Dr. and Mrs. E.L. Trudeau and the 1915 graduating class of the D. Ogden Mills Training School for Nurses in front of the Inslee Cottage at the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium. Adirondack Daily Enterprise, September 15, 2007 Hazel Wright and Eleanor Bennett, Ray Brook Sanatorium. From Saranac 1937-1940 by Richard H. Ray In Saranac Lake in the cure days, it is often said that the doctors were the most important people in town, and in fact, they were amply represented in governments, committees and boards of trustees. But for the patients, the nurses were equally important. And a number of them became owners and/or operators of cure cottages.

Nurses uniforms at the Fair Store
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, February 2, 1955

Teddy Duzensky, Ray Brook Sanatorium. From Saranac 1937-1940 by Richard H. Ray Miss Wiley, Ray Brook Sanatorium. From Saranac 1937-1940 by Richard H. Ray Saranac 1937-1940 by Richard H. Ray"

Those Wonderful Nurses

I think it was my experience at Ray Brook that led to my lifetime love affair with the nursing profession. I was at 29 Pine Street for just a couple of weeks, at Trudeau a few months in different cottages, but West Wing at Ray Brook was home for nearly two years, so perhaps I just got to know the Ray Brook nurses much better. I can't recall the name of a single nurse at Trudeau but at R-B they were daily companions and care givers. I learned to rely on them for everything. They were always just across the hall. One woke me every morning to give me a wash cloth, take my temperature and pulse and ask whether I had had a bowel movement. "Check?" "Check!'

Nurses were my friends, my authority figures, and I remember them with warmth, even Miss Wylie who evoked a less than kind evaluation from me in an early letter home. Their faces are as fresh in my memory as if they had been caring for me last week. They wakened me, listened to me complaints, rubbed my back, delivered relief from my pains, brought me mail and mailed my letters, saw that I was fed, laughed at my jokes, soothed my worried brow when I felt low, smiled at me from wake-up until they got me ready for bed. They were family, my parents, my friends.

I loved them all, especially evening nurse Eleanor Bennett, night nurse Hazel Wright, Teddy Duzenski, Peggy Welch and even the older Miss Wiley. These ladies in white are the ones who kept the light shining in my eyes through the worst times of 1938, '39 and '40.

Miss Bennett was slender, sweet and marvelously professional. I never heard anyone complain about her. When it was announced that she would be leaving the floor for assignment to another wing, I wrote home that I would try to be transferred to wherever she went.

Miss Wright was small, smiling and a delight to see first thing in the morning when she came in at 6:30 to give me wash water and take my pulse and temperature. I'm sure I never feigned sleep when she was on duty. Seeing her standing there beside the bed was a marvelous way to start the day.

Blonde haired Miss Welch was an all around good natured nurse who enjoyed talking with patients about non-medical things. She would talk sports - a good subject to know on an all male ward - and joined in some of the ward horseplay - as when Clos posed as a wounded reporter, interviewing the nurse binding up his wounds. From Grants Pass, Oregon, she was the first girl of the golden west I had ever met.

Miss Wiley seemed like an old curmudgeon when I first came to the ward, but I learned that while her foot problem most certainly was a drag on her nerves, her heart was in the right place We got along well as long as I respected her position and didn't put her on the spot by asking her for any special favors.

Miss Duzenski ("Teddy" when she wasn't within earshot) is especially due my appreciation for giving me a second chance when I did something that could have got me sent home - or to the county sanatorium at the very least. Within the patient's wings, smoking was permitted only in the tiled washrooms and for certain sure it was a major offense to smoke in bed. I figured I could manage to sneak a smoke at meal times, when the nurse left the office across from my room long enough to eat. So as she left the floor at noon, a friend would come in, get a cigarette from my bottom dresser drawer, open the window and give me a light. After a quick five minute smoke, and allowing another few minutes for the smoke to clear out, the friend would shut the window, re-move the ash tray and I would be ready to wave at the nurse when she returned from her meal.

Then came the day Miss Duzenski walked in, wrinkled her nose, approached the bedside and, tapping me lightly on the chest and said " Richard Ray, this is the last time I am going to come in here and find that you have been smoking. If it should happen again, I will report it to Dr. Bray and you will be sent home." I believed her and stopped smoking until, months later, I could leave the room and light up outside.

Five employees of the local hospital have been selected by their co-workers and the board of directors to be honored for their dedication to better patient care. They are, with Arthur Niederbuhl (center), chairman of the board of directors who presented them with awards: left to right, Gladys Jenkins, Margaret McLaughlin, Marie Mussen, Virginia Bowen and Jeanne Montgomery. Adirondack Daily Enterprise, December 26, 1985 Adirondack Daily Enterprise, December 26, 1985

Pins denote long-time service

SARANAC LAKE - Registered Nurse Margaret McLaughlin, head nurse of the surgical floor at the General Hospital of Saranac Lake, has been awarded her pin for 25 years of service to the hospital.

She was given the award at the hospital's Christmas party Dec. 13.

Two employees, Ann Antoniades and Patricia Harrigan, were awarded 20-year pins. Fifteen-year pins were given to Virginia Bowen, Genevieve MacNeill and Theresa Macey.

Karen Brown, Sue Ferguson, Peter Henry, Joannie Keith, Patricia LaPage and Deborah Martin all received ten-year pins.

Five-year pins went to Sandra Barnard, Karla Brieant, Charles Brieant, Julia Bullis, Colleen DeGrace, Nancy DePuy, Linda Dukett, Vicki Duso, Jan Gauthier, Kathryn Grupe, Marijke Ormel-Cook, Patricia Smith, Shari St. Louis, Mary Ann Streck, Richard Sullivan and Virginia Westmacott.

See also