Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm glad I wasn't born in the 1700's - Post 13

I love to read. I always have at LEAST two books going at any given time. I always carry a book with me. I have spare books at work just in case I finish one and have extra time. So when today's suggestion was a book report I was thrilled.

I love to read. I haven't always though. In fact there was a time when I would have preferred going to the dentist over reading. Maybe that was because I was told I read slow and would never get anywhere. The person who told me that read really really fast. She would 'skim read' and get the whole gist of the page very quickly. Not me. I read every single word.

A few months back I was looking through the table of books at Costco and came across one titled "An Echo in the Bone" by Diana Gabaldon. It was bright green and thick, nearly 1200 pages, and the back cover was so intriguing I just had to buy it.

Jamie Fraser is an eighteenth-century Highlander, an ex-Jacobite traitor, and a reluctant rebel in the American Revolution. His wife, Claire Randall Fraser, is a surgeon—from the twentieth century. What she knows of the future compels him to fight. What she doesn’t know may kill them both.

With one foot in America and one foot in Scotland, Jamie and Claire’s adventure spans the Revolution, from sea battles to printshops, as their paths cross with historical figures from Benjamin Franklin to Benedict Arnold.

Meanwhile, in the relative safety of the twentieth century, their daughter, Brianna, and her husband experience the unfolding drama of the Revolutionary War through Claire’s letters. But the letters can’t warn them of the threat that’s rising out of the past to overshadow their family.
My husband laughed at me when I opened it as soon as I got in the car. He stopped laughing when I closed it and said, "It's book seven of a series. I need the rest before I can read this one."

That Monday I went to the local used book stores to find the first six books. One place had books 1 and 2, so I was set. It didn't take long to get through book 1 and into book 2. (I am currently on book 6 with book 7 patiently waiting on my bedside stand.)

It is book 2 "Dragonfly in Amber" that has a part in it that made me pause and be extremely thankful for when I was born. Claire, the main character, was being given a tour of the hospital she was going to be working in. She came across a very thin patient laying listlessly under a blanket. There was an oddly shaped glass vessel standing on the floor beside her. It was filled with urine and hidden in the ammonia smell was a sickly sweet smell also. After talking with the patient, Claire confirmed that she was always thirsty and always hungry but no matter how much she ate she remained thin. Claire new it was diabetes mellitus, known back then as 'sugar sickness', but she also knew there was nothing that could be done for her, and figured that she would be gone within the month.  This is what hit me like a ton bricks on being thankful for being born when I was. 

We may not have a cure yet, but we do have medication now that will help us live longer than just a couple months.  There are times I think about what it would be like to live in those times; no traffic jams, phones ringing all the time, computer issues that always come up at the worst time, cars that need repaired every few months, or any other technological issue that drives us crazy.  Then my pump beeps at me to remind me that she is running low, and I'm reminded how far we have come, and that I get the privilege of living more than just a couple months.

I would like to personally thank Diana Gabaldon for helping me remember in which book the above scene took place.  Her quick response to my inquiry is much appreciated.

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