The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
By MORRIS STEPHENSON -
Just when you think things are rolling along well, you can count on expecting the unexpected because all heck will break loose and that's a fact.
Such was the case about 1:30 Saturday morning when wife Hazel rattled my dreams with a shake of the shoulder. "Wake up and come sit with me," she simply said. Glancing over at the clock, I knew something wasn't right. So I asked her. "I've got pains in my chest and they are getting worse. I took a nitro pill a few minutes ago but it doesn't seem to be helping," she replied.
Her statement caught my full attention and I was wide awake in an instant. For some reason, I had no thought of calling the rescue squad. "I'm taking you to the hospital in Rocky Mount," I said in a stern voice.
Both her heart and lung specialists are at Lewis-Gale Hospital in Salem...some 45 minutes away from Ferrum. That was out of the question and I still wasn't thinking along the line of calling the squad.
So with her as comfortable as I could make her in the "Little Mean Green Machine," I made it to the check-in at the emergency room in under 10 minutes, and a couple of minutes later, she was in an ER room with hospital nurses doing their job.
After getting readings and all the other things they do when you're admitted to the ER, Dr. Heitz came into the room. He briefly explained her heart had been racing and they were giving a "drip" IV to bring the heart rate under control. After that was accomplished, the blood pressure went up as the rate slowed. So they started on correcting the latest problem.
After talking to the nurses, I figured there was nothing I could do but wait. It was then we talked and I decided to return home and check on "Victor," our 2-year-old Schnauzer, who knew something wasn't right. He picks up on things like that very quickly. But he was sound asleep when I returned and didn't even rouse up when I entered. I took advantage of this and climbed back in bed. Snooze time passed very fast and before I knew it I was on my feet again.
After feeding Vic and "Midnight," our 17-year-old cat, I ate some toast with jelly and drank some milk. I went by the hospital and learned the x-ray had shown wife Hazel had some fluid on one of her lungs, and it was pressing against the heart and one of its valves, which was causing the pain. And I learned that they had given her medication to start clearing the fluid.
Dr. Agner or perhaps Dr. Heitz informed wife Hazel it was a good thing she didn't wait. A clot could have developed and she could have died as a result of the problem. Whichever, I wasn't there when the discussion took place.
Now wife Hazel and her four girls and families are very close, so there is an ample supply of visitors abiding by the ER's visiting hours schedule. I managed to work in my time despite the odds.
Sunday was a long dreary day with a constant threat of a flood watch Sunday evening through Tuesday, I shared visiting time in the afternoon and evening with her four daughters, grandchildren and Maddy, one of the great-grandkids.
With the NASCAR race on television from Talladega, I watched the seven-hour, rain-delayed race off and on all afternoon and into the evening before David Regan took the checks when became too late to safely race. Between the hospital and home, I did get to see the end of the event after briefly.
I happened to be at CFMH when Dr. Agner made his call. During her early stay, they took three blood samples. One, he said, they learned that her thyroid numbers weren't as they should be. I took it as saying it was "overactive." Thus meds were given to try and correct that problem as well.
The good news was they had her heart problem stabilized by adjusting some of the daily meds she takes. He told her he expected to release her Monday afternoon after results from another test to see what was going on with the fluid problem. Of course, the numbers on her heart checks had to remain stabilized as well.
So about 7:30 Sunday night I got into the little convertible heading for Ferrum to get something to eat and feed the animals. Midnight was standing beside the car waiting for me to exit. I unlocked the door and Victor was barking as he jumped up and down with excitement. Of course, both animals were hungry and wanted food. But Mr. Victor went for his favorite squeak toy and brought it to me wanting to play "tug" with the soft yellow noise-maker.
Ah, I was nice to be welcomed home, but I had a lot of things to do. In expectation of her release, I had to find what she wanted to wear home the next day. That hospital gown split in the back wasn't going anywhere, I knew.
I took care of my nightly chores and had a salad and a peanut butter, banana sprinkled with pepper sandwich. I used bread, both sides coated with mayo then added the other half of the banana. To make it to my liking, I sprinkled sugar on top of the banana. Together with a glass of cold milk, my meal was complete.
So that's where everything stands Monday morning as I re-write this top part of the column. You'll just have to wait a week to hear about wife Hazel's progress and Mr. Victor's letter I had to write for him.
A Nice Surprise - Last week, I wrote about adding a fifth bottle of Virginia Sweetwater Moonshine to my collection of moonshine jars, bottles and jugs. I was actually stunned when I learned a distillery had opened and had gone into operation in February of this year. The shocker is, it's in Marion, where I was born and raised.
I have learned that Scott, whose nickname is "Mash," Schumaker and his wife are the owners of the operation located on Walker's Creek. As I go back into my memory, it seems Walkers Creek is located between Marion and Chilhowie.
After a quick Google check, I was armed with a lot more information about the operation, including a mailing and email address. So I sent a signed copy of my book "A Night of Makin' Likker," along with my congratulations and a little about my background. "Mash" was quick to reply.
The nice, big surprise came last Tuesday when wife Hazel called to say, "You have a box that UPS just dropped off here. I don't think they're your books. Did you order anything?"
That evening when I arrived home, there was a pint- sized jug of moonshine from Marion. Not only was it small, but it was very special. The clear glass jug contained the two labels like the ones that are on my fifth of VSM on display in my office. But this one had a special message printed with a Sharpie pen that read, "To Morris. Thanks for the book" and it was dated 4-29-13 and signed by owner Scott Schumaker, using his nickname "Mash Back."
A small white label made the bottle even more special. The top line is the company's name, Appalachian Mountain Spirits. Then it has "Date Bottled" with Mash filling in "2-11-13." Also on the label are the ingredients with "corn" being checked among the blank boxes, noting "milled corn," "milled rye," "milled barley," along with several others.
After reading the label, I knew this jug was going among my prized possessions to be passed down to the next generation.
Also in the box was a small reproduction of the distillery's label. The hand-written note on the reverse side said, "Thank you. We love the book! Come see us sometime." Judging from difference in the writing styles, I'd say it was written by Mrs. Schumaker.
Now, I can't wait for the weather to get warm and stay that way so the first trip back to Marion since selling the house after my mother died. There are no relatives there now so the trip will be made so I can see my first ever legal distillery, in operation I hope!
Rare Visitors - It's been a day and a week now since we've seen a rare breed of birds at our feeder. Wife Hazel first noticed a pair Wednesday and it's been so long ago I can't remember when a Rose-breasted Grosbeak stopped at our house. "I see two now and they are beautiful," she said over the phone.
That evening, just about the time the sun was slipping behind the mountains, the number had doubled to four. It appeared all four had the same inverted-shaped bright red spot on their large white breasts. Their heads and wing tips were jet black. I was looking for a female but couldn't tell if one or more had a paler shade of red.
But my excitement disappeared when the grosbeaks disappeared and I didn't see the Indigo Bunting again. Oh well, it was fun while they were at our house!
Something New Added - I think I'll start ending these weekly columns with a question "Did you ever wonder....?" I'm going to leave it up to you, the readers, to keep the question going each week with something you wonder about. So with that said, the first question popped into my mind last week.
Do you ever wonder why honey bees don't swarm in large numbers around all the flowering plants in stores, especially in the spring? So far, I have yet to see the first bee, although there are a few at my house.