Bonus in so many ways.
The following is an e-mail Mom sent to the NC Women on the Internet dist list – she loved that circle of friends, many of whom she’d never met & never would, but held a special place in her heart.
Mom was in a suburban Philly hospital, where she’d been transferred for rehab after taking a serious tumble in late July, down in Alexandria, VA – we were there for a brunch she was throwing later in the day for family & friends in the Metro DC area. Three weeks later, she would fly from her earthly nest, straight – she was certain sure – into the arms of her Own True Love.
Subj: [women] Mindwalkers – Snodgrass and the power of stuffies
Date: 8/25/01 12:11:40 AM Eastern Daylight Time
I am feeling more my old self today. My tummy does not hurt, at least not seriously, but it is still bloated, which concerns the doctors which concerns me.
The surgeon who saw me in the wee small hours last Saturday has dropped in to see me almost daily. I like Dr. Raner, he is what they used to call a straight shooter – he explained that they hope to treat this thing conservatively because I have a 1-in-3 chance of not surviving surgery. He is concerned because the walls of my bowels are so thin and battered by the condition and testing that perforation or “dead” bowel – or both – is a possibility.
Elsa had me give my word that I would notify the staff if my tummy pains returned, which would be an “indicator” that things were not good.
I am not out of the woods. He also explained to me in terms that I could understand why I am still on a liquid diet. I am still not happy
about it and would dearly like to have solid food and do not really understand the ins and outs of what he said, but it made sense at the time.
Whew – that was a lot!
Staff members are beginning to do what they did when I was in rehabilitation at Elkins Park two years ago – dropping in to see my room. It perks up their spirits. My “boom” box usually has on a classical music station or I have on a classical CD. Current favorites include the 2-CD set of “The world’s most relaxing classical music,” Bach’s “Anna Magdalena Notebook,” Wynton Marsalis playing Haydn, and a cd that includes the “Vivat Nova” on guitar. I have had doctors drop in who have nothing to do with myself or my roommate, Mrs. Nordblom, because they have heard the music or because they have heard that I have an art display in my room or they have heard about my health link chain and want to see it.
Today, Elsa brought what made me feel better than almost anything – the rest of the “headboard kids,” the stuffies off of my bed. I have had Springerle with me since I entered ICU at Alexandria Hospital (he had come down with us for the overnight). Elsa has brought “guests” by each day.
Yesterday, she brought Chevy, the golden bear that Judy & Paul gave me for my 90th birthday, and Clarissa*, a more mature stuffie, a gorilla in a lace collar who usually sits on my night table. At my request, she left Clarissa*** when she went home last night. Then, today she showed up with all of the headboard kids – Chevy and Benita**(a hippo puppet with a long history of being a healing presence) and Bennett** (I have a great story about Bennett, a yellow duck puppet, from a stay at Holy Redeemer over twenty years ago) and Smithy** (I think he is a spider monkey) and Snodgrass. They are all a comfort to me, but there is something special about Snodgrass – Michael made him.
**put into my care by Mim * put into my care by Brenda
Michael’s art teacher was Maggie Bostock. She had the class make sock monkeys – grey monkeys with a big slash of a red mouth, long arms and long legs. Mike’s always had a lot of personality, but it was after I accidentally put him in the wash and literally knocked the stuffing out of him that he really started to look like Mike. When Kerry and Mike went to Australia all those years ago, Snodgrass came to our house. According to Mim and Elsa, Snodgrass is the epitome of “cool,” as anyone who sees him can tell. All day today and I am sure throughout tonight his long arms have been slooped around my neck and his head softly laid against my jaw. He – and Clarissa and Bennett and Benita and Smithy and Chevy and Springerly – are bits of home that hug back.
Perhaps when I am finally sprung from here and back home, I will have a “coming out” party to celebrate my return home and to introduce you to the stuffies of Squirrel Haven. It might sound foolish to many of you for a grown woman to be talking about stuffies, but think about it for a moment.
What person – especially adults – would not be well served by something that is always there when you need a hug.
Look around your bedroom – is there a stuffie within hugging range? Think about it.
Love to one and all – Grammie
((Can you tell I am feeling more human today?))
*** “Clarissa,” said in a loving voice, was Mom’s last word, on 09/16/01