|In March of 1932, at five years of age, I was hit by a car when walking home from school one afternoon. This accident happened at the corner of Main Street and Cannon Avenue in Lansdale, and the driver left the scene. I do not remember much about immediately after the accident, but I do remember hearing my classmates standing on the corner crying and frantically repeating, “She’s dead! She’s dead!”
My little body suffered a crushed leg and a fractured skull, which made my head swell to almost twice its size! I was in really serious shape at the scene and an ice truck driver stopped, picked me up and took me to the nearest doctor’s office in Lansdale (there was no hospital in Lansdale at the time).
I drifted in and out of consciousness and the next thing I remember was being whisked away in an ambulance. I remember the siren, the fast ride, and I remember the hurrying and frantic atmosphere of those participating in giving me emergency medical care in the ambulance and the E.R. at Grand View Hospital.
The next thing I remember is laying on a hard table and doctors and nurses were scurrying around, back and forth, hurrying to address and evaluate my injuries. I remember being scared, but in way too much pain to even know what was happening. Plus, I was in and out of consciousness.
For the first four to five days, my parents did not know if I was going to live. The doctors (Dr. Grimm, how could I ever forget him, was the head doctor in charge of my case) made no promises and my family and my situation was the grave concern and focus of the prayers of our family, friends, neighbors and church family.
Days later, the doctors were still unsure as to whether or not I was going to live. My leg was badly crushed and the doctors thought they might have to amputate. They were also concerned about the swelling of my head, and they kept close watch over me. There was no intensive care, only a ward of beds. I recall being the only child in that 14-bed ward, with 13 other women. I was petrified, but the nurses, doctors, and the other patients soon assured me that I was safe, would be well cared for, and would be watched over carefully. I remember wanting my mom to be with me, but that was not allowed in 1932. Those were the days of the strict rules that could never be broken!
About two weeks later, my little body started responding to the medicine, treatment, and care that was being administered to me. I had been casted up to my waist and had a 50 pound weight hanging off the end of the cast (also known as traction). This procedure would end up lasting for 6 weeks! Stuck to lying flat on my back, I remember seeing nothing but WHITE! White walls, white curtains at each window, white uniforms, white shoes, white nurse’s caps, white doctor’s jackets, work trays covered in white napkins! EVERYTHING was WHITE! Silly maybe, but from a 5 year olds’ perspective, that’s what was evident to me.
It wasn’t long before this little 5 year old child became the “sweetheart” of the ward. Remember, I was in the ward with 13 other women. To this day, I am so thankful for each one of them who took me under their wings. As they came and went during those long 6 weeks of trial and error with my condition, they all watched over me day and night. They made sure that I had all that I needed to make it through the long days and even longer, scary nights. My dad gave me his pocket watch which we hung on the pole over the bed, and showed me what time he and mom would be back to visit me again. Visiting hours were 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. and again from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Not much time for a tiny little girl who missed her family very much.
The nurses were wonderful! I remember one very kind nurse – she walked with a limp, and was so kind and caring to me. She seemed to really understand that I was so very scared and missed my mom and family so very much.
One day, during my dad’s visit, the hospital caught on fire and all of the electric went out. There was no power at all and the phones were down. My dad jumped into his car, sped down the road into Sellersville and told the fire department about the fire. They arrived in time to control and put out the fire. There was not that much damage done, but my dad was the hero for getting the fire company there so fast! I remember being really proud that he “saved the day!”
Since my very first stay in 1932, I have been a patient in Grand View for the birth of my six children, three car accidents, two knee replacements, one hip replacement (ready to schedule my second one), hernia, gallbladder, back surgery, tonsillectomy, appendectomy, and foot surgery. Sometimes, I feel as though I own an entire wing of the hospital!
I’ve also had the blessing of being a visitor for the births of many of my 16 grandchildren and several of my 18 great grand-children! I’ve also been a visitor for several very sad situations such as the death of my father and husband with serious illnesses. When I come back to visit friends and others who are patients, it brings back many memories of over 80 years ago when I was the little girl, hit by the car. I enjoy the pictures in the doctors and nurses on display in the lobby – it’s EXACTLY how I remember it from my stay over 80 years ago! I’ll be back soon for my next hip replacement!