Final Medical Year 1963-1964 Part One

Final Medical Year 1963-1964 Part One

by Sr. Margaret Anne Meyer MMM                         USA                                           03.05.2024

The summer vacation went quickly. At times we were overjoyed when visiting Drogheda to see the four students who had just qualified and left us, bustling around the hospital in their white coats, caring for the patients. It was a wonderful feeling to think it would be our turn next. Then we would realize it was a tremendous leap to be able to study and retain five years of knowledge which our examiners would expect from us. Our love for the people of Africa kept us focused and each day brought new challenges. Our studies became more interesting as we watched each other give medical and surgical presentations. All was beginning to click into place.

September came and with it was an assignment to spend two months in Holles Street Hospital to learn how to deliver babies. Martha Collins. Maura Lynch and I shared the same residence. It was exciting for all of us. We had a registrar who would give us lectures and show us the various departments. An obstetrician would ask us questions and demonstrate various procedures. I had asked to see a baby being born in the Maternity Hospital a few years before and was in awe of the mother working so hard to have her first baby and the incredible joy on her face after her safe delivery. It brought to mind the words of St. Paul,’ I am in Labor until Christ is formed in you.” Galatians 4:19 I prayed that I would not become a selfish old maid as a nun but spend myself for souls as OUR FOUNDRESS Mother Mary inspired us to do so.

Well, the blessed day came, September 8th, 1963, when it was my turn to deliver a baby under the midwife’s direction. John Paul Kelly was born, and I have been praying for him since. I was so filled with joy and so was his mother.

With every delivery we were each assigned a stage of labor. We even had a fourth stage which was called the cleanup stage and the one who did that had the privilege of taking the baby down the stairs to the mother who eagerly awaited him or her. I loved that stage too.
It was the first time to live outside the convent and we had some enjoyable night recreations playing table tennis with the other students. Sometimes we helped the women in the kitchen dry the dishes. They liked a chat and told us how we Medical Missionaries of Mary were so free that we could ride our bicycles all over town. It might have looked like being free but sometimes our legs got numb on the frigid days.
We could forgo lunch and travel to the Mater Hospital by bicycle to attend a Pediatric lecture. An apple and a chocolate bar would do.
There was a hostel nearby, Marie Auxiliatrix, where we could visit and pray. Marie Reparatrice Convent was nearby, too. They had Perpetual Adoration.

One night the male students decided to have a little fun and called all the women to go to the Labor ward at 1 AM to see Siamese Twins being born. Of course, we did not like the joke, but the men had a good laugh seeing all the curlers in our hair.

Of course, there is a sorrowful side of Obstetrics which we saw a few things go wrong. A beautiful young woman who had rheumatic heart disease delivered her baby very easily but, in the process, suffered a clot to her brain which made one side of her upper body paralyzed. Another died suddenly from an amniotic fluid embolism. One woman had severe hypertension and eclampsia. She had complete bed rest for several months and delivered her baby without any complications. She was incredibly happy to have a live child. We learned a lot about the swiftness of life and death and how to be attentive in decision making. and pray for a good outcome for mother and child.

Soon our two-month experience ended, and we were back to Earlsfort Terrace, attending lectures. We would soon be taking our Final Exams in Obstetrics and the end of November. Thank God we all passed and looked forward to celebrating Christmas in Rosemount and the return for our Final Semester but that is another story.