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Rose Winkleman
Rose Winkleman

Rose Winkleman was interviewed on August 24, 2005 by Karen Brewster at Rose's apartment in a senior citizens apartment complex owned by the Cook Inlet Regional Housing Authority in Anchorage, Alaska. In this interview, Rose talks about getting the health aide job, the training she received, dealing with accidents and illness in the village, transportation of patients to Anchorage, communication with the doctors, the variety of work the health aide does, why she was successful and continued with the job.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2004-17-08

Project: Community Health Aide Program
Date of Interview: Aug 24, 2005
Narrator(s): Rose Winkleman
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster
Transcriber: Carol McCue
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, University of Alaska Health Programs
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


Her birthplace, childhood, and parent's background information.

Her educational and marriage background.

Becoming a Community Health Aide.

Why she worked as a Community Health Aide

Accidents that she responded to and assisted with medical care on.

The availability of health aides, clinics, and medical supplies, and how they handled issues of confidentiality in the early days of radio communication.

Traveling to other villages, and personal experiences she had as a health aide.

How the western medical system did not incorporate local people's traditional medical knowledge, the types of equipment and medicines she used as a health aide, and the changes she saw in health aide work over the years of having the job.

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


KAREN:  Before we get into your health aide work, tell us a little bit about yourself and when and where you were born.  

ROSE:  Yeah.  

KAREN:  Your background a little bit.  

ROSE:  Okay.  I was born in McGrath, Alaska, in 19 -- 19 -- 1920.  April of 1920.  My dad -- my dad had a homestead about a mile up the -- mile and a half by river up from McGrath up the Kuskokwim River.  So he raised all us kids up there.  They did, mom and daddy.  

Daddy had two horses and he plowed the gardens and hauled wood in the winter.  One of the things that made for making money, hauling wood to the game wardens and the school and different things. 

KAREN:  Uh-hum.  And what were your parents' names?
ROSE:  Oh.  My mamma's name was Sophie Vanderpool, and my dad's name was William.  William T. Vanderpool.  

KAREN:  Okay.  

ROSE:  He was from -- he was from Montana.  He was quite a bit older than mamma.  Came up during the Gold Rush days, and met mom and -- over in the Yukon.  

They lived -- they lived in Flat for a while.  That was during the Iditarod Gold Rush, then, too.  Came up by boat from Seattle to Nome and then worked his way over through.  

But he had been all over.  He had been over in Dawson and all those different places.  But you don't want to know about that.  

KAREN:  Now, where was your mother from originally?  

ROSE:  My mom was from that company over there in the Yukon.  She was from Anvik. 

KAREN:  Okay.  

ROSE:  Over in the Yukon.  

KAREN:  Okay.  

ROSE:  And they moved -- they moved to the McGrath area.  And the year before I was born, they used to -- you know, we didn't have any transportation, just the dog teams in the winter, to Fairbanks, maybe Anchorage.  

The mail came by -- the mail came by dog team.  So they had every few miles, I don't know, 20 miles, maybe more, they would have the roadhouses for the people that get -- get their mails, maybe sometimes spend the night, and put up their dogs.  

Dogs -- some of those teams are like 20 dogs in a team.  They'd travel certain areas and then somebody else would take over and come on over through, over into the -- over into -- towards the Yukon and stuff.  

And mom -- mom and daddy run one roadhouse this side of the range up in -- this side of the Alaska Range.  And Salmon River they called it.  She cooked there and he did whatever.  I suppose he helped to cook and, you know, take care of things.  

But then the year before I was born, they moved to McGrath.  I was the first -- first kid born in McGrath.  I was the fourth one.  Fourth child.  And all together, they had 10 children.  

KAREN:  Wow.  

ROSE:  They all -- we all survived, except a little brother who, in 1940 -- '32, got the whooping cough in McGrath, and he was just a month old, so he died.  

Which we were a healthy bunch of kids because tuberculosis was running wild then, you know, in that country, which we didn't, none of us ever got that.  On the skin tests, some of us, some of them tested positive like we had been exposed to it, but we were pretty healthy.  Didn't -- some of our school mates and things died.  So we were fortunate that way.  

KAREN:  So you lived out on this homestead and then did you start going to school at some point?  

ROSE:  Oh, yeah.  The school was in McGrath.  We had to walk a mile through the woods to school --  

KAREN:  Oh, okay.  

ROSE:  -- every day.  It's 40 below.  Us girls didn't have to go, but the boys went.  So.  And there was lots of 40 below weather.  

KAREN:  Yeah.  Back in those days, it was -- was it more common to have it 40 below?  

ROSE:  Well, I think years ago it was colder than today.  It's warm.  The world is warming up anyway now.  

KAREN:  Yeah.  

ROSE:  Which is funny, cold, warm.

KAREN:  So what grade did you go through in school in McGrath?  

ROSE:  I finished 8th grade when daddy sent us -- daddy sent five of us to Jessie Lee Home in Seward.  

KAREN:  Jessie Lee Home?  

ROSE:  Jessie Lee Home, it was a Methodist-run school.  Really fine place.  And it was great.  I liked it.  And after I got used to it, of course.  Got used to living there.  

There was about 20 workers, but I don't know if there was 100 kids or a hundred all together with the kids and the workers, you know.  

KAREN:  Uh-hum. 

ROSE:  They were all run -- they were all run by the Methodist Church.  It was a nice -- I learned a lot there in the few years I was there.  

Lots of parents sent their kids to Holy Cross, to the mission, because that was the Catholic -- Catholic-run mission.  But daddy was Methodist, so he sent us to Jessie Lee Home, which was good for us.  

KAREN:  And what grade did you -- how long were you at the Jessie Lee Home?  

ROSE:  I was just there two or three years, and I decided to get married.  I had a hard time adjusting in school, to a bigger school and stuff.  I thought I wasn't good enough and I got engaged and got married.  Got married at 17.  I'm sure if daddy had been living, I wouldn't have gotten married so young.  You know.  It was too young.  

KAREN:  So your father had passed away already? 
ROSE:  He passed away a year after he sent us over there. 

KAREN:  Oh.  

ROSE:  He was old -- like I said, he was 30 years older than mamma. 

KAREN:  And so who did you marry?  

ROSE:  I married a young fella that had -- was raised in Jessie Lee Home.  
See, the Jessie Lee Home had originated down in -- down in the Aleutians there.  And then in 1924, they moved the home up to Seward.  Nice, up on the hill up there.  It overlooked the town.  It was a nice place.  

KAREN:  And was that Mr. Winkleman?
ROSE:  No, no, that was my -- that was one of my later husbands.  

KAREN:  Oh, okay. 

ROSE:  That was Hughes.  He was -- he was half Aleut and half English.  His dad was English.  His mother was Aleut.  And there was five of them kids.  Five of the Hugheses.  

KAREN:  And then when did you -- when you got married, did you stay in Seward?  Or -- 

ROSE:  Yeah, I stayed there another five years after that.  I moved back to McGrath after the war broke out in 1941.  I moved -- I moved in '42.  So.  It was quiet and nice in McGrath then.  

KAREN:  Why did you decide to move back?  

ROSE:  Shortly after.  Shortly after the war broke out.  

KAREN:  Why -- but why?  

ROSE:  My husband and I got divorced.  

KAREN:  Uh-hum.  

ROSE:  I had two children.  We moved back there.  

And I worked -- I didn't have much education, like I said, I quit school, but all I -- there wasn't much work -- excuse me.  There wasn't much work for anybody in McGrath, but I cooked.  I cooked in the roadhouse, in a couple roadhouses there.  Cooked meals, and that's how I did most of the time. 

Then the next year after I moved up there, they built a big runway in McGrath.  They just had a small runway before that and during the war, they needed a bigger one because there were -- they were shipping these -- they were coming through McGrath and going to Galena, flying planes to Russia or somewhere, you know.  

KAREN:  Oh, that Lend-Lease?  

ROSE:  I don't know if that was Lend-Lease or what it was.  

KAREN:  Yeah.  

ROSE:  Maybe that Lend-Lease was something else.  But they were -- they were flying -- they were shipping airplanes over to Russia.  And that made a lot of activity.  They had they had a small Army base in McGrath.  

KAREN:  Yeah, I didn't know that.  

ROSE:  There was about 200 all together, officers and enlisted men.  And they were just there for a couple years.  

KAREN:  Hmm.  

ROSE:  And they had communications.
KAREN:  And so did you do --

 ROSE:  It -- it's not -- it wasn't FAA then, C -- C -- CCA or something, before FAA communication system.  There was three houses.  They had three houses.  When I moved back, the three families lived there in the CAA.  That's what it was.  Civil communications system.  And then they had the Weather Bureau.  They had some Weather Bureau houses.  And they are building the -- enlarging the runway.  

And I worked at the roadhouse at once for a whole year, they were -- there were about 80 -- 80 working men there.  Morrison-Knutson.  And I was just -- I didn't have to cook there, thank goodness, they had a man cook.  I waited tables and did beds and all that stuff.  

Not for the working men.  They had their own -- they had built four separate places for the working men to -- to live in.  But they ate there in the restaurant.  So that livened up the town some.  

They had a couple roadhouses, Jack Morris'.  And Dave Cloud had built the first roadhouse, moved over from the other side, oh, a few years before that, before the town moved over to the other side of the river because every year it flooded.  Almost every year there when they had high water, the Old McGrath flooded.  And we were up in our homestead was higher ground.  Some of the families had come up and spent the time with us.  It was nice.

KAREN:  So when did you start working as a health aide?  

ROSE:  Oh, that was many years later.  After I had been married and had my children and my husband died in '40 -- in '48.  I started working the next year.  April of '49 I started to work.  I was -- '49?  I guess that's right. 

KAREN:  So this was the second time that --

 ROSE:  '69.  '69, I guess.  Yeah, my husband died in '60.  Not '40s.  Got to get away from that '40s.  

KAREN:  '68 and you started working?  

ROSE:  '68, and I started working the next year.  

KAREN:  '69.  

ROSE:  And there was -- they had just started that program the year before.  This little gal that was staying over there with her husband had originally come from Nome or somewhere up North.  But she didn't last long.  She quit and moved back to Nome or -- or further North, further North somewhere.  So these people asked me if I wanted to be a health aide.  

Well, what impressed me with the health aides was, you know, we had no -- we didn't have a Public Health nurse hardly over there.  We did have but just there part time.  And if you got sick or your kids got sick, you had to take them to Anchorage.  

And my boy, one of my boys had this trouble with his tonsils always getting infected, and I thought that I'd have to take him to Anchorage to have his tonsils removed.  

Years ago, they used to -- traveling doctors come around and removed kids' tonsils, but they quit that when they got -- when we got airplanes.  

Anyway, I took -- I called the doctor in Anchorage.  I didn't know anything about the health aide there or nothing.  She hadn't been there long.  So I called this doctor in this hospital in Anchorage, and he told me, well, you've got a health aide there, you go and see her and talk to her. 

So I went and saw her, and she, of course, she talked to the doctors, that's what they did.  And they decided he just had strep throat.
So what impressed me is she came over and give him a shot, Bicillin shot, and he got all better.  And that really impressed me.  I thought I was going to have to take him to Anchorage, you know.  

So when they -- they offered me the job, I thought, yeah, that sounds like a good deal, you know.  I was thinking of my own kids, too.  And so that's when I started.  

KAREN:  So who came and offered you the job?  

ROSE:  It was somebody in McGrath.  Somebody on the Village Council.

KAREN:  Okay.  Do you know why they came and asked you?  

ROSE:  Well, one of my -- one of the -- well, everybody knew me, you know.  They knew I could do it.  I used to help people around town that was sick and stuff, with what little -- what little knowledge that people do have, you know, without having to go somewhere to learn about it.  

Ernie Holmbrook is the one that suggested me.  So one of the Village Council people came and asked me.  He said you're not doing anything anyway, you might as well -- you might as well do it.  I said, yeah.  I had five kids yet to raise there, you know.  

KAREN:  Oh. 

ROSE:  But they were getting big.
KAREN:  So this was -- your husband who died in '68, that was the second husband?  

ROSE:  That was my third.  

KAREN:  Oh, third husband.  

ROSE:  I had another one.  I don't have to talk about that one. 

KAREN:  Oh, okay.  Just keeping track of the time periods. 

ROSE:  Yeah.  

KAREN:  Okay.  So at this point, you had five children? 

ROSE:  Yeah.  

KAREN:  So how did you manage taking care of your five children as a single mother and working as a health aide?

 ROSE:  Well, he left me.  I at least had a roof over my head with a nice home over there.  And he was -- he was thoughtful.  He had insurance and he had provisions and stuff.

KAREN:  So why did you decide to take the job?  

ROSE:  Well, I told you, I thought it would be a pretty good thing to know something.  Besides the money wasn't that enticing at the time.  I think my first checks were probably a couple hundred bucks, you know.  Learning all the stuff.  

They sent me to Anchorage for training, maybe three weeks at a time.  And thanks to my -- my relatives and friends over there, I had somebody to take care of the kids.  

I'd take the youngest one with me because I had -- I had a son in Anchorage living that I could stay with when I was in school.  

And -- but there was -- I don't remember how many sessions I took, you know.  My kids remember how I had to leave them for two or three weeks at a time.  Traveling all over.  Lots of trips to Fairbanks.  They would take us, us trainees, to different villages, and I was way up in the Arctic Circle, up at Chalkyitsik.  

KAREN:  Hmm.  

ROSE:  Past Fort Yukon.  Up in the Interior.  I never go the other way.
KAREN:  What kind of things did they teach you in the training?  Like what did you do in the village, for instance, when you went to Chal --

 ROSE:  Take care of sick people.  

KAREN:  No, when you went to Chalkyitsik, why did you go to Chalkyitsik? 

ROSE:  They sent us.  That was part of our training session.  Getting -- getting all the health aides together.  

KAREN:  Oh, telephone.  So we were talking about what you did -- what you did in the training.  So they sent you to the villages for practical experience?
ROSE:  Not -- not necessarily.  That was extra.  For my really training, I went to Anchorage.  

KAREN:  Uh-hum.  

ROSE:  You know.  

KAREN:  Do you remember -- 

ROSE:  Then it's the village's group all together went to one place out of Fairbanks, that hot springs place.  Not Manley, but the close -- closest one.  

KAREN:  Chena, Chena Hot Springs?  

ROSE:  Chena Hot Springs.  Spent a few days there.  And just meeting together and all that.  

KAREN:  Uh-hum. 

ROSE:  But that was a little later.  In the beginning, it was training, two and three-week sessions, regularly.  Learning.  Learning everything you had to learn.  

Have you ever talked to any of these people that was in charge of health aides and how their program went and stuff?  

KAREN:  A little bit, but it's nice to hear it from you who was learning it. 

ROSE:  Yeah.  

KAREN:  What it was like and what you learned and what you thought about the training.  

ROSE:  Well, it was great.  I mean, we learned something every time we went, something different.  

I remember one time after I had been in there a while, I had gone over and they taught me how to pump out the stomach.  Somebody take an overdose.
And this woman was -- she was on -- she was on a medication for her -- her problems, and she overdosed one time, she just took -- she took a bunch of pills.  And I had just gotten back from training that -- just the few days before that, how to pump a person's stomach out.  

And I was home, and in the beginning, I didn't have a clinic, but that's beside the point.  I was at home and I got a call from my neighbor next door and she told me this woman had come in there kind of in a daze and looked like she was ready to pass out, and she -- she just told her that she had taken a bunch of medication.  

So I went over there and I could see she was getting kind of like she was going to pass out.  So I had to go over to the clinic, which was close, and bring -- bring the equipment over and I was working on her bathroom -- bathroom floor, that's where she -- that's where she wound up.  So I pumped the stomach out.  

Just as I was through with that, we had a -- it was a medic up on the hill there, Tatalina it was called, they had a bunch of GI's up there in the communication system up there of some kind. 

And sometimes when you needed -- people needed something, they would call the medic and he would come down.  So they got ahold of him.  And he finally come down there.  And he was -- he was putting in a line -- putting a tube in for her.  I'm getting a mental block.  

KAREN:  Putting a line in for an IV?  

ROSE:  Yeah.  Yeah, IV.  And then -- then somebody heard that a nurse was in town that lived in McGrath, but she was out at the mine, and they had gotten a hold of her, and she would come in.
So she came and helped -- she came and helped the medic and me.  We got the IV into me -- into her, and I -- I did that, too, but I was kind of nervous about doing that.  And in the meantime, I called ANS and got authorized to take her in, you know.  

So Judy, this was Judy Rosander, she's a registered nurse, she had gone to school.  She started, to -- she was in Mount Edgecumbe and then she went up to Seattle.  

Anyway, she was a registered nurse.  And she helped a lot.  Well, we got her in there and just as the plane landed, this woman went into convulsion.  So we was lucky that -- that we got her in there.  But harrowing things like that.
KAREN:  Uh-hum.  And so she -- she survived?  

ROSE:  She survived, yeah.

ROSE:  The accidents weren't too -- weren't too prevalent until they invented the snow machine.  And then it was all these young people, these kids racing around, you know how kids do, and having accidents.  

And one time I escorted a -- all in one evening, there was three different -- three different people in two -- two separate machines.  I had to take care of -- I didn't have any help that time.  There didn't happen to be a Public Health nurse in town at that time.  

Well, we used to have Public Health nurses, but they were young gals coming from outside, and first thing you knew, they were getting married and leaving.  So.  So lots of times I was the only one in charge there.  And that was pretty -- especially after the snow machines, it was pretty hectic.  
After a few years, then they start training EMTs over there.  And that was a great help.  Really a great help.  

KAREN:  So what would happen that time when there were three people with snow machine accidents in one evening?  

ROSE:  Had to call the doctors, and one wasn't a -- one wasn't a Native but he was, you know, with them.  So he just went -- they all went in together.  I took care of everybody.  But I had to make different arrangements for him.  He couldn't go to the ANS.  Because he had to go to another hospital. 

KAREN:  How serious were they -- 

ROSE:  They weren't -- they weren't life-threatening, but they were broken bones and things.  I didn't have a -- I didn't have air splints at that time.  I got training on that later on, which came in handy.  

KAREN:  What's an air splint?  

ROSE:  You -- you put -- you break a leg, you put this thing around and blow it up to make hold it -- hold the bone rigid, you know.  

KAREN:  Uh-hum.  Instead of those, like, cardboard kind?  

ROSE:  Yeah.  

KAREN:  Yeah.  

ROSE:  And that was especially fun.  One person went up on a roof and was cleaning the snow off the roof and he had a rope tied all right, you know, to the -- to the roof -- 

KAREN:  Uh-hum.  

ROSE:  -- and then to his body, but he didn't make a very good knot, and the knot slipped and he fell off the roof and he -- he had a bad break -- break in his leg.  He wasn't a -- he wasn't a Native person, but I still had to take care of him.  

The FAA was good like that.  There was a plane flying over, it was -- it was a FAA plane that was flying, they got it to come and land and took him into -- took him into Anchorage.  But things like that, you know.  People would -- different organizations was always -- helped as much as they could.  

KAREN:  You've mentioned the Native versus non-Native.  

ROSE:  Well, that's because I took care of everybody, but it's the thing of you can't authorize transportation in for somebody.  ANS isn't -- won't pay for -- I don't know, there's a different word for Native.  

KAREN:  Non-Native. 

ROSE:  Oh, I mean there's something else.  

KAREN:  Oh, beneficiary. 

ROSE:  Wasn't eligible for.  

KAREN:  A beneficiary and a non-beneficiary, right?  

ROSE:  Right.  He wasn't eligible for ANS doctors, or doctors couldn't authorize transportation for him.  That's what I'm saying.  So that was handy that the plane overhead stopped and took him in.  

KAREN:  Yeah.  So what, in other cases, though, what do you do?  I mean, as you say, you took care of everybody.  

ROSE:  I wasn't -- everybody I took care wasn't being shipped to town, you know.  Just ordinary stuff around.  Giving out medicines and minor -- minor things.  

KAREN:  Okay.  And that's interesting, though, that as the health care -- the health aides was through the Indian Health Service for medical care for Native people, but there were non-Native people out there who needed your help, too. 

ROSE:  Well, yeah.  We had -- we just naturally did it.  You know.
KAREN:  Yeah, I don't know what the Indian Health Service expected for the Non-Natives, what were they supposed to do?  

ROSE:  Well, they didn't feel responsible.  Why should they feel responsible for --

 KAREN:  Yeah.  

ROSE:  -- the non-beneficiaries, you know.
KAREN:  Yeah.  And there probably weren't very many of them.  I don't know, were there?  

ROSE:  Well, half the town was. 

KAREN:  Half?  

ROSE:  Half the town was non-beneficiaries.  Of course, the Public Health nurse, that's a different matter.  You know, she could --

 KAREN:  Right.  

ROSE:  -- she could take care of.  

KAREN:  And so was the Public Health nurse stationed there all the time or they came in and out?  

ROSE:  Well, they built the building for her and she was there most of the time.  

KAREN:  Hmm.  

ROSE:  You know, like I told you.  

KAREN:  Right.  

ROSE:  Come and --  

KAREN:  Were Public Health nurses from the state or the federal government, do you remember?  

ROSE:  State.  

KAREN:  State.  Okay.  

ROSE:  Before there was a Public -- before they were stationed there, you know, permanently, when there was something going on, they would -- they would come through and give, like, give babies immunizations, their first ones.  Us health aides, they didn't like us to give the first -- the first immunization shot to a baby. 

KAREN:  Why?  

ROSE:  Because lots of -- well, lots of kids are allergic.  You know.  Might have a reaction.  It was just a precautionary thing. 

KAREN:  Did that change? 

ROSE:  I don't know.  Might have.  

KAREN:  All the time you were a health aide, that was the policy? 

ROSE:  Yeah.  Well, I mean, that -- with the Public Health nurse there, that was different.  

KAREN:  Uh-hum.  Yeah.  

ROSE:  So it was a state sending the Public Health nurses and giving everybody -- 

KAREN:  Right.  

ROSE:  -- immunizations. 

KAREN:  Did all -- did other villages --

ROSE:  After -- after -- I did -- after that, a baby had their first shot, I could -- I could go ahead and -- 

KAREN:  Right.  You did all the after -- 

ROSE:  Follow up and treat, you know, every month, or whatever it was.  So.

KAREN:  Did other villages have a Public Health nurse station there? 

ROSE:  No.  Very -- very few.  There was none in Nikolai or Telida or Lime Village or -- McGrath was the central place there that's --  

KAREN:  Hum.  Yeah.  So why did McGrath get one?  

ROSE:  Well, I guess they put in for it and got it.  Because it was centrally located where these other villages could come in. 

KAREN:  Now, you mentioned one story that you didn't have a clinic.  

ROSE:  In the beginning.  

KAREN:  Uh-hum. 

ROSE:  I had to work out of my home. 

KAREN:  And how did that work out? 

ROSE:  Well, it wasn't -- some people complained if they didn't have the privacy, you know.  We didn't have a special extra room for them.
KAREN:  Uh-hum. 

ROSE:  It wasn't my fault.  They finally got me -- they'd gotten several different buildings before they finally -- finally got me in with the Public Health nurse across the street from where I lived.  Then they built that -- then they built the clinic up above the two or three blocks above where I lived there.  And then I got into that, got into that clinic.  That's where we all work now.  All the equipment and stuff is up there.  

KAREN:  Do you remember when that clinic was built?  

ROSE:  It wasn't too many years ago, but I couldn't say offhand.  

KAREN:  Well, how long did you have to work out of your home before they found you a building?  

ROSE:  Oh, maybe a year.  

KAREN:  Oh, okay.  So, yeah, how did you deal with the privacy and confidentiality issues? 

ROSE:  Well, if I had -- if people came, I would just tell them I was busy and they couldn't.  I kept my -- the medicine in my bedroom.  I didn't have a -- I didn't have a place where I had an examining table or anything like that, you know.  That was the first year.  

KAREN:  Uh-hum.  So you -- where, you would see them in your living room?  

ROSE:  Or in the hallway.  There wasn't anybody there.  My kids would be in school.  

KAREN:  Yeah, nowadays, with medical care, it seems that confidentiality is very important.  I don't know if it was --

 ROSE:  Oh, yeah, sure. 

KAREN:  -- back then.  

ROSE:  Sure it was.  Always.  

KAREN:  Did you ever feel pressures of living in the -- and being from the community and being the health aide? 

ROSE:  How do you mean, pressure? 

KAREN:  Well, in terms of confidentiality, privacy things?  

ROSE:  No.  

KAREN:  No.  

ROSE:  No.  Like I told you, if I was seeing patients, I would ask them, you know, come back later or something.  

KAREN:  You say -- you mentioned how -- the long hours that you had to work.  

ROSE:  Well, we -- actually, six hours, but -- but I mean, with on call all the time.  And on weekends, you didn't -- you couldn't -- you didn't have freedom.  You always had to be around.  And they never -- they didn't have a -- they never had an alternate for years, you know.  So I could be spelled off. 

KAREN:  So how did you handle that being on call all the time?  

ROSE:  Well, I just had to handle it.  

KAREN:  And with your kids.  What would happen if you got a call in the middle of the night?  What did you do?  

ROSE:  My kids are all right.  They were -- most of them were old enough to -- you know.  They were -- they were -- the oldest one was 18, the youngest one was 4 when their father died.  I mean, those older ones and the others were older, too.  

KAREN:  So what did you do if you got a phone call in the middle of the night?  What would you -- 

ROSE:  I have to get up and go to see them.  I had a telephone they paid for.  There weren't too many telephones then.

KAREN:  Yeah.  Some of the other villages --

ROSE:  I had to travel to other villages sometime.  

KAREN:  Oh, you did?  

ROSE:  Get in an airplane, go up to see somebody sick way up in the -- miles away.  

KAREN:  What was that like?  

ROSE:  It was just part of my job.  I wasn't scared of airplanes.  Some of the roughest rides I ever had was in these little airplanes, but I never was -- you know, growing up in the airplane country.  Never had any accidents getting there.  

KAREN:  Did you deliver babies?
ROSE:  One by myself.  Only one by myself.  It always happened that the Public Health was nurse there.  The Public Health nurse was there.  She did.  

But there was one time I was on my own.  And I had a problem with her.  She -- she had come in from two or three weeks before she was due, she came from outside.  And she didn't want to go back to Fairbanks -- Anchorage to deliver.  

And so she just stayed there, you know, in McGrath.  Which was fine.  Her mother-in-law was there and helped me, which was fine, but then the afterbirth, you know, sometimes the afterbirth doesn't -- doesn't come readily and -- and I had to ship her into Anchorage.  And that would be my -- that would be my luck to have that problem.  

Ordinarily -- I've been -- we had even traveled up to Nikolai and places with the Public Health nurse and I'd deliver a baby.  That was kind of fun.  Kind of fun because I wasn't the responsible one, in charge.  I was just helping.  

KAREN:  Now, were there midwives in to help also?  

ROSE:  They didn't have no official midwives.  You know, lots of those Native women knew how to deliver their babies, and stuff.  You know.
I remember I was in Nikolai with the Public Health nurse once, and this woman had a -- this patient had a -- she had that same problem I just mentioned.  The afterbirth wouldn't come.  

And those Native women, they would wash their hand real good and just go in and turn the baby, but the Public Health nurse, of course, wouldn't do that, you know.  That wasn't -- that was something she didn't do.  So this woman said, well, I'll do it.  We always do this.  Turned the baby.  Otherwise, it would have been breach.  

KAREN:  Oh, yeah.
ROSE:  And it turned out fine.

KAREN:  Do you know anything else about some of the traditional practices that went on and how people combine that with Western medicine?
ROSE:  No, they didn't.  No.  I don't think that the -- I don't think the doctors and nurses wanted to do -- wanted us to do that.  We had to go by the book.  

I remember sometime some people, some woman was there that she was -- she was a -- she wasn't a Native, she was a woman there that she believed in this other -- other kind of stuff.  But they didn't want nothing to do with her.  They didn't want her helping in the clinic or nothing.  Because it wasn't -- it was something that they couldn't -- they couldn't allow -- the Public Health nurse couldn't allow that.  Mixing traditional.  So --
KAREN:  And how do you feel about it?  

ROSE:  I didn't know.  I wasn't much exposed to it.  It didn't bother me none.  I wasn't exposed to that stuff much.  I just raised my kids.  I raised my kids and took care of them the way I learned.  Everybody learns how to do those things.  You know.  

KAREN:  Right.  What kind of equipment did the -- did they provide you as a health aide?  

ROSE:  Well, when you first take your training, you get the blood pressure cuff and stethoscope.  That's the beginning.
And as you got more training, you got more equipment.  That you could use.  Because you had training to use it.  Offhand, I can't say what they were.  Just something automatically you did, and nothing that -- 

KAREN:  What about medicines?  What kind of medicines did you have available?  

ROSE:  Oh, yeah.  I got all my medications from Anchorage.  Every month I'd order.  

KAREN:  Do you remember what kinds you had?  

ROSE:  Everything that they have now .  20 years ago when I quit, it's no different than it is now, I don't think.  

KAREN:  Uh-hum.  But when you just --

 ROSE:  The antibiotics and --

 KAREN:  Yeah.  

ROSE:  -- everything else. 

KAREN:  So when you first started, what -- what were the differences between when you first started and when you retired?
ROSE:  In what? 

KAREN:  In --

ROSE:  In the medications? 

KAREN:  Just in being a health aide, like different medicines, different equipment, different program?
ROSE:  Well, the difference was the training.  More you learn -- more schooling you got, the more you learned and the more you were responsible for.