Sunday, May 9, 2010


Bouleversée is the most onamotopaeic word I know for being overwhelmed. French for overwhelmed, it also implies being rolled over, turned over, distressed, and so forth. For those of you know French, you will notice that I made this adjective feminine. (One can do that with French.) That is because it is Noelle who is overwhelmed.

Just exactly five months after Ray had his combined stroke and heart attack that essentially killed him and resulted in the decision to pull the plug a week later, based on no brain activity following those incidents, Noelle's best friend, Tater, died. Tater was a very special friend because Noelle and she were college classmates a few years ago in San Diego. She was even more special because Noelle and she were the only two students at the time who had to deal with the demands of their spina bifida defects as well as struggling with their studies. They both survived and thrived in college. Then Tater married Marco and flew off to Florida.

Noelle migrated back north to Salts in 2003, but she and Tater have kept in constant contact since then. Until today. Today it was Marco who called. At the age of 36 (no typo there; she is just two years older than Noelle), Tater has died. No reason given.

That does sometimes happen with spina bifida folks. We know that with spina bifida life is unpredictable and can even evaporate. Noelle lives on borrowed time every time she goes to bed because there is no guarantee that she will not suffocate from her lungs being squeezed ber her scoliotic back, nor any guarantee that her shunt will not stop working, forcing her into acute hydrocephalus from which she does not wake up. She had only a 50% chance of living at birth and a life expectancy of 21 years (upped with the introduction of intermittent catheterization as a daily routine).

It has been a tough 2010 for Noelle. She has been living alone for some years now, and most years have had ups and downs. She gets through the downs by looking forward to the ups. In 2010, so far, those ups are distant enough to be hard to see. First, in January, Ray died. For four (!) months after that, she was threatened with amputation of her right leg due to a serious bone infection, then two weeks ago, when she finally was scheduled for surgery, the doctor found that the infection had surprisingly (? - I am not very surprised by such things; Noelle has a Protector) subsided to the point of needing very minor surgery: placement of a pump to remove the infection. Still attached to the pump, Noelle received the phone call this morning about her friend's death. She called in tears. Noelle is more prone to laughter than to tears. With her, tears are a serious matter.

So, I am giving up Mother's Day to go to Salts and sit with Noelle through her tears. Oh, wait a minute. Isn't this exactly what being a mother is all about? Let me rephrase that sentence then. I am going to Salts to spend Mother's Day in a most appropriate manner.


  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for your beautiful message. I just read your post about Noelle's friend. How sad. I am glad to learn that you decided to spend Mother's Day with her. I'll pray for Noelle and Tater's family. (((((hugs)))))


  2. Doris, Muthering -- thanks for the prayers!

    Stuff -- you are welcome!

  3. Dear Elizabeth, this helps me to apreciate my life more - disabilities and all. People like Noelle and Tater are my heroes. A big hug for Noelle

  4. Thanks, Amrita. They do deal with very difficult things at times. I will pass along that hug to Noelle.


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