Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wanda Nell Carroll

The phone rang.  I saw who it was. Oh no!  I knew before I answered.  "She's gone," he said gently.   It was Scott on the phone.  I wept.  CJ wept.  The three of us wept softly together.  Wanda Nell Carroll's funeral will be Tuesday, Nov 8 at 1:00pm at the Totsch House located in the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park in Fredericksburg, TX.  

I remember the day I met Wanda Nell.  

In those days when I arose in the mornings I did a decontamination shower, washed my hands again, sanitized a work area, prepared a bag of nutrition, mounted it on the pole and turned the valve.  I mounted a fresh bag of hydration as well and set up the morning medications to begin their drip.  I gave my wife her injections, a hug, a kiss, gobbled the egg I had fried for me, and reported the night time and morning readings to the nurse who would visit later in the day, did another decontamination shower, slipped on my dress clothes, blew another kiss and ran to the office where I did the necessary paper work, the morning appointments, took a list of tasks for the afternoon, and ran back home to decontaminate again, mount still more hydration and do what ever needed doing.  There were many many times when more than twenty minutes of sleep at a time was not on the menu for the day.  Was I a nurse?  No!  Yes! 

There were some people around my life at that time who later told me that their impression of me was that I was lazy.  If any of you still think that - that shows me what you understand about intensive care giving - up your nose with a rubber hose.

One day when I came home, Carole said "I have a surprise for you," whereupon she told me how she had seen an advertisement in the newspaper, made a call, and  had arranged for me to go to such and such address where I would find a small shop and ask for Wanda Nell. 

There are stories behind why Carole would have thought to do this, but perhaps those are stories I will relate to you another time.  I went.  

After introducing herself and leading me to a small chamber, Wanda Nell said "I'll be back in a minute.  Shuck'em, get under the sheet and wait for me."  I shucked'em and got under the sheet.  When she returned, Wanda Nell proceeded to massage my back, my neck, my legs and my arms.  There were knots on top of the knots in my muscles.  Wanda Nell somehow took all that away and relieved the pain from the tension and stress of day and night care giving.  Carole had indeed found a wonderful gift to give me and I was better able to be helper for her then too.

From then on, after every trip to the hospital where I often slept in chair sitting up for days, Carole sent me to Wanda Nell for a massage.  Sometimes when we stayed out of the hospital for a while, Carole sent me anyway to get the knots worked out of my back.  More than once when Wanda pulled the sheet off my back to work on it, she would begin "Now this afternoon when Carole and I were talking, she said ... " and the conversation would begin.

Eventually Wanda Nell and Scott had their own place set up in their house.  I got to meet Scott and we became good friends.  Scott and I have shared a vocation, only he had training I've never had and his expertise helped me help others.   On top of all that, the man plays a mean guitar and sings.  So did Wanda Nell.  The two of them can get a crowd to sing "Father Abraham" along with them in flash.  

Bless her heart, when CJ came into my life, she became friends with my friends too.  CJ and Wanda Nell did not get to spend long together as friends, but they were friends indeed. I could see every day when CJ and Wanda Nell exchanged pleasantries and I saw that CJ would encourage and cheer Wanda Nell.  Wanda Nell told me privately one day:  "You had quite a lady there ..."  Yup, and it was good to hear that from my old friend too.

Yesterday was not a good day.  I awoke with the phone ringing and the news that Ana Štefok was gone.  At nearly the close of the day the phone rang with the news that Wanda Nell Carroll was gone.  CJ and I wept some yesterday and stayed close to each other and coped, just coped, what else was there to do?

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac
5 studenog 2011

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