Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Lynne our 2 year old and I had to stay in Germany and extra week as Walt returned on a troop ship, I was not eligible for that transportion. His trip was to take 10 days but a hurricane formed across their route and trying to out maneuver it caused the ship to be delayed 3 more days.

He and another doctor who was also a returnee were the ship doctors. They held sick call and covered the infirmary they both were internists not surgeons. About a week out a GI developed appendicitis, under normal conditions he would have been transferred to a navy ship equipped with a surgeon but because of the rough seas this couldn't be done. The navy surgeon on the other ship talked them through the surgery by way of the radio.

After he arrived in New York we picked up our VW and drove back to Rochester, Minn. where he restarted his medicine residency. His stipend was $200 a month I worked at Mayo as a surgical nurse 3 days a week.

No more 3 day passes, his time was no longer his own he was very busy at work and the in the evening he studied. On rare days off we had to do it on the cheap. We rode our bikes, hiked trails in the woods, learned to ice skate, played bridge, went on picnics and as a rare treat we would get ice cream cones at Dairy Queen. Lynne was over 2 years old before she ever tasted ice cream because pasteurization was not done in Germany at that time we were told to only to buy dairy products on the military base.

On our first vacation the three of us rented a small boat and motored into the 'boundary waters' between Minnesota and Canada. We camped on a different island every day it was beautiful but very isolated. I was 6 1/2 months pregnant so getting in and out of the boat was difficult. We went north until we reached a RC Mountie post, a little log cabin on an island, then turned around. Two weeks later I delivered our son, Brad, who was 2 months premature.

That fall, Walt, acquired one of the Gastroenterology Fellowships which added 2 more years to our stay. There were a lot of activities hosted by the staff for the fellows and their families. All the Kansans would get together for Thanksgiving and summer barbecues but for the most part for the fellows it was a time of drudgery and they were always under the microscope.

During his final year we were wined and dined by recruiters wanting a Gastroenterologist for their community. That summer vacation the 4 of us traveled to the places that interested us. We were expecially interested in the west.

He seemed to fit well with an internal medicine practice in Cheyenne, Wy. We especially liked the people, the city, its area and its history. So we moved 6 days before Christmas, our family consisted of Lynne 5, Brad 2, and Laura 5 days old. Walt was the second Gastroenterologist in the state.


Gary White said...

Nancy, you describe what must have been a very difficult and challenging time in your lives. I am surprised that there were no veterans benefits that could have sustained you through those years while Walt completed his education. Having not served in the military I guess I assumed that there were always veterans benefits for those who were drafted to serve our country.

Gary White said...

I was also struck with the advice to avoid unpasturized ice cream in Germany--as if all those Germans were coming down with dread diseases all the time from eating such contaminated food!

Phil Foust said...

Wonderful adventures (and memory events) for a young couple. You relive those times nicely, Nancy.

DFCox said...

Nancy, your travelogue prose is so simple and well put that I feel like I'm journeying with you in your travels and travails. Again I apologize for having confused you with Janette, who is my neighbor.

wayne woodruff said...

Times changed rapidly then. We were in Germany just two years after you, and we ate the ice cream and it was not banned by the military. When I started my Urology residency, I was paid the royal salary of $9000 per year, and we thought we were rich.

wayne woodruff said...

Another difference: When I was sent back to the states from Germany, I was flown on a military air transport. Much faster than the troop ship on which Walt suffered.

Gary Metcalf said...

Nancy, Interesting....I am awaiting on after CV #5...and living in Cheyenne...I attended "The Big Daddy" rodeo for 30 years...I knew you lived there and I thought I might run into you somewhere..but I guess you probably left town for those 10 days and didn't hang out much at the Mayflower, Cheyenne Club, Wigwam, Hithching Post, etc....it used to be a fun time....but times have changed