Between six and seven in the evening they drive en masse into this city. Nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists- a great army of hospital people. Many commute in from Bellevue, south of the city, and as they do ,I drive Route 100 or Route 70. If one is going to wreck one's car, or someone else's, this is the place to do it, for you will soon be surrounded by these Good Samaritans. I have driven up on two wrecks out here in my years of commuting, both heavily attended by nurses who live across the road or paramedics starting a shift. I drove up on one last summer near the Catholic Church. A teen girl driving down 9 mile hill was t-boned by a senior of great antiquity. This grand dame totaled the girl's car and her arm. It is not a leap to say she should not have been driving. The young man who first checked the woman and found her unharmed told me he found something else- a note taped to the steering that read "Remember to turn on the lights". Perhaps a reminder to look both ways or stop when a sign says to would have worked better.
The hour of the nurse in the morning is seven to eight, but those of us driving home are more leisurely in the morning.When I walk into the Belle Meade Publix every other person I see is wearing scrubs. Some of these will be people from my old job, and we will have a brief reunion. Others I meet only there. Many commute an hour from the provinces. And that is now a trek so costly, I wonder how much longer they can afford 2 dollar avocados and golden mangoes. I have friends who chide me for shopping upscale. They want me to join them at Walmart, even though nurses still make a decent wage. Yet recently I met a young nurse who had to leave her Rust-Belt city where there were no jobs. And another young person who sent out 50 resumes and never had one bite until he took a job in corrections. There are boom and bust cycles in nursing, but this is the first time I have seen so many new nurses stymied. Few hospitals want to hire new graduates. We old ones should be able to step aside, but who can now afford it? Old truisms can die. "You are a nurse. You can always get a job', I used to hear. We need to remember that all experienced nurses were new once. We Boomers will not last forever.
And one last thought off topic- the passing of the 13 year cicadas, most now corpses, dessicated in the heat. Even my beagle ignores their remains, since they are no longer juicy. I miss them. I miss their ghostly hum heard at great distance across the hills. Oh well. Now we must turn our thought to freon, and hope we have enough of it. And we pray for the courage to open our Nashville Electric Service bills. The day we will open them, our collective screams will be louder than any noise the cicadas could make.