A Family’s Healthcare over a Century
By Julia Anderson
Among my childhood horseriding tricks was to gallop into our Twin Falls farmyard, swing off my horse by grabbing his neck, and stick a landing, Shoshone-Bannock style. When I executed this show-off maneuver one time at age nine, my left foot came down squarely on a nail protruding from a two-by-four that somehow lay on the ground.
The nail pierced my sneakers and went deep into the bottom of my foot. My screams brought my parents running. They carried me into the house, extracted the nail, which still held the block of wood, and got on the phone to the family doctor.
“Bring her in,” he said. “Just to be safe, she’ll need a tetanus shot.”
Hysterics followed. I hated shots, thanks to an earlier go-round with penicillin injections. My parents, on the other hand, viewed tetanus, also known as “lockjaw,” as a bacterial infection that could paralyze and kill you, especially children.
I got the shot and didn’t get tetanus.
At the time of my nail-in-the-foot incident in the mid-1950s, medical research and health care already had transformed American life from when my grandparents, the Crabtrees and the Andersons, settled in Twin Falls at the beginning of the 1900s.