My OB/GYN rotation was perhaps the most challenging chapter of my nursing school experience. Not because of the content, I had been down that road before. The challenge was my instructor.
In class, Sister Mary Hitler would call on me frequently to answer her pop quizzes. One day she asked me what some of the slang names on the street were for sexually transmitted diseases. Like I would be only person in the room that would know the answers. The only name I knew was The Clap.
“Oh, come on. You can do better than that.” SMH said, and started rattling off a list of VD slang that went back to the Middle Ages, maybe. “What kind of people do you hang out with?” she asked, disappointedly.
“I think a better question is what kind of people do you hang out with, Sister.” I fired back.
We had what appeared to be a sparring match going on between the two of us that transcended her responsibility to give all her students an excellent education, and my classmates asked me about it.
To tell you the truth, I was a little paranoid. I had openly opposed the Head Nun of the school. I imagined SMG and SMH discussing my fate over dinner, like Mafia nuns. They were Vito Corleone and Luca Brasi. I was the Hollywood director who was about to wake up to find a horse’s head in bed with him.
I was almost certain something would happen, and I would never graduate from nursing school. When they’re out to get you, it’s not paranoia. It’s just good thinking. People in my class had disappeared under mysterious circumstances more than once.
There was one major educational hurdle facing all of us in the OB/GYN rotation: The Primip Paper. In essence, we had to write a comprehensive report complete with citations, footnotes, ibids and op cits and all that stuff. It had to be at least fifty pages long. And it would be fifty per cent of our total grade.
Primip is short for primipara; a woman who is giving birth for the first time.
My primip and I met early in the rotation, and this pleased me to no end because once I had that monster out of the way, I could pretty much coast to the finish line.
I don’t remember her name. She was young, maybe 21 years old. She was from Atlanta, Georgia. I loved her the moment she first spoke. Yep, she had that whole Southern Belle drawl thing going on. She was strikingly attractive. In fact, she was a model, like a supermodel that hadn’t become super yet. Dark hair, blue eyes, perfect teeth, killer smile. You talk about being blessed…
Because I was a male nursing student, SMH wouldn’t let me actually do any nursing care on my female patient. She had one of the female students shave my patient’s pubic hair and administer an enema. Because it was Labor and Delivery, the hospital wouldn’t allow nursing students to administer any medications.
I was relegated to being the scribe for the birth of Southern royalty. So I took copious notes on anything that happened, no matter how insignificant. And I tried to interview my patient in between contractions.
She was so incredibly gracious and answered every question I asked until just before she gave birth when she said, “I’m sorry, I can’t do this anymore. Do you mind if we take a break? Thank you, thank you so much.” And you just said that in your head with a Southern drawl, didn’t you.
She delivered a healthy baby boy. There were no complications for mother or child. I interviewed her at length during her stay. I read her chart from front to back. I even did a follow up visit at her home to see how she and her son were doing.
Having amassed enough information to write her entire life story, I organized my notes and started typing, distilling all the information I had gathered so it pertained only to her L&D experience. Seventy-five pages later I delivered the most comprehensive Primip Paper ever written in the history of the SCHSoN, and handed it in to Sister Mary Hitler on a Wednesday. On Friday, she walked into the classroom.
“Mark, I want to speak to you in my office after class.” she announced to everyone, then nonchalantly started her lesson. My classmates took turns looking back at me, I always sat in the back of the room. What’s this all about? they asked quietly, when SMH had her back turned.
I tried to shrug it off, but we all knew SMH didn’t want to see me in her office so she could tell me how pleased she was. Breathe in, breathe out, I told myself. Focus!
But I didn’t hear a single word SMH said in that class. I was reasonably confident I wouldn’t need to know anything ’bout birthin’ no babies because when this class was over, I was no longer going to be in nursing school.