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By Edward Wachdorf Sr.
carbon of typed letter
People mentioned besides wife, son Larry, son Jerry, daughter Dolores:
Mrs. Armstrong = Mary Armstrong, church crony of Irene's
Jean = Jean Cassello Foltz, wife of John Foltz
John = John Foltz, nephew of neighbor Frank Vrzak
Mrs. Cassello = Jean's neighbor & apparently acquainted with son Jerry in Illinois
Lydia = Lydia Harnois Wachdorf, widow of Edward's late brother Harry
Loretta = Lydia's sister, and eventually marries neighbor Frank Vrzak
Peanut = Larry's Chicago friend, Wilbur Schuch
April 27th 1955. 3 D's
Darn, Damn, Dirty
D's for not writing before, but time will tell, so listen very attentively while I unload the dirt. Gloom has been dispelled for the time being and curtain can be raised. Not wishing to keep you in anxiety and high tension, unless Jerry has spilled everything, here goes. We have your Mom back home after a short stay in the Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital.
She had a very bad night, Sunday the 17th, vomiting and not saying anything about how bad it was until Monday morning after church. She and Mrs. Armstrong went as usual to 6:30 A.M. mass where your Mom started to do tricks. She had a dizzy spell and left church, only to reach the vestibule where she proceeded to keel over, hitting her head and butt on the cement, crippling her so as to handicap her walking from severe pain. Some lady saw her laying there and went for Mrs. Armstrong and as Mom had to use the stool they took her there. First before I forget she vomited blood profusely Sunday night and passed plenty at her stool at church, soiling her dress, coat, stockings and undies.
Mrs. Armstrong brought her home and had her call me and also gave her the name of some Mexican M.D. to call if it was necessary. Soon she had to use the stool again and it was practically all blood and dark as coffee. That settled it and she agreed to let me call the doctor. After explaining to him as best I could he said, can you get her to the hospital for check-up?
After all was arranged by him phoning the hospital, off we went and checked her in. Her blood pressure was down to 80 and she looked like a ghost. She obligingly went through the same performance at the hospital, giving them plenty evidence of how she was acting. That night at visiting hours, we found out that she needed a blood transfusion or more and complete rest without moving.
Doc had it diagnosed correctly from the start as it proved to be (Diverticulum) in our language, a bulge in the upper intestine similar to an inner tube with a weak spot. This caused such a strain that it broke blood vessels around the bulge causing the blood to back up to her stomach and into her lower intestines, causing all the trouble.
It was a pity to see Mom making painful faces as she tried to make the slightest move in bed from the bruise she got form the fall, some place on her rear cheek , but not visible by evidence of discoloration.
I phoned the doctor and he said if we can stop the bleeding, he don't think there will be any serious consequences and luckily so far that is the way it stands. We had to leave her at the hospital until Sat. afternoon the 23rd at which time we could notice improvements of sitting up and rosy cheeks again, but we did have to wheel her down as she did not feel up to the task of walking.
As I did not feel as though I knew enough to write I waited until we had seen the doctor Tuesday by appointment to learn as much as possible. It seems like the worst is over if we can stop the bleeding permanently. Can you imagine your Mom on a diet and me shopping in the baby food aisle from now on. Everything must be mashed and strained to be able to pass through like mush. No fat of any kind and here your Mom used to beg Larry and I for the least bit of fat on our meat and now she can't even taste it. Nothing fried, no raw vegetables, no beef or pork, nothing that might cause gas, in fact she must starve from now on until Doc says O.K. or gives her the green flag.
She cannot stay on her feet too long nor do any hard work like washing up the floors etc. She still is willing to sit out her spare time which is a revelation of how she really is and was. She has a list of foods, mostly forbidden with a few left that is allowable. She promises to be a real good girl and will follow our instructions for the best.
Let's see. Now to Jerry and were we dumbfounded Sunday morning the 24th to have the phone ring and have Jerry on the other end asking how Mom was and how serious was the trouble. Your Mom was at the phone when it rang and answered. She tried to stall Jerry with his questions about being at the hospital, being sick and so on. Jerry just kept on being persistent about that he knows all about it by having a secret contact out here who keeps him posted about our welfare.
The truth is that Jean wrote her mother, stating that Irene was in the hospital and that she was chief cook and bottle washer at the house in her absence, and sure enough, nosey Mrs. Cassello, Jean's mother, had to call Jerry and ask how his mother was getting along and he not knowing anything about it. Don't know how far his inquiry went back there but he sure lost no time in getting this end on the wire to ask some anxious questions.
Mom is sitting across the table right now, peeling a soft boiled egg with a slice of toast and a glass of tea, no coffee allowable. That's her entire lunch. Perhaps as time goes on I may think a little clearer and collect my thoughts and express them later but not right now. Still wearing off the shock. If you can think up some of your own questions, you are granted the privilege of asking them and I will try to give the desired information.
Larry just called as I had to answer the phone and said he is working until 9 P.M. tonight. Good, he is saving for Peanut's visit which he is anxiously looking forward to and getting all set to enjoy.
Other things are fine with the garden going like a garden should and Mom knowing by now that she is not immune from fainting spells of which she so proudly boasted and feebly admits now that it can happen even to her.
Jean & Johnnie have been house-keeping for themselves for the last month just north of us at 133rd street and Lemoli Ave. Hawthorne and practically living every afternoon and evening when Larry would join us after wok and also Johnny. Also had Frank, Lydia, and her sister Loretta, and Mrs. Armstrong as visitors to keep Mom in the best of spirits. In the finish we had Mom dolling up for us to look her best and did we like to see her smiling with gratitude when we came.
Now for info we had doctor Fernando Villar, Private room at first day and then transferred to a semi-private room from then on, all outside rooms with the latest hospital, just opened the last year by the Sisters of St. Joseph and not far from home. Have bottles of medicine for Mom and plenty of orders.
Love from all of us
[added in fresh, non-carbon type] Dolores, a souvenir for you which was tied to Mom's wrist while in the hospital [no longer with letter]
To go to next, click here: 1955 May 15