Many of you may have read part of Greta's story by now. If you have, you can understand I played a pivotal role in it. There are facts, even now, which Greta did not and does not know.
Let me try to fill in the gaps. My name is Samantha Kramer and I am a registered nurse with the degrees, BSN, MSN, and M.Ed in school counseling. I am well qualified to teach health and sex education and to provide the care a sick or injured student might require.
I first spent time with Greta during her sophomore year. I had received a physician's excuse from physical education for one Gwen Delaney due to eczema related lesions on her body which required cauterization. I have been practicing my profession long enough to recognize certain phrasing used by doctors, and I called the pediatrician in question to ask her about this matter. Without breaking any confidentiality laws the doctor told me that the girl had clusters of skin tabs, all benign, that her parents were insisting on having burned off one or two at a time. When I asked if all of them could be excised in one procedure under anesthesia the doctor agreed with me, yes, it could, but the parents, particularly the father, insisted it be done this way. With the number of procedures the doctor had booked the child would be undergoing treatment from the present second week of sophomore year until the late spring.
When I asked could this be a ploy to keep the child out of physical education, the doctor said it was possible, but that the father, a local pastor of a very conservative church, had insurance that would pay better for the in-office work than for a non life-threatening hospital stay.
The school had a policy that any and all medications prescribed for a student had to be left with the nurse and if treatment with the medication were necessary during the school day the student would report to the nurse, me, for its administration. Beginning the third week of September, Gwen Delaney reported to me at the beginning of her gym period. I had the prescription crèmes needed to lessen scarring from the procedures in my office refrigerator, courtesy of the Delaney family.
The first day I asked her to remove her calf length skirt so I might apply the crème on the current burn site, her left hip. She complied and I was faced with a dilemma. She was wearing a full slip. Heavens, no one wore a full slip any longer, not even my mother who at the time was in her seventies.
"I'm, sorry, dear," I told her gently, "but I'm going to have to ask you to remove your blouse and your slip as well." I figured with a full slip the child probably was wearing a thong or might even be commando due to the topical rawness of her wounds. I was wrong. I also did not know that pantaloons such as she was wearing were still made for women. Legs banded with elastic stopping just above the knee and a waistband extending to her navel, these looked as though we stepped into the 1880s.
"Greta darling," I spoke as softly as I could, "Those have to go as well." She shyly turned and untied the bow at her waist and let the monstrosity of an undergarment fall into a puddle at her feet. "Just where do you purchase those?" I asked her in passing and was told that the women of the church met twice a month for sewing and except for her shoes, socks and bra, every stitch she wore was sewn by the churchwomen.
"Well, it is nice to have skills like sewing and cooking," told her, "I'm afraid I'd starve or go naked if I had to rely on my doing either one though." I'd said it as a joke, but true words are spoken in jest. Frankly I have no talent in the kitchen and the last time I tried to sew on a button I pricked myself with the needle four times.
I looked at the girl and she was a charmer, and I asked her, "If you were taking physical education would you be wearing the school uniform?" The uniform was sneakers, half socks, gym shorts (that came to mid thigh at best) and a t-shirt.
"Daddy and I have spoken on that issue," the child said, "and we are in agreement that modesty must be preserved. I would be wearing similar but longer shorts to my knee, so that my petit pants would be covered, and I would wear a long sleeved shirt."
"Oh," I said and slathered a bit of the ointment onto her raw sites. I noticed that she had many other skin tabs along the inner portions of her thighs and up the crack of her behind spreading across her lower back. This was the typical display of a viral inflammation of nerve bundles. Just as she began to pull up her undergarments I stopped her. "No, dear, the crème needs time to set in and dry. If you cover it right away it will rub off and be much less effective."
"The doctor told me and my father the same thing, but he huffed and said 'no child of mine is going to stand around naked waiting for some crème to dry', and hustled my mother and me out of the consultation room."
"Well, If you are able to put the crème on yourself at home and then stay in the bathroom or your bedroom until it dries, " I suggested.
"Daddy does not believe a teen age girl should have privacy, the only reason the shower in my bathroom has a curtain is to keep the water inside the shower. I have no door on my bedroom and I'm not allowed to spend more than five minutes in the bathroom with the door ajar when I need the toilet."
"Does your father remain in the room when the doctor examines and treats you?"
"Heaven's no, my mother is in attendance and that is the reason my doctor is a woman. Father is afraid a male doctor would look upon me with lust in his heart and I would cause him to sin."
"Oh, I see," I told her, giggling to myself. I knew her doctor professionally and also knew she had a long time female lover, a local real estate agent. The child might be providing more lusty thoughts than the father could ever imagine. She was one of the last of the 'natural' children I'd seen. No shaved legs, no shaved under arms, no trimmed pubic hair, arm pits still full of their hair and her hair on her head when unpinned hung down to the swell of her hips. Despite that no odor came from her body except the subtle top notes of lavender and lilac.
"Would you be offended if I asked you to remain nude while the crème properly dries into your skin?" I asked. "If you agree, you may remain for the entire hour of your gym class here with me and your medication will be allowed the time it needs to be effective."
I could see the wheels churning in the girl's brain. She had already sensed that in the cruel world of high school being as different as she was due to her parent's imposed dress code would get teasing enough, if it had not already. For her to expose to her classmates the undergarments she was wearing or her hairy state nude in the shower would make the teasing and ridicule unbearable. She had an out. An hour spent naked with a sympathetic nurse. Or the choice behind curtain number two was outright ostracism by her peers.
"I think I'd like to stay here with you, Nurse Kramer. Daddy has some very restrictive ideas about how I am supposed to live my life and I'm really afraid of how some of the other kids see me due to that."
Poor kid, she wanted to fit in, but was relegated to the role of square peg in a round hole due to her ultra-religious father.
Her parents had not even signed the consent form for sophomore sexual education. As the year went on and the sites of her minor surgeries varied, Greta and I decided that it was easier if she assumed certain poses and held them while the crème was drying on her skin. I told her about the sorority I had belonged to in college and the pledge poses we had to endure while trying to become members. There were four and if she could hold them for the hour it would help assure the medication would be properly absorbed. The crème had a certain irritating effect as well, and it made her itch. These poses, I assured her, would prevent her forgetting where her hands were supposed to be and stop her from scratching at the wounds.
.... There is more of this story ...