Penny watched the August moonlight glisten on her wedding ring. Just two months ago she had married Harry Bridgeman and already she felt as if she had lived a year in this little house in the West Virginian hills. The garden below the screened porch where she was sitting was fragrant with the scent of flowers she had tended during the summer. Around her and inside the house were her wedding presents, already grown dear and familiar through daily use. This evening, particularly, she was feeling a deep satisfaction in all that marriage was bringing to her. She was ready to contradict Harry’s prediction that she would find it hard to be married to a busy surgeon.
He had said, “The mill hospital will keep me on the jump every minute, Penny. You will hate the scrubby little black mill town. I’ll have to break appointments with you, skip meals, get called in the middle of the night and be unable to get home when you give parties. You’ll hate it and so will I.”
And Penny had replied steadily, “I know what marrying a doctor means, Harry. I can bear up.”
Petticoat Surgeon is the life story of one of the most remarkable women living today — a woman who has risen to the heights of the medical profession despite every sort of obstacle, a woman whose career is a blazing example of feminine achievement, through courage and determination, in what is still, in many ways, a “man’s world.”
At the age of eighty-five — and still actively practicing her profession — Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen can look back on a lifetime richer in endeavor and accomplishment than a dozen ordinary lives. She has been one of the pioneer women in American medicine. She has performed thousands upon thousands of operations in many countries, often before audiences of medical students eager to learn her techniques. In the city of Chicago alone she has brought more than 10,000 babies into the world. She has come to know human nature as only a doctor can after decades of private practice. She has been a leader in the acceptance and use of that blessing to women in childbirth, Twilight Sleep. She has been the first woman doctor to campaign for sex education. She has traveled through Europe and the Orient, always seeing life with a doctor’s sharp eye. She has been elected to honorary membership in the International Women’s Medical Association — the first woman to be so honored since Marie Curie. The list of her achievements could go on and on. But it is not her achievements alone that make Bertha Van Hoosen’s life the engrossing and inspiring story that it is. Equally it is the stout-hearted tenacity that has made her achievements possible. For Bertha Van Hoosen has had to fight for the right to excel in her field, and fought she has — with her wits, with her abilities, and with her indomitable spirit.
No brief description could convey the richness of experience that is packed into the story of this long and fruitful life. There is drama here — the life and death drama in which a doctor plays so vital a role. There is laughter, too, for all her life Bertha Van Hoosen has been blessed with a salty sense of humor. There is the endless fascination of medical lore and medical stories. There is utter frankness of language, for as a doctor — and one who has fought for sex education — Bertha Van Hoosen believes in plain speaking. There is honest hatred of prejudice and discrimination. There is friendship, for Bertha Van Hoosen is a person of deep loyalties, and there is love — the love of family centered around the old family home in Stony Creek — a love that has sustained and refreshed her through all her struggles. And above all there is the devotion to a great lifework, a devotion so passionate and courageous that no amount of opposition or discouragement could shake it.
Petticoat Surgeon is so rich a book that many different readers will find many different favorite things to remember about it. But everyone who reads it will realize that Bertha Van Hoosen is a shining witness to the truth of her own favorite motto: “Every hour brings light.”
It was a pineapple given to her by a grateful patient that had led to Eloise Bennett meeting the Dutch doctor Timon van Zeilst. They seemed fated to meet, for when shortly after that Eloise went to Holland for a short time to nurse a patient, there was Doctor van Zeilst again! And, thrown more and more into his company, Eloise soon realised that she had fallen in love with him. But Timon was going to marry the beautiful Liske, wasn’t he? And who could blame him — for Liske was also rich and a girl of his own nationality. Why on earth should he look twice at Eloise?
Imagine our delight when our friend, Kate, discovered a book entitled “Pineapple Girl” on eBay and bought it for us.
Imagine our greater delight when it arrived and we discovered it was a nurse book, too. Does life get any better than this? Ours doesn’t…
The paid vacation cruise was a dream come true for Nurse Ruth Stewart until the private lives of the passengers turned it into a nightmare.
The break of a lifetime came Nurse Ruth Stewart’s way when the chief surgeon of Long Beach Hospital arranged for her to take a position as a nurse aboard a private yacht. But Ruth wasn’t sure if the passengers needed the services of a nurse or a psychiatrist.
Norbert Sutliff (her host and employer) was a self-made man who trusted no one, not even his long-suffering wife nor his two renegade sons,
Allen and Kenny — Allen was forced to fight for his own way of life, for his own profession, and his own wife. Kenny idolized his older brother but new well his father’s persuasive ability. Then there was
Mildred Harrington, the vivacious widow who was trying to win Sutliff’s attorney away from his alcoholic wife and
Darlene Harrington, who wanted desperately to become Mrs. Allen Sutliff…
Settling down again in the sleepy coastal town of Brentwood, Maine, after four years in Boston, Edna Dawson was determined to pursue her nursing career and equally resolved not to become a target for small-town gossip. Her romance with Garth Woods, a successful young accountant, had been a lively topic in Brentwood and one of Edna’s primary reasons for moving to Boston. Although she sincerely enjoyed Garth’s company, Edna had disagreed with him that they were suitable for marriage.
But Edna’s first action upon returning — taking a job as nurse for Dr. Mark Seton, Brentwood’s handsome plastic surgeon — became the talk of the town. Edna herself, as a child the victim of an accidental fire, carried a burn scar on her throat and cheek for which she proudly refused to undergo cosmetic surgery, stalwartly maintaining that the scar had become like a part of herself.
Undertaking her new position with abundant skepticism, Edna was surprised and touched to find that virtually none of Dr. Seton’s patients were the wealthy matrons seeking face-lifts that she had expected. She became particularly fond of little Elizabeth Corey, whose childish beauty was marred by an ugly birthmark, and her widowed father, Bert, a celebrity on a local radio station.
Although gently teased and cajoled by both Dr. Seton and Bert Corey, Edna persisted in stubbornly resisting treatment for her own scars. And as the townspeople continued to notice her romances, Edna, too, wondered whom she would choose — Garth, Mark, or Bert?