The White Death
During the early 1900’s there was a deadly disease outbreak that had no cure. They called it “white death.” The scientific term was tuberculosis. The disease was terribly contagious and had claimed several lives so far. In 1900 Louisville, Kentucky had one of the highest death rates from this horrible disease. Due to the high numbers of people that were infected with this disease, the state of Kentucky built a special hospital that would specialize in the treatment of tuberculosis. The hospital was small and not enough rooms to house all the people were becoming ill. Eventually a bigger hospital was built. It was a state of the art hospital for ...view middle of the document...
Dr. Gray an intern and recruiter, was sent from the hospital to try to get as many nurses as he could to work at Waverly Hills Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. The hospital was recently rebuilt to accommodate more patients, so they needed a bigger staff. The main purpose of the hospital was to treat Tuberculosis patients. I learned about the disease and the hospital while in school. There is still no cure for this disease and the outbreak is wide spread. There was a condition to accepting this job. You had to live on the property, and could not leave because the disease was so contagious. I would have to agree to stay on the compound of the hospital and have no contact with family or anyone else that did not work here.
It was a big commitment, but also the chance of a lifetime to help people and make a difference. I thought a lot about it later, after already accepting the position. I knew this was the right thing for me to do. I lived in south Florida all my life and have never been anywhere else. I was a young twenty- two years old, fresh out of nursing school and naive as ever but I wanted to help people and try to make a difference. I knew this was my chance. There were two other graduates from my class that accepted the position as well. Michelle and Shirley, both the same age as I was. After graduation, we said good bye to our families and headed for Louisville, Kentucky to start our new careers. We were all excited and scared at the same time. Women just did not do things like this on their own. You found a good man, got married, had kids and tried to be happy, and make the best of it. I wanted more. I wanted to give to people. I wanted
to help and care for them as much as I could. I knew someday, I would get married, but that would have to wait. This was my chance to give back and help people.
When we arrived at the New Waverly Hospital in Kentucky I remember looking up and the magnificent hospital. The main hospital was a grand five stories. Separate buildings for the doctors, female nurses, the kitchen staff, and maintenance. The hospital was built on the highest hill in Kentucky. The grounds surrounding the hospital and the buildings were beautiful. It was hard to believe it was a hospital, it looked like a mansion to me. People were driving up in droves to the front door of the hospital asking, and some begging for help getting their loved ones out of the cars. Staff members came running out of the main hospital bringing stretchers and wheelchairs to help with the sick. Someone yelled in the background saying, “get those nurses to work!” We were immediately shown the way to the nurses’ dorm to drop off some of our personal belongings, and then lead back to the main hospital where the patients were coming in by the dozens. This is only the beginning, I thought to myself.
I was told to go to intake where they were getting the patients signed in. Michelle and Shirley were taken back to...