It Takes All Kinds! - Part Three

Three more true stories of when I worked in a hospital Emergency Room years ago. They all happened in the mid-1970's.

An elderly woman was brought in from a nursing home. She had broken her hip. After taking X-rays and further examining her, I was given the task of placing her in traction. When she was in her room, I set up the framework on her bed and then went to ask a nurse to help me. I needed someone to hold her leg while I wrapped it for the traction. The patient's frame of mind had deteriorated rapidly. She rambled on and on about how she needed to buy some new shoes so she would have something to put the ice cream in. Also, she hoped little Billy would get home from school soon, and so forth. She was obviously out of her mind. I casually told the nurse "I hope I don't get that way when I get as old as her." All of a sudden, the patient sat up in bed and told me "I hope to God you do!" and then laid back down and started rambling again about her new shoes and ice cream.

On another occassion an adult male was brought in as a result of an auto accident. He had multiple compound fractures. (A compound fracture is when the bone has broken through the skin and is exposed to the air.) Also, his head had gone thorugh the windshield. (This was before the days of air bags.) The patient was a bloody mess and was totally out of it. Doctor Harris was called in to treat his orthopedic wounds. (The doctor died over 20 years ago so I can name him.) Upon entering the treatment room, without even examining the patient or looking at the X-rays, Doctor Harris announced "It isn't worth my time to even try to treat him because he is going to die anyway." We were all shocked to say the least. Another doctor was called in to treat the patient.

Several weeks later, Doctor Harris was on the orthopedic ward at the nurses' station and talking to the head nurse. Low and behold, the same patient that Doctor Harris refused to treat weeks earlier was in a private room across from the nurses' station. Minutes later, the patient rolled himself out to the hallway. He was in a wheel chair and had a cast on one leg from his hip to his toes. The patient asked "Are you doctor Harris?" The doctor replied "Yes." The patient then asked the doctor if he would pick something up off the floor he had dropped earlier. The doctor replied in the affirmative and asked specifically where it was. The patient asked the doctor to turn around and bend down, "it's down there" as he pointed to a spot on the floor. The doctor did so. The patient then popped a wheelie and hit the doctor's behind with his leg that was in the cast. This action caused the doctor to fly forward and sprawl out on the floor. The doctor, regaining composure, asked why he had done so. The patient replied that although he did not know what he had looked like he "would never forget that voice" and that he was the patient he had written off weeks ago. "Now, that is what I think of you," the patient replied. The doctor dusted himself off and quietly left the area without any further comment.

If there is anything that the above two incidents taught me is that even if the patient is in a coma or "out of their mind," they can still hear you!

My thrid story is about another elderly patient that had been a patient in a nursing home and broken his hip. The patient was 82 years of age. From the time he was brought in he continualy asked where his mother was. He also informed us all that he had meals with his mother "everyday." OK, injured elderly people often go into a "second childhood" and recall incidents from their childhood. For this reason we all passed his talk about his mother due to his "senility."

Later that day, an old woman using a cane and walking slumped over, came down the hall. She asked "Where is my son?" Sure enough, this woman WAS the earlier patient's mother! She was 98 years old and they both shared the same room at the nursing home.

Worth Checking Out

I recently discovered a few TV shows that at least some of you might be interested in checking out. All four series are on cable channels.

The "American Life" cable channel, formerly the "Good Life" channel, is airing the early 1990's series "I'll Fly Away" on Sunday evenings at 10 PM Eastern time. This was a ground-breaking series that centered on the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's. Lilly is a Black maid working for a wealthy White family in a small southern town. I recall watching the series on the first run, but over 10 years later, it is all new to me. Maybe it's my age, but now the series is more thought-provoking than when I viewed it the first time around.

The other two programs are on the cable channel "Discovery Kids." One is "TimeBlazers." It is a half hour history series aimed at kids, of course. On one of the episodes I watched I learned something new to me. Although I had never thought about it before, did you ever wonder why people from the country India are called "Indians" and Native Americans are also called "Indians?" According to this show, in the 1400's there were several explorers seeking a shorter route to Calcutta, India which was the center of trade activity at the time. One of the explorers landed on North American shores, saw the Native Americans, and thinking he had actually landed on the shores of India, called them "Indians." Although he later found out that he had'nt discovered a shorter route to Calcutta afterall, the name "Indians" stuck. The series is on weekdays at 5 PM Eastern time.

The other series, also on the "Discovery Kids" cable channel, is "Trading Spaces - Boys Vs. Girls." A pair of boys and girls, along with the help of adult professional designers and carpenters, redesign each others bedrooms. Many of the room themes are history-related, such as Egyptian, Hollywood, Civil War, etc. The new bedrooms don't just have a new coat of paint and some decorations on the walls. For example, one design for an avid American history buff had the walls painted in wide, horizontal stripes of red, white and blue, with famous short quotes painted in cursive on the white portions of the walls such as "We the people...," "When, in the course of human events...," "A house divided against itself cannot stand," etc. The desk top was done in shadowbox style. Inside the desktop were replicas of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights,and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. (The desk top was of clear glass so you could see the documents inside.) A footstool was made to look like a Civil War drummer boy's drum. Both the Union and Confederate flags were drapped on one wall around a window. A very classy bedroom! The series airs twice a night on weeknights. The times are 7:30 and 10:30 PM Eastern time. (The same episode is aired at both times the same day.)

Buckle your seat belts—it's going to be a wild ride. Hosted by pro wrestling and feature film star Bill Goldberg, AUTOMANIAC puts you in the driver's seat of the coolest, hottest, fastest and most unusual vehicles ever to hit the road. Each episode of AUTOMANIAC focuses on an unusual theme, such as vehicles driven by gangsters, police departments, hot rodders or the super rich. Incorporating a mix of history, technology, the culture and hands-on participation from Goldberg himself, AUTOMANIAC takes viewers into the garage, under the hood and out on the road to show how these amazing cars work and what makes them the hottest wheels of any era. The History Channel one-hour weekly series AUTOMANIAC premiered June 1st but will continue with different episodes each week. The series airs Wednesdays' at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time and continues until August 11.

Brain Teaser

If you take a standard balance scale and put 10 ounces of sand on one side and 10 ounces of gold on the other side, one side will be lower because it is heavier. Why? There is a logical answer to why one side will lower.

Answer next issue.

Any Subscribers Living In or near Springfield, Illinois?

If you live in or near Springfield, Illinois, please contact me by email soon.

May Contest

QUESTION: Only one American President was inaugurated using his nickname rather than given name. Which President was it?

ANSWER: Jimmy Carter. Although Theodore Roosevelt preferred being called "Teddy", he used his given name when taking the inaugural oath.

Forty-seven people entered the contest. Twenty-two were disqualifed due to an incorrect subject heading, incorrect answer, did not indicate which ONE prize they wanted, or sent their entry too late. Three prizes went unclaimed.

The May winners were:

  • Savannah Hiatt - Florida
  • Brad Witt - Texas
  • Richard Helmuth - Maine
  • Ron Genhi - California
  • Mary Wadding - Colorado
  • Thomas Hewes - Rhode Island
  • Kate Garber - Pennsylvania

This Issue's Question

To enter the Grand Prize Contest, send by email an essay of not more than 75 words relating why you want to win it. One grand prize will be awarded.

To enter the Alternate Contest, answer the question below and indicate which ONE prize you want if you win. (Only one of each is available.)

Alternate Contest Question: Only one American President had been divorced and remarried before becoming President. Who was he?

Contest Rules

  • Contest entry deadline is Thursday, June 16, 2005. Later entries will be disqualified. Winners will be notified by email within 24 hours of the contest deadline. Winners names and states will be published in the next issue of the Newsletter.

  • Subscribers may enter both contests, but can only win one prize.

  • To enter either contest, email your essay or answer to

  • If entering for the Grand Prize, enter "Contest Entry Grand Prize" for the subject heading. Include ONLY your essay and NOT the answer to the alternate contest question. (Only one grand prize is available.)

  • If entering for any of the alternate contest prizes, enter "Contest Entry" for the subject heading and answer the Alternate Contest Question.

  • If entering both contests, send separate emails.

  • Entries with prize desires such as "any prize is OK," "any of the historic newspapers" etc. will be disqualified. You MUST select ONE prize.

  • From subscribers entering the Grand Prize contest and submitting an essay of NOT MORE THAN 75 words in length, correct subject heading, and submission received by the deadline, will be considered for winning. All other Grand Prize entires will be disqualified.

  • From subscribers entering the alternate contest, submitting the correct answer, correct subject heading, submission received by the deadline, as well as advising which ONE alternate contest prize they want to win, nine will be selected to win one of the alternate contest prizes below.

  • Subscribers to this newsletter that won a prize in my trivia contests in the last 90 days are ineligible to win.

Grand Prize
(One winner will be selected)

Two DVD SET - History Channel Presents Egypt
Over 5,000 years ago, an empire arose on the banks of the Nile. Today, many of its secrets remain sheltered beneath the desert sands.

Led by archeologists who are uncovering long-lost temples, tombs and treasures, EGYPT- BEYOND THE PYRAMIDS examines recent discoveries that have altered our understanding of the Kingdom of the Nile.

Alternate Contest Prizes

Porky Pig Cartoons
Over 1 hour of classic Porky Pig
animation from the 1940's and 1950's

Little House on the Prairie
There's No Place Like Home
(2 hour movie)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1933)

DVD Game
Based on classic television shows

Original Historic Newspapers

Original New-England Galaxy (Boston) historic newspaper from 1826

Original The Madisionian (Washington, DC) historic newspaper from 1838

Original Dover Gazette and Strafford Advertiser historic newspaper from 1848

Original The Constitution (Washington, DC) historic newspaper from 1859

Original The New York Times historic newspaper from 1874
That's it for this issue.

Rick Brown

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