Elsie Bergman

Elsie Bergman, Transcript Section 6

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MARLA:  And were there any situations that you were in that because you couldn't contact the doctor, things were kind of scary and you had to --

ELSIE:  Uh-hum. 

MARLA:  Were there anything -- is there anything that you can think of that you might want to share? 

ELSIE:  Oh, it was a -- you know, we couldn't get planes those days.  And I remember that this young -- kind of young guy shot himself, I couldn't get help for him.  And he died.  And, you know, maybe we could have helped him, medevac.  And that situation is hard.  It's like there was nothing that's really help.  

Then we have to deal with elders. 

MARLA:  Like? 

ELSIE:  Like taking those elders that's real sick.  And sometimes they don't want to go to the hospital.  So that's the way it used to be, though.  You know. 

MARLA:  They wanted to stay home? 

ELSIE:  Uh-hum.  Yeah.  And it was hard. 

MARLA:  And what kind of character traits do you think a health aide needs? 

ELSIE:  They need equipment and all the updated, like wheelchair and stretcher -- we had stretcher but they need new backboards. 

MARLA:  What about for kind of personality traits do you think a health -- make a good health -- health aide? 

ELSIE:  If they have the training, and I think all the training and workshops.  And be dependable. 

And it would be good if a lot of health aides.  Not just only one.  We need about three, it would be easier.  One of them take one week off.  And the one would be there.  Take turns, like. 

They get stressed out or burnt out.  It's work right to -- every day I work and I didn't know I got stressed out from it.  And I just had three bad pneumonia.  And it didn't cure so it went in my backbone. 

And I noticed I had -- in September I had really bad kind of gasping with patient, so it was that time I didn't feel very good.  I didn't feel that strong.  But it's keep working and keep working until December, and I got sick.  And I had really bad pneumonia and I had that pulmonary embolism. 

MARLA:  And that's probably because you were working and so stressed out and never really being able to give yourself a break? 

ELSIE:  Uh-hum (affirmative).  And I just worked days. 

MARLA:  How come you stayed for so long? 

ELSIE:  I don't know.  Because there was, like -- oh, I was going quitting two times, one time I didn't.  I resigned and I got on.  And I said I wouldn't be working for a while.  Then they wrote me -- they sent me a letter that I had to go back to work, so I did. 

MARLA:  Is that because there was no one else? 

ELSIE:  There was somebody else working, but it's just only one.  Yeah.  It's kind of hard like that. 

MARLA:  Yeah.  And how many people are in Allakaket? 

ELSIE:  About 180 or more. 

MARLA:  That's a lot of people to have to take care of.

ELSIE:  Uh-hum (affirmative).  Sometimes it's really busy.  Yeah.  I can (indiscernible) stayed on that long.  But it's good, I never work -- like, first that's all, I keep waking up and I said, oh, somebody might call, and that was in -- even that, I was in hospital, I keep doing that. 

MARLA:  Out of habit, huh? 

ELSIE:  Uh-hum (affirmative). 


MARLA:  35 years of people calling you in the middle of the night? 

ELSIE:  Yeah.  And I -- I don't know why I think that.  I'm just so used to being like that, I guess. 

MARLA:  Yeah.  Dedicated, it sounds like. 

ELSIE:  Yeah.  And that's the way I was at home time in here.  That's like, oh, yeah, somebody might call me.  Every day, every day.

MARLA:  It's hard work. 

ELSIE:  Hard work, too much to do. 

(Telephone ringing.)