Sheila Carter – Chapter 3


Chapter 3. The Young Doctor

It was difficult at first to return to a regimented program at the hospital. The Matron was stern and wouldn’t tolerate indiscipline or shoddy work and that was OK with Sheila. She had an interest in helping people and soon became a favourite with patients. Her cheery smile won over most. It was very occasionally someone made a disparaging remark about her ancestry, but Sheila brushed those remarks off and treated them with care and understanding. In her mind she’d decided long ago she’d identify with her ancestral people and it just so happened they were black. There was only a hint of that in her colouring, but she had some of their features and she knew she was beautiful inside and out. So, if anyone had a problem with that they had to deal with it, not her.

The hawk-eyed Matron noticed it all. One day after one of those remarks from a patient was overheard she suddenly materialized in the room and asked Sheila to wait for her in her office as there were things she wished to discuss. When Sheila was out of sight she gave the patient woman a piece of her mind and suggested perhaps she may prefer to be discharged and transfer to another hospital if the service provided was not to her satisfaction.

Nurses were nurses. They were her brood and she’d protect them as well as chastise when necessary. No patient had a right to insult her girls! The woman humbled begged to be allowed to stay and promised to be more courteous. But Sheila had lingered in the corridor and smiled in appreciation. She scampered down the corridor to the office so Matron would think she’d not overheard. The Matron returned to the office and sat her down. She apologized on behalf of the woman and then told Sheila to get back to the wards. There was work waiting to be done. That incident was a high point in Sheila’s life which she referred to when disparaging remarks were made in future. Perhaps not all ghost skins were bad. On reflection she obviously had some of their genetic material and considered herself to be a good person, and on further reflection she’d met some of her own people who she didn’t admire for their actions.

Then one day not too long after that incident one of the local doctors arrived at the hospital with a much younger man in tow. As the two of them went from ward to ward visiting with their patients they were met and accompanied by a senior nurse and trainee. Those were the days before insurance funds squeezed hospitals to the point where hospitals had to deliver services in haste and with much more limited staffing. It was a friendlier era where patients received more attention than can be afforded today and most country hospitals were small and privately owned. The young nurses found reasons to busy themselves as close to the pair as they could get while they completed their rounds much to the annoyance of Matron who scolded them and sent them back to their respective duties. The younger man was a doctor recently graduated but still attached to older experienced medical practitioners for experience. He was athletic in build and very handsome.

Once again Matron called Sheila to her office. From now on Sheila would accompany the senior nurse on duty when those doctors called. She seemed to be more level headed and serious about her work and obviously didn’t entertain romantic fantasies. Matron herself would keep a sharp eye on the others. Sheila learned from conversations between the two that the younger man would be with the doctor for a year before his contracted period finished.

Over the next few months Sheila observed the eagerness of this young man to learn. He had the theory well enough, but it is only in practice you discover there are new horizons in medicine to discover and techniques to learn. His voice was deep and manly and despite long hours on duty obviously made time to keep his body in trim. She found herself taking a liking to this young man. He was alert and friendly to all and confident as he made his diagnosis under the watchful eyes of the senior doctor who obviously approved of these decisions. There was one occasion when he smiled at her approvingly as he watched her handling a patient and responding to instructions. She couldn’t get those eyes out of her mind but firmly bought herself back to reality. Maybe she looked white, but she was part of unique race and it showed in her features. She’d studied herself in the mirror many times trying to determine how fate had made her what she was. Compared to some of the other nurses she was a rare beauty and she acknowledged that humbly. Why was life in this society so complicated then?

A few times over months to come he’d come alone and Sheila imagined the shy smile he gave her in greeting before their rounds was reserved only for her. On those occasions she’d feel the thrill of chemistry between them but discipline herself and determine to continue to keep it professional. He’d soon be on his way and she could resume her predictable life and be happy in her chosen profession.

To be continued.

“© Copyright Ian Grice 2018 All rights reserved

The above image courtesy of shutterstock



Sheila Carter

12 thoughts on “Sheila Carter – Chapter 3

  1. MY parents were such pair without the multi-racial stigma. Mum was an experienced nurse, and Dad a young (7 years her junior) doctor. Dad embraced British National Health and made pediatrician specialist house calls thought out his career. His patients were filtered through the system of GPs which meant that he only got to see the conundrums. Nowadays, in the USA I often wish that there was a stronger system of personal GPs who had time to get to know their patients. and had the ability to stave off unnecessary tests and specialist visits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well the US model is slowly being exported unfortunately. In the old days the GP came to the home and knew his patient, but no one thought of going to their GP with minor cuts or abrasions, or a simple case of the flu. These days people rush their kids to emergency department with a scratch on baby’s finger. People in today’s world are responsible for the system in development. We demand services they never dreamed of needing in the past and those services demand huge investments which have to be recovered in some way. HMO’s limit the reimbursement for patient care so that means less nurses doing more work. I know because I was asked to reengineer a major hospital that was going bankrupt trying to provide the best patient care when there was little reimbursement for doing so. Then there is the litigation conscious generation that will sue at the drop of a hat which makes doctors very cautious and that is why they do so many tests to cover their butts. Insuring a medical practitioner is an astronomical cost. We the public are primarily responsible for the mess in the healthcare industry today from my observation. Our expectations are beyond reality and for unjustified cost.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes indeed. I seem to remember that NZ limits the ways that patients can sue doctors or am I wrong? Such protections would limit frivolous suits, expensive ,cover all bases, treatments and tests and drive down the cost of doctor’s insurance. Sounds attractive?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. When I first took over the hospital I was called back to Australia to reengineer out of trouble. There was a case pending. The hospital was being sued because the woman’s chosen gyno was not able to make it to the hospital in time and the woman’s life was in danger. The nurse attending saw the situation and decided to intervene to save the woman’s life. In the process the baby was born with an alleged mental problem. The court eventually awarded six million dollars. The child was then shipped overseas to stay with village relatives and the husband used the money to set up an industry in his country of origin. Insurance premiums went up and the nurse was maligned in court in spite of the fact she’d saved the woman’s life. Doesn’t make sense does it?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this chapter…the story just keeps getting more interesting and better and better. Sweet Ian this in my opinion is for sure one of your best writings. I enjoy all of your stories very much. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hell Ian,

    As a former hospital administrator it’s great to have you share your insights regarding how hospitals were once managed – the way they should be – and how over the years they had morphed into yet another mere business.

    The set-up regarding Sheila and the doctor is quite predictable enough but well carried off. And I read in your reply to Barb that there will be a happy ending. Good one.

    I look forward to the concluding chapter.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was fun writing this one Eric. The hospital question is an interesting one. Part of the problem is that while during the era we grew up we didn’t go to hospitals or doctors for that matter for every little sneeze or even more serious sicknesses or accidents but tried to treat our health issues with home remedies. The Mother was doctor and nurse unless it was way beyond her capabilities. But today people rush to hospital emergency for the most trivial of issues and clog up the system with trivia. Then there is rising expectations. We were happy for just a bed in a ward as children. but in today’s world people fight for a single room with all the entertainment bells and whistles. Then there is life expectancy. You were expected to expire with a serious issue in those days and people accepted that. Now millions of dollars of equipment is required to prolong life artifically through huge investment in diagnostics. We all expect the government to cough up now and supply all that stuff and keep zombies walking at great cost. I’m sure someone will jump on me for saying that but its an issue beginning to get a lot of attention politically because governments just cannot keep that support up with a limited tax base. Private hospitals run close to the line when there is high competition so costs are shaved and service dwindles.


    1. The children of cross cultural marriages in the past had a hard time. They were not fully accepted by either side of the cultural divide. These days its not only becoming acceptable to have cross cultural marriages, but among the majority in the West at least its not a big deal any more.

      Liked by 1 person

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