"Doctor Bea" graduated from that training and practiced medicine at the Bradshaw Hospital in Welch throughout World War II, then married and moved to Texas with my dad hung up her stethoscope, put on an apron and raised a family.
I was thinking about my mother in a different way today, having awakened dizzy. The room seemed to spin, like the old TV sets we used to have to get out of our chairs to adjust, confirming I was experiencing vertigo for real. It was miserable, but not scary since that rarely is life-threatening. The Mayo Clinic explains vertigo as your brain trying to sort out the confusion your brain, your inner ear, your eyes and sensory nerves are receiving.
This caused me to be unable to attend the funeral of a man my mother brought into the world when she was practicing medicine in Welch during the war. He must have been one of the first babies she delivered. She had been so pleased to be remembered as his doctor when we met him for the first time with his friend Ann, while picking up pears at his home.
There have been many endings to loved lives this year and many who are laid to rest with the families not surrounded by friends as in our recent past. Though much had been written about organ donation prior to the pandemic, it and whole body donation has gone quiet.
There are times the dead can share their essence to teach those who will take care of the living. Today it is simple to donate your whole body to The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Willed Body Program with forms you can find online. And there must have been a system earlier since my mother remembered hers so clearly. She was assigned a cadaver to learn the techniques surgeons needed to refine before they begin practice on their own live patients.
Each of her classmates had one, and each had 2 ears. The prize, the proof for the surgeon in the making was to remove each of the 3 bones in the ear flawlessly and to wear them on a necklace as proof. Sometimes my mother told me things and I believed them, but growing up with my dad, the "boofer" I did sometimes doubt even her stories of the past.
The bones are tiny and enable us to hear the train going by, but also the gentle breeze, or the soft breathing of a child while they sleep. The three tiny bones in the middle ear of all mammals are the hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup. They work together so we have the ability to enjoy and make our way through the world safer and enjoy our surroundings all the more. I grew up in a house with AT Still looking over my shoulder. My mother had a bust of him and only decades later did I ask who it was, having always thought it to be some general, or philosopher.
I never saw her ear bone necklace, and I rather think it was the "boof" in the story especially since none of the research I have done since do they ever claim this happened. But there was a time a man came to my house and swore he had a whole necklace of ears in his car. I imagined lots of these little bones sort of clinking together as a person wearing it would hear.
But it wasn't that at all. It was a war-trophy he had gathered during the Viet Nam war, ears he has wacked off the dead. I was so traumatized at his recounting the item never came into my home and he was asked to leave. That kind of abuse and dismemberment must never be condoned. Never seen, the image has yet to leave my memory and my only hope was it some sort of uncalled for "boof."
But it is the vertigo I have been experiencing the last few days that brought to mind the precious and precise ways we are engineered. Our fine tuning must be the miracle, when just one little jigger of issue with one's inner ear can bring the whole system into a day's long effort to find one's "sea-legs."
Hoping to right the course soon, and that you, too have firm footing through all that follows for us.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim