Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Doctor/Nurse (11/02/06)
TITLE: Nursing in Applachia
By cathy nethercutt
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Darlene surveyed the large room slowly, trying to adjust to the dim light. After a long look, a heavy sigh escaped her. “I guess with some elbow grease and a lot of prayer we could get this place converted to a medical office.” She’d known for years that someday she was going to return to the Appalachian region. She’d been here with a summer missions team when she was younger. Now, here she is. Nurse Practitioner Darlene McGowen, ready to get a much needed health clinic underway. The plan was that she would get things started, and Dr. Lenora Wilt would come about once a month to do the things that Darlene could not, and refer those that needed more to the hospital in the next town. Unfortunately, that town was 30 miles away.
This was going to be more work than Darlene had originally thought. Where would she find someone to convert this old feed store into the office she needed? There was only one “business” in the area, and that was the general store. Oh well, right now she needed to get back to the little hunting cabin she’d rented until she could find better accommodations. As she drove back to the cabin she found herself praying,“Give me a love for these people that need what I came to give.” This was the kind of place that lent itself to just talking to God as it came to you. It was the most beautiful, if isolated, place Darlene had ever seen. She recalled how the rosey sunrise crept up the mountain every morning and spilled into the sleeping hollers (as the local folk called them). She added a quick, “Thank you for this beautiful place, LORD.” Then she was jarred back to reality by deep ruts her jeep was bouncing through. There was a maze of gravel roads winding up over the mountain or down and out through the valley. They were heavily rutted and pot-holed, and only a little gravel remained in the roadbed, the rest having been escorted to other places on the mountain and around by the water that used the road as an exit after every downpour. “Why do they put these curves just where you don’t want to see them, right at the edge of a cliff?” Surprised that she’d made that statement out loud and then at how ridiculous such a question sounded, she decided that she’d turn in early tonight.
Just as she pulled into the yard (there was no driveway) two boys, probably only five or six years old ran around the side of the cabin. That’s when Darlene notice the rusty heap parked a little around the side of the cabin. Surely nobody was driving that thing! Yes, she knew they were. These people didn’t have the barest of necessities sometimes, and their health was something that suffered on many counts. “All right, Darlene, get it in gear and go see what’s going on.” Saying things out loud seemed to give her more resolve, and maybe a little more courage. She stepped up onto the narrow porch and into the cabin and was immediately greeted by a rather robust woman coming at her with open arms. It seemed as if she intended to hug her, and hug her she did! A little taken aback, Darlene managed to say hello and introduce herself to this too-friendly person. “Well hey, I’m Myrna Lee McCarty, and this is Sarah. Her brothers, Caleb and Ben are in the yard there. You are the nurse that’s going to start the health clinic, aren’t you?” Darlene nodded, as it seemed a little hard to get much of a word in. “We thought you’d need a little help up here, and I knew it’d need a good cleanin’.” Darlene looked around. It did look cleaner, and the rugs and curtains they’d brought made the place look almost like a home. “Thank you so much!” Darlene smiled as Sarah quietly leaned over and said,” We even cleaned the outhouse, bunch of spiders out there!”
Myrna continued, “You’ll come over to dinner Saturday, right?” “We’ll be having the new preacher over too.” “Better to kill two birds with one stone, I’d say.” And with that, Myrna whisked up all her cleaning things and out the door she went, Sarah close behind, and calling the boys to the truck to go home. “Hmm” Darlene thought, “new preacher, huh?”
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