Hospital originals share old times
Published 11:00 pm Monday, June 24, 2013
June 10, 1969 was a red-letter day in Troy.
The city’s two hospitals, Edge and Beard’s, moved – lock, stock and barrel – across town to a brand new, state-of-the-art hospital.
Patients were transported to the new hospital in ambulances, private cars and in the “bed” of a pickup truck.
Staff members of the “Edge Hospital Class of 1969” gathered at Julia’s Restaurant Saturday to talk old times and enjoy the fellowship of being together once again.
“At Edge, we were like family,” said Jimmy Law, who at age 21, was the X-ray technician at the new modern facility. “When you go through what we went through to open Edge Hospital, you become family in a hurry.”
Law said the new hospital was built with Hill-Burton funds but, in order to get those funds, the two existing hospitals had to cease to exist.
“Dr. N. O. Edge gave his hospital on Academy Street to the city of Troy,” Law said. “Drs. W.P Stewart and J.O. Colley sold Beard’s Hospital on Walnut Street to the college.”
Law said the new hospital was a madhouse on opening day.
“Every bed was filled and we had patients on cots out in the halls,” he said. “It was bedlam. It was like that from then on. Many times, we admitted patients to a cot and released them from a cot. Sometimes you couldn’t get up and down the halls for patients.”
Law said the nursing home in Troy opened on the same day and opened, too, with a full house.
“Troy was a very busy place for health care,” he said. “The hospital and the nursing home were both at full capacity.”
D.W. Walley was the hospital administrator and Law said that he ran a tight ship.
“We had excellent doctors on staff – Drs. Chester Beck, LaDon Golden, W.P. Stewart, J.A. Brantley, J.O. Colley, Jessie Hall Colley, Herman Sacks and O.N. Edge. Any treatment – any procedure — that you needed you could get at Edge. It was a first-class hospital from opening day.”
Those original Edge staff members had stories to tell but most of the stories are best kept close to the vest, they said laughing.
The hospital provided excellent health care but in relaxed atmosphere.
“I remember one morning when it was freezing cold and I was called to help a patient who was outside in a car,” Law said. “She’d had a baby in the car. I asked her why she didn’t come in sooner. She said it was too cold and nobody would get up to bring her.”
Rosa Lee Boswell moved across town wearing her nurse’s cap, white stockings and a white uniform. When she retired from nursing many years later, she was still wearing the traditional nurse’s uniform.
“Rosa Lee was the last nurse in Troy to wear a nurse’s cap and uniform,” Law said. “When she took off her nurse’s cap, that marked the end of an era.”
Boswell said she dressed like a nurse was supposed to dress. “I was a nurse and I looked like a nurse.”
If the Edge originals ever decide to write a book, one story that will be included is the tale of a horse and an X-ray technician.
Law told his side of the story.
“Mrs. Boswell looked at me and said, ‘I didn’t just see you X-ray a horse’s leg at this hospital, did I?’ I said that she didn’t and she said, ‘I didn’t think that was what I saw.’”
There’s nothing better than a good “true” story and one day, the originals might put their stories in print but until then, they’ll just share the fun and laughter at “family” reunions.