While everyone is making their New Year Resolution I have some things I did in the past that I do not want to ever repeat. These are all the things I do not miss, and once was enough.

When I was at my camp swimming, I took an old rusty sickle and was going to cut a small spruce tree. I took hold of the little top and cut with the sickle, which slid up the tree and cut my knuckle. It wouldn't stop bleeding, so I tried to wrap towels around it and head for the doctor's office. She had left for the day and the secretary tried to wrap it again and said,”You get to the emergency room.” (She told me later that she almost passed out.) I sat with my hand held high and asked “How long before I get lock jaw?” They said,”It is o.k. Barb, we will get to you soon.” When they repaired it they said, if you had cut just a little deeper the cord would have gone up your arm and we would have had to go up and pull it down. I had never had a tetanus shot so that was next,, followed each week by a couple more. I threw the sickle away, rust and all.

Another time I was swimming and was out about 100 feet when the neighbor's young son was angry at his little kids. So he hopped into his aluminum boat with a horse power engine that was powerful. He didn't look and the bow was so high out of the water that I wondered what I could do. I swam toward some ledges thinking he would go the other way, but he did not. I tried to out-swim that boat, but could not. So as he passed by, swamping me, I dropped my feet and legs, so they wouldn't become hamburg. When he got out a ways, he saw me and came back saying,”You scared me!” I replied,”How do you think I felt?” He said he was going home and not going out again in the boat that summer.

My next near-miss was one Sunday afternoon, when a friend of mine was driving my car and fell asleep. He crossed the road and hit the only elm tree stump in a field. It demolished my car, cut his hands and damaged me. I spent four hours in the emergency room; they X-rayed me and said I had a broken tooth and two broken ribs. I was to go home and walk around so I would not get pneumonia. I did two laundries and slept on the couch.

The next day after I spent the morning making phone calls about my car, things in it, coming appointments, etc., the phone rang and it was the head doctor who was not there on the Sunday. He said to come right back. I said, “Why? I spent four hours yesterday and they sent me home.” He told me that it was very necessary and to come back now. A relative took me and the orthopedic surgeon came up to me. He said,” This is your X-ray, and your spinal cord is sticking right out. You should be paralyzed or dead.” I assured him I was not, and he the told me “I'll meet you in the operating room in 15 minutes.” I waited to be wheeled in and waited and waited. Finally a worker walked by and I said,”I am supposed to be in the operating room where the doctor and three nurses are waiting. What is the hold up?” He said that they had a new computer and couldn't print my bracelet. I told him to be old fashioned and write it out or I was walking in (of course the gurney was so high I couldn't have gotten off it.) He came back with a hand written bracelet and wheeled me in.

They numbed my head and started to bore two holes in my forehead and two in the back of my skull, while they talked about what kind of pizza they were going to get for their supper. I wondered if they knew when to stop boring holes for the halo, because I knew I had brains in there somewhere, and didn't want to lose them. They assured me they knew how far to go. The vest had to be ordered and was to arrive as soon as possible. It came at 3:00 a.m. And when the doctor came in that morning, as my head was held by a chain, and said,” I am sorry the vest hasn't arrived. “ Oh yes it had, I assured him, as I had seen it. So the halo was put on and I was ready to go home. He said,”You better stay a while to get used to being top heavy.”

A halo is a strange sight that people are not used to seeing. My minister arrived the next morning, and for one who was always smiling, he had a funny look on his face. I said, ”Rev. Archie, I got my halo before you did.” After that he smiled. Quite often I had to go for a CAT-scan to see if my neck was healing. After quite a few weeks it looked like it was, so I went for the doctor to remove the halo and took a Philadelphia collar with me. He said, ”I want you to go for one more CAT-scan.” I said,” No more or I would light up from the radiation.” He said,”Just one more, I promise.” I did and it was not bone healing, it was tissue, so I still had a broken neck. That meant an operation. I stayed in a hospital bed at home for one month, until he could do it and an operating room was ready. Time came for the delicate operation and I waited and waited. A piece of equipment needed was coming from Augusta and there had been a blizzard that night, so it was not there. He had the State Police bring it as fast as they could. He did a successful operation, without touching the spinal cord, wiring a bone from my hip and held by a wire “bow tie”. It looks cute in an x-ray.

I have behaved myself until I was ninety-one, fell and fractured my hip. It has two large bolts to fix the fracture. I was given a spinal and knew what was going on. I could hear the great surgeon pounding them into the bone, with maybe a sledge hammer. When I got back to my room, I entertained the nurses with the story of the sledge hammer. They said, “No Barb, he only put screws in your leg.” When he came in I told him what I heard, and he said I was right. There were two bolts that he had to pound through my bones.

Well I got over that and fell off the back steps.I won't watch football because they are asking for a concussion. I got mine unexpectedly and it’s now been a year, and I am still having a few dizzy spells.

Well, my last episode was Dec 13th when I had to be rushed to the emergency room because of such a severe pain, they had to give me morphine twice to stop it. They asked if I wanted to be resuscitated. I say “No, but it was not my heart; I had a good heart.” Then I had the bumpy ride to Portland because they said I had acute pancreatitis. A wonderful doctor and crew went down my throat to clean out the bile duct that had been accumulating for ten years and even gall stones. I had asked doctors why I was so sick about twice a year and no one had an answer. Now I know after the ERCP procedure, but it was almost too late as e-coli and other bad germs came from it. When the doctor called Pen Bay to see how I was doing, he was surprised I was recovering nicely instead of dying. I had very good care there from December 13 to the 20th…

So I am a tough old bird with more than nine lives. I still have many things to do, so I shall hang around for a while. My resolution is to stay out of trouble for 2018.