Tatoo lady…

Many years ago, when I first started nursing, before the time when every other woman under 35 wore a tatoo, back when among men it was just sailors and bikers who sported tatoos, I had an elderly woman patient.  She was on the ICU on ventilator support – she could not talk.  This woman was covered head-to-toe in tatoos.  Her chart said that at a young age she had run away from home.  She had joined a traveling carnival.  A man convinced her that she could make a lot of money as a tatooed lady.  This would have been in the 1930’s.

I always wanted to talk to her about that experience and about her colorful life.  But she died while still on the ventilator.  So I never had the chance.  I still regret that.


About Dennis Pyritz

Dennis W. Pyritz, RN, BA, BSN, has been a cancer nurse since 1987 and a cancer and bone marrow transplant survivor since 2004. In December 2001 he was diagnosed with t-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL), a rare aggressive form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Dennis was treated with the then new monoclonal antibody, alemtuzumab (Campath) as this disease has a median survival of 7.5 months. He achieved a 26 month remission but relapsed in February 2004. He was retreated with Campath and went into a second remission. In August 2004 he underwent an allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplant with his brother, Mark, as donor. Dennis has remained in remission since - a near miracle. Throughout his career as cancer nurse and patient, Dennis has had the opportunity to speal to both lay and professional groups. Dennis has spoken on cancer topics and survival issues across the country as well as in the United Kingdom, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Cyrpus, Israel, and India.

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