Topic: Recollection of Nola Cochrane, Patient, 1953
At the age of 28, married with three young children, I’d recently returned from India to begin a new life at Mount Maunganui. Soon afterwards however, I became ill with rheumatic fever and needed to be admitted as a patient to Tauranga Hospital.
When arrangements had been made for my family to be cared for, I gratefully packed a suitcase and caught the ferry to Tauranga – alighting near the town centre, a taxi took me to the hospital.
From there, things went a little awry! To begin with, I’d arrived alone and carrying a suitcase (for a stay of several weeks). I was probably mistaken for a new live-in housekeeper as I found myself deposited in an unfamiliar part of the hospital.
While considering what to do next and feeling embarrassed, a man nearby noticed me. He was middle-aged, stocky, casually dressed, and cheeky! He could have been the caretaker, gardener or similar. Nevertheless he approached me kindly and offered assistance.
“I’m a patient to be admitted to the hospital,” I said, and as an afterthought, added, “with rheumatic fever!”
“Then you shouldn’t be carrying that suitcase – give it to me,” he replied sternly. “I’ll carry it for you and take you to the Ward Sister’s office.” Perhaps he was the porter and not the caretaker? I meekly followed this man until we’d reached the Ward Sister’s office.
“Your patient has arrived,” he grandly announced loudly; winking at me and handing the suitcase to a nurse. “Find her a bed,” he ordered and abruptly left – but not as either the caretaker, the porter, or similar….but as the superintendent of the hospital!
Dr Sligo pictured here left with Dr Huchenson at right.