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Source: (consider it) Thread: Fields of Gold
Aardvark
Shipmate
# 2295

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Miss Molly, I have read all the the threads that concern you but haven't posted much yet, so you probably don't know me very well. You are in my prayers all the time. I too am a cat lover and have had cats in my home for as long as I can remember. As a child I used to share my bed with at least two little feline bodies every night. I must introduce you to my tortoiseshell cat Stella. She is an old lady (about 10) but still catches birds with the best of them. At the moment she has her eye on a robin who has set up home in our tree. I hope he has his wits about him as she tends to blend into the background and may creep up on him unawares. She is so placid and gentle with humans but hates other animals, so we will never be able to get another pet as long as she is around. The children would love a dog but this would upset her too much.

Talking of books, did you or anyone else ever read "Nine Lives" by Lloyd Alexander? It's about a boy and his cat who visit nine different periods in history. It was one of my favourite books as a child.

--------------------
...a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?

Browning

Posts: 618 | From: just outside the M25 | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Margaret

Shipmate
# 283

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Miss Molly, this is another apology, from me this time and not the cats - the pictures of them I tried to e-mail to you were far too large and I see that the second one I sent, the one of Katie, has been sent back because there wasn't room in your mailbox. I'll print them out instead and send them to you snail mail!
Posts: 2456 | From: West Midlands UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Miss_Molly

Toujours gai
Beloved
# 2339

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Greetings to my dear ones! A happy, peaceful, roborative Sunday to you all.

I will be posting later today with the promised story. Please know that I am fine; I just am very tired.

Bessie, I hope you found the book and find it enjoyable.

Aardvark, I have long admired your LSD geode avatar! Thanks for telling me about your cats. Since I cannot have one, except for Freddy and his kittens, I love hearing all the cattales I can! I read the Lloyd Alexander book a few years ago. I think it would be a great childhood read for a cat lover.

--------------------
"I come from a state that raises corn, and cockleburrs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me"

Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver at a naval banquet in Philadelphia, 1899

Posts: 1242 | From: home | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Miss_Molly

Toujours gai
Beloved
# 2339

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God bless all here!

Margaret, I got the photo of Smudge. He is wonderful. I have been pruning my hotmail account so now I may have some room for Katie. Alternatively, I have an account with Lycos: iniondiolun@lycos.com Iniondiolun just means Miss Dillon.

I decided to start from the beginning of my hospital course, so you could see just how bad a patient I am. So here goes, part the first!

The last day I worked was July 5th. I had been feeling tired and a little short of breath for some time but put it down to overweight, and quite possibly congestive heart failure. I felt I could manage the heart failure with over-the-counter diuretics and fluid restriction until I was able to move to Denver and start work there at a job with benefits.

After July 5th, there were really no shifts that appealed to me, and I did not need the money, so I stayed at home but was steadily growing worse. On July 18th, I told my landlady I was going to have to give up and seek treatment at one of the freestanding clinics that IHC operates. Accordingly, she drove me there on the 19th, and the receptionist, thinking I was having an asthma attack, took me right in. I didn't even have to fill out my own paperwork---unheard of!

I was seen by a nice young physician, received a shot of Rocephin, a broad spectrum antibiotic, an albuterol treatment (they didn't believe me apparently when I told them I didn't have asthma), was placed on oxygen, and underwent a chest X-Ray and an electrocardiogram. After all had been done, the nice young physician informed me she was admitting me to LDS Hospital. I protested that I could not possibly go to the hospital as I had no insurance. Could I not receive an injection daily, perhaps with some tablets? But she showed me my X-Ray, and I knew she was correct in saying they could not manage my ailment: my right lung had a very large whitish patch, extending over half its dimensions. I didn't even bother to wonder what "anomalies in your lungs we want to investigate" meant. I simply resigned myself to entering the hospital for the treatment of pneumonia, coming out heavily in debt, but then being able to work to pay my debt.

I was meant to go to the hospital that night, but by the time we came home from the instacare it was around 7 PM and by the time I had washed clothes and notified Timothy I was being admitted it was almost 10 PM. Being an old nurse, I knew two things about being admitted at that time of night: it is a tremendous burden on a tired staff and it would mean being charged for 24 hours of care of which I would only be consuming two. (The billing day runs midnight to midnight.) Accordingly, I call the admitting office, and told them I would come in next morning. (You can see I like to run my own show, can't you? [Devil] )

I passed a pretty uncomfortable night. By now I was so breathless that just walking a few steps would cause me to have to gasp for breath for five minutes. In the morning, I packed a small tote, picked up Freddy to take with me (he had providentially arrived the day before), and called a taxi to go to the hospital.

I arrived at the hospital, and to people's anxious inquiries, naturally replied I was fine! Miss Manners lays it down as an ironclad rule of etiquette that unless you are actually spouting blood or carrying your inside bits in your arms, the only conceivable answer to people's queries is that you are fine. I walked to the emergency room where admitting is done on weekends, checked myself in, and refused the offer of a wheelchair. It was very important to me to reach my room on my own, possible as a charm to guarantee that I would be able to emerge from the hospital and work again. If I gave up so soon, who knew what would happen?

I arrived on the floor, announced myself to the ward clerk, and walked to the room she indicated. A nurse arrived immediately and just as soon as she got there I was on 3 liters of oxygen. We did the usual admission stuff. I filled out my own health history to save her time. The room was very large, actually one usually given to VIPs, and known to the staff as the "Luxor suite", but I did not have much time to enjoy it as I had to go for a CT scan.

The scan was difficult to undergo, as I had to lie flat, which hampered my breathing tremendously, and because the transporter had forgotten to bring any oxygen for me. Additionally, there was a problem in the scan going on ahead of mine, so I had to wait in the hall for about half an hour. But I did not yet think of myself as oxygen dependent, and was used to being short of breath at rest, so I didn't worry or feel particularly bad. The CT was finally taken and I was sent back to my room.

After a while, someone on the hospitallist (internal medicine doctor taking care of patients exclusively in hospital) team came in to tell me the radiologist said I had metastatic cancer in both lungs. There were 17 tumors, the largest three inches across. I knew right then I was going to die, that there would be no curative treatment.

I was not surprised, really. When I was in my 27th year, I took training as a hospice volunteer. This was in the days when the modern death and dying movement was just starting. Part of the training was to undergo a guided imagery session to envision one's own death. I proved to be a very gifted subject. I had a vision of my death with an apparent time marker. My nephew, who had just been born was in the vision and seemed to be about twenty-seven years old. I also tasted blood in my mouth, although I did not know at the time that frequently the dying have small blood vessels break and taste blood at the end. The instructor for the course told me I might have had a true seeing, based on the last detail. I, too, thought it was a real vision, and, accordingly, from then on the knowledge of my probably early death guided me, as I have mentioned elsewhere in this thread. So, when the news of my cancer was given me, I felt "oh yes, I was told about this."

I am glad, incidentally, that it came a bit "soon". My nephew is only twenty-five, but really I might have made a mistake---there is not much difference in looks between twenty-five and twenty-seven. And, as the years wound down to fifty-four, I would have been a bit nervous, waiting for death to show up. This way, I worked until very nearly the end and had no fear. Indeed, Dr. Reilly, seeing the tumor burden and the fluid in my right lung, was very surprised I had worked for so long.

I am glad. too. that it has finality to it. I never wanted one of those last ailments where hope and fear alternate until there is no more hope. I always hoped that my death, when it came, would wear its true face from the outset.

I hope this has not ruined anyone's day. If it has, let me know, and I will post warnings at the top of my posts if I am going to be "grim".

Tomorrow, chasing the wild primary tumor with whip and pistol!

My love to you all.

--------------------
"I come from a state that raises corn, and cockleburrs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me"

Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver at a naval banquet in Philadelphia, 1899

Posts: 1242 | From: home | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Scot

Deck hand
# 2095

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Ruined my day? Hardly! To see someone share such an intimate part of themselves with friend and stranger alike is a reminder of the calling of the wounded healer. To watch someone own their fate as surely as you do is sheer inspiration.

Miss Molly, I know that someday I am going to walk on the same road you are walking now (or one like unto it). Having had the guided tour will only make it easier to walk with confidence.

scot

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“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson

Posts: 9515 | From: Southern California | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rowen
Shipmate
# 1194

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Dear Molly, rather than ruin my day, I have an overwhelming urge to hug you...
I write now from a friend's house in Plymouth, UK... my trip continues, and it is so much fun. One of my objects in coming so far for so long, was that I find what I called a heartful of memories. You, I think, must have several heartfuls- or at least it sounds like it. When you go on the final journey, won't it be fun, sharing them again with God- who has been there all along of course, but will love talking them all over again with you?
At least, that's my belief anyway.
Shalom, blessings and, of course, hugs.

--------------------
"May I live this day… compassionate of heart" (John O’Donoghue)...

Posts: 4897 | From: Somewhere cold in Victoria, Australia | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gill H

Shipmate
# 68

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Thank you, Miss Molly. You might like to know that our church prayed for you yesterday. Last week one of our members (in her 20s) finally went to be with God after a battle with cancer, and as it was the first funeral our church has had, we were in a reflective mood. Your story inspired a great deal of heartfelt prayer.

I'm sure that by now someone has sent you the Eva Cassidy album 'Songbird' as it has your favourite 'Fields of Gold' on it. Yesterday I was listening to it and the track 'Wayfaring Stranger' caught my attention. The gutsy, passionate struggle with life and longing for Heaven in that song once again brought you to mind.

--------------------
*sigh* We can’t all be Alan Cresswell.

- Lyda Rose

Posts: 9313 | From: London | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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Molly, thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.

I don't think it's grim at all. These things are part of life, and I am blessed by seeing how well you handle them.

Moo

--------------------
Kerygmania host
---------------------
See you later, alligator.

Posts: 20365 | From: Alleghany Mountains of Virginia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Margaret

Shipmate
# 283

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A picture of Katie will soon land in your other mailbox, Miss Molly (I'd forgotten how limited the storage space Hotmail gives you is). Thank you very much for not complaining about such huge attachments, especially since now I can't do what I promised and print the photos out, as my printer expired last night!

And thank you for very much for the account of your illness and diagnosis - not depressing at all, but inspiring, and somehow very heartening and encouraging to other people who may well one day find themselves facing something similar. Bless you!

Posts: 2456 | From: West Midlands UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
dolphy

Lady of Perpetual Responsiblity
# 862

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Thank you Molly, not only for feeling that you can share these things with us but also for being the woman that you are. I have said it before and I will say it again, you are an inspiration to us all. [Heart] To 'hear' you write with such strength is wonderful and your sense of humour, as you know, never fails to make me cry tears of happiness. Thank you and keep the stories coming!
[Heart] (big bunch of sweet scented yellow roses) and love from us all here!!! [Heart]

--------------------
Looking forward to my rock moving closer again.

Posts: 15134 | From: my camper van | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ancient Mariner*
SOF Co-editor
# 105

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There isn't a trace of self-pity or sentimentality in any of your posts, Miss Molly.

Long may you face the issues we must all encounter at some time with the kind of grace and rigor that truly inspires and humbles us.

--------------------
'Now if you'll excuse me, I have to appear on a tortilla in Mexico...'
Jesus to Homer Simpson

Posts: 1087 | From: St Helens (near Liverpool) UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ham'n'Eggs

Ship's Pig
# 629

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Oh, Miss Molly, how I laughed when reading about your admission! [Big Grin]

And then was amazed yet again at the grace that is reflected from you. It is such a privilage to know you! [Heart]

Thank you for filling us in on more of the details that I've wondered about, but not had the temerity to ask.

BTW - you remember that ragged rapscallion who made so bold as to email you about 2 months ago? You were shrewd enough to spot some association with myself. (I have to admit that I did give the lad a helping hand at a crucial point in his life.) I'm sure that you will let me know when you have worked out his origin... [Wink]

With love and adulation,

Your Pig :oink:

Posts: 3103 | From: Genghis Khan's sleep depot | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Scarlet

Mellon Collie
# 1738

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Molly, yes I did get the book, and I read half of it prior to sleep last night. [Smile]
I'm at the part where he goes to confront Miles and his former girlfriend before taking the Big Sleep. That Pete, is one tough Kat. He just went through the battle with Belle and has escaped out the door. [Frown]

What all the rest above me have said applies to me, too. As I mentioned on another thread (probably the one that earned me membership in the Unsuccessful Thread Beginner's Refuge) I've always tended not to disclose pain, sorrow, suffering, sickness - even to absolutely deny anything is wrong. Then when I collapse or go crazy everyone is astounded and says "I never even knew this was going on." I learn from you how to be. God has told me in the past, not to stay so hidden...to come out into the light.

So I thank you....awaiting more as you can.

I have pictures back from Chrismation! Just as soon as I can make copies I'll send them for you and St Seb to see. (this week for sure)

Love always, Bessie [Heart]
And assorted purring noises and paw pats from Fearless.

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They took from their surroundings what was needed... and made of it something more.
—dialogue from Primer

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Lady A

Narnian Lady
# 3126

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Dear Miss Molly,
Yes, I was the one that said "Nurses make the worst patients" I would love to hear your story if you would tell it. I so love to hear honest and true stories, not only of situations, but also with their own role in it. I am a mediator by temperament and now by study (!), and a big part of that is learning to look at yourself. I have never had an experience of death, except a vision of being a part of the rapture, but I sincerely love C.S. Lewis and his attitude towards it. I read his "Letters to an American Lady" and wonder how she felt about his thrill that she may die and be on the other side at last! I am honored that you would share that with me. Your sharing has been so open, and honest, a true blessing for me in that I have never had to really deal with someone in your situation. You have given me insights and a heart for those that are on a journey they will not return from, and I have grown in compassion coupled with knowledge.
Thank you so much. In spite of all, I pray for you and the gift you've given all of us.

Posts: 2545 | From: The Lion's Mane, Narnia | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Miss_Molly

Toujours gai
Beloved
# 2339

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(discovered in front of her mirror, combing her hair to conceal her horns.)

Good afternoon, my Australian shipmates, my sympathy to you, my British and continental shipmates who will be having to rise to a new day soon, and of course, sweet dreams to my American and Canadian shipmates.

To continue with my tale, Sunday was a day of rest as the Bible commands, except for ritual cleansing for the following day's CT ceremonial, where the mysteries of my abdomen were to be revealed. This cleansing was accomplished by drinking a special beverage, citrate of magnesia (known as the green bomb) and eating special tablets. These nourishments provided me with exercise and diversion, successfully preventing any melancholy.

In the morning then, I was conveyed, this time with oxygen, to the CT exam room, where again I lay down, passed through the portal of the machine, held my breath and released it as instructed, and so provided the doctors with a look at my innards. The procedure is painless. A dye is injected into your veins which provides contrast in your organs, improving the clarity of the picture. This dye causes a warm feeling to spread throughout your body as your circulation carries it in your arteries. The only difficult part of the procedure is holding your breath for the required interval if, as I was, you are gasping a bit for air.

After the procedure, I was taken back to my room. Here, I must just say a word about the friendly transporters. They were courteous and strong. I couldn't believe the speed with which some quite slender female transporters wheeled my bulk the great distance from my room in the new hospital to the X-Ray department in the old. They were also obliging. There were historical displays on the walls, and on two occasions, when I asked, they were willing to pause and let me examine the objects and texts. And, they always wrapped me warmly so I would be comfortable if I had to wait in the X=Ray department hall. The one who forgot my oxygen was covered with shame when she discovered her mistake. She never forgot again.

The CT scan was not the revelation for which Dr Reilly hoped. We were searching for a primary tumor that was the mother of the ones in my lungs. The ones in my lungs were so poorly differentiated, that is to say, so undeveloped and useless except at using nourishment and growing very fast, that their origin, and hence the best treatment, could not be determined. The scan showed no tumors in my belly.

We thus had to go to the next step, an endoscopy and colonoscopy, to look for cancer in my gastrointestinal tract, a frequent source of metastases. The ritual cleansing I had undergone the night before was not sufficient. If I had been reasonably kosher, now I had to be kosher for Passover! Accordingly, I was brought a large jug of clear liquid, and told I must drink the whole thing. This was Colyte, a combination of potassium, sodium, and polystyrene designed to cleanse any secret wrinkle of your bowels that the other measures missed. I have bullied patients into drinking it myself, with the best of intentions. A 'scope does no good unless you are literally pink and squeaky clean inside; if you are not, disease can hide. However, I repent in the dust! The stuff tastes like melted plastic picnic forks, naturally enough, as they are made of this plastic. Your body knows very well it is not supposed to ingest forks. Your mother warned you when young to be careful! My body was doing an uncanny imitation of George Bush, Sr. (very odd this for a life-long yellow dog Democrat) and speaking to me in these words: "Nope, nope! Not gonna do this. Wouldn't be prudent."

In short, I am convinced it is one of the beverages served to the damned. I resolved to be good the rest of my life. I succeeded in drinking about half of it, turning deaf ears to all pleas to ingest more. I really could not have drunk any more, if you had promised me it would cure my cancer!

But not to worry, the team had another liquer for my delectation. In the morning, I was provided with a "phospha-soda". This delightful refreshment simply tasted like salt diluted just enough to be swallowed. It did have the advantage of being small in volume! I choked it down in about five swallows.

My body showed these cocktails had been effective by producing clear lemonade at the targeted orifice. I was glad I was at LDS Hospital and not University, because at University, we often practice the art of "enemas until clear" on our patients. Again, I repented and resolved to be very good in future.

After all was over, I cleaned up, and collapsed in my comfy bed to wait for my journey to have my lung punctured and then my journey to the tender mercies of Dr Petersen and his team. I made this trip in my bed. Going down the hall, I felt rather like the late Queen Mother in a state landau. I practiced my gracious wave at passers-by, who did not realize how privileged they were.

Why were they going to puncture my lung, you may ask? They had decided to obtain a sample of the fluid that was now almost filling my right lung, and had actually collapsed one of the lower bronchi in that estimable organ, which I came to refer to as Dex. Accordingly, I assumed a seated position, leaned forward over a tray table which had a pillow on it on which to rest my folded arms, and let a maniac, excuse me a gifted and dedicated physician, thrust a needle into an important bit of my anatomy. All while he watched a CT representation of my lung, so he wouldn't miss and hit something else, say my heart. (tongue in cheek smiley)

The needle was attached to rubber tubing, and the tubing was attached to a vacuum bottle. Dex was very obliging, spouting fluid first try. I was curious to see the fluid, and the doctor obliged me. It was rootbeer colored, dear friends. Not a good sign, in case you wondered. When I told my mother about it later, she commented, "I have told you and told you! Drink it, don't inhale it!"

Then on to the colonoscopy suite, where they started an IV and the last thing I remember is a huge injection of Demerol and Versed. The Demerol, for non-Americans, is Meperidine, a potent painkiller, the Versed is a drug to relax, assist sedation, and not least, to provide you with amnesia as regards the procedure. Fair enough, having tubing snaked down your throat as far as it will go and up from your posterior, also as far as it will go, would not be most people's choice of a golden moment to treasure in memory.

These recreations were jolly, but in the event, unhelpful in locating the cancerous mother lode. My digestive system was healthy, and there were no shed cancer cells in my lung fluid. I was actually relieved, however. I had been dreading them finding cancer in my bowels and having to decide whether or not to let them remove some of my intestine and make me an external emptying system. I had made up my mind, no. The surgery and the recovery period would eat up a good deal of any remaining time I had. Also, I have often cared for patients with various ostomies. For many people, it is a good and lifesaving option. But I knew, that in my case, as I grew steadily weaker, someone would have to deal with it for me. Put it down to stubbornness or unreasonable pride, but I was determined to deal with my own digestive products, as long as my bowels might function. I thought I could bear the pain when a tumor might cause complete blockage. I also was grateful there was no fungal infection in my lung, as it was possible there might have been. The physicians, being thorough, were ruling out everything besides cancer, including fungal diseases of the lung and tuberculosis. If I had had such an infection, the drug of choice would have been one known to nurses as Amphoterrible. Enough said?

So, all in all, things might have been much worse, I felt. And of course, so I wouldn't be bored, there were more diversions planned.

Stay tuned for: extracting lung tissue through a tiny hole and through darkest ICU-land!

--------------------
"I come from a state that raises corn, and cockleburrs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me"

Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver at a naval banquet in Philadelphia, 1899

Posts: 1242 | From: home | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
welsh dragon

Shipmate
# 3249

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Dear Molly,

Am following the saga with interest. Awaiting the next installment.

[Heart] Love and prayers [Heart]

WD

Posts: 5352 | From: ebay | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
sophs

Sardonic Angel
# 2296

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dear Molly
God bless you
love hugs and prayers
sophs:sunny:

Posts: 5407 | From: searching saharas of sorrow | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Janine

The Endless Simmer
# 3337

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My Mamman Rita died at the age of 81 this summer... (this summer past, I guess it would be, for Northerners & Europeans. This winter passing, for Australians?)

She had some congestive heart failure, and was taking that blood thinner that's also used in rat bait. [Razz] [Razz] [Razz]

I had moved from South Louisiana to wait out the "oil bust" of the 1980's, settling in the the tri-state area of Iowa/Nebraska/South Dakota. My dh Michael worked mostly for the big worldspanning meat processors. I wrote obituaries and delivered singing telegrams.

We came back home in the summer of 1995, bringing with us the best of the gain of almost 10 years away from the bayou: a third child, named for my father and Mike's grandfather, and a red brindle pit bulldog.

We were blessed to move in across the road from Mamman, and to descend again into the Cajun lifestyle. I began to love her all over again, as an adult and a mother myself, building rich layers onto my child-love and memories.

She was a strong woman, reveling in all-season gardening. She kept a huge flock of chickens and sold the coveted home-grown eggs for $1.00 per dozen. I'd often find her caring for an uncle's pack of deer dogs, wearing her floppy gardening hat and jeans and orthopedic tennies.

I remember her uncharacteristic gentle hug of my husband's niece (we are not a touchy-feely family), who was staying with us to escape an abusive home life.

I remember her flashing movie-star smile... great false teeth she had. The old Cajun way is not to fight to preserve the teeth, you see, but to yank 'em at the first sign of trouble, and to obtain a fantastic set of false teeth.

So many trips to her various doctors... I was blessed to play chauffeur, since Mamman never did learn to drive. She was such a homebody, content on her home ground. It was odd-feeling to bring her out for increasingly more frequent medical appointments, she who could barely be persuaded into a daughter's nearby brick home when hurricanes threatened...

One last project she tackled was to be hostess, along with my sister Jolene, to a visiting documentary crew from Canada. From Quebec, I suppose, since all the dialog was to be in French. They were filming the various aspects of my sister's life (imagine! my baby sister, a documentary star!), as she is a linguist and the directoress of the Evangeline/Longfellow Acadian Museum in St. Martinville, Louisiana.

So, they filmed her working, and they filmed her fiance's family, as they all speak Cajun French and are active in preserving the culture of the Cajuns. Then they came to Thibodaux to film Mamman and Jolene cooking an eggplant cake.

A spitting, scratching cat-fight between the director and the "star", a Canadian actress of some soap opera fame, was also conducted in French. Around Mamman's sacred kitcen table!

Jolene stood there amazed, wondering why Mamman didn't grab them by the scruffs of their necks to wash their mouths out with pumice soap! Such extravagant cursings! All with religious overtones, too. Translated, it was "You tabernacle!" "You chalice!" "Holy idiot!"... Things like that.

(Are the arguments on the streets in Quebec all filled with churchy cursings? Or are those code-word references to prostitutes' body parts, or some other mysterious cultural adaptation?)

Anyway...

You remind me so much of Mamman, M.M. Not on the surface, perhaps... but you are both wise women, who shed love. Mamman wasn't educated, having left school after the fourth grade. Her wisdom was apparent, though; she told me how and when to plant things, and she was sharp about people and their motives.

She kept track of the intimate business of an extended family with wildly different lifestyles. She enjoyed life and sharing the work of her hands. She kept a succession of special cats as far back as I can remember.

Uncle Charles found one morning that she had passed away in bed. How uncharacteristic that was; no one was more interested in being 'up and doing' than Mamman Rita.

You have reminded me of a particularly great lady whom I loved, through your wit and lovingkindness. My sincere hope for you is that you continue to travel this rough road you're on with strength and style and wit and grace and love. I pray for your complete recovery, but even more urgently I pray that you draw ever nearer to God... as that is the most important bit, yes? [Angel]

--------------------
I'm a Fundagelical Evangimentalist. What are you?
Take Me Home * My Heart * An hour with Rich Mullins *

Posts: 13788 | From: Below the Bible Belt | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Beethoven

Ship's deaf genius
# 114

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Molly, my dear,

I promised I'd make time to stop by your thread, and here I am, with many apologies for my long-ish absence! May I first of all offer the services of two more bunnies - if I didn't send you photos of them, their pictures are on my website, which I will email to you.

George and Alice are enjoying the nice autumn days that we're having at the moment, but I think the weather is just becoming a little too chilly for their liking first thing in the morning, judging by their recent reluctance to go out. Alice was a dirty great stopout the other night - did not appear at all, although she was called a great number of times. The next day we had a note from our next-door neighbour through the front door, just to say that Alice had appeared out of her spare room that morning. Sue had left the window open a crack the previous day, to air the room ready for her granddaughter's visit. Once certain cat, in disgust at not being allowed into her own house, regardless of the number of times she (presumably) stared in through the kitchen window, had let herself in and settled down in peace and comfort for a good night's sleep! [Disappointed] What a good thing that Sue is a good neighbour, and is very fond of cats!

Must get on with some work now... Much love to you, Molly. May you know that you are always on my mind, forever in my heart.

God bless you (and yes, that halo is just about hiding your horn buds!) [Angel] [Devil] [Angel]

Beets

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Who wants to be a rock anyway?

toujours gai!

Posts: 1309 | From: Here (and occasionally there) | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
dolphy

Lady of Perpetual Responsiblity
# 862

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Dearest Molly,
Just got home and am ready to throw myself at a shower, eat and sleep! But I wanted to say thank you for your email... i will respond tomorrow, once my brain is back in gear! But thank you thank you thank you.... [Wink] [Heart] [Heart] [Heart] Don't think I need to say more right now!

Love forever,
All of us here!!!

--------------------
Looking forward to my rock moving closer again.

Posts: 15134 | From: my camper van | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Scarlet

Mellon Collie
# 1738

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Oh, I've been meaning to offer a bunny to you, Molly. His name is Fred and he would be quite pleased to have his little life be useful to someone - in such a wonderful assignment as nibbling pain away.

He belonged to my daughter's nephew - who lived across the street from them. Sadly, he became homeless due to a unspeakable tragedy.

[Waterworks]

My daughter, son-in-law, and 2 grandkids took him to keep. He has a 2 story condominium outside with a fan, heat lamp, quilt covering and as many rabbit amenities that can be given. But, you know - it's not much of a life for a beautiful long haired brown rabbit. He is quite large, a real thumper. He misses, I'm sure, his original Justin, who loved him.

So, I'll be happy to know he's on your team.
(and so will Becky, Steve, Ashley and Stevie)

--------------------
They took from their surroundings what was needed... and made of it something more.
—dialogue from Primer

Posts: 4769 | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Scarlet

Mellon Collie
# 1738

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P.S. I'll try to get a picture of Fred to send with the other pix I'm sending. I've left Becky a message to ask for one.

Hugs/Bess

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They took from their surroundings what was needed... and made of it something more.
—dialogue from Primer

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clare
Contributing Editor
# 17

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Dear Miss Molly,

Have to echo Scotts comments - reading your brave and generous accounts helps bring together aspects of life, living and dying that normally exist in separate compartments. I have a real adversion to hospitals, I hate being in them (thankfully so far only at birth, the odd bit of stiching up and visiting other people), just reading the posters about illnesses to watch out for turns my stomach! and I avoid hospital dramas on the telly. Part of this is good old fashioned squeemishness, maybe part of it a fear of illness and pain and the sacrifice of normality that comes with ill health. But hearing your stories makes it sound less scary, less 'other'. It will probably come sometime, if not to me to people I love. And God will give me strength too.

thanks again, and may you continue to enjoy all Gods blessings.

love clare

Posts: 2317 | From: edge of the peak district | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Margaret

Shipmate
# 283

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Dear Miss Molly, one lot of Reiki will be coming to you from a very slightly different angle for the next three days, as I'm going down to Cornwall, in the far south-west, to visit friends until Saturday. I'll catch up with this thread then - meanwhile I admire you more than ever for managing to swallow all those melted plastic forks...

Much love, Margaret

Posts: 2456 | From: West Midlands UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
duchess

Ship's Blue Blooded Lady
# 2764

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Miss Molly,

I read through your entire thread today with interest. I meant to earlier but things keep popping up...and God then gently tapped me on the
shoulder when I heard Sting singing "Fields of Gold" this morning...on my FM car radio.

My update: grandma still alive, in hospital in Iowa...I may go out there on Thanksgiving. My boss's temperment has been very nice lately..she let me know I will not be canned since I have a "positive attitude" [translation...I am doing a good enough job $$$ in sales]. As they say, Money talks.

My life has definitly been touched by your Molly. Even through your ordeals, you still are always curious to hear about mine. When I talked to you on the phone, I was always scared I was depleating your precious energy. I could have talked to you forever.

Hopefully you have recovered from my naughty posts on msn to you and the cat-eating-rumour-starter (St. Seb) on msn (remember that? [Devil] )

I find all the details you write about your treatment a big comfort. My thing in life is always to KNOW EVERYTHING. I want to know DETAILS of what you are going through...and your thoughts since I do get down about you having to leave the mothership. I don't want you to be in pain...and sometimes I imagine it worse than it is for you.

I must put this link up...this is incorporating my idea for a hyprocrite on the ship and Scot and other's idea for someone banging their head in frustration:

http://home.earthlink.net/~mathis909/smilies/smilies.htm

(courtesy of Scot's webpage, where he put them)

I don't know why...but I always laugh looking at these. I hope they make you laugh as well.

May God continue to sustain you with His unbinding light...yes, I wish Him to heal you, dear sweet sister.

Posts: 11197 | From: Do you know the way? | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
duchess

Ship's Blue Blooded Lady
# 2764

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One more thing I forgot to tell you Miss Molly...
hunching the shoulders up...tightening...and then releasing IS HELPING me at work whenever my boss fires daggers like "I know it's Friday but we've still got to WORK"...thx for the tip. [Big Grin]

--------------------
♬♭ We're setting sail to the place on the map from which nobody has ever returned ♫♪♮
Ship of Fools-World Party

Posts: 11197 | From: Do you know the way? | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
multipara
Shipmate
# 2918

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Afternoon Miss Molly,

I've been off-line for the last few days and have just tuned in to the Great Primary Hunt Caper....

A great lesson in irreverent demystification of the investigation process! I wonder whether your various attendants at LDS know how they have been displayed like so many butterflies in cyberspace? Love it!!!

On tenterhooks for the next cliffhanger and thinking of your white cell count all the while,

m

--------------------
quod scripsi, scripsi

Posts: 4985 | From: new south wales | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Miss_Molly

Toujours gai
Beloved
# 2339

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Ahoy again, dear shipmates. I say this sotto voce for New World maties who are asleep, in a determinedly brisk and cheerful dayshift nurse tone for the UK and continental contingent, and in winding down-to-the-end-of-the-workday cadence for those in Oz!

Thank you, Beets and Bessie, for sending your rabbit companions to help me.

Thank you, Janine, for the wonderful memoir of your dear Maman. You may be interested to know that traditional Ozarkians often lack teeth as well. However, they usually try to retain a couple, preferably in opposition to one another. They do own dentures, but often they are for ceremonial use.

I am glad the tense and release is helping, your Grace. My prayers are with your grandmother. If you ever feel inclined to call me, please do so. I found it delightful to talk to you.

Dear shipmates, I just ran out of oomph. I will post more later today.

--------------------
"I come from a state that raises corn, and cockleburrs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me"

Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver at a naval banquet in Philadelphia, 1899

Posts: 1242 | From: home | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Sparrow
Shipmate
# 2458

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A Watership Down full of rabbits to you, Molly!
Posts: 3149 | From: Bottom right hand corner of the UK | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Clíona
Shipmate
# 2035

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Dear Molly, mo chroi agus mo chara dhil,

I'm really enjoying your storyteller turn of phrase here, despite the content being so gorey! You do have a gift. You could have taken the title 'Ship's Seanchai' but then, nobody would have understood except you and me, and perhaps Fudge! (A Seanchai is a story-teller in Gaelic to everyone else who's reading.) You make me laugh out loud and also cry from hearing your story. Thankyou for sharing. I can't believe I'm stupid enough to have read your description of the CT scan and various beverages and punctures done to you while in front of one of my training classes! [Eek!] (They were doing an exercise.) I'm sure I turned various shades of green and red as I alternatively felt nauseous and wanted to laugh. (Hmm. Must set them a harder exercise so I have more time to write! [Devil] )

Anyway, my dear, Ireland's feeling very Autumnal at the moment. The skies are grey and full of rain - but, when you can see the trees through the driving rain they're a panoply of gold and red, dressing up to celebrate the end of another year. The rain brings another joy too - the smell of the earth at this time of the year is really pungent. It smells of fertility and promise, giving hope that will extend past the cold, dark days of Winter. The fields across the river from my house are all golden as the hay has been saved, which means you're constantly in my thoughts.

I hope your rabbits are like the Beast of AAaaarrggh! from Monty Python, that they will gobble up your pain so you can feel some comfort. This is my prayer for you. Although I'm sure it makes God laugh to hear it! [Big Grin]

Love,
Cliona

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Starting (yet) again...

Posts: 1262 | From: Back in Dublin | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ham'n'Eggs

Ship's Pig
# 629

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Dear Miss Molly,

Thank you for your latest episode which made me laugh lots again. I see what you mean now about not being a good patient!

Love and prayers, as always.

H&E

P.S. I received this communication this morning, and cannot make head or tail of it. What do you think?

quote:


Skimmit, Sidle & Dash
Solicitors, Commisioners for Oaths, Mourners
12 Sea-Dumpling Lane, London, EC.

7 October 2002

RE: Investigations on behalf of your client Master B. Ocean.

Dear Sirs,

In accordance with your kind instructions, we have commenced the requisite searches.

We are awaiting a response from the main line of enquiry that you supplied (being Sister Perpetua of the Corporation Foundling Hospital, Portsmouth).

We shall revert to you forthwith upon further developments.

Please be assured of my utmost attention to this matter.

Yours,

Eustace Sidle.

Mr. Hashem Djaroueh
c/o/ Djaroueh Imports/Exports International,
Pikine Road Market, Fass, Dakar
SENEGAL



Posts: 3103 | From: Genghis Khan's sleep depot | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Janine

The Endless Simmer
# 3337

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Note to Hammie:

Hunh?!? [Paranoid]

Confusedly,

JC

--------------------
I'm a Fundagelical Evangimentalist. What are you?
Take Me Home * My Heart * An hour with Rich Mullins *

Posts: 13788 | From: Below the Bible Belt | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Gill H

Shipmate
# 68

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Think it's something to do with our friend Blue.

--------------------
*sigh* We can’t all be Alan Cresswell.

- Lyda Rose

Posts: 9313 | From: London | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ham'n'Eggs

Ship's Pig
# 629

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Hi Janine, and welcome to the Ship. [Smile]

Miss Molly likes a good puzzle. (Even when the pieces are spread out over several months.) I think that this may be one.

Posts: 3103 | From: Genghis Khan's sleep depot | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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Don't worry Janine, Hammy Eggy has always been mad (he hit his head falling off a gangplank when he was a baby) and is unlikely to stop now.

But if you think he is weird, you should meet some of the other shipmates...... [Paranoid] [Yipee]

I, of course, am perfectly normal [Wink]

Keep up with the everlasting sentences Molly! At least they're not too tiring to post, you can almost do them in your sleep [Snore] [Big Grin]

--------------------
Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

Posts: 34626 | From: Cream Tealand | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Scarlet

Mellon Collie
# 1738

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Sleep well, dear one.
Hugs, hand holds, purrs, pats and all that jazz. [Heart]

--------------------
They took from their surroundings what was needed... and made of it something more.
—dialogue from Primer

Posts: 4769 | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Miss_Molly

Toujours gai
Beloved
# 2339

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Dear shipmates, thank you all for your kind words.

Thank you, Margaret, for continuing the Reiki even on a pleasure trip. I hope you have a good and relaxing visit with your friends.

Thank you, your Grace, for your phone call! It is always a pleasure to talk to you.

Thank you, Cliona, for your description of an Irish autumn. I could almost see and feel "the road wet, and the wind close".

Ham'n'Eggs, thanks for the puzzle! I am noting all clues.

Bessie, thank you and our sweet Fearless for your affection.

And now the saga continues! (cue John Williams music)

I must say I resisted the patient role. For instance, I usually did not wear my identification bracelet, as it got in my way in the loo. And after all, I was prepared to tell anyone who I was. (Joy of the World and Glory of the Purple, Byzantine Holy Roman Empress, in case anyone has forgotten.) The day I was abducted by aliens and probed, I had left it on my bedside table, and the longsuffering transporter had to go back for it.

After the aliens released me, I was back in my room, with my friend Marian at my bedside to help. Because of medication needed to successfully pass the scope down my throat, I was a little slurred in my speech and I could not swallow, but I expressed as well as I could my gladness in seeing her. I kept on talking and trying to make my swallow muscles work, until she finally said, "Rest! You don't need to entertain me." I said to her that I was afraid to rest, because I feared I would choke. I knew this was silly, because I had also had medication to decrease my saliva flow, but I still was afraid. She told me soothingly that she would not let me choke, and on this assurance by a nurse I trusted, I was able to fall back asleep.

After a rest period, I woke up, and found myself able to swallow once again and hence eligible for a tray containing hot cider, jello, and broth! I was very eager for this and hoovered it up, the nurse part of my brain having been bound and gagged by the hunger and thirst part of my brain. (If I had been my patient, I would have told me to take a few sips slowly and see how I felt.)

Just after this delectable meal, my friend Lincoln Ure showed up. He is a priest, and had come to give me the Sacrament. I was delighted to see him, and most glad to make my Communion. But just after he had left, my indiscretion in diet caused me to vomit. Please don't tell Fiddleback or similarly inclined shipmates, as I think the Inquisition's writ may still run in Utah...

Marian had had to leave, but she had passed the conn to Jean, another nurse friend. This worthy patiently held the trash can for me to deposit my toenails in. More than this, her excellence extended to not turning a hair as I set the floor awash with urine, since my bladder has the curious idea it is supposed to empty at the same time as my stomach.

Although I had often tended nauseous and incontinent patients, and never felt they were any less as people, I had sworn if ever I were a patient, my body would be under control. It was good for me to have the experience of being helpless and humiliated.

I had also sworn I would never call out for a nurse, but express my requests on their rounds or in case of emergency only, use the call button. This also came under the category of vows that caused amusement in high places. The first night I wore my C-PAP, I slept so well I forgot I was basically breathless. In the morning, needing to use the loo, I swiftly rolled over in bed, sat straight up, and was immediately completely winded and gasping. In my case, I can only wear the mask if my breathing is controlled. If I am gasping, it feels as if I am drowning in the flow of air. So I pulled off the mask, thinking this was not good, but that I would just reattach my nasal cannula tubing to the oxygen source and so be all right. I could not find the tubing! (Later it proved to be coiled up neatly on top of the machine, but I could not locate it in my haste.) Again I thought this was not good but I would call the nurse. Accordingly, I pushed the call button. Of course, no nurse appeared within the next nanosecond, which I was feeling as an hour or two. This was not good either, but I thought I would now be justified in yelling for help! I emitted feeble little cries, no doubt inaudible if you were more than a foot away. Of course, I had insisted my door be shut at all times, as well... However, at this juncture, an aide appeared. She was very frightened by my breathing, but I was able to indicate to her what I needed, and soon was back to baseline!

My best love to you all.

--------------------
"I come from a state that raises corn, and cockleburrs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me"

Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver at a naval banquet in Philadelphia, 1899

Posts: 1242 | From: home | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Janine

The Endless Simmer
# 3337

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M.M.:

Not to say I have anything less than a sky-high opinion of nurses... my maternal grandparents Granny and Pappy Green were both nurses... but there are only so many nurses and aides available on a split-second's notice.

So, I always try to stay with loved ones in the hospital if there might be any urgent need at all during their stay.

Well, except for when my mom-in-law is in a critical-care cardiac unit after her occasional angioplasties. At those times she is fully visible and only 15 feet away from the nurses' station. They wouldn't let me stay there 24/7 anyway.

It's great that you have people who check on you and help you, but please don't feel like a failure if you need to ask for help when they aren't around to jump to your side.

I agree with you; the humbling aspects of physical infirmity are good for us, I think. I have always been the tough one, the strong one, among other women... I was Daddy's "boy" when I was small.

Now that I am approaching 40, I find it necessary to make a grand campaign out of it if I want to keep my body at the level it had 10 and 20 years ago... thus far, I've not been willing to do the work, so downhill I go.

You're likely doing yourself a world of good with your postings-in-a-bottle to the Ship, and your e-mails, etc. I know you're doing me a great deal of good!

Thank you! [Not worthy!] [Angel] [Sunny]

--------------------
I'm a Fundagelical Evangimentalist. What are you?
Take Me Home * My Heart * An hour with Rich Mullins *

Posts: 13788 | From: Below the Bible Belt | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
St. Sebastian

Staggering ever onward
# 312

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((wonders if all this bodily fluid falderal was before or after he made his fateful appearance at the behest of shipmates. Thinks sullenly that that a chapter entitled "The Radiant Light of Extreme Humility and Compassion That Is Sebastian" had best be forthcoming....))

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St. Seb

In Spite of Everything: Yes.

Posts: 962 | From: Burlington, North Carolina | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ham'n'Eggs

Ship's Pig
# 629

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St Sebastian - looks like she is building up the expectations. Am eagerly awaiting your entrance stage left.

Miss Molly, what am I to do? I appear to be acting as some sort of post office for armchair detectives. Yet another missive has gone adrift:

quote:

Skimmit, Sidle & Dash
Solicitors, Commisioners for Oaths, Baliffs
12 Sea-Dumpling Lane, London, EC.

8 October 2002

RE: Inv on bhlf your clnt Mstr B. Ocean.

Dear Sir,

Further to my communication of the 7th inst, I gives me pleasure to inform you that there have been developments in this matter.

I have received a communication from Sister Perpetua. (I would rather not quote from it. Suffice be it to say that she appears to have attended the Seminary of Life) The substance thereof is that Master Ocean was, at the age of about 4 months old, deposited on the doorstep of the Foundling Hospital wrapped in a brown paper parcel, by a mysterious cloaked figure that vanished into the night.

I shall revert to you as soon as further information is forthcoming.

I remain Sir, your obedient servant,

Eustace Sidle, BA(London)

Mr. Hashem Djaroueh
c/o Djaroueh Imports/Exports Intnl,
Pikine Road Mkt, Fass, Dakar
SENEGAL



--------------------
"...the heresies that men do leave / Are hated most of those they did deceive" - Will S


Posts: 3103 | From: Genghis Khan's sleep depot | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
daisymay

St Elmo's Fire
# 1480

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Hi, Miss Molly and Cliona!

I know that storyteller person as the Sennachie. I think it's also the person who recites the genealogy of the monarch at their enthronement.

Miss Molly, I'm afraid I disposed of all the artefacts and books from the family. I didn't know that I could be embraced because of my grandparents, BTW.

In London, the sparrows have all disappeared. Only this year have we encouraged any birds into our back yard (paved with York stones, an old London patch as big as a room, not and American "yard"), since the decease of Jerry who is in cat's heaven chasing everlasting butterflies in the sunshine. Now we have been blessed by the regular visits of a dunnock, a hedge sparrow, which comes and lurks around in the clematis and jasmine. It's totally unfased by our presence.

We also get flocks of marauding tits, who whizz down, munch up all the insects they can find in five minutes and then chatter off to the next fly-in-cafe.

--------------------
London
Flickr fotos

Posts: 11224 | From: London - originally Dundee, Blairgowrie etc... | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Bronwyn
Shipmate
# 52

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I have crept back onto the ship, dispite being on shore leave. Sean managed to fix the computer for me but I can't have MSN so I am sad because I love chatting to you Miss Molly. This connection is by the minute so I have to restrict it and with the moving I can not be here too often. Still will keep up when I can.

B

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Fragile X syndrome is part of our lives. Someone I love makes me proud who has this syndrome. I love you Miriam.

Posts: 1221 | From: Melbourne (Australia) | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Miss_Molly

Toujours gai
Beloved
# 2339

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Hello again, dear shipmates.

Daisy Msy thanks for the account of the birds in your neighborhood. As you know, I have ducks and geese living across the street. When the sun should be coming up, the geese take the place of roosters and summon him from his slumbers with loud honks! Yes, your grandfather would count as your Masonic affiliation for purposes of joining Eastern Star; I am assuming he was a Master Mason. If you wish to join, you list him on your petition. Then all depends on the report of the investigative committee assigned to meet with you and see if they like the idea of you as a sister. I am sure this would just be a formality.

Bronwyn, I had been missing our chats. I kept seeing you sign in, but you never hallooed me, so I thought it must be Sean at work, and did not want to bother him. I am thinking of you during these last few stressful days before your move, my dear. God bless you and keep you safe on your journey, and be the guardian of your new home.

Ham'n'Eggs, thanks for further clues. I, too, would say that "Sister Perpetua has been out and night and seen the sights."

And now for our main feature:

The day after I escaped from the aliens was a state holiday, so I could rest.

However, we still had no idea about the primary tumor as nothing was seen in my GI tract, and no cells were available in my lung fluid for the pathologist to examine. Therefore, it was decided to risk a needle biopsy.

Accordingly on July 25th, and early in the morning thanks to the pushiness of my physician, who saw that I could not really stand too much more at that point, I returned to the all-too-familiar X-Ray department and entered the CT examination room again. By now, despite my lung being drained of about 500 cc of fluid, I was in increasing respiratory distress. The first time I tried to lie down for the scan I simply could not breathe. I knew, however, that somehow I must do this. I asked to sit up for a minute, and I pounded my right fist on my thigh, repeating to myself, "you have to do this somehow." Then I tried again and succeeded in holding my breath, letting them get a picture, and then rolling on my side so the radiologist could insert a needle and attempt to draw out enough of my tumor tissue to permit the pathologist to get an idea of what we were dealing with from the metastases. Fortunately, one of the seventeen tumors was in easy reach of his needle. He skillfully extracted his sample and I was allowed to return to my room.

The pathologist examined the tumor tissue for a match with as many types of cancer as was possible. The sample was small, however, and he simply ran out of material. Dr Reilly ordered a tumor marker blood test as well. The only marker that was significant was one that indicates a muscular origin for my cancer, so no joy there.

The next step was to be a bronchoscopy and if need be a thoracoscopy. I was concerned by both these options, as I would have to be under sedation, and I wasn't sure my lungs could stand up under it. The second option actually frightened me a little, as my stress level was such that I heard the word as thoracotomy. I had taken care of many people with thoracotomies, which is a surgery to remove a portion of lung, and involves rib removal, a large incision, draining the lung with a chest tube, and a great deal of pain. I knew from experience how necessary it would be for me to cough to keep my healthy lung tissue clear and expanded; I also knew that it would be very painful, and I was already so tired.

Dr Reid, the surgeon came to see me, and to my great relief, explained that what was planned was a visually aided thoracoscopy, which is a relatively new procedure, postdating my time on a ward with many lung patients. It would involve making small key hole incisions in my back and under my arm. By inserting a tiny light, he would be able to see my lung tissue well, and with tiny cutting instruments, be able to remove a wedge large enough to permit diagnosis he hoped. Incidentally, he was a cautious man in naming my illness, kept referring to it as perhaps a cancer. I thought, a bit irritated, as it was very hard for me to have people not on the same page of the book as I was, "I don't care if you call it chocolate pudding so long as your eyesight is keen, your hand steady and your knife sharp!"

Dr Reid was actually a very responsive surgeon, however. He spent about thirty minutes talking to me to weigh options. My great desire was to spend no time in the ICU, and to wake up from surgery without the ventilator tube in my throat. Indeed, I would have much preferred not to undergo surgery at all. I had begged that they do as many needle biopsies as needed, but it was felt this would not work.

It was hoped the bronchoscopy would yield a tumor for inspection, but if not I would simply have to undergo the thoracoscopy. The question now was, which lung? After weighing all the options, Dr Reid decided my best chance for avoiding the ICU and lengthy intubation was for him to scope my right lung. At the same time, he could drain all the fluid and perform a pleuradesis. By this, he meant he would peel the pleural membrane back from my lung and paint the lung itself with sterile talcum powder, before restoring the membrane to its place. The talcum would cause my lung to "glue" itself to the membrane and prevent a future collapse of the lung. Together with draining the fluid, he felt this would give me considerable relief of my symptoms.

I agreed to this, but warned him, if I woke up intubated I would pull the tube out. I just knew I would never be able to bear something down my throat; I would feel as though I was choking. The other proviso was that I requested him to write "do not resuscitate" orders. These orders were already in effect on the floor, although Dr Venner (the hospitallist) had been very uncomfortable with writing them, but I knew that once I was in the operating room, and later, in the ICU, that Dr Venner's order was voided, and Dr Reid was the law.

Thank goodness, he understood my wishes and agreed. My mother has had to make many extremely difficult decisions in her life; I wished to spare her one involving turning off machines that might be keeping me alive. I knew my father would let her make the decision, and was determined to have it taken out of her hands.

Marmot came to visit me during this time, and what a eucatastrophe it was (thank you Professor Tolkien) to see her smiling face peek around my door. Her smile was like sunshine as she announced, "I'm Marmot!" How she brought love ot me from you all! I cannot thank her enough.

Indeed, the e-mails, cards, gifts, and phonecalls from you all were my daily sustenance. The hope of attending the mountain meet was the thing that kept me struggling on through all these procedures. I knew I could not be cured, but I hoped I might be strong enough, for long enough, to attend this meet and do one or two other things, if I went through all the doctors had in mind.

God bless you all, and I will return with further adventures.

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"I come from a state that raises corn, and cockleburrs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me"

Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver at a naval banquet in Philadelphia, 1899

Posts: 1242 | From: home | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Gill H

Shipmate
# 68

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A question for you, Miss Molly.

In the ballroom dancing world, when a dancer dies a last waltz is danced for them.

Is there a particular prayer, poem, song or something which you would like shipmates to do to mark the day when you are 'promoted to glory', as the Salvation Army so beautifully put it? A sort of 'Tom Bowling' equivalent for 'the darling of our crew'?

(Now I've made that suggestion, I can see you requesting that we all learn and perform a sailor's hornpipe in front of a webcam...!)

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*sigh* We can’t all be Alan Cresswell.

- Lyda Rose

Posts: 9313 | From: London | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
welsh dragon

Shipmate
# 3249

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Dear Miss Molly,

I have been following your posts every day. It is so difficult to talk about such very intimate things. I felt drawn to this thread, well, because the fleeting contacts I had with you when you came back were so charming, and because the posts you wrote were so witty and articulate (true, true) but also because I had lost my mum (who was only 61) to cancer just a year before.

It was diagnosed (by me) less than a month after my Dad died, and was very advanced and I found myself holding her hand through the round of tests and scans and sitting by her bedside ambushing her clinicians on ward rounds etc etc. I am a doctor, but I had very little experience of dealing with cancer even when I worked on the general wards as a junior dogsbody-doctor. I couldn't bear not to bring her home to spend her last months with me, and found myself running a sort of makeshift oncology cum palliative care ward for one in my dining room. We got on very well and it also had an element of a student girlie houseshare to it, which was great fun a lot of the time.

Fortunately there was an orchard outside my window and she really loved that; watching the squirrels and magpies and chaffinches almost made up for having to leave behind the retinue of rather pampered stray cats that she and my Dad had accumulated at home (they used to have home made chicken soup specially cooked for them in winter in case they felt cold).

In England I believe our cancer medicine service is rather inferior to that in the states. I am very glad to think that you are getting a high standard of care. Even though I am a medic, I found it very difficult to get all the bits of care that mum needed coordinated. I wished so much reading your earlier posts that I could come round and lend a hand, with St. Sebastian. I hope that prayers help.

Mum gave me many wonderful gifts in her life and one the greatest was her example of sweetness and patience as she coped with her illness and left her retinue of nurses and doctors and care assistants etc cheered for having met her. I remember her happily plying the assorted ambulance crew, who grew very fond of her, with chocolate.

I think everyone on the ship is so glad to be reading your posts and there is such a courage in this - in talking about such intimate things, in starting this thread knowing that some days you wont have a lot of energy for writing. But it's part of life that we don't often talk about and there is so much value in doing this.

I think that's enough from me really.

I await the further adventures promised.

God Bless Molly

Posts: 5352 | From: ebay | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
daisymay

St Elmo's Fire
# 1480

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Miss Molly, the feminist bit of me is grumbling. Only through my grandad (who was, yes, well in)! What about through my grannie?

I'm glad you didn't have that horrific procedure of sawing through your ribs. [Frown]

I had a liver biopsy once, and the young doctor who did it was being taught how. He got the needle jammed on one of my ribs, and the whole room (all the nurses on the ward had gathered to watch) suddenly began discussing which football team they and I supported. [Big Grin]

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London
Flickr fotos

Posts: 11224 | From: London - originally Dundee, Blairgowrie etc... | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Miss_Molly

Toujours gai
Beloved
# 2339

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((((Welsh Dragon))))), thank you for being so brave and generous as to share your experience. It must have been so hard for you, making the diagnosis, knowing as a physician the sort of things your mother needed and having to fight for them, and watching, with a physician's eye and ear, as each body system faltered and she grew closer to death. I am glad you were able to care for her in your home, and that there were good times for you.

Daisy May, I know what you mean. There are a couple of Grand Chapters in the USA who permit a woman to petition for membership on her own merits, just as a man petitions the Blue Lodge he wishes to join, but Utah's Grand Chapter is not one of them, and I imagine the Supreme Grand Chapter and your local Grand Chapter are conservative as well. Another thing I disagree with is requiring a Master Mason to be present, and to administer the Obligation (special oath to keep the order's secrets and to work for the aims of the order). The Worthy Matron is considered to be the presiding officer, but in practice, she cannot function without the Worthy Patron (the Mason). I think it would be just as fair for the Worshipful Master of a lodge to be unable to preside without a Worthy Matron at his elbow! I had plans to change all this, as I worked my way up the line, but now I will have to leave reform to you! I still believe the aims of the Order are noble and I enjoy the fellowship and value the meaning of the ritual, so I hope someone will come along and improve things! In the meantime, I will travel East in the time-honored ways.

and now the next exciting episode:

The night before the surgery, the anesthesiologist came to see me. He looked at my mouth and throat to make sure there would be no problem inserting the ventilator tube, and asked me various medical history questions which would flag potential problems for his team. His plan was to try to use intrathecal narcotics, as this would not be as dangerous for a person who had only one functional lung. I would also recover much more quickly from the anesthesia. If this form of sedation proved impossible for some reason, the team would use the traditional inhaled anesthesia. He was a very kind man, and told me how a member of his practice, a young man, had just died suddenly of cancer, and how badly they all had felt. I think he told me this because people do tell me things (I have a kind, stupid face), but also to let me know his partner, who would be my anesthesiologist, would do his very best for me. He was very open about the tube; I certainly would be intubated a number of hours after surgery, and could count on at least a brief ICU stay. I told him my fears about the tube but he felt that I should have no trouble, and anyway would have a lot of medication on board to calm me.

You may have asked why I did not want to stay in the ICU at all, given that I would have the closest supervision and quickest response to complications there. I actually had several reasons, but not necessarily all reasonable. In the first place, ICU's are where the worst hospital "bugs" live, the most intractable ones. I feared acquiring some form of resistant staph infection. Secondly, it is very hard for ICU nurses to resist "doing something" to save a patient. It happens that do not resuscitate orders get lost, and the patient is on drips to regulate blood pressure, and drips to feed, and drips to protect the stomach, and of course on a ventilator if the lungs are dodgey,in no time. Then it is a battle to shut off the drips and machine. Although my family has discussed our wishes many times, and my mother and father knew mine, it would still feel to them as though they were killing me to order the efforts stopped if there seemed to be no hope of my recovery to my current baseline. And if I did recover? My death would be all to do over again, and probably not so easily. The final reason was that I had become familiar with my room; it had become home. I knew very well what ICU's were like, noise and no privacy. I wanted my four walls.

That night, I was supposed to take sleeping medication. Indeed I had scheduled sleeping medication for most of my hospital stay. I was a non-compliant patient in this regard as well. I did not like being "knocked out"! So I routinely refused the pills. The night before my operation was no different. I had an inchoate feeling that if this was the last night of my life, as was possible, I wanted it to count, not to be spent unconscious. So I sat on the side of my bed, as I did most nights, thinking, dozing, praying, drifting.

The next day, I was prepared for surgery. I had to take a shower with special soap, concentrating on scrubbing my chest and sides. I had a urinary catheter put in, with some difficulty, as of course its destination was not in the usual location. (Trust me to be like this. I had never actually checked where it was, either...it worked was all I knew.)

Technicians then appeared and gowned, masked and gloved themselves for the procedure of inserting an ART line in my arm. This is a special heart monitoring device. I have very poor access to my circulatory system. My blood vessels are small and deep. The vessel they used, beginning in my wrist, was very twisty, and veered off the path they had anesthetized. I managed to hold still as it seemed a wire dug its way through my flesh, but it is not on my list of experiences I care to repeat. As it turned out, their efforts were for nought, as the line stopped working halfway through my surgery. They were hard-working, cheerful young men, though, and given a fighting chance I am sure their lines work perfectly.

It seems to me, though my memory may be faulty, that Marmot was with me until shortly before my surgery, when she had to leave to catch her bus. I want to say again how wonderful it was to have her cheerful, loving, understanding, company. May God reward her as I cannot.

An IV nurse had started an IV, and I was given an antibiotic and a dose of pain medicine through it, and then transported to the holding area. I was very sleepy, so sleepy in fact I didn't open my eyes, but I remember the anesthesiologist and a young doctor in training attempting to install an intrathecal catheter. Naturally, my spine was no more cooperative than my blood vessels or my urinary opening. They punched my spine three times and I felt it every time, but was too groggy to say anything. Then they gave up and I was put completely under using inhaled anesthesia.

Apologies for the cliffhanger here, but you know the heroine has to be alive in the next episode, so there is nothing to worry about!

my love to all my dear shipmates

Molly

--------------------
"I come from a state that raises corn, and cockleburrs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me"

Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver at a naval banquet in Philadelphia, 1899

Posts: 1242 | From: home | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
duchess

Ship's Blue Blooded Lady
# 2764

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Dear Molly,

How I wish we could all take a part of your experience and glady bear it for you...I hate it that you must go through all that. I am glad though you share the experience since it is a comfort to know what in the heck is going on. I also hope it helps you to write it out.

I was watching a movie the other day with Elizabeth Taylor and Van Johnson.I think it was called the Last American in Paris. The movie is post WWII in Paris and Elizabeth Taylor plays Helen, a cheerful, smart and sassy gal. The movie is cheerful yet gets a little deeper and darker...so skillfully you don't realise it till it suddenly hits you. I think sometimes that is more like life sometimes. You ease along and then WHOA you are slapped upside your head. Then, like the end of the movie, you get a new beginning.
(Trying not to spoil the movie in case somebody wants to see it and hasn't).

I kind of think these experience is like that for you. I can only imagine what it is like...but I pray for God's peace for you and comfort. I think the bravest people in the world are the people who take all the tests and surgeries hospitals do. I mean that!

I have gone through only a few in my life and I have literally been sternly lectured by a doctor two on my reactions. I will pray for you are able to bear these treatments.

Fields of God came on my radio at work today agin. That shall forever be your song Miss Molly in my heart. My God's love sustain you and the people who love you, us included here.

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♬♭ We're setting sail to the place on the map from which nobody has ever returned ♫♪♮
Ship of Fools-World Party

Posts: 11197 | From: Do you know the way? | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
multipara
Shipmate
# 2918

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Dear Miss Molly,

Just logged in to catch up on the next episode-Therese of Liseux's "journey of a soul" has nothing on this...I shall think of you the next time I put an IV into some unsuspecting member of the public...there are few things worse than difficult venous access, both for the owner of the veins and the would-be accessor!

Albert the tiger cat sends his regards; unfortunately Signor Farinelli (of the high -pitched squeak meow) is not about after he called in last night and Albert (territorial beast that he is) sent him packing with a bite on the rump.

Spring in Sydney has brought the magpies out in full force; a few weeks back the young were all hatching and woe betide any hapless pedestrian who walked beneath a tree with a nest-the irate mum and dad would swoop most aggressively! Now we have the young maggies (who are nearly as big as their parents and incredibly dopey) being instructed on the art of looking for grubs in the ground. Fortunately Albert has retired from catching maggies....

Will stay tuned for the next episode,

Ever interested,

m

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quod scripsi, scripsi

Posts: 4985 | From: new south wales | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
marmot

Mountain mammal
# 479

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quote:
Originally posted by Miss_Molly:

It seems to me, though my memory may be faulty, that Marmot was with me until shortly before my surgery, when she had to leave to catch her bus.

Yes, I was there, Molly. Before I ran to catch my bus, I nearly stopped at the desk to demand that a more experienced member of the IV team go to your room. But I wasn't sure you'd approve, so I said a quick but fervent prayer for your tormenters instead. [Help]

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Join me in "The Legion of Bad Monkeys"

Posts: 2754 | From: The land of Saint Damien | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged



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