Just last week I came across a folder in an old box on the bottom of a closet. There I found accordion-pleated sheets of paper where I had written about the Donovan family in single space dot-matrix some twenty years ago. Bill Donovan had lung cancer with metastasis to his bones and brain. He died on a cold December day in Chicago.
I still have my Day Timer—who is old enough to remember those? I kept statistics on my patients: address, phone number, date of birth, diagnoses, if and when they received a flu shot and the date they either were discharged from home care or died. I wrote sporadically about my more difficult or worrisome patients in journals, which I kept all these years. I knew someday I would write my nursing stories.
But I never did forget Bill. I just didn’t remember enough detail about him and his family to add him to the book I’m working on. But now I’ll flesh him out along with his three daughters, a live-in girl friend and a hired caregiver, Stanley, who emigrated from Poland where he claimed to be a medical student and who withheld Bill’s medication on the grounds he, Bill, could die from the morphine.
Now you couldn’t make this stuff up.
Making this up would be hard. What stories you have. I look forward to hearing more about the Donovan family. It seems many people carry misinformation about morphine. I would like to hear more about that too.
Unfortunately there is much misinformation about pain control and the use of narcotics. I do address this is the full story of Bill Donovan.
How fortunate you are to have kept all those memory triggers. Because you did, we can now be the fortunate recipients of stories that show the nitty gritty, wonderful, fulfilling world of nursing.
Yes, I was lucky to have found my old notes. I have since completed a first draft of Bill Donovan’s story.
You also give me ideas about old notes — a way of tracking what was important to us in the past. And maybe even finding some story material to amplify after X many years!
I do remember Day timers!