Mrs. Johnson Sets Me Straight

imageThe time I spent getting to know my patients was the best part of nursing.  As a hospital dialysis nurse, during the course of a four-hour treatment, we had a lot of time to talk.  One of my favorite patients was a lively little seventy-year old lady, the mother of twenty-one children.  I never knew what she’d have to say.  When I expressed my amazement at her having so had many, she told me, “It wasn’t so bad. I had a set of twins, so I was only pregnant twenty times.”

“You must be proud of your kids,” I answered.

“Huh,” she snorted.  “Ain’t half of ’em worth the powder it’d take to blow ’em away.  I gotta keep my purse right with me.”

“Oh.”  I had no other response to that.

She was always full of wild tales about getting the best of her “old man” who was twenty years older than she.  I inferred they had a warm relationship, but she straightened me out when  I expressed my condolences at her next treatment after his death.

“Mrs. Johnson, I ‘m sorry to her of your loss.  I know you must miss your husband.”  I dreaded the lonely times ahead for her.

She cackled.  “I’m glad that old devil from hell is gone.  I thought for sure he was gonna outlive me.  My daddy gave me to him when I wad’n but thirteen years old.  He beat me ever’day long as he was able.  I was so proud when he got old and stoved up so I could take a piece of a firewood to him any time I got ready.  I mean to tell you I whooped him many a time.”

She always gave me plenty to think about.

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