Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hello Miss me????

Any one else remember this show? When I was a kid my dad watched it every week. As a matter of fact I watch it on the Retro Television Channel. I LOVE this show. It was the reason I became an EMT and joined the Fire Department. The opening sequence is the ring tone on my phone!

When I was living with my grandmother, one of my aunts came to stay the night and she watched it with me. We had been discussing how many people who go into a local hospital for surgical procedures come out with massive staff infections. When Nurse Dixie McCall came on the screen my aunt says "That's it!"

Confusion reigned as I looked at her. "That's what?"

How many nurses wear hospital whites? NONE!!! When nurses wore whites they used BLEACH to clean their uniforms. Hospitals are NOT as sanitary as they once were.

While her words rang true--they were only to a point. I know of a couple of people who have nearly died from having surgery at this particular local hospital so I don't know that I believe its ALL nurses/hospital staff wearing white as it is the hospital itself. I wouldn't take a cat there for help and we ALL know how I feel about those nasty creatures....

ANYWAY...I watch this show now because I like seeing what advances were made from the time it came out to the days when I worked the ambulance crew. EKGs no longer have to be interpreted at the hospital--the medics could read them and interpret them ourselves. The invention of better splints, easier to move oxygen tanks, better cots, more education for those in the field.

The one thing I FAILED to pick up on until recently was the BIGGEST change of all---WOMEN in the fire house...WOMEN on the ambulances....WOMEN as officers. (This last one shouldn't have taken me so long to connect being as while on the department I was one of only 5 women to reach the rank of Lt.)

We have moved into so many male dominated jobs and I am ashamed it took me so long to actually SEE what advances were made for me. Bear in mind that Emergency was a television show from the late 60s and early 70s--that's been a little less that 40 years ago! In that 40s years women have made several advances: We're doctors, lawyers AND Indian Chiefs! We're mechanics, pilots, police officers, federal agents. We have our place fighting beside men in the Army, the Navy, the Coast Guard, the Air Force.

When I was in college the Army recruiter came to campus to talk to us. I was between boyfriends--had just dump the Jar Head and was dating an Army ROTC--and I thought about how exciting life in the military would be. This recruiter and I talked for hours. I finally told him that I wanted to be a Paratrooper. He smiled a condescending smile, "That's for men. You can still be all you can be in the Army. Medical units, support units," and he continued, ad nauseum, of all the places I could fit.

"I want to be a paratrooper," I stated again. "Women are welcome in all these other areas, why not paratroopers."

He patted my hand. "Women just aren't cut out to be paratroopers."

I sarcastically patted his back. "Then I'm not cut out for the Army. Thanks for your time." I walked away.

One year later the first woman paratrooper hit the skies! I look back on that conversation and feel as if I failed. Had I just pushed a little harder I'd have been able to jump out of planes and serve my country. I didn't fight. I didn't have the back bone to stick to it. (Of course if I had I wouldn't be where I am today. My son, my daughter, my Alyx--none of them would exist so I am not going to complain!)

My daughter's dream is to be a mechanic. She takes shop with boys--she loves to work on cars. She had wanted to be in the Army--she isn't able due to health issues which upsets her deeply but she DID have the opportunity. She had an interview with one of the local colleges and the woman was impressed that my Dd wanted to be a mechanic-to work in such a male dominated field. (Of course DD also wants to be a psychologist...a UN Interpreter...a pilot....LOL--The kid has HUGE dreams! She graduated this year and those are the ones she was able to settle on. Time will tell) But thanks to the cultural shift in gears she CAN do any one of those things if she desires.

Where has all this rambling led? Look around you. Look at yourself are you in a place where you might not have been even as recently as 40 years ago? These shifts are not just for women you know! Men who had the desire can now be nurses and not looked at with disdain--Oh well...he just didn't have the guts to go on to being a doctor--The shifts have been advantageous for BOTH sexes.

Just something to think about--yes?