want to pay day rate if not get out of here”.
Every time I hear Fat’s Domino sing “I’m walking to New Orleans” I go into a trance and I’m back in New Orleans wading through the streets and crowds of happy and friendly people.
I remember this one Saturday morning like it was yesterday. It was early in the morning I got up and quickly dressed I peered out the window to find a mystic light fog. It appeared as everything was covered with a heavy dew which just sparkled in the morning light the dew made one think it had rained. Curiously I could feel some great adventure beginning to stir within me. Outside I went out side walking through our back yard, I climbed on the stone wall and scanned for any snakes.
In no time I headed done a path that is an extension to Herrick’s Lane. A few minutes of walking I came upon one area of which always frightened me. This area was shallow with clumps of grass that were surrounded by black muddy water. In my mind where one could find anything from a snakes, large green frogs, and lizards. They were there to pounce on me and eat me alive. Approaching slowly and scanning the area. I began to jump from grass clump to grass clump. Just when I jumped for the next clump of grass, it happened! Something grabbed me and down I went. First I screamed out in panic and began to thrash about. But I calmed down a little and realized I was still alive and that I was caught up in a fallen branch. Jumping to my feet I begin to run.
My pants, shirt, and sneaker were soaked. Running only a short distance to a clearing area just ahead of me. Stopping and surveying the area to see if anything was there or following me. There was nothing but me and the silence as the fog was lifting. As the fog cleared an just a few steps away was a rather patch of wild blackberry bushes which were heavy with large and plump blackberries. Reaching out and trying to grab a handful of berries they would fall off. My breakfast was ready. My mouth was full of juicy blackberries and as I grabbed for more and not fully aware of my surroundings. I was about to grab another handful of berries as I froze in my tracks, there in front of me was my worst fear curled up and laying in the berry bush I was headed toward. The largest black snake I had seen in my life. My fright and flight defense set in. Suddenly feeling like a gazelle I was running and jumping like the same time.
A farmer that owned this part of the lane kept his cows there. There was a gate it was up climbing to the top bar I sat there very still checking my self out for snake bites. Finally catching my breath the silence was broken, by this loud bellowing sound it came from behind me. I began to scream and it was about the same time I noticed there was a big old milk cow standing in the bushes. She repeated the loud noise a few times as if to say, “hello”.
Now feeling brave knowing that the cow was in the lane I climbed down and preceded. To a spot not to far down there was a natural bubbling spring which was always icy cold in no time I was slurping my fill of this sparkling tasty fresh cold water.
After I was satisfied I returned to the fence and climbed over it and begin to climb the hill to get a better view of the valley. On a clear day one could see the center of Millbury. Approaching the top I sat down on top of the ledge. The fog was clearing and I was able to see the town hall right in Millbury. I felt like a king over looking his kingdom. The silence added to my imagination it reminded me of a story from a history class about the kings coming home after the crusades. Approached from a distance there country side and castle lay ahead.
Even today with my studying hypnosis and past life regression one of the introduction’s start with having you imaging your on top of the very grassy green on a clear day and you are able to look out over the valley below. With all that lay before me and even with the interruptions it’s the quite, the tranquility, the fresh air, and the peaceful feeling that comes over me.
The year was 1971 an I was in nursing training at Worcester City Hospital, All of us students met with the nursing instructor as she repeated the can does and the cannot do. I was like a rule breaker when the right person encouraged me and this one instance I acted without her approval, I left my assigned area an was doing someone’s assigned job and yes I got caught. when I met up with my instructor she read the rules to me and then what she said next was what had greatest impact on me and my career. My instructor stated, ” that because I was a male nurse that many would call on me to help others to get their job done and there would be no one to come and help me get my job done. So you have to decide if your going to become the best trained professional nurse or you would become a well trained orderly(nursing assistant). Make have to make up your mind.”
At first the lecture didn’t stick with me until one day while caring for my patient two nurses from another unit requested me right now to go get their male patients up and to shave them. Then it hit me and remembered what my instructor had said. Immediately I went to her and repeated what I was ordered to do. My instructor just looked at me and said, ” no, you can’t be ordered by anyone but her.”
Later I found out they had got in trouble because they left their patients and did not finish there care. The supervisor said nursing students on the unit get orders from there instructor, not floor nurses.
The lesson I learned from that instructor has been burned into my memory and through the years have found it to be my greatest assett. I have become a very valuable team player, a professional leader, caring teacher and patient advocate.
My career to today has been rewarding and always is re-enforced with a patient smile or when someone says, “thank you”.
I thought that if I slipped off the back end of the boat into the water I would drown. I was a young red-headed boy who at ten years old I was invincible and no harm could come to me. My best friends Billy, Bobby, and I were like the three musketeers. We were always looking for adventure and it was late this one summer afternoon when we found it. Hidden in some very thick bushes real close to the shore at Hathaway’s pond.
But, just as we were to further discover our find a loud hollering was heard. It was someone hollering that Billy’s dad wanted him home immediately. Not disturbing anything we all agreed to meet tomorrow and each ran to our home.
As usual I was up and ready and evening was up waiting for Billy and Bobby by the stonewall in our back yard. After waiting for what seemed like hours I grew restless and began to wonder if my friends had left me behind and went to try out the boats.
I decided to go and check out the boats on my own. When I arrived at the spot where the boats were hidden no-one was there. Feeling like a big shot I decided to try out the small flat-boat. there was no ores, but nearby I found a long pole and set it and the boat in the water. On my visual inspection everything was okay. The boat had a little water in it so I took off my sneakers and rolled up my dungarees. I climbed into the boat and began moving out into the pond, but when I was out a good distance from shore is when it happened.
I turned my head and observed one of my sneakers was floating out and away from back of the boat. I reached for it and the boat flipped over and into the brownish water I went. Down, down I went, it was like I was in a slow motion picture, then I felt this soft mud and it felt very deep. I opened my eyes and could barely see the lighter part that was the surface. In my mind I could picture all kinds of creatures grabbing me. frightened I began to move my arms and freed my feet and was kicking as hard as possible.
Suddenly there it was very close the boat and it was upside down. Reaching for it I grabbed a part of the boat, but all that happened was the boat just rolled over and down I went again. I continued to kick my feet and grabbed the boat again. Looking at the flat bottom of the boat I decided to position myself at the foot and try to slid up the bottom. After three try’s I was able to get my body half way up on the bottom.
As I remained very still I started to cry out for help and cough up the water I had swallowed.
Suddenly I heard a voice say your going to be alright. I remembered being pulled into a boat and then I was put into a police car and brought home.
I still was not afraid of the water, got punished severely. Since then I learned to swim and about life jackets and what to do if your boat tips.