So some of you know I was in the hospital last week, which is why I wasn’t here. I thought I should just let everyone know – two or three years ago I had folks checking the obituaries when I ended up in hospital care. Don’t look in the obits – here I am. Home. I had a concussion from falling on ice, but I intend to be around and keep on bothering you for a long time. In the meantime, watch out on our footways – they can attack with no warning!
I don’t know when health care switched from mainly a homemade thing to mainly a professional one. It was probably gradual and one step at a time. My grandmother had my mother at home; my mother had us in a local cottage hospital. I had my babies in Burlington at whatever they were calling it then. My great Aunt Mattie took nurses’ training about 100 years ago at the Mary Fletcher – I am going to guess she lived at the gray stone building that still has such presence. Some say it is haunted, but I don’t think any free range spirit would have tried to intimidate Aunt Mattie, even when she was a very young woman.
My grandmother was quieter and more reserved than her sister. She had appendicitis when she was 19 or so, and spent some days in the Fanny Allen, which was at the time totally staffed by nuns. She used to entertain us with tales of her stay there – or at least one story. I am not sure how ill she was, or how she was conveyed to the hospital, but in those days Colchester was a very long way, time-wise, from Johnson, so this could well have been the first time she was away from home on her own. Anyway, as now, there was paperwork to be filled out in detail. In the course of this the dear sisters discovered that Gram had not been baptized, even as a Protestant. They worried so much and tried to convince her that she was in peril. I think they even admitted that even with their excellent care she might expire and go to hell. She laughed and told them she’d take her chances.
Later, when she’d tell the story she’d say, “And they probably did baptize me as soon as I was knocked out!” I am not telling you this to express any beliefs of my own nor to tease people of other faiths. What I got from the story was how strong and free thinking Gram was even at the same time she was shy and very rural. She just stood up for her own self even while sick and alone and relatively far from home. I have always admired her so much, her humanity, her courage, her spirit. I have reiterated her story to friends and many of them are outraged at the idea of her being baptized without her consent, but she always found it humorous.
Times change. As far as I know no one questioned my spiritual leanings while I was a guest among them. They would have fed me vegetarian meals if I’d like and would have sent a chaplain if I’d wanted. They would hardly let me move for several days, so yoga practice would probably have been frowned upon. Eventually they let me take a walk or two. It is pitiful and restricting to have to ask someone every time you want to move, but they were being careful. After 3 days in bed one’s ankles are kind of shaky – they said I wasn’t very strong yet and I said all the bed rest was sapping my energy! Who knows? Here I am, home alone, and my ankles are happier.
So am I – I am glad to be back! xoxoxo