- Contributed by
- People in story:
- nurses from liberated HOLLAND
- Location of story:
- Introduction . ending in BRISBANE>
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 05 October 2005
1945. Arriving in Brisbane on the troop ship.
my name is ODYSSEY.
I wrote several stories for WW2 . But before starting :" the Last Chapter" some clarifications are in order.
It is important for anyone reading this last chapter to find out what those dutch nurses were up against in the DUTCH EAST INDIES.
We were flown in a B-25 bomber leaving Brisbane. We flew to a military compound in NE Australia where we spent the nite ,next day we flew on to JAVA. '
It was a fantastic flight!
We landed in Batavia but as soon as we got off the plane we were shot at by Sukarno's "soldiers".
When it was safe to get up we were transported to "THE"military Hospital where we would take care of concentration camp victims who survived.
What hospital??? the place was completely empty: evrything stolen by the natives: no beds, no linen !nothing!!!
No staff! But that soon changed: women were standing in line for work:they all claimed to have experience in Nursing.
They had experience in everything BUT nursing as we found out later.
But we had to start; we got beds where we could find them;
Slowly but surely we had a something looking like a hospital . The Japanese had to protect us against SUKARNO's "Peloppors" his so called troops.
When we went to bed we had to kill bedbugs first and cockroaches and spiders and scorpions.
Our 'bedroom' was located next to a patient ward with a stretch of lawn between us; so no light when we were getting ready to go to bed.
We went to the dining hall first where we got concentrationcamp rice!
We had to fish out dead bugs, pebbles and what not; if you did not like it you went to bed hungry !!!
Hours of work???
You worked till you were done with your assignment .After work we thought to have a shower;
No shower!! there was a tiled room with a big cement basin filled with water; a bucket that you filled and poured over yourself.
We were told always to wear wooden clogs to the "Kamar mandi" so one would not end up with fungus on one's feet.
The toilet was a cement hole in the floor: one had to squat.
Toilet paper did not exist; there was a row of beerbottles filled with water to clean your self with.
One culture shock after another.
I was born in the old COLONIES and familiar with the different aspects of life, so it did not bother me that much.
The difference was that we had decent beds with mosquito netting around it and servants and decent food.
In the wards we had to lock up all linen: The females loved to wrap a sheet around their middle under their sarong so they could take it home' Flat in the am; 8 months pregnant in the pm.
When I went to work I learned in no time flat how to judge a patient by sheer observation : I learned nursing FAST.
We had no stethoscopes,could not take B/P's.
We had a watch :That was IT!
We judged a patient's pulsepressure , pulse rate , rate of resp. and depth of such.
We had to judge a patient's colour, could he obey commands?
If the attending M.D. was satisfied with your way of work we could order Lab. work or bloodtransfusions. I started IV's with a steel needle:
Blunt? we sharpened it on our shoe sole and re -sterilized in the ward.
Narcotics were not locked up. Any body could get what he wanted: just sign out for it.
We had one RN who regularly got MS , then she had a scotch with it. Every body knew it.
She later committed suicide: we missed her as she was an excellent nurse.
There were NO antibiotics.
We could NOT seperate clean wounds from dirty wounds. we washed our hands in lysol sol.
Finally we received our first patients from concentration camps. The worst ones came from Camp TJIDENG. Most of them did not survive long .Some of them had lost all vestiges of humanity!!
I remember 3 women in adjoining beds:one had saved an embroidered small table cloth, the other one a small silver spoon. and the third had saved something she was very attached to.
The patient in the middle bed was in bad shape, the women on either side of her started to fight:" If she dies I want this" , and the other one said: " I do too" . So they fought and the poor woman was not even dead!!!
I was shocked but when i heard what they had gone through in the notorious camp : one could understand: it was one item saved from the japanes guards , one link with their former life and they fought to hang on to this.
We got also victims from AMBARAWA camp: several little girls with deep wounds caused by klewangs: big knives. Most of them were Christians and that was the reason they got cut.
We had a liitle boy: SAÄN with beri-berei : his stomach was swollen and his heart was involved too. He lived for a long time: He never complained; he was in a chidren ward , where he tried to help the nurses as sick as he was.
He was everybody's darling!
Finally his poor little heart gave up and he died after he was baptised a christian on his request.
I was transferred to a Pediatric Ward: 80 beds: no way to separate the kids with different infectious diseases.
That ward was close to a KALI or stream. On the other side were the PELOPPORS ; they started to shoot at us and we had to put the kids under their beds and tried to protect them by putting their mattress over them.
We had little babies , liitle skeletons we tried to save. Their mothers nursed them but they did not have enough so we wanted to give them extra fluid through an IV.
But we had to do it at nite when the mothers were asleep. Usually the babies died regardless but if the mothers had seen the IV's they said : "There was a MOMMO or bad spirit in the bottle that killed my baby."
Sometimes the mother got very sick with Malignant Malaria: the T/x. was to give quinine sol. IV PUSh but very slowly or it would cause : 'Blackwater Fever " and death. We tried to tell that to the big shots of M. D.'s but did they LISTEN:???? NO! what did nurses know?
So they killed several people till they finally listened to us.
then we had the Psych. ward.Another sad,sad outfit!!
I remember one woman who sang DAY and NITE : "Sweet GEORGIA BROWN" using her night gown as an evening dress??
These are some of the terrible things the nurses had to deal with. And I stiil remember a lot more.
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