Friday, September 11, 2009

Detective-Inspector Jonathan "Jack" Whicher

The emergence of the detective as part of Scotland Yard and the birth of a new literary genre. This murder of a four-year old boy in the English countryside is investigated by the newest division of Scotland Yard: Detective-Inspector. The murder of Saville Kent was so highly publicised that it stirred many of the greatest authors to include a detective into their novels.
With Charles Dickens, Willie Collins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Thomas Carlyle all taking up the inclusion of the all seeing detective inspector as a prominent character. Lately my readings of Joseph Conrad's "Secret Agent" and Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone" has made me wonder as to what actually was the moving force that created the detective novels of the Victorian era.
Kate Summerscale has penned a novel that balances between the detective novel and an historical text. The text of "The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher" reads like a novel, but Summerscale intersperses the facts that other authors are commenting upon this sensational murder. Leading to the creation of the new genre of the detective novel that still is most prolific even today.
Summerscale has done her research. Her meticulous references to the actual newspaper clippings and quotes as well as other academic discourse all becomes part of the novel and the telling of the story of the death of this child. I will not go into who really did the deed but will just say that subtitle of the novel reads: "A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective."
At this time I am only half way through the novel and I really enjoy the style of Summerscale and as she in dropping in facts along with the story the reader notices that she is basing her tale solidly on the facts of the time as they were occurring. I am looking forward to finishing this novel and will be checking into her first novel of "The Queen of Whale Cay."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I have just finished the Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys and I have been pondering over her prequel of the Charlotte Brontë classic Jane Eyre. In the forward written by Francis Wyndham she explains the construction of the novel as being constructed of three parts: each is narrated by the main characters of Berta Antoinette Cosway and Edward Rochester.
“The novel is divided into three parts. The first is told in the heroine’s own words. In the second the young Mr. Rochester describers his arrival in the West Indies, his marriage and its disastrous sequel. The last part is once more narrated by his wife: but the scene is now England, and she writes from the attic room in Thornfield Hall.”

I found the second section a struggle to read as the narrators change off between Rochester and Antoinette with no sign of the change. And this is where the character of Antoinette, the beauty changes to Bertha, the mentally ill wife that Rochester is now burdened with. Rhys handles the two characters embodied by the same woman as physically different as Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde are in their personas. No longer is she Antoinette the beautiful and sensuous wife that Rochester delights in her physical body, instead he sees Bertha as a smaller, thinner and constructed of many different mannerisms that serve to irritate him. With this novel being a prequel to Jane Eyre I found it hard to like anything about Bertha Antoinette Cosway. Since I have read many times the Brontë novel and see it as a classic. Rhys seems to never try to get the reader to like Bertha. I can only assume that Jane is the true heroine of the novel and her goodness is always overshadowing the whole Bertha Antoinette character. Bertha is a predestined and doomed characterin which there is no use in trying to make her anything else.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The top ten reasons you should be suspect that the rehab center you have just checked into is not that good.

10. When you arrive they take you down a hallway that you were not shown during your tour of the facility.

9. When you get your meals all of your vegetables are the same shade of grey.

8. They refuse to empty your overflowing garbage can early. They only empty the garbage after four days and not before.

7. If you are in bed when the aides come around to change bed linens you have missed your chance! They don’t come back.

6. You and your roommate share one toilet with the male patients in the next room. Get used to no flushing and strange odors!

5. Get used to be being locked out of the one bathroom by the non-thinking male patients in the next room!

4. Pill time equals quiz time. You find it necessary to question the nurse as to what they are giving you and where are your other regular medications?

3. You are in charge of telling your nurse that they are to be decreasing the use of your oxygen intake and to lower the pressure.

2. They have “Personal Hygiene Police.” They tell you when they want you to shower! And it has to be at their scheduled times and days. They cannot cope with a daily shower-er! They only want you to shower every other day!

1. You are given the wrong medications! I was given high blood pressure pills but because of my medications quizzes I discovered this error. When my blood pressure is 110/68 and shows no need for it to be any lower!

Friday, June 12, 2009

the final stretch...again

Catch-up time. Because I was so sick with the Not-swine flu and that brought on asthma symptoms I had my surgery postponed for two weeks. You had better believe that upset me plenty! But I had to know that they were acting on what would be best for me. So I have had this time to sit around more and not taking my regularly scheduled arthritis medication. So each day I am more and more stiff and in more pain when I move. I use to walk around the house without the cane but now I need it and I have been contemplating the use of the walker! Okay, I am getting desperate!!

On a brighter note I did finally break down and write my name in all of my underwear! I have struggled with this for days! Knowing that I need to do this so I can have clean undies while I'm in the rehab place. I always came to the idea that I was so pathetic that I "needed" my name in my undies so if I got lost or ran over again they would know who I was!! But I bit the bullet and did it. I sat down with my pile of clean undies and a sharpie and began writing "My.Name" in everyone of them. So now that I have abandoned all hope and climbed upon that old age wagon out of town. Knowing that we all have our names neatly printed in the backs of our undies!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Okay…what is next on the list of strange things I need to get?? After searching on the internet I find that I now have pink eye or conjunctivitis. GREAT!! This is turning out to be some grotesque game of weird and strange diseases I can get before I go into surgery. I thought only kids got pink eye but thanks to my now totally expanded knowledge on the subject I know that there are different kinds of conjunctivitis and it’s not just for kids! Oh wow!! I’m going to call the doctor now to get an appointment because it says you need to on the internet and the internet never lies…right??
Ya know I was just staring at my title and this blog seems to nothing about literature. Okay I will work on that today. I think I will post one of my papers that I wrote and that maybe give this a "literary" fix it needs.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Surgery, woodpeckers, and Colin Firth

I am no longer under quarantine! I do not have swine flu…but rather some other insidious creeping crud. With a five-day burst of prednisone under my belt getting the asthma issues under control and some serious nose blowing I am feeling like I might live for the next knee replacement surgery that is scheduled on June 3rd. This time I will have the time to get the house cleaned and laundry caught up and the fridge stocked with the delicious dinner-in-a-box selection from my local frozen food aisle and a butt load of my mainstay of diet coke.

I woke up very early this morning with the sounds of the many birds that all seem to be so thrilled to death that it is morning! It is funny to hear them be so vocal so early then as the sun comes up and it gets lighter they quiet back down: All that is except the woodpeckers. They never seem to loose steam when pecking away for food! It is kind of like when you need chocolate and desperately search the cupboards and fridge for some long forgotten candy bar or anything for that matter. That is how I found the last bag of microwave popcorn last week!

This morning after I shower and wash my hair I am off to the grocery store to stock up on more snacks and food then I plan a little trip off to the library to exchange my videos for some new ones. I think by that time I should be ready to go horizontal again and spend the afternoon in video land. I have the Bridget Jones Diaries movies in this batch and I am looking forward to these again. I first watched these for a class as it is interesting how the excerpts from her diary shows up in the movie as marquees and messages on her computer. It is like the words she wrote are haunting her reality. Through the first movie you suspect that her diary writing and reality are not in the same hemisphere. But that makes these particular movies funny as the viewer does see that poor Bridget does get a grip and a man (Colin Firth) in the end!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Flying Pigs

Did someone say that will happen when pigs fly? Swine flew...or flu?

Being chased by flying pigs.

I traveled to the doctor yesterday only to find that I may in fact be a statistic in the pandemic of swine flu. With an awful swab stuck up both nostrils and rubbed around then sent off to our local Health Department for testing. Now to sit in isolation for the next few days while it gets tested and I am phoned with the results.

In the mean time I sit here and I am running out of my stock pile of diet coke and that is the most important food commodity there is here in the literary life house! How I am I expected to continue with ready and watching videos without a cold diet coke at my side? Life is going to insurmountable!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Is it the flu or Swine Flu?

As I lay in bed with the over whelming urge just to stay there and be a lump in the middle of the bed! The last four days I have been plagued by a headache, sore throat, congestion, coughing, sneezing, asthma issues due to the congestion. Oh and the hair!! I am suffering from some serious bed head and my head hurts too much to even think about brushing it…not that would make any difference. I don’t have the strength to get into the shower and wash it. Right now the only time I emerge from the pod status is to go to the bathroom or to heat and consume a “dinner-in-a-box” that my freezer is stocked full of since the surgery.

Although I am dedicated to getting my annual flu shot I still lay there and wonder if there was a component of the swine flu in that shot. With the news full of the rapidly spreading epidemic I lay there and just hope that I have been vaccinated enough to not be getting the swine flu. I have been bothered by my susceptibility to get most anything that seems to be going around that I have been vaccinated against whooping cough, pneumonia, as well as hepatitis A/B. Pretty much if there is a vaccine out there I have been vaccinated with it! I am not taking any chances! And still here I am home sick!

Well I have had two cups of tea, some toast, and of course the hand full of my regular medications, and read my favorite blogs and updated my own blog and now I am ready to return to the pod position in the middle of my bed with the trusty TV remote in my hand. So now I am padding off to the world of my videos and sleep.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day

Not much to say today, I have not been feeling well and with the news filled with Swine Flu updates I am just hoping that I have just a cold and not the swine flu. I sometime wonder if my annual flu shot included the swine variation or not. Still feeling blue about my situation and with a possible surgery on the horizon. Now with the added illness it makes things even harder to cope with. But I press on and head back to my bed for more resting.

Rain is forcasted for this May 1st but it doesn't seem to be on its way: It is bright and sunny out side and a nice spring breeze is rippling the window curtains. The fresh air is very nice and a pleasure to breath in the cool freahness of outside.

I am thinking of gathering up some of my tulips that are in bloom to bring in to my bedside to cheer me up a bit. Tulips are doing wonderfully this year.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I woke this morning after having a terrible dream. That led me to Google to see what the deeper meaning of the troublesome dream was all about. I found a site that had a dream dictionary that looked promising to discovering the meaning. Quoting from the website I found.

“By understanding your dreams, you will gain a better perspective on your life. We realize that your dreams are unique. No other individual can have your background, your emotions, or your experiences. Every dream is connected with your own “reality.” Thus, in interpreting your dreams it is important to draw from your personal life and experiences. Remember that a dream unifies the body, mind, and spirit. It provides you with insight into our selves and a means for self exploration.”

Okay that sounds pretty reasonable and not some flakey existential BS. Then I found what the most significant part of my dream. That being that people I considered as friends were stealing things that I needed to use everyday and multiple times in a day. When I couldn’t find what I needed it was very distressing and that launched me into a search for the lost items.

Stealing: to dream that you are stealing, denotes that you are deprived and where the stealing takes place (at home, the office, at school…) is indicative of your neediness. Alternatively, it may signify unrealized and unfulfilled goals. You may have set your goals too high.

Lose: To dream that you lose something may mean that you really have misplaced something that you had not realized yet. It may also be a signal for you to clean out and reorganize your life. You have become overwhelmed and distracted with the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life.

On a symbolic note, losing things in your dream may signify lost opportunities, past relationships or forgotten aspects of yourself. Your personal associations to the thing you lose will clue you into the emotional meaning and interpretation of your dream.

Now that I have a different perspective on the troublesome dream: What I have learned form this search has left me still unsettled with the feelings that I experienced. How do you have a normal day when you are awakened by some significantly worrisome thoughts? The unsettling ideas that creep into your mind and distort ones thinking as to make yourself the martyr of the life you lead. Great, another day that I have to work and changing my thinking patterns. It seems to be a problem that has resurfaced since the knee replacement surgery. This old problem for some reason resurfaced just days after surgery and left me in tears all day long in my hospital room. With no one to comfort me … no one to visit me as I laid there alone crying to myself with the feeling of total helplessness is overwhelming and hard to bear.

I guess this is all on my mind as I am scheduling the second knee replacement surgery for June. I guess I am worried that I will again be overwhelmed by those feelings and that maybe behind the strange dream of last night. That again I will be left alone in the hospital and this never bothered me in any of the other surgeries but this time it all seems very different. I know this time what I am going to be experiencing and I am even more fearful of this next surgery that I was of the last one. As I still am being pushed aside and told I must move by my Bishop. The message is clear that I am no longer wanted as a member of this ward and community. Instead of the warm feelings of support and welcome I feel the cold hard shove on my back to move away. That I no longer serve as a useful member of this ward and now are a burden to the members and I have worn out my welcome in this ward. It is not an easy pill to swallow that has been forced upon me. When I need to have friends and comfort around I have been shown the door and it has been slammed in my face! Visions of any one of the many Dickens novels comes to my mind! I guess that is part of living a Literary Life. You start seeing your situations in novels of others. They may give me an understanding of how to proceed with the rest of my life from here. But this is quite a different century and I am not a character in anyone’s novel: who would write such a story as mine? Not even Dickens would tackle such a woeful tale!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Today remember what this day signifies to the Christian world. It is not just the very public crucifixion but also the very private suffering in Gethsemane and the resurrection; breaking the bonds of death that we may all live again in out Lord’s presence.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

What is Butt Dust??

What, you ask, is 'Butt dust'? Read on and you'll discover the joy in it! These have to be original and genuine. No adult is this creative!!

JACK (age 3) was watching his Mom breast-feeding his new baby sister. After a while he asked: 'Mom why have you got two? Is one for hot and one for cold milk?'

MELANIE (age 5) asked her Granny how old she was. Granny replied she was so old she didn't remember any more. Melanie said, 'If you don't remember you must look in the back of your panties. Mine say five to six.'

STEVEN (age 3) hugged and kissed his Mom good night. 'I love you so much that when you die I'm going to bury you outside my bedroom window.'

BRITTANY (age 4) had an ear ache and wanted a pain killer. She tried in vain to take the lid off the bottle. Seeing her frustration, her Mom explained it was a child-proof cap and she'd have to open it for her. Eyes wide with wonder, the little girl asked: 'How does it know it's me?'

SUSAN (age 4) was drinking juice when she got the hiccups. 'Please don't give me this juice again,' she said, 'It makes my teeth cough.'

DJ (age 4) stepped onto the bathroom scale and asked: 'How much do I cost?'

MARC (age 4) was engrossed in a young couple that were hugging and kissing in a restaurant. Without taking his eyes off them, he asked his dad: 'Why is he whispering in her mouth?'

CLINTON (age 5) was in his bedroom looking worried when his Mom asked what was troubling him, he replied, 'I don't know what'll happen with this bed when I get married. How will my wife fit in it?'

JAMES (age 4) was listening to a Bible story. His dad read : 'The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city but his wife looked back and was turned to salt.' Concerned, James asked: 'What happened to the flea?'

TAMMY (age 4) was with her mother when they met an elderly, rather wrinkled woman her Mom knew. Tammy looked at her for a while and then asked, 'Why doesn't your skin fit your face?'

The Sermon I think this Mom will never forget...this particular Sunday sermon...'Dear Lord,' the minister began, with arms extended toward heaven and a rapturous look on his upturned face. 'Without you, we are but dust...' He would have continued but at that moment my very obedient daughter who was listening leaned over to me and asked quite audibly in her shrill little four year old girl voice, 'Mom, what is butt dust?'

I needed to just laugh and this made me laugh!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I'm on the post-operative coast

I have been trying to think of how to relay my surgical experiences and just how much information to put “out there.” Getting total knee replacements at the age of 52 is really young to be going through this but with everything that I have experienced like; 1) Been hit by a truck while crossing the street, 2) Gained a lot of weight, 3) I have osteoarthritis. All of these factors have each played their part in the need for this replacement and the yet to be discussed other knee that also needs to be replaced.

Going into have this surgery was not as simple as the many other surgeries that I have had. I was not so certain that this would be the answer to my being able to feel that I can be more mobile again. Surgery was not easy going into the OR and the surgeon did not even acknowledge that the reason for all of them to be gathered there had entered the room. It was all hurry up and get this done and move on to the next one. It is very hard laying there with a drape up so you can’t see what is going on and yet you know that they have pulled your ever so lovely hospital gown up to your waist and your girl parts are exposed for everyone in the room to see. One has the feeling that you are being violated and you’re just laying there and letting them do it. In fact you signed up for actually let them do this to you! Is even worse! I had opted for the new type of anesthetic called a femoral nerve block. They insert an IV into this nerve in your groin area and it continually blocks any feeling or sensations to your whole leg. And then they place an epidermal in your spine so you now have no feeling in either of your legs. You are still conscious that your hospital gown is still pulled up to your waist and everyone is seeing your girl parts!

As I lay there and know that they are having troubles with getting the 4 screws that have been in this knee for over 12 years. I can hear the drill trying to back those screws back out of my shin bone and I can feel them pounding with a hammer just to expose the heads of those screws. Other times I can feel them shoving and hammering metal on metal as they try to attach the replacement into the correct position. And yet I am not worried about all of this! I have this disinterested point of view even though I know it is my leg and my bones they are hammering, chiseling and sawing: You just don’t really care that much. The reality comes when you finally see the sixteen and a half inch long scar that this procedure has left on your leg!

Now it is seven weeks since the surgery and I putter around the house pretty good and I still walk with a limp but that will eventually go and the scar is healed and has begun to fade but it is still a very long scar and it is not pretty to look at! Not that anyone ever actually sees my knees!
The first few days that I could catch the bus and go to class on my own was extraordinary! The second day I could do things on my own I went to the library and to lunch and it was great just to sit there eating and reading a book knowing that I did not have to consult with anyone on how long I could be there. Now after doing this for three weeks it has not lost its rush!
Am I back to normal? By no means can I say that as I still get tired and if I spend too much time walking I do have some pain. Sleeping at nights is the worst. My hormones are totally out of whack so I have night sweats. Now that I sleep with the ceiling fan on it seems to be getting better. But still some nights are hard because it seems that you can’t get your leg nerves to calm down to get to sleep. So those are the nights I get up and walk around until I feel tired and then try to lay back down only to have to repeat this over several times in one night. It’s 3 am and I am still not gone to sleep yet. This is all part of this I am told now that I have done the surgery. This not a simple recovery in fact it is probably the longest recovery that I have experienced. But they only warn you against the regular surgical problems like infection, nerve damage, and bleeding. They never tell you that your life is not going to be the same for months after. That going up and down stairs to do laundry is exhausting and tricky carrying a laundry basket of dirty clothes or that it now will take you at least an hour to hand wash your dishes because you can’t stand at the sink that long, or the strange feeling that your surgical leg is now longer than the other one! In fact it really is now that you have replacement in that is a full knee joint and not the worn one that you had.
Now you look for new opportunities to do your physical therapy and practice counting because you need to count how many of each exercises you do. And trying to remember just when it was you took that last pain pill. I would write this stuff all down but I would probably forget where I put the list. So for now I am coasting! Yes that right coasting through everything I can possibly find and someday I will feel like I used to and hopefully even better but for right now I am coasting!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Brown Paper Bags

As I gingerly make my trek back out of the hospital with my brown paper bag that is to discretely transport home my antibacterial wash and my Fleet enema! Yes that’s right!
Yesterday was my appointment with the surgeon and boy was he just so happy!! He’s the kind of person that should be working at Disney World! The eternal happy place! Can I just say that he was totally thrilled beyond belief that when he took as gander at my x-rays of my poor old knees! The sight of my totally trashed arthritic knees was the best thing that ever happened to him! That would have to include marriage and children!! I have the first of two surgeries scheduled for next Friday, January 23rd. Today I had to go to the hospital and have my blood work done and I met with the anesthetist regarding the type I would want to use during surgery. Seems that the “new” thing is to NOT put you totally asleep but just do an epidural to block your feeling in your legs and that you are relatively still out of it thanks to the oxycontin (major pain killer). This will also take care of the nausea and vomiting that usually comes with the general anesthesia. And I can look forward to spending 2-3 days in the hospital and then transition to a rehab center to spend another couple of days then I get to finally go home.
Today, I have walked the maximum distance through the maze of hospital corridors carrying my brown paper bag. I hope everybody I see thinks I just purchased something at the gift shop! I have never used an enema before…and from what the nurse says I don’t really need to bother much about it! Unless I am constipated or eat a really heavy meal the night before surgery! I save sent out my emails to friends giving them notification that I will be out of the loop after next Thursday so to not worry about that they don’t hear from me for a week or so.
Now I will take my brown paper bag into the bathroom and place it in a place of honor – the bottom shelf of by the sink – I just don’t know about this enema thing!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New challenges for a new semester

I have always been told that: “God will never give you more that you can actually endure.” Really?? Says my questioning mind. Life has turned out to be a series of lessons of just how much strength I really have when I least think I do.
I see my life has been nothing but a series of living on easy street to questioning the All Mighty if he really thinks you can endure this! It is just when you think things are going great…look out! That’s about it. I have been through relatively easy periods dramatically cut off by those unplanned and unscheduled events that are truly life changing events.
As I have become well aware of the recovery form these life altering events I have become somewhat of a “pro” at the stages of regaining the life that I once had; well some of it at least. I guess the idea that I am now facing a new semester in school and the idea of trying to maintain my academic status and deal with the hardships of my inability to walk for long distances and possible surgeries during the semester. I am not looking forward to the next few months. Trying to be a college coed at 52 is hard enough but add on to that the need of completely new knees is almost more than one can endure: But I am going to! Somehow I think that my hindered ability to walk may just be a benefit to my studies—what else can I do but sit? I might as well read and do my homework. I think that I may become even more scholarly in the amount of research that I can do regarding the texts I’ll be reading.
My plan for today is to research the texts the professors had placed on our book lists. I think that way I can go into each new book with a little ground work and preparation before I crack the spine of the new books. I have always loved to be the first person to open a book. I am in love with the smell of new books and the noises the binding makes when you open up your newest treasure. So here’s to new adventures not just between to covers of literature but as to attending college as a physically challenged person. I hope I can really do this!

Monday, January 5, 2009

With the New Year under way I still sit here and the depression is tough today. I have feel so isolated and cut off from my even minimal routines. Granted I never was much a go here and do this type of person – but now I have an imposed isolation rather than one of choice. It is hard to sit home day after day my BIG days are when I go grocery shopping or to the library! And those are turning out to be just about more than I can do! I come home so exhausted and in a lot of pain that it is getting to the point that is just about not worth the effort.
I usually play on the computer and watch videos for company, but I have been having issues with my laptop and the PC is still in the repair shop! I have almost given up hope that I will ever hear from them ever again! I have called three times and left messages to call me back and I have never had a return phone call. So here I sit with just a limping laptop for the only entertainment use.
I spend many hours every day in contemplation of the importance of knees. We take them for granted. When you are suddenly left with some sort of malfunctioning and painful spaces between my thighs and ankles that become your total focus everyday. Can I do laundry today? Can I make it up and down the stairs lugging laundry baskets? But when faced with nothing clean to where then it becomes an issue. No longer is the question of if I have it in me to make the trips up and down the stairs but what else can I do down there that will let me be somewhat productive while down in the depths of the dark and smelly basement. I have a sewing machine and a couple of projects down there that I am currently working on so I can be somewhat productive while I wait for the laundry to be finished.
I am glad that I have cultivated skills in sewing, quilting, and knitting. I have projects everywhere. I have a knitting project by my laptop. I knit while I trying to figure out why my laptop will not let me watch videos on YouTube and why do I need to keep resetting my modem. Computer woes plague me right now and I have learned to depend upon it for entertainment during the day. Now it works as good as my knees! See!! That’s what I mean if things are not working I relate it to my knees! It has become a vicious cycle and everything brings me back to my painful knees.
oday be grateful that you can kneel in prayer, or kneel to be closer to a child, or even pick up the stuff you have dropped behind the toilet! Right now those items are officially dead to me! If they can’t roll out to where I can get them – then I never want to see them again! If I try to retrieve them I get visions of a skeleton bent over the toilet – it was me trying to pick up my mascara that rolled back there and I went to pick it up and I couldn’t get back up!