Back in the early ‘80s, my husband, John, worked on the grounds crew at the Albany County Airport. That meant when it snowed, he drove a huge snow plow to clear the runways and I was on my own shoveling the driveway to get to work. It never occurred to us to hire a plow driver, but our driveway was made of crushed stone, so it would not have been very practical anyway. It was the first storm of the year and the Capital District got so much snow that the governor closed the New York State offices. Most of the men in my neighborhood worked for the State.
I was out shoveling snow at 6 AM in an effort to get to work by 7 AM. I was working in the dialysis unit at the VA at the time and lived the closest to the hospital of the five nurses assigned to the unit. I had to get there. Dialysis patients could get very sick and even die if they missed a treatment. We had one patient who lived in a little town in Vermont. Vermont did not have any dialysis units at the time and the town he lived in only had one snowplow. He managed to get to treatment when there was a sudden big snow storm because the town would send him in their only snowplow. If he could get in, who was I not to do the same when I lived only six miles away from the hospital?
So, as I was shoveling, my male neighbors who were excused from work by the governor had a conference at the end of my driveway. Wynken, Blynken and Nod were discussing whether to shovel me out or not. “If we shovel her out and she gets into an accident on the way to work, are we liable?” They all felt they would feel terrible and guilty if I did get into an accident.
“Whether you shovel me out or not, I AM GOING TO WORK. My patients need me.” And I kept shoveling. They decided to help and a little while later, I took off down the road to work. Looking in my rear-view mirror, I could see the three of them standing in the road watching me.
I got to work, a little late, but as predicted, I was the first nurse there. With the help of the chief technician and the chief nephrologist, we initiated all the treatments as the patients drifted slowly in, also late due to the weather. No one missed a treatment.
All’s well that ends well.