I graduated from nursing school back in the olden times and started my first job as a “Real Nurse” (RN) at a Nashville medical center in, of all departments, the emergency room. As a first year nurse, this provided me with quite a few learning experiences and exciting nights full of trauma, craziness and life and death circumstances.
If you are a nurse or have spent much time around a nurse, you will know what I am talking about when I say, “Annie, Annie, are you okay?” (the mantra of CPR class) is easier to practice on a plastic person than on a real one…. Or, “you just put it in there and pee” or, “”He put WHAT Where?” is funnier in retrospect than when you are actually trying to manage the situation with a real person. And, of course, you mustn’t forget the first year surgical interns. They were REAL doctors, but they didn’t know much, had a huge responsibility load and were chronically tired, frequently cocky and, most importantly for some of us, seemingly good marriage material. It didn’t take long for us to figure out that was wrong but, for a while, anyway, we were star-struck young nurses who didn’t know any better. What young woman doesn’t want to be a doctor’s wife, right? Or, at least, SOMEBODY’s wife…..
Anyway, many of the employees in the ER were young, single women with great nursing skills. We were very energetic and hard-working and the God-complex the doctors had tended to rub off on us (somewhat superficially thankfully!) But, remember, we did save lives daily and kept the first year interns from doing too much damage. I always worked 3-ll shift which generally tended to be the busiest shift. It was usually staffed by the “party” group–people who liked going to bed late (early?) and sleeping late. We would work hard saving humanity from itself then get off the clock in time for the 11:00pm-1200 happy hour at the Commodore Inn (i.e. the Commode Door Inn.) The Commode Door was a nearby night club with excellent bands (it WAS Nashville,) half price drinks from 11-12, and tons of young single people looking to hook up and hopefully score! I am not saying I was like that…..but it was the 70’s before AIDS and STD’s were prevalent (but looming, no doubt, because of attitudes like this that were so much the norm of the times.) But, like I said, we were young and could hardly wait for eleven o’clock to come around so that we could turn our work over to the graveyard shift, run to our cars and head out the two or three blocks to the back parking lot of the Commode Door. More often than not, we would change clothes in our car and quickly transform from responsible, hard-working medical professionals to hot chicks with a good pay check–independent thinkers with a strong desire to dance disco or sing Merle Haggard (depending on the band,) and drink irresponsibily until happy hour was over at midnight.
Of course, one of our primary goals, other than stress relief and alcohol consumption, was to meet Mr. Right. We danced and we drank and we cruised the bar trying to not seem obviously desperate. We WANTED to find someone to take home to mama. We THOUGHT this was as good a way as any to find someone decent like we were and it was lots of fun. We were young and looking for the American dream. Eventually, most of us figured out that we wouldn’t find it at the Commode Door and we moved on. I have to say, though, that it was fun for awhile. I didn’t meet Mr. Right there but I found a few Mr. OK’s. I was a great disco dancer who loved to drink screwdrivers, wore great clothes that I wish I still had and made many good memories. If someone asked, “Debby, Debby, are you okay?” I’d have said “Yeah, man, I’m cool….”