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The Woman Who Came To Help

 

I was a kid, no more than 5 or 6, I think I was, when I had my tonsils out in the operating room of the nearby Wood River Hospital. I was truly petrified, me, a kid going into a major hospital, under the knife as I'd heard my situation referred to, with the benefit of ether (I say "ha" to that even now because the gas made me sick as a dog, so much so that I can't stand the smell of ether without wanting to vomit); that, and the masked doctors and masked nurses, the whole nine yards, all bending over me as I lay on my back with a black rubber mask having been placed firmly over my mouth and nose, waiting for the ether to kick in.

"Count backwards from 100, starting now," someone said. I think I 'zongged' off to Neverland around the count of 100, 98, 62..., baseball.

I awoke from the hard table I had gone to sleep on, and found myself in yet another room in a strange bed surrounded by a curtain, and with the most horrific sore throat imaginable. While I lay there semi-awake, becoming more aware of my ordeal, and while hearing the angry wind howling outside the hospital windows, I began accepting the fact that the lady at my bedside was one of the most welcome, nicest persons I believe I had ever met up to that time.

She was not someone I knew, a complete stranger to me, but that didn't seem to matter. She made me feel warm, and safe, and even under my scary circumstance, extremely glad she was there helping me. And as it turned out I needed help as I was coughing, spitting up residual blood passing over and through an extremely unwilling to cooperate, and sore as hell, and raspy, throat. I remember the woman softly speaking, while wiping my sweaty brow as she also assisted with wiping my mouth and chin, bloody napkins and all. The howl of the wind continued.

She told me that she had two little boys, about my age, and asked if I knew them? And then gave me their names? Of course I knew them, we had played together, one I liked, the other I didn't. I used to jokingly tell one how much he looked as if he was seeing the world through the bottom of Coke bottle lenses, his vision obviously so terrible that his eyes looked tremendously large compared with the rest of him. I didn't tell her that part, only thought about it, as my throat hurt so very badly I really didn't want to talk to anyone at all. About that time, thanks to the after effects of the ether, I vomited more blood into a nearby pan, and into the napkins the nice lady had at the ready.

Not sure when I passed out only to wake and find the kind and pleasant and helpful lady was still at my bedside, still ready and willing to give me continued care, pretty much the same care as before. At one point, I fell back into a sound asleep only to wake to a nurse's visit, coming in to check on me. The other woman was gone. And later in the day my mother came to the hospital room, startling me awake by suddenly pushing back that curtain surround, saying she had come to visit and find out all about her little boy. That and to confirm all had gone just as she and the doctors told me it would go?

"Yeah, pretty much," I managed to squeak, "... But you didn't say nothing about how bad my throat was going to hurt, that part you didn't say anything about."

I managed to ask: "Where'd the nice lady go?" My mother was lost for an answer.

After a disappointing effort to down a bowl of promised but only somewhat soothing vanilla ice cream, and yet another visit by the talkative nurse heard over the howling wind in the background, I was finally discharged to home in the care of my mother.

It was days later that I learned that the mother of my aforementioned two friends, well, she just simply couldn't have been the same person who had helped me as I lay there in my hospital bed. For you see she had died around that same time in a major explosion over at the local ammunition plant where she had worked.

I did try and say something later about this to Coke bottle eyes and his younger brother as we played one day, but I'm not sure either really understood what it was I was talking about. Maybe because you see at that time I did come to believe that their mother was the one that did show up out of the blue like that, and helped me when I needed help, yes even considering that explosion that took her life. As to why she did that, mother to those two boys, one I liked and one I didn't, now why her ghost would do that for me? I have no idea, but I'm grateful, nevertheless. What a nice woman she was.

Sincerely,

Jerry Bridges

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RedWolf (28 stories) (1257 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-12-09)
Jerry
Now they give children a "lollipop" to suck on. It's actually a sedative so that it calms the child prior to surgery so the nurses can put in the I.V.s and prep the child for surgery. I never had mine out, but my youngest sister had to have hers taken out at the age of 16 because they were abcessed.
Red
JerryB (8 stories) (189 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-12-08)
Agua. Thanks for relating. Yeah just a whiff is all it would take for me too. It's been awhile but last recollection I had of the horrible smelling stuff went right to the pit of my stomach and it was all I could do to keep... Well I guess I really don't need to finish that thought to you do I. I'm not even sure it's used any longer. No one asked me, but it shouldn't be used is my opinion.
Agua (4 stories) (61 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-12-07)
Yeah Jerry, the story of the ether reminded me of my experience with same having my tonsils removed. Horrible stuff back in 1968 I believe, at the age of 6. I believe I would likely still become nauseous were I to get a whiff of today.
Caz (222 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-12-06)
Well, that's how I really feel about art! I can't help feeling that there's too much art snobbery around! People gathered around a painting in a gallery, pontificating on 'the message' the artist was trying to convey, only to find out it was painted by a monkey! Lol... Awww Jerry I'd love to be able to help you with that picture... Especially as I'd love to see it, but the truth is, I'm a bit of a technophobe! (blush) I bet someone on here will be happy to help out though! Perhaps one of the mods? I know others would like to see it too! 😁
JerryB (8 stories) (189 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-12-06)
Hi Caz. Glad I stopped by and saw your comments. That's the correct title you give, I went online and checked it out -- that's it. I like the two things you had to say about art in general, you either like it or you don't. There's that humor again.

-- That Dali I saw that was so badly treated, you have no idea how much I would have liked having that thing. But that's the story of my life, I see something I truly want and something in me always gets in the way and I find I do nothing. I did not make an offer, wish I had, the worst thing that might have happened is they could have said no, right. So much for that, my loss.

That photo I am working from, the one where I see animals in the trees // how do I go about posting that? Any idea?
Caz (222 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-12-06)
Hey Jerry... I believe that painting is called 'The Sacrament of The Last Supper' or something like that and I've seen pictures of it, but I'm no art buff! In fact, there are only two things I know about art and they are 'what I like', and 'what I don't like'! 😉 Such a shame the original in your daughter's house, was so unappreciated by the owner! Good art deserves to be appreciated at least! Didn't you make her an offer? It may have been your lucky day!😜
JerryB (8 stories) (189 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-12-05)
Good morning, Caz. What you said about that Dali painting you saw, let me tell you of another Dali I found. It's a large wall size painting in the basement level of the National Art Museum in Washington, DC. It's in a room all to itself, to the right just as you come down the escalator; not many people seem to know it's there but I would stop and view it each time I visited the museum. Don't know the exact title, the Last Supper, I think, paints in the early 1950's. That's the biblical scene but again it's a Salvador Dali and title and theme are not always easy to relate, agreed?

And let me tell you of another Dali. My daughter, the one I told you about that had visited Scotland as an Au Pair, well she recently moved to this gated community I live in. We were all over at her new house (it wasn't actually her house at that time, she was just showing us around as she was then only window shopping, so to speak). Anyway, the owner of the home was present and escorting us around showing room dimensions, etc., when I noticed this water stained, badly framed painting partially stuck behind an odd piece of furniture on one of the less noticeable walls. Yep, a Dali original. I'm not a Dali expert by any means and did not recognize the painting from any art book I've seen, and If not a forgery (the woman claimed it was authentic) then a valuable piece in the care of someone who obviously has no appreciation for same. First time I ever saw anything like that, where someone had something of obvious value and treated it so badly. I commented something (not derogatory) but just chocked it up to someone with $$ that appreciated things differently than I -- and me with no $$. I would loved to have had that Dali even though it was in poor shape, at least I would have tried to give it a better frame and hang it in a better place. Just saying.
Caz (222 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-12-05)
Gosh Jerry... I didn't come on here to talk about that! I came to say I can totally relate to the animals you can see in your trees and clouds too! I'm always seeing stuff in the clouds. Sometimes people, but mostly animals... In fact mostly dogs, but other things too and some of them unusual! I've seen a lion and whale and a giraffe once, but mostly dogs! And not just the faces either. Whole figures and usually running! I've seen a spaniel with it's mouth open and long ears blown back by the wind in full flight, looking really joyful! I've seen poodles and huskies and sometimes I think I'm looking at one of my own darling dogs who have passed on! The lovely thing is, they always look happy! 😁 Someone posted a pic on here a while back, of a building site... Or a 'dig' which had the apparition of a Native American man! I couldn't see everything that others were seeing, but I saw other faces which nobody else mentioned. I wasn't even looking for those... They were just 'there'! So I understand just what you're saying! I'd love to see your painting when it's finished if you could find a way to post it on here! 😁
Caz (222 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-12-05)
Jerry...I've just read your comment on Macks thread, but thought it wouldn't be fair to reply on there! Wow...you're an artist! Cool! The kind I like too! I'm not interested in the modernistic stuff, preferring pictures with natural scenes and/or figures of people or animals! Can't really see anything interesting in a bowl of fruit or a vase of flowers! Much prefer my flowers in a field! Sorry if your into the modern stuff too... Each to their own eh! Having said that, there's only one painting that left a lifelong impression on me! My dad took me to the big art gallery in Glasgow where it hangs! I was very young... Certainly no older than 5 and I remember standing at the foot of this grand oak staircase holding my dad's hand and gazing up and there it was, hanging on the wall at the top, facing down the stairs! That painting is called 'Christ of St. John of The Cross' by Salvador Dali! I suppose you could say that's more about death than life, so ironic really! Even at the tender age of 5, I knew who and what it was and was struck dumb!
Caz (222 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-12-05)
I wanted to say too, it's a great pity that the lady's two sons never knew what you were talking about when you told them! It probably means they never saw her or perhaps they did, but never understood she was dead at the time. Most kids can 'see' around that age, even though they lose it later on unless they have the gift! I know she would definitely have visited them! What mother wouldn't? I want to say too, that perhaps you shouldn't feel too harshly about the dad moving on so quickly! Think about it... He loses his wife in dreadful circumstances which must've broken his heart and suddenly finds himself with two small boys to raise on his own! How will he manage? He may have been wracked with worry as well as grief, as I'm not sure there was much in the way of financial help from the state in those days, so he'd have to work! I'm not saying that's the reason he did move this other woman in, but unless he had relatives willing to help, it would be hard. Maybe he just didn't know what else to do! Maybe he wasn't as strong or smart as some other men, but I guess that's one of those things we'll never know!
Caz (222 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-12-05)
Awwww...Sorry to hear that Jerry! I know some people found the one where you met the reptilians unbelievable, but perhaps that's because there are too many people who still don't know what's really going on in the world they live in! 😢 I've been meaning to revisit that story to say something about BGP's experience he mentioned... Would that be OK with you?
JerryB (8 stories) (189 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-12-04)
Hello Caz. Glad you could relate. That buzzing sound, that swirling color, the sickness, all of it thanks to that horrible smelling gas. I didn't say in the story but when they put that black rubber mask over my mouth and nose they did so with such force to knock out a tooth, a baby tooth, granted, but still it was one of my damn teeth and this was certainly no way to have any of them removed, knocked out. Wonder I didn't choke to death on that little mishap.

Guess it was state of the art for the time.

Your question about more stories from me: I'll have to write more, the last one I had was rejected, too unbelievable apparently. No biggie, I'll get over it. Smile
Caz (222 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-12-04)
PS...I remember feeling lucky though, because I was only having my tonsils out! I was in a large ward with lots of other kids and some of those had to have their adenoids out at the same time! One of them told me that if you have them out, they stick giant needles up your nose! Arrrgh...Lol
Caz (222 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-12-04)
I think it's wonderful that you had such a lovely visitor when you woke up to comfort you in your time of need! All I can remember is throwing up into a kidney dish for what seemed like forever and a nurse popping in and out from time to time, though it could've been a different one each time! Maybe the lady visited you first because she'd been brought to the same hospital as someone else suggested, or maybe she visited her boys first and then you! I believe that time is different in the afterlife, if it even exists at all! She may have been able to visit her family and yet be with you at the same time! I don't suppose we'll ever know for sure until we pass on ourselves! Another great story sweetie! Hope you won't think I'm greedy for hoping there's more to come! 😉
Caz (222 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-12-04)
Oh My God Jerry...you're first paragraph took me right back! I was 7 when I had mine out! Did you get the ZZZZZZZ noise like an angry bee in your head and see the whirling colours? I've never felt so dizzy and nauseated before or since and that black rubber mask covered practically the whole of my face... Everything but my eyes! I remember kicking and trying to get the mask off, but to no avail! Someone was holding it clamped down really tight and I thought I was going to die! 😢 I was kept in for a few days and the only good bit was the ice cream! 😁
JerryB (8 stories) (189 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-12-04)
Yes Valkricry, I believe you are right. But just the nicest lady I could have wanted, and needed, when I did. Not much conversation happening, her with her quiet manner and me with my painful throat of fire. I just assumed she was there because she worked at the hospital, but this was dscovered not to be the case. She worked at the nearby ammunition factory, which must have been pretty demanding considering her trying to raise two young sons. I was alert enough to appreciate the names she gave me, knowing that I knew them both. Later learning of her death, I really wasn't that surprised to put two and two together and come away believing it was her ghost that came to my assistance. I told this to her sons but they really didn't believe what I was saying. I do remember their father moved on quite quickly with whatever insurance money came their way, he bought a new car and soon had a new woman living in their house. Even to a young kid as I was back then, it seemed he moved on too quickly, considering; not for me to judge though is it.
valkricry (39 stories) (2771 posts) mod
 
2 years ago (2015-12-02)
Jerry,
Sometimes 'visitors', as I call them just are. No real rhyme or reason. It could be they had brought her to the hospital, and as she 'wandered' about, maybe not even knowing she was dead, just happen to see you. It's hard to say 'why' you. Perhaps you reminded her of her own boys.

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