Have I mentioned my brief foray into the world of living history nursing? As a book nerd I’m fascinated by gross descriptions of missing body parts and how people do without. I used to keep old prosthetics on the wall. But touching and interacting with real, live, sweaty people who are play-acting injury–well–that was a bit out of my comfort zone.
How could I wipe the sweat from the brow of a Wall Streeter-turned-Civil War re-enactor covered in fake blood without laughing when he pulled me close and called me darlin’? But then nurses have to laugh, don’t they? Men with their guts hanging out need reassurance just as much as a good bandage technique and don’t forget the enemata!
My kids got angry when a certain sad-eyed Zouave told me I was glowing (sweating) at Gettysburg. You’d be surprised at the many romantic moments that occurred at tent hospitals. Hey, if I was being eaten by maggots I’d go for it with the pretty nurses–what would I have to lose?
Louisa May Alcott wasn’t pretty but she was kind and sick and dying men can appreciate that as well (we all can). Let’s face it, pretty people can be a little uppity at times. Louisa in her Hospital Sketches relates the sad state of soldiers far from home and fighting bravely for their lives and country. Oh, don’t be so cynical. The men did actually believe they were fighting the good fight. And Louisa wasn’t just some stupid romantic about it–she volunteered as a nurse and the sketches come from her real-life experiences.