Unsuspected (National Tuberculosis Association, 1951)

[Music] [Suspenseful Music] [Little boy playing with baseball bat.] [Tires screech, woman steps out of car gasping.] [Music] [Woman walks with child into the store, chatting] [Shopkeeper chuckles.] [Sam:] Oh, you women. That wasn’t even a near- miss. [Linda Thorpe:] I sound like a bozo. I think I better sit down. [Sam:] All right. Hiya, Johnny. Well, come sit down then, Linda. There you are. You know, kids do kind of scare you at that. [Linda Thorpe:] Who is he? [Sam:] Miss Thorpe, I would like to have you know Master Johnny Walsh. Son, I’d like to present Miss Linda Thorpe, our public health nurse. [Linda Thorpe:] Well, how do you do, Johnny. I’m very happy to know you. [Johnny Walsh:] Pleased to meet you, ma’am. [Linda Thorpe:] You’re new around here, aren’t you? [Sam:] Yeah. They moved into the county about, oh, about a week ago. His folks took over the big old Staley place. Well, they’ve got a big family, haven’t you, Johnny? [Johnny Walsh:] Got a sister two years older than me. [Linda Thorpe:] You have? [Sam:] Yup. You’ve got two sisters, and they’re expecting a new baby for Christmas. [Linda Thorpe:] Oh, how nice. You know, I’d like to meet your mother and your father and your sisters, too. [Johnny Walsh:] But they’re just girls. [Linda Thorpe:] They’re just girls? Ha ha ha. A new baby by Christmas. Well, you don’t have long to wait, do you? [Sam:] Not nearly as long as your folks have been waiting for you to bring the groceries home for supper. [Laughter] All right, Johnny. Here you are. [Linda Thorpe:] Oh. Maybe I better help you with this. You going my way, Johnny? Well, I’ll take you in my car, then. [Sam:] It might be a good idea to get your car off the road, too, Linda. [Linda Thorpe:] Yeah, it sure is. Can you get down? Okay. Well, I’ll see you, Sam. [Sam:] All right, bye bye Linda. [Sam:] Bye bye, Johnny.
[Johnny Walsh:] Bye. [Music] [Narrator:] It was as simple as that. A little boy playing by the road, and a public health nurse making her daily rounds. But that is how the local health department first met the Walsh family. They’d just moved in and were still working hard to get their home in order. They weren’t quite ready to welcome visitors. [Music] Ms. Linda Thorpe was a qualified public health nurse, and an important part of her job was to know how to make an unexpected call like this seem as natural as possible. Yes, it always takes a few minutes to get over that first awkward feeling, that feeling of being ill at ease and self-conscious. Linda also knew that smiling children could open doors of friendship to their parents. And when an eager invitation to see the new kittens was offered, Linda felt sure that these people would soon be her friends. [Music] Although hardly a word had been spoken, Linda knew that she had once again made friends of strangers. Now she could explain the work she was doing and why the local health department maintains a nursing service, to help us all keep well. As part of her work, Linda asked about the baby that was expected in December. Mary Walsh hadn’t been to see a doctor yet. They’d been so busy fixing up the house, and she felt it could wait. Besides, she hadn’t had any trouble with the other children. But Linda explained that where there are other children in the family, you can never afford to put off seeing a doctor. [Music] Mary was easily persuaded to visit the doctor sooner than she had planned. A few days later, she went to a local doctor for a complete physical examination. She also had a chest x-ray, something which should be part of the routine examination of every expectant mother. In most patients, nothing unusual is found, but in Mary’s case, the doctor discovered a small shadow on one of her lungs. It might mean very little, but often, it’s the only means of discovering early tuberculosis, because early TB has no obvious symptoms. It is often unsuspected. Mary was called back for further tests, for no diagnosis is complete until specific laboratory tests are made. Every technique of modern medicine is put to work until the diagnosis is confirmed or denied. Mary Walsh didn’t even feel sick, yet she had tuberculosis. Now she became a responsibility of the community, and the community went to work to help her get well. [Music] [Jim Walsh:] Mary and I’ve done nothing but talk about this since we first read these. [Linda Thorpe:] Now you know why it’s best for you to go to the hospital. [Mary Walsh:] You know, we can’t afford a big hospital bill. [Linda Thorpe:] It won’t cost what you think. [Jim Walsh:] I know you mean well, but we can’t accept charity. [Linda Thorpe:] No one’s offering you charity. Like the schools, your tuberculosis hospital is part of the local government that you help support. Its job is to keep the community healthy. Why, by helping you, the community is also protecting itself. [Mary Walsh:] But we don’t even have enough to pay someone to come look after the children if I’m not here. We have no close relations near here. Jim is a good man, but he can’t do everything by himself. [Linda Thorpe:] Miss Swain of our welfare department is good at that sort of thing. She’ll help you find a way. [Mary Walsh:] You make it all sound so simple. But what about the new baby? [Linda Thorpe:] Your baby won’t catch tuberculosis from you if you do what the doctor tells you. But no case of TB is simple. You’re more fortunate than some because your case was caught early. [Jim Walsh:] Just how long do you think it’ll take in my wife’s case? [Linda Thorpe:] No one can say for sure, but Mrs. Walsh should stay in the hospital at least until after the baby is born. [Mary Walsh:] But that won’t be for months. I won’t do it. [Linda Thorpe:] I know this is a shock, but when you think of the children as well as yourself, I know you’ll want to do the sensible thing. [Jim Walsh:] We both want to do what’s right. [Linda Thorpe:] Well, hello Jane and Nancy, too. Been playing hard? [Jane:] Yes. [Linda Thorpe:] Oh, and there’s my pal. How are you, Johnny. Haven’t seen you for a long time. [Music] [Mary Walsh:] Yes. And I must protect the children. [Linda Thorpe:] Exactly, and the new baby most of all. You need rest and care now, good food, a place where there are doctors and nurses, the right medicine. You can only get that kind of care in a hospital. [Narrator:] Leaving her family for the first time in her life was made easier for Mary Walsh by many helping hands. Arrangements had been made for Mrs. Spencer to come and stay at home with the children and take good care of them while their mother was to be away. [Music] Miss Swain of the welfare department had made all the plans and preparations to keep the family as happy as possible. Mary didn’t know just where or how she had gotten tuberculosis, but she knew she had to go away. To protect her children, she had to leave them for a while until she was cured. And as she looked at them, she wanted to do everything she could to speed her own recovery and return to her family well and happy. [Music] The tuberculosis hospital wasn’t far from home, and here Mary could have complete rest in bed. More than that, there was a skilled staff who took a personal interest in her. She knew that she had the best medical attention in the world, and she didn’t have to worry about her family, so she could keep her mind at rest. This is so important in curing tuberculosis. [Music] Linda made arrangements for the health department to examine the rest of the family right away to make sure that no one else was sick. This was one of the many public health services in the community which the local Tuberculosis Association had worked hard to establish. [Music] The children are treated with special care, for more than medical skill is required to make it all seem to them like a natural part of a big adventure. [Music] Jim Walsh was also examined with the latest x-ray equipment obtained with help from the local Tuberculosis Association. When the test showed that none of the others had active TB, the family began to readjust itself, with the help of Miss Swain of the welfare department, who offered friendly suggestions on how to manage the house while mother was away. [Music] The weeks passed. Mary was busy and content. She knew that her family was well-taken care of, especially the children. Nellie Spencer, was wonderful with the youngsters. [Music] And such peace of mind helped to speed the progress of her recovery. It was comforting to know the farm was doing nicely, that things were good at home. As Mary grew stronger and healthier, she began to sit up and prepare for the day when the baby was due. Jim Walsh, too, was counting the weeks and then the days. [Music] Congratulations. It’s a boy. Mother doing fine. It was a healthy baby boy, and he was at home now with the rest of the children, growing fast, too. Mary knew she was getting better. She’d soon be allowed on her feet, and then she’d be able to walk around. That was almost like being home. Already they were making plans for her return. Mrs. Benson, the home demonstration agent, came in to show Jim how to make it simple and easy for Mary to do the housework when she came back. She should not be allowed to overwork. It was important to keep her from reaching, bending, or stretching too much. [Music] Yes, everything was being done so that Mary’s work would be easier. Everyone was learning to do his share. They’re all getting ready to do their own special jobs. [Music] On his regular visits, Jim saw Mary’s steady progress, and told her how the baby was growing. This was no ordinary farewell. Mary was on her feet again. The day wasn’t far off now when they would all be walking together. Then one day Linda Thorpe was able to tell Nellie the good news. Very soon now, Mary would be coming home. The final touches for the homecoming were made. [Music] Mother, was home again. [Music] And now the public health nurse moves on. To help the many others who need her care and attention. She is a symbol of the community’s continuing effort to keep its people well. But she knows that these are more than just her neighbors. These are her friends. This is her community, and these are her people. [Music]


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