|Historical nursing display at a Houston hospital.|
The emergency room visit was certainly enlightening. After X-rays and CT scans, we were told her upper humerus was fractured. Although no one told us her shoulder was dislocated, it apparently was. Many shots and sedatives later, the ER doctor worked to set her arm. Except for the drugs, this procedure has probably changed little over the years—pull and push the arm back in place. The doctor even had to climb up in bed and use her foot to help set Mom's arm. I have no doubt that would have been unbearable for anyone without drugs.
But what has changed in medicine?
Some progress has been and is still being made in eradicating disease. In the novel In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters, readers learn about various and sundry treatments for the Spanish Flu. The main character is living in San Diego in 1918. The city is in crisis because seemingly everyone either has the flu, had the flu or will get the flu. People are dying in the street. Desperation (and a lack of medical knowledge) leads people to try anything—including eating onions multiple times daily or even trying sugar cubes soaked in kerosene.
Fever 1793 shows how Philadelphia panicked to such a degree that Congress fled the city rather than fall victim to the epidemic.
Deadly by Julie Chibbaro creates a mystery surrounding the causes of typhus in several New York homes and the search for the woman called "Typhoid Mary."
These are just some of the books featuring medical history. You can find more at your school or public library.
Sara K Joiner is the author of the upcoming novel After the Ashes published by Holiday House. She is also the children's coordinator for the Brazoria County Library System.