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December 02, 2007

Grand Anna

Mother's condition is worse. The doctors both concur that she is at the point which if the medicine they had her on to help decrease the spinal fluid accumulating on her brain was going to work, we would see indicators. We have all agreed to discontinue it and just do all to keep her as comfortable as possible. They have started morphine. It is just a matter of time now. One of her doctor's prayed with us and it was a blessing knowing he is a believer and was willing to minister to us in that special way. Both her doctor's and all of the nurses taking care of her have just been wonderful and patient with us as we asked questions.

December 01, 2007

Childhood Memories # 7 Herman Keefer Hospital (part five)

While at the hospital with mom, I wrote another installment of my childhood memories. It helped to pass the night away when sleep wouldn't come. Enjoy.
My days were full while I was there. It wasn’t a bad time as some would think. I really have only good memories of my stay there. I had a roommate named Denise. She was black and we were instant friends. Our parents would take turns coming to visit us and bring us food (junk food), because they wanted us to gain weight. (those were the good ole’ days!) I remember how frustrated they were with Denise because she kept getting taller instead of fatter. I loved the braids in her hair. One day, a black nurse came in to find me very frustrated because I was trying to put little braids in my hair and they kept falling out. She laughed and said something to the effect, “Child don’t you know your hair won’t hold those braids!” The next day she came bearing a handful of cotton rags. She rolled my hair on those rags so I could have curly hair. I loved it. I loved the black people who worked there. They were so happy and loving. As far as I can remember there were only two white staff, one head nurse named Sally (she had a long blond pony tail and was a bit chuncky) and one physical therapist named Ms. Breck (who was tall, thin with short curly hair). Then there were only two white patients, me and another teenager named Kathy. It would be so wonderful to know where these people are today and how they are doing.

My days were filled with “hot packs” and “exercises”. Every day several times a day they would push a cart with steaming wool pieces of cloth. They would wrap them on my arms, shoulders, legs, and put plastic over the top to hold in the heat. Since I was such a good patient, I was the guinea pig while interns stood and watched. Sometimes, I felt like screaming because it was so hot, but I didn’t. and they kept bringing all these students to watch day after day. Physical therapy was an everyday affair. It was exhausting work, but they tried to make it fun, by letting us compete with each other. We would race to see who could put on and take off their braces the fastest. We not only had the exercises on the tables, but we had to learn to walk, and fall. We had to conquer the stairs up and down, long hallways, falling without harming ourselves and getting up after you fell. We couldn’t go home until we were proficient.

In our rooms we would race to see who could throw out an ace bandage and roll it back up the fastest. There were wheel chair races, which I mostly watched from the sidelines.