By Dan Razzano, MSIII
My hand reached out reflexively towards the hand sanitizer. As I rubbed my palms together I pondered what to examine. She was sitting upright and appeared comfortable. She was progressing well for her old age, but we were keeping a close eye on her.
I folded my arms and said, "So what was it like, being a nurse during the war?"
Her eyes looked towards the window and she said, "We never seemed to have enough extra hands in those days. One soldier would leave the bed and another would lie down, we could barely change the sheets in between. The hospital seems much calmer now."
I told her about my grandfather and how during the war he would walk the beaches of Seaside Heights in the evening and when nightfall came…
She intervened, "They would draw tall black curtains across the shoreline to shield the city lights from the German submarines. It was remarkable how calm people were. They just carried along."
We talked about the changes in Brooklyn, the then and the now, and the Norwegian influence on the neighborhood of Bay Ridge. I became aware that it was almost time for rounds so we said our goodbyes.
She said, "Thank you. You made me feel better."
As I walked out, I drew the curtain to shield her from the lights in the hallway and my clean hand reached out reflexively.