Tuesday, April 27, 2010
House Calls; Dr. Frau
Grace H. Kaiser's memoir Dr. Frau casually describes a time and place radically different from my own. She was a woman doctor in the 50's, when that was an unusual and often unappreciated female role. She made house calls, including many home births for Amish, Mennonite, or just anti-hospital families. She married and had four kids, while running her medical office out of her house and juggling the timing for the births among office hours, cooking meals, and home repair. It's a fascinating glimpse into the world of the Amish, where children weren't told about pregnancy so the mothers stayed quiet while birthing, as well as the world of a doctor fifty years ago, when babies weren't fed for twelve hours after birth but doctors drove through snow and floods to attend the mother. The foreword warns that it is highly fictionalized, since doctors aren't really supposed to attend and tell, but I hope the spirit is still accurate. Fun read; I wish I remembered where I heard about it.