I am blessed with wonderful friends

What with 4 1/2 inches of rain one afternoon and a severe colic or twisted gut three days earlier, I’ve come to the conclusion that Mother Nature has decided I need to be taken down a peg or two. Or three.

One thing about the rain, though, I can once again see the pond. The pasture has yet to be mowed — I have to accept whenever the park comes to do it — so the high grass even hides the geese. I know they are still here, as occasionally I’ll see their dark necks, rising up like periscopes.

Colic

Now to the colic. Or twisted gut. Not Apache or Toby. Me!

If I had been a horse, I’d have been put down to end my misery.

Instead, it was three awful days in the hospital, on a liquid diet, being poked and prodded and stabbed every hour or so, being asked the same questions over and over again by an endless stream of medical personnel some of whom I had never ever seen before — each peek into the room by these strangers will cost me at least $1,000 — and frustration upon frustration!

No one seemed to have any idea what the previous person had done. So they had to ask me, and there came a point where my “sweet old lady” facade blew up and I’m sure they were almost as glad to get rid of me, finally, as I was to see the last of them.

No surgery

Some unfamiliar doctor came into the room. His shirt identified him as being from Surgery.

“Leave this room,” I bleated — with a tube up my nose and down my throat I couldn’t shout — and pulled the blanket over my head.

No way was I going down that road again, which nine years ago had almost finished me. At least it made me quit smoking!

Among the at least 50 or so individuals coming into contact with me one way or another, I was able to find five or six who seemed to be caring and compassionate and kind, even though I am ancient!

Nursing profession

Whatever happened to the nursing profession? One nurse was so dour I did ask her, “Are you ever pleasant?” and she snarled, “No,” as she jammed another needle into me.

No one ever told me what the miles of X-rays revealed, and no one ever told me what the gallons of blood they removed told them.

They seemed so concerned my heart rhythm was out of sync that I had to remind them I was not there for a heart problem — it was my belly! They forgot I had told them I have atrial fibrillation. No big deal.

Wonderful friends

What I must tell you though is that I am so blessed with so many wonderful caring and compassionate friends that my disillusionment with the nursing profession — and most of the medical community in general — doesn’t really matter.

When I called Judy at 10:15 p.m. to tell her I was not well — actually I was doubled up! — and could she come to be with me.

She is 10 miles from me. She was here in 10 minutes!

She called my family doctor, who was not on call. She called 911 — I asked her to tell them please no siren! — and the firemen came (and they were terrified of my Winnie who is, after all, a fire department breed!) and eventually an ambulance came.

Help

Truthfully, I don’t remember anything about the next day. But my friend Carol deSaulles came and mowed my entire lawn. My friend Jimmie Shurtleff came and helped spell Judy on the night shift with orders to please sleep with Winnie and between them and my friend Sam Conley — who had open heart surgery more than a year ago — kept my barn clean and the horses fed.

Where was Bingo?

No one ever saw poor Bingo, my new kitty, but they knew she was here as she ate and used her litter box. Not until the afternoon I came home and everyone left did she emerge from wherever she was hiding and was pathetically happy to see me.

Little Winnie just put her head on my shoulder and whimpered.

Judy made a jillion phone calls for me and canceled several appointments, one of which was to seal the driveway. The delay was meant to be because the mulberry trees which overhang it have gone berserk and what a mess that would have been!

Been lucky

Let’s just say I’ve once again been lucky. As I told them at the hospital, which shall remain nameless in case I ever have to go back, God forbid, I would much rather die at home alone than in their hands!

When I was finally released and called Judy to come and get me, she said, “I can’t! I’m at your house doing stalls, I’m in my truck and in my manure boots!”

I said, “I don’t care if you’re buck naked — get here now!”

A wheelchair stood outside my room door. Without waiting for permission, I eased into it, and with Judy pushing, we ran down the hall to freedom.

The sunshine was dazzling.

About the Author

A lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley, Janie Jenkins retired in 1987 as a feature writer and columnist at the Youngstown Vindicator. In June of that same year, she started writing her column, "On My Mind" for Farm and Dairy. She loves all animals and is an accomplished equestrienne. Local history is also one of her loves, and her home, the former Southern Park Stables, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. More Stories by Janie Jenkins

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