Pneumonia

My mother had pneumonia when she was pregnant with my older sister.  Dad was working in the woods as a faller and they were staying with my mother’s folks.  The doctor came out to the house to see her and he told them she needed to go to the hospital.  They sent someone out to where dad was working to tell him that he was needed at home.

The house was across the creek from the main road and there was a little bridge that they could drive over.  However, the creek was at flood stage and they were afraid to drive the ambulance across so they carried her to the ambulance on a stretcher.  They covered her up with a sheet to keep the rain off.  The ambulance at that time was actually double duty for the hearse and dad came home just in time to see her being carried out to the hearse, covered over with a white sheet.

They took her to Cowlitz General in Longview but they wouldn’t admit her without
a fifty dollar deposit. Fifty dollars in 1937 was big money and nobody in our immediate family could come up with that much cash.  My grandmother’s Uncle Charlie had a grocery store at Alston’s Corner and my grandfather was able to borrow the fifty dollars from him.  With cash in hand, the hospital admitted her and she survived.

I read an article in the Longview Daily News in the mid 1970’s where they quoted the administrator of St John’s Hospital as saying that he hoped that in this great country of ours, that no one would ever be denied medical care because they were poor. Actually, that used to be the standard practice but he was probably to young to remember it.

I have to admire his outlook but it will take more than just wishes to make it so.

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