Boomer Blog-wise, the month of August did not work out as planned – and September is heading in a similar direction.
During my several-week break, there has been no opportunity to share the uplifting sense of inspiration I so enjoyed during the Tokyo Olympics. I could not comment on the inevitably-chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the tragic loss of young military heroes during that time. I was unable to express – again – my awe at the sheer physical power of natural forces that caused such loss of life and property. And actually, I am not sure what I could have added to the persistently-confounding effects of COVID and its variants on many facets of daily life.
Nor could I celebrate with my readers the first day of school for teachers, school staffs and students of all ages. In our family that included a first-grader and a college freshman – with a gaggle of other greats- and grands- between.
Instead, my attention has been completely diverted by an unwelcome interloper that has invaded by body: not COVID or Coronavirus but cancer of the endometrial kind.
Fortunately, the cancer is still in its early stages and is growing slowly. Thankfully I am experiencing no pain.
Unfortunately, definitive information has become available in a most disjointed manner, and a path to treatment has been surprisingly and discouragingly slow. It seems much more time and energy has been spent on logistics and regulations than a solution to my specific health needs.
However, I have worked hard in the four medical facilities where I have been housed to be a patient patient. I have received basically good care, sometimes unevenly administered due to staffing shortages everywhere.
Along the way, I have had ample time to observe various methods of staff organization and utilization. Interesting to be sure. But I am convinced that nurses and their assistants, known as STNAs, are the absolute first line of response to their patients. As such, they are worth their proverbial weights in gold for the care and comfort they provide.
Ill or not, my penchant for running into acquaintances remains unchanged. GHS grad and longtime employee at the Urbana hospital, Jennifer Lutz, expertly took charge when I arrived
at the ER. Later a charge nurse married to one of my GHS classmates introduced herself as did a nurse married to a former student of mine. Another nurse and I realized she had been at my house on multiple occasions as a member of the 4-H Food and Fashion Board. And one of my physical therapists is dating a GHS grad who remembered me as a strict teacher who spoke German.
Delightfully, there have also been chance meetings with other individuals passing through the past several weeks: the phlebotomist working extra night shifts to supplement her income; an STNA who shared photos of flowers and her sense of wonderment about the world of nature; the LPN candidate waiting and waiting to take her pandemically-delayed state examination. And I will certainly not soon forget the story of the young man who used ultrasound to find a vein for my IV port. After his parents met and married in Paris, he spent his childhood crisscrossing South America and Europe as his father sold firefighting equipment. Somehow he landed in Wisconsin and finally made his way to Cedarville where he is an instructor at the university there. With a sigh, he explained he has lived in many places all around the globe, but he is never really “from” any place he lives!
To my friends and readers, I apologize for my recent silence. I have needed to be private about these private matters. The slow pace and bewildering red tape of our healthcare system, pockmarked with illogical regulations and a huge crack through which it is difficult not to fall have quite frankly sapped my positive energy.
However, my family members have been an ever-present source of love and support. And so many friends have reached out with very welcome words of encouragement.
I cannot promise the immediate resumption of regular weekly columns for some time to come, but…
Let’s continue taking care of one another as best we can!
Shirley Scott, a 1966 graduate of Graham High School, is a native of Champaign County. After receiving degrees in English and German from Otterbein College, she returned to GHS in 1970 where she taught until retiring in 2010. From 1976-2001 she coordinated the German Exchange Program with the Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium in Springe.