Saturday, February 14, 2015


Nurse Dorothy McCauley was Born in Brighton, England and she has three sisters, Paula, Pat and Helen.  This is a picture of Dorothy today with her grandkids.  Her home town of Brighton is an ancient fishing village which emerged as a health resort in the 18th century and grew into one of the largest towns in England by the 20th century. Historically, the Romans built villas throughout Sussex, including a villa at Brighton.  In a twist of fate, after Nurse Dorothy retired from nursing and teaching for Johnson & Johnson in the USA, in 2011 she traveled to Mexico to visit her sister Paula in Ajijic. She was absolutely enchanted by 
the quaint town that grew along the banks of Lake Chapala. Dorothy quickly chose to build her own villa in Ajijic,  another ancient fishing village that has emerged as an Expat Health Resort in Mexico.  Backing up to her interest in health,  when she was just 16, Dorothy entered the general nursing school at St James hospital and graduated in 1961.  She immediately chose to become a Midwife and entered the esteemed Midwery school at Queen Charlottes hospital in London.  The BBC series “Call the Midwife” is actually filmed on the East side of London where Nurse Dorothy visited young mothers and delivered their babies.
Dorothy worked as a Midwife in the early 1960’s and like in the TV series, she too rode a bike with baby birthing tools, including drugs, plastic sheets, gloves, and masks neatly tucked into a black bag that was strapped to the back of the bike.  Once a doctor diagnosed a woman as pregnant, a midwife was assigned. The Midwife began by evaluating the health of the mother and also the needed preparations in the home.  Midwifery duties required monthly visits to the home for the first seven months, and then twice a week visits for the last two months of pregnancy. Midwifery emphasized building family relationships which included counseling the existing children in how their help would be essential after the newborn arrives.  If the father of the child was not out to sea as a merchant
marine, or working long dock hours, the Midwife was taught that she could not depend on the male income provider to take a work leave for the sake of a newborn.  In those days there was no such thing as sick leave. In England, the firstborn must be brought into the world in a hospital.  After the first delivery is made without complications, the second and following children were delivered at home. Delivering babies on the east end of London in large tenant buildings required logistical planning.   Most of the time there was no hot or cold water in the apartment and the toilets were down long hallways.  The Midwife would need a kettle, and privacy for the birth. If the husband was home, it was his responsibility to take care of any other kids. After 
time spent with the Midwife, the sibling kids were giddy with excitement to assist on the big day.   As there was no home phone, (the Teley was outside the building in the red booth) when labor began in the middle of the night, one child was instructed to call the London Bobby.  It was never appropriate for a Midwife to ride her bike, at night on the East side of London.   The alerted Bobby would ring the Midwife dormitory and arrange to escort the Midwife to the distressed mother. Dorothy recounted one tale of such an early morning birth.  She was driven to the apartment and arrived at 3:30 AM.  The mother was in wretched pain, and the father was at work.  Dad got home about 7:30 AM and began to climb into the only bed
in the apartment, right beside his agonizing wife. Dorothy warned him to get out of the bed, he replied “I have been working hard all night and I need my rest”.  Dorothy demanded “and your wife has been in labor all night too” Dorothy returned to the bedside and tossed a bucket of cold water on the man and he got out of the birthing bed!    Dorothy worked as a Midwife for nearly two years and she recalls many interesting situations.   Midwifes in the early 1960’s were on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week
without extra duty pay or any overtime. Her salary was only $50.00 per month.   In 1964 Dorothy, Linda and Eunice, all three Midwives’s in England, responded to an advertisement for Midwives in San Jose, California for $395.00 per month plus occasional overtime!  As it turns out the USA was not ready for Midwife Dorothy!  She had a one year contract to work in obstetrics as a Midwife; however, she soon learned that she was hired to simply clean up after the babies were born.  She informed doctors of her medical findings for expectant mothers on the phone,
and before the doctors got out of bed, on three seperate occasions, Nurse Dorothy had delivered three babies!  This had never been done, nor was it appreciated! It turns out the AD Dorothy had responded to was simply a publicity stunt for a new California hospital to have on staff three English trained Midwives. These three bold and courageous women still remain in contact to this day.  Linda now lives in San Francisco and Eunice moved back to England.  Dorothy lives in Ajijic, but she is not retired.  She works as a Nurse at a local orphanage for disabled children and at Casita Montana.  Local doctors consult with her and she still gives public lectures on the problems and solutions for diabetics.  Her humor and Brit wit is a pure delight and she can be found walking her beloved dog “Bonita” along the Malecon in Ajijic.  This story had to be written to honor the sweet care
that Nurse Dorothy continues to administer! Thank you Duchess Dorothy for your 40 years of sacrificial service, your generous heart and tremendous wit! Your husband is blessed to have you by his side and yours truly "Bonita" is certainly the luckiest dog that walks the cobblestones of Lakeside!  After all these years you remain professionally passionate and humbly enthusiastic about profividing great healthcare! Truly, I look forward to some delightful Red Hat luncheons and more laughs! Thank you for being so transparent and sharing your amazing story!   I am simply one genuinely greatful patient that respects your long and wonderful journey! Happy Valentines Day 2015 and the surprise visit from your sister Helen! 
"You've come a long way Nurse Dorothy!"

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