I've been searching through the basement the past six months or so for something that I put *in a safe place*. While I haven't found that yet (too many possible safe places) - my digging is turning up a lot of other memories. I tend to save things that connect me to people. I'm a saver. And I won't change that. Let me share my most recent find....
(click this one to read it bigger)
As a kid, I spent a lot of time traveling the 99 miles from Calumet to Marquette for overnight stays at Marquette General. I had chronic (still do) sinus problems, ear infections, lots of tubes, exploding ear drums, windows put into my nasal cavities, tonsils and adenoids removed - the works. Coincidentally - on Mark's visit to the ENT yesterday the doctor said he is fine, but he wants me to make an appointment. Bah. But back to the story - back then (then being the 70's) these surgeries all required overnight stays. I *knew* Marquette General. From the nurses, to the doctors, to the frequent patients, the best way to sneak around the corridors, the long hallway leading to surgery and that the toy room needed more big kid books and toys.
There were different roommates that I remember more than others. I remember one particular girl that seemed to have a real sad story. I remember she had lost someone - her mother, or a sibling and was in the hospital at the same time and she struggled. Her name was Claire - I think of her whenever I hear that name and wonder how she recovered from all that life dealt her at such a young age.
I remember another girl named Tammy - we spent a lot of time drawing pictures of mushrooms (this was the 70's) and hung them all over the corridors. She wasn't a room mate, but was on the complete opposite end of the ward, and we were yelled at several times for running back and forth. We were probably a deciding factor that some of these surgeries did not require overnight stays.
And then there was Donna.
Donna got enemas.
Donna was very brave.
I must have roomed with Donna on one of my longer stays - another entry in my autograph book from that same time is from a nurse and it says, "It sure would be nice if they let you go home soon". (That could be interpreted several ways)
I had the bed by the door, Donna the one by the window - and the nurse would come in with her equipment and announce, "Donna - it's time" while throwing the curtain to close me off. And Donna would talk to me the whole time. Me - gagging, and my eyes watering, but trying to be strong for her sake. Donna was three years older than me and I really looked up to her, so the least I could do was *be there*, right? I was in awe that she could chat away so cheerfully while getting work done. She described enemas to me in full after I audibly witnessed her first one because I was completely unlearned in them. I was fascinated. And grossed out.
Donna and I played a lot of board games - Switchboard and Waterworks that my mom had picked up at the local ShopKo (and we still have), and whatever we could weed out of the kiddie toys in the toy room.
We talked a lot, obviously about boys and life if her autograph is anything to go by. Chris was my sixth grade crush - so that puts a date on it for me. (Donna - Chris let me down, and I'm happily married to Greg - definitely for the better)
When I dug these treasures out, I decided to see if I could find Donna online. (I love modern technology and reconnecting) I found a Donna on Facebook that looked promising - so I emailed her and she said, yes - she did indeed spend time at Marquette General as a kid and could very well be *that* Donna. With this post, we'll know for certain. She was curious what I found.