University of Nevada, Reno




Life Stories by theme: Medicine

































  1. Operating an iron lung in the time of polio


    "You were saying that you had never even seen an iron lung, and you can imagine how we felt as young nurses. The electricity would go out every so often, and we would be called to the rooms and take turns pumping the lungs. It was a back and forth motion that was tiring, so we would do it in shifts."  Read more

  2. The pain of appendicitis


    "As he was giving me the shot, I asked, 'Will that help my stomach?' He said, 'Your stomach! My god, man, your stomach! Lay down on the table.' I laid back on the table and he pushed well into my stomach. He said, 'Does that hurt?' I shook my head no, then he let up fast, and I screamed. Then he looked at Mom and said, 'I’ll call an ambulance. We’ve got to get him to the hospital for an appendix operation.'"  Read more.

  3. Holidays in the hospital


    "If you can avoid being in the hospital during the holidays, do it. No matter how much faux holly or faux pumpkins they put on your food tray, you’re still sick, confined to a bed, and alone.  If you are lucky, family and friends may visit and bring you gifts, treats and cards in an effort to bring you jolly-jolly, ho-ho, happy-happy and pretend normalcy.  And so … ? You end up trying to cheer up your visitors, no matter how weak or sick or tired you feel."  Read more.

  4. Melanoma of the eye


    "The bad part happened on the weekend. I had a terrible headache and I was taking over-the-counter painkillers by the handfuls. It was a terrible headache. I couldn’t get rid of it. We had company, my husband’s cousins. On Sunday we went to church and I couldn’t see the preacher right. We were sitting way back, and he was kind of blurry, so I still didn’t think. But Monday morning, I was really bad."  Read more.