Bob Mitchell: Ask for a private room

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

A first experience with a recent trip to the hospital in a few years taught me a valuable lesson — if you want to be comfortable and rest, ask for, and hopefully get, a private room.

During this particular instance actually while disturbing at times proved interesting for a few across the curtain conversations. Actually the individual in the adjoining bed was a post-Korean War Navy veteran, which provided some material for short conversations.

Raised butterflies

While it was never determined what profession he had been associated with before retirement, his devotion to Monarch Butterflies really got him in some hurt.

Suffering a fall that broke or cracked 12 ribs resulted after he fell from a ledge while he was attempting to salvage some larva from the underside of some leaves adjacent to a patch of milkweed, which I had known previously was a favorite with the Monarchs.

Harold, the only name needed at this point, never did explain why, other than for his own enjoyment, he was raising butterflies in the first place, but he obviously enjoyed what he was doing to preserve the Monarchs.

Processes involved

This guy, who still had a drain in his chest and was waiting for determination about further treatment, was about as much a conversation person as you might encounter anywhere as he explained how collecting the larva saved the butterflies from the birds. After collecting them, he had what was considered a secure place where they could develop into a caterpillar and eventually a full-fledged Monarch.

These beauties were once prevalent in the woods around our place, often observed when some new plantings were considered. Some of the brilliant models were worth watching as they made their daily rounds across flowers of their various choices.

Helped each other

The butterfly man had another reason to stay in contact through the curtain — his call button didn’t work. With his serious injuries it was a problem for him, so about the time naptime might arrive for me, I would hear him call out, “Bob, Bob, press your call button, mine won’t work.”

With this guy’s injuries and obvious pain, the only thing for me to do was stay awake and wait for his call. After a couple of technician attempts at repairs, which were not successful, the staff changed his bed!

Particular individual

Harold was apparently a particular person, turning down his wife’s efforts to come from near Branson to visit because he didn’t want his new car to be out in weather that was predicted. He was certain should she come up Highway 65 to Springfield there would be a hailstorm though the area and the vehicle would be damaged.

This guy was very knowledgeable about things that went on in the Korean War and had spent much time around the Inchon harbor area on the east coast. That’s the location used by Amphibious Forces that put the First Marine Division ashore under difficult conditions in September 1949.

That was about this time of the year, 71 years ago, and actually, many of the events of that day and for several weeks that followed seem almost like yesterday.

Place still shut down

Here at Elfindale, the place is still shutdown for the most part, but many of their activities have been postponed. Their dining room is closed, while some few activities are conducted in their clubhouse. In fact, we’re supposed to be involved in bridge games this week. That will be complete with masks and all the cautions in force at this time.

Just how you can play cards and be six feet apart seems difficult to me, but the plan will be observed when it occurs.

I’m still in contact with former Cassville folks, JoAnne Ellis and Sandy Cullers, the latter is scheduled for knee surgery soon, so I’m sure she would appreciate it if you sent her a card.

Contacts good

There are a few contacts in Cassville still good, Ted Matthews is one.

I was sorry to learn McDonald’s is no longer a morning gathering place inside the building. It’s hard to understand when Springfield facilities are open under some restrictions. Continue to be safe

Keep the virus cautions in place that could be helpful in combating COVID-19, and hopefully everybody will stay safe.

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat. He is a 2017 inductee to both the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame and Missouri Southern State University’s Regional Media Hall of Fame.