Medical Treatment Alexander Manitoba

 

 

Medical Treatment Alexander Manitoba


(rough copy)

September 2020

Growing up in Alexander Manitoba in the mid 1970s was a great time but we had to travel to Brandon Manitoba for any medical treatment. It was only 15 miles down the Trans-Canada highway which was a 2 lane black top road with lots of traffic. It would not be till the mid 1980s when they made it a 4 lane highway and straightened out some of the dangerous curves that claimed many lives. At Kemnay Manitoba we turned off and traveled on highway 1A to Brandon which always involved speeding up going past the CKX radio towers because the AM signal would over ride any radio channel on your car radio. Not sure who was the engineer that decided to put the towers in a low lying marshy area. But most radio towers are on high ground so the radio signal would travel the farthest. Oh well, the local RCMP made a lot of money off all the tickets handed out because of people speeding up to get by the towers so they didn’t miss the radio program that they were enjoying that was being over ridden by CKX AM radio.

Once in Brandon the lights on Victoria Avenue were not timed for continuous movement of the traffic. So it was stop and go light to light until you were on the other side of Brandon to where the Brandon General Hospital was located. This is not a problem in today's world with fuel injected cars and computers that make sure the vehicle stays running at all the stops for the red lights. Back in the 1970s my dad was an automotive mechanic instructor at the collage in Brandon. He was always adjusting and re-designing the carburetor on the 1965 Pontiac Parisienne Sedan car for better gas mileage. So you did not know if the car would stay running at the lights or it was running too fast at an idle that the brakes would not hold back the automatic transmission. Each trip was adventure because we did know if we were walking or getting towed or no troubles at all.

If we had to see the family doctor who was located in downtown Brandon, then parking was always a problem. The same engineer for the CKX towers being in a low lying marsh area decided the beautification of downtown Brandon would involve removing half the parking spaces to put trees and plants. You never found a parking spot close to the doctor’s office and walking was required no matter how sick you were. But then again we never went to the doctors or seek medical attention unless we were dying according to mother. I can’t remember how old I was but I think about 10 years old when a got a bad cold which is normal when you attend school which is a germ factory. After about of week being sick and still going to school, I was allowed to stay home. I did not leave the bed and watch the only TV channels that we could get in Alexander with the rabbit ears on the TV. If we had a tall tower we could have gotten 1 more channel to make it 3. When my throat was so sore and swollen up that my head was on my shoulder all the time that is when mother took me to the doctor. The long walk in the middle of winter to the doctors office was not fun from the distance parking spot. Then the ride in the elevator to the 4th floor where the doctors office really screwed up my balance. Once off the elevator I was basically hopeless in walking because I had no sense of balance with my head on my shoulder. That was the longest walk to the doctor’s office that I can ever remember. Once mother opened the door to the doctor’s office and I walked in holding on to the wall and on to anything else I could get my hands on. It did not take long for the full waiting room to make way for me to sit down. Plus everyone was just staring at me as I was from another plant. That is when I realized that people staring at me with strange looks on their faces will be a fact of life for me when I grew and drank professionally. The doctor came out and took one look and me and gave mother a piece of paper and we were to go the Brandon General Hospital right away.

At that point of being so sick I didn’t care and never questioned why we didn’t go to the hospital in the first place. But back in the 1970s you only went to the hospital when you were dying. I guess being near death does not count. The elevator ride and the long walk back to the car was just as terrible as going there in the first place. Once at the hospital I was given quick service and I got to ride in a wheel chair. Since they didn’t know what was wrong with me they put me in a private room. That is when they gave me the good drugs that cause my memory to be erased. It took me about a week to recover from being sick and then when I was released it was another couple of weeks at home to recovery. The only good thing about the hospital was my parents rented a TV and I watched all the cable TV channels and shows.

 

The Barnes Ears

For some reason I was born with the Barnes Ears which is a family trademark. Yes they are ears that point straight out and are no where near the side of your head like most people’s ears. Most of my baby pictures have me wearing little hats so nobody could see my ears and also to make sure my ears fit in the picture too. Wearing hats and being a cute baby was not problem on hiding my ears but once I started school, my ears could not be hidden by hats because hats can’t be worn in class. Now I had to sit in class with my ears sitting straight out and anyone walking past would flick my ears. There were days I went home with red ears and being colour blind I could tell when I looked in the mirror that they were red. Getting teased about my ears became a fact of life and adults were just as bad when making fun of my ears. Yes the Dumbo Ear jokes were just as boring.

I think was about 13 years old when I was seeing the family doctor about being sick with a never ending cold and cough. He asked about my ears being red and the doctor knew it was not cold outside so why are my ears so red. I told them everyone flicks them in school. The doctor then told that my ears can be fixed with a little surgery and that made me smile. Back in the 1970s people didn’t have google to check things out and learn like they do today. Everything back then was learned by reading or word of mouth and that is why we never knew about getting my ears fixed. The doctor made all the arrangements for me to get my ears fixed at the Brandon General Hospital. The day for my surgery seem to take for ever and when the day arrived my mother took me to the hospital. Once again I got a private room because I always had a cold and cough so they kept me away from other patients.

The 1970s were funny times because nobody talked about anything or you had no way to learn unless you read magazines or books. The news on TV was at 6pm and then again at 11pm and if you missed either time slots then it was too bad for you. Nobody ever talked about what happens in hospital or surgery and there was no google or YouTube to learn from. To prep for my trip and stay in the hospital I was to listen to the Bill Cosby album from 1966 called Wonderfullness. Bill Cosby made him self famous by being an excellent story teller about raising kids in these modern time which was the 1970s. The comedy sketch on the album was called Tonsil which is a story of Bill Cosby as a kid going to the hospital to get his tonsil removed. I grew up listening to this album that my dad would play on his state of art entertainment centre when the 3 TV channels we had were off the air for some reason.

Being at the hospital was just like what Bill Cosby said it was like on his album. They came and got me for the surgery without feeding me breakfast just like Bill Cosby said. Then down in the operating room they gave the needle to put you to sleep just like Bill Cosby said and I even counted backwards like he did and that was all I remember. It is hard to believe 40 years after the release of this album Bill Cosby became famous for the Cosby Cocktails that put ladies to sleep. When I woke up after the surgery it was just in Bill Cosby story present day or in the album, I did not know where I was and my head hurt. They had bandaged my head in a turban to keep my ears tight to my head for healing. Once awake they returned me back to my private room where my mother was waiting. Of course the doctor and mother were chatting back and forth which I was so drugged up that I did not care what they were saying. All I wanted to do is go to the bathroom and have a pee. But my mother kept pushing me back flat on the bed and going to use the pee jug for me to pee in. My mother was bound and determined that she was going to help me get my “little big fellow” in the pee jug. This might be fine when I’m wearing my diaper but you are not touching my “little big fellow” now that I’m a teenager and having interests in being breast fed by others who are not my mother. I was able to fight my mother off and with all my strength get to the bathroom to have the pee of a life time. The only thing my mother said to me as I closed the bathroom door was the word “fine”. I would later learn in my life when dealing with women that is is an important word which is actually a question.

For some reason I was having trouble with my balance and vision even days after being released from the hospital to recover at home. After about week of not getting better with balance and vision, my mother dragged to see the doctor. Of course the doctor figured the swelling of my head from surgery was effecting my balance and vision. So no more turban to wear but we will duct tape your ears back to get them to heal properly. Plus the stitches were not healing. After another week of being at home and the 3 TV channels were boring I was in the shop being me but just had to hang on to something because I would fall down. This went on for about a month and then I got tired of taking these pills to make me better. Mother insisted I take them so at supper I would take them in front of her then spit them out when I left the table. Then on the trips to visit the doctor on my slow recovery they would take my blood and check it. It didn’t take long for the doctor to phone my mother to tell her that the pills I was suppose to be taking were not showing up in my blood test. I told my mother and the doctor that is what was making me sick and once the pills were out of my system I started getting better. These man made drugs were making me sick not better. Then for the rest of my life I stayed away from any form of drugs. People judge books by their covers and the way I dress, talk and act every figures I’m in to the local drug scene like Cheech and Chong. Any time I go to the doctor they want to give me the best drugs to correct the problem. Plus I look good with my normal ears and people have a hard time believing that is me in the pictures with my ears sticking out.

 

Yes My Dad Faints

As I grew up, I was always sent with my dad to any doctors or dentist appointments because my dad had a fainting problem with doctors. My dad would be ok in the doctor’s office but once out of the office in the hallway or elevator he would faint. All I had to do was help him up and stay with him till he had re-grouped and able to continue on. This little problem dad had created problems in my teenage years. I was always working in the shop on cars and sometimes I got hurt. This one time I was using a screw driver the way they are not meant to be used and it slipped and went through the palm of my hand. This is not a problem poking a hole in your hand but the cheap china made screw driver bent sharply. With the sharp bend I did not want to pull it back through my hand in case I tore a blood vessel or tenant. I went from the shop to the house to get my dad to drive me to the hospital so they could x-ray it or something. Through my teenage years I have hurt myself enough to know when medical attention is required. I knew enough not to go past the back door of the house and call my dad to come and see me. Once he came to the back door of the house I asked him to drive me to the hospital. Of course being a parent he has to ask why so I showed him. That is when he fainted which I knew was going to happen. At least he was at the back door of the house and I just had to get him in the 1965 Pontiac Parisienne Sedan. So with one good hand and my other hand bleeding and wrapped in a rag, I got my dad on the passenger side of the car. I knew from all the time of dealing him fainting it would be a while before he could drive the car. I left a note on the table for mother saying dad and I went to town but never left a reason.

It was late fall so driving down the Trans-Canada as a very under age driver was not a problem because nothing is illegal until you get caught. I seem to hit the lights on Victoria avenue at just the right time so no stopping and waiting for them to turn green. My dad was doing better because it was dark out and he could not see any blood until I parked the car at the hospital. Then once he seen the blood rag on my hand he went in the usual fainting. I helped my dad in to the emergency entrance of the hospital and everyone rushed to help my dad. They put my dad on the stretcher table and whipped him in to an emergency room. They keep asking what is wrong and what happened to my dad and kept calmly saying that he just faints at the site of blood. Once things slowed down in the emergency room I showed the nurse my hand with a screw driver through the palm. Everyone in the room agreed that an x-ray will be needed before removing the screw driver. We just left my dad in the room and went down for an x-ray on my hand. Once the x-ray showed no damage, the doctor slowly pulled the screw driver out. I refused the freezing because it would only hurt more later. They did not stitch up the holes because they wanted it to breath and heal properly. It did not take long to be in and out with quick service and common sense which was common in the 1970s.

My dad was back to normal and ready to home because he enjoyed the free coffee they were offering. As we are leaving the hospital and just about out of the emergency entrance a vehicle pulls up and these people get out all covered in blood from being in a car accident. They rush in to the emergency entrance to get medical attention. My dad has to faint because of seeing all the blood. I just helped my dad to the car and get him in the passenger side and I drive back home. We both agree while getting out of the car to go to the house that mother must not know that I was driving. When we went in the house, mother was sitting in her chair puffing on a cigarette, enjoy a coffee while reading a book and watching TV at the same time. She was not too concerned and asked if I was dying for the reason on going to the hospital which I said yes. Then she asked how my dad was at the hospital and my reply was he acted his normal way. Once again no drama in our household because there was never any need for it.

 

Missing Finger


The next best memory of a trip to the Brandon General Hospital was when I was 16 years old and had a legal driver’s license. I was working in the shop and not sure how I did it but I cut my little finger off at the knuckle. This is a minor detail because it was clean clear cut. I drove my self to the hospital in my 1967 Chevy truck with a 3 speed standard transmission. Trying to shift the transmission with your hand wrapped in a rag that is holding your missing finger tight to your bloody hand to keep it warm in hopes they can sew it back on. Once at the hospital they got me in right away to the emergency operating room. The doctor was right there because he was doing surgery in one of the operating room. His name was Dr. Gunston from Flin Flon Manitoba who is famous for the Gunston knee replacement. This doctor was not like any other doctors that I have dealt with because he acted and talked normal to everyone. He told me that it was clean cut on my finger and will just sew it back on but no freezing because he needs for me to feel the pain so he knows that he is doing correctly. Being 16 years old I agreed to anything because I need my finger for the rest of my life. Everything was happening very quickly because there is only so much time a cut off finger is good for. He credited me for keeping warm and covered in blood which made it save-able.

It must have been shift change for the nursing staff because the manly Russian female nurse left and the replacement nurse must have been in Playboy magazine. Now I’m 16 years old and having this beautiful nurse holding me down and helping the doctor. For some reason she always had her cleavage right in front of my face to hold my arm down. Dr. Gunston was very good at talking and explaining what he was doing or going to do. He had to make sure I felt everything which I did. Of course being a young age and in pain with cleavage right in front of my face, I’m not going to jerk a tear. For the next 30 minutes the pain was unreal, my eyes watered but they were not classified as tears. There were times the Playboy nurse had to hold me tighter from flexing my arm. Her cleavage was the part that got me through the ordeal plus I’ll never forget her cleavage.

When everything was done all I got was a white wrap bandage on my finger and told to see Dr. Gunston in about a week. I refused the pain drugs because the hardest part was over. The Playboy nurse said good bye and I never seen her again in all my other visits to the hospital. When I got home, mother was sitting in her chair puffing on a cigarette, enjoy a coffee while reading a book and watching TV at the same time. She was not too concerned and asked if I was dying for the reason on going to the hospital which I said yes. My dad asked if I was ok and I said yes did not show him my bandage or give him any details because he would only faint. Now writing this story in my middle age, my finger works excellent because the best doctor was there that day to fix it right. I can still remember the Playboy nurse in great details because she helped me through it.

 

Lawn Mower Toes

As we got older in Alexander our lawn mowing was taken over by the younger kids growing up. I was coming back home from work after school driving my 1937 Dodge hot rod truck. As I drove by one of the places that I used to mow the grass, the young kid mowing the grass. He waved at me while pulling the lawn mower back wards to himself. All I seen was small objects shoot out from the grass discharge on the mower. The kid dropped to the ground grabbing his foot because he just cut his toes off. I stopped my 37 Dodge and ran over to grabbed the small objects on the road which were his toes. Then I grabbed him and tossed in my 37 Dodge. I was able to get his toes in my coffee thermos which still had warm coffee left over in it. This will save the toes. I tied off his foot to slow the bleeding and took off heading to the hospital in Brandon. The kid was crying but trying not to cry because he was getting a ride in my 37 Dodge hot rod truck. My 37 dodge was built for speed not for laying rubber or smoking the tires. The small block chevy put out enough horse power to get in to trouble with the 3” side pipes to let everyone know you were coming.

The old lady whose lawn was getting cut looked out to see me doing a quick U-turn and speeding away plus the lawn mower was still running. She phoned my dad who looked out the front window of the pink house to see me leaving town at high rate of speed. Once out of town and on the Trans-Canada which now a 4 lane highway, I got the 37 Dodge up to cruising speed of 100mph. At that speed the truck ran and handle great because that what it was built for. Of course by the Kemnay Manitoba turn off there is a group of semis running bumper to bumper. That is when I had to open up the 37 Dodge and blow by them at about 145mph. The young kid was just looking at the speedometer coming back round to zero. We had no problems making to Brandon on the 2 lane highway because I come behind a car doing the speed limit and when it was clear to pass, drop the 37 Dodge down a gear and kick the gas pedal down which opened up the 4 barrels in the carburetor. We were out and round the slow moving car in no time. Once we hit Brandon the traffic lights on Victoria Avenue were operating in our favour. But half way through Brandon the city police decided to follow us with the lights on. This was not the first time this has happened to me driving my 37 dodge and I drove according. We arrived at the emergency entrance of the hospital and I had the young kid in my arms when the city police arrived. The cops seen his bloody foot and helped me with the doors and getting in to the emergency room. My dad had phone the emergency department to let them know we were coming. My job was done and my 37 Dodge was blocking the emergency entrance so I said good bye to the young kid. I told them to keep my thermos that had his toes in because I didn’t want it back. The cops were nice enough to walk me back to my 37 Dodge saying they didn’t see anything since it was an emergency.

Now I had to drive back home to Alexander at a normal speed which seemed like for ever because it was less then 20 minutes to get to the hospital. About half way home I met the kid’s parents heading to the hospital in their big family sedan car which is not really built for speed. They were able to save the kids foot and most of the toes. I guess I was at the right place at the right time.

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