Mary, age 16
I posted this for a few hours because October 2 is my mother’s birthday, but I took it down because I thought some people would see it as just a sad story.
A comment from Sherri, however, showed me that the people who matter are the ones who can see past the sadness to say, “ Wow, tough young lady!!” Thanks, Sherri. For your children, who can be proud that they are descendants of that ‘tough young lady’, I am posting the story once more.
And doesn’t Faith look remarkably like her beautiful
When my mother, Mary, was eight years old her right leg was broken. She tried to ease the pain by wrapping a pillow around it.
“What are you doing?” asked her mother, Anna.
“My leg hurts,” said Mary. “I fell down.”
Anna was very upset. She and Mary’s father, John, talked to friends about it who suggested taking Mary to a man who would put the leg back in place if it had been displaced. This man pulled Mary’s leg and made it worse. Now she couldn’t walk at all.
On the way home, they met people who suggested packing hot salt around the leg to ease the pain.
The next day, the doctor came and looked at Mary. He didn’t say much but told Anna to wrap Mary’s leg in towels that had been wrung out with hot water. John went with the doctor to Oakburn and Anna put hot towels on Mary’s leg.
In the evening, John came home and took Mary to Mrs. Kushnier’s house. There was no hospital because it had burned down. It cost $50.00 for the 12 weeks Mary had to stay there, but John supplied all the food. John brought Mrs. Kushnier live chickens which she kept and killed as she needed them, and he paid a Mrs. Puyda for supplying milk.
After Mary was in the house for three days, the two doctors, Dr. Yule and Dr. Burdell, put Mary on the dining table which had been raised. They put her under with ether before scraping her side which was distended with blood and a small place on the left leg. A scar was left in both places.
Four days later, Mary was put under again with ether, and the doctors worked on the broken right leg for two and a half hours. They used quicksilver to join the bones. They had a hard time bringing Mary to afterwards. They heated irons and stove lids and put them under her.
When Mary came to she wanted cold water. There wasn’t a nurse, but there was a midwife and she knew Mary shouldn’t get cold water. The doctor was called and he said, “Give her the cold water. She won’t live anyway.” Mary went to sleep after getting the cold water.
When Mary woke next, a lot of people were sitting around her: the doctor, the midwife, the lady of the house, and John. Mary felt better.
Anna came the next Sunday and cried a lot so the doctor said she shouldn’t come for any more visits.
The doctors had left big openings at the top and bottom of the leg which were suctioned morning and night for the six weeks. This didn’t hurt.
There were boarders at this house, too. Mary’s bed was in the living room and she heard them talking about her.
Mary was always lying in bed while Mrs. Kushnier was digging the garden. One day, Mary got up and went outside for some poppy seeds. The next door neighbour saw Mary and ran for Mrs. Kushnier. Mrs. Kushnier told Mary not to get up any more. She would bring her poppy seeds.
After six weeks had passed, Mary got up and unlatched the door for the doctor. He was very pleased to see her and gave permission for her to spend a certain amount of time up each day.
Soon afterwards, the doctor came and said it was time for Mary to go home. “I have another little girl with a sore leg now,” he said. (This was Aunt Marion’s aunt.)
The hole the doctors made in her thigh healed but left a deep scar. Mom missed a whole year of school because of that broken leg.