Parkland 2: The Times


Dallas Morning News September 1985

The 80's to me, were a lot like the 60's to others.

An inner-city county E.R. Nurse who smoked like a freight train and rarely (if ever) wore a seat belt, I drove a 1979 Pinto, drank way too much alcohol and reserved glove use for sterile procedures and only for the most obvious body fluids. It was the 80's. It was also the time when a poorly understood, spooky new disease was killing young gay men left and right.

If someone had said I was on a path of self-destruction - I would have thought they were nuts.

Parkland Hospital was the only Level 1 Trauma Center in the Dallas area and as a young ER Nurse, I had a need to be there. I was warned that Parkland was 'no frills', the patients were poor and uneducated and that the nurses were 'tough' but I was looking forward to 'a walk on the wild side' and would not be deterred.

I worked the night shift, 11pm - 7am and soon learned that most of what they said was true. Many of my co-workers were in fact 'tough' but they were also compassionate and real.

Generally, my patients were very poor and uneducated but they also taught me more about humanity than they will ever know.

Although we worked hard, we played hard as well. Breakfast tacos and margaritas were commonplace at a Mexican Restaurant nearby named 'Rositas' or a "Grand Slam" breakfast and cocktail could be had at Denny's after work.

But when we wanted to dance on a Friday morning was a dark little place on Northwest Highway where you would never attempt to frequent at night but who opened their doors at 6:30 am. With the lure of mixed drinks, flashing colored lights, strobes and a lit-up dance floor pulsating to the rhythm of the disco beat... cops, firefighters and various health care workers would fill the place. Closing time was 2pm and I can tell you that it was certainly a slap in the face to come outside and into the bright sunlight.

We were, young, single and indestructible. Sleep was for sissies.
Parkland 3: Triage
Not surprisingly, as of 2008, the numbers are up. The most recent data that I can find is from Be careful out there.
  • Murder = 226
  • Aggravated Assault = 8075
  • Rape= 601

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