With Dr. Margaret Arkinstalls and Elizabeth Pearces permission we have reprinted this Dramatic Story from their Book Pioneer Partners at St. Pauls. It captures the hardship and the challenge faced by those early Slovak settlers and the reaching out and the help that came from kind Canadians like Bill and Margaret Arkinstall and Gretta Mustard .
NURSING REPORT TO THE W.M.S. ( Womans Missionary Society )
The head of each W.M.S. institution was required to submit an annual report to headquarters. The following are quotations from some of Gretta's reports:
"I had been at St. Paul's Hospital only a few weeks when Dr. Arkinstall came in one day and said, "There is a woman ten miles out in the country with a very severe pneumonia. Can you spare me a nurse?" I couldnt spare one off the staff as we were very busy. Dr. Arkinstall said he couldn't move the woman in her present condition or at least until the weather moderated. It was forty degrees below zero Fahrenheit. I said I would go, and my staff would carry on for the two or three days until we could bring the patient in.
I packed a bag of things I would need, put on my warm clothes and drove out to a Czechoslovakian home. I found there a young mother whose new baby was only three days old. She had got up the day after he was born to do a washing and in the extreme cold had contracted pneumonia. She was in bed in all her native clothes with a huge feather tick over her; her temperature was 102 deg. F. She welcomed my hospital gown , pneumonia jacket and cotton sheets, much to my surprise. She welcomed also my smattering of Central European language as she hadn't a word of English. I studied Ukrainian at Ethelbert, Manitoba and it has served me well in many tight corners. I got the big family dish pan out, bathed my patient and made her much more comfortable with a few simple procedures.
She was very grateful and I knew we would get along very happily.
The baby had been taken home by a neighbour woman who had a baby of her own and, found it just as easy to feed two. The father was the cook for the family. There were two little boys of school age, nine and eleven, and wee Tony was three . This house, like so many of its neighbours, had one room in which to eat, sleep and live. At night there were six of us and three cats to sleep in the same room which contained only two beds. The husband and his three boys slept in one, my patient was in the other and I was given three chairs in a row to make my bed on, but a few days later a neighbour brought me a stretcher, which I appreciated very much.
I did not have any chance while there to sleep but I could lie down for a rest at times.
The young mother was very, very ill and the doctor and I used all the skill we had to try and save her for her young family.
Friends of Bradlo - Newsletter Copyright by Rudy
Bies © 1997