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Dragonfly Notes On Distance and Loss von Panning, Anne (eBook)

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 18.09.2018
  • Verlag: Stillhouse Press
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Dragonfly Notes

When a seemingly routine medical procedure results in her mother's premature death, Anne Panning is left reeling. In her first full-length memoir, the celebrated essayist draws on decades of memory and experience as she pieces together the hard truths about her own past and her mother's. We follow Panning's winding path from rural Minnesota to the riverbanks of Vietnam's Mekong Delta and all the way back again-a stark, poignant tale of two women deeply connected, yet somehow forever apart. Dragonfly Notes is a testament to the prevailing nature of love, whether in the form of a rediscovered note, a sudden moment of unexpected recall, or sometimes, simply, the sight a dragonfly flitting past.


    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: none
    Seitenzahl: 260
    Erscheinungsdatum: 18.09.2018
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9781945233067
    Verlag: Stillhouse Press
    Größe: 446 kBytes
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Dragonfly Notes

What If My mother's health problems began in an innocent, random way. For years my mother had struggled with a weak bladder, and whenever we got together, she'd beg us not to make her laugh because she'd end up peeing in her pants. "You kids, stop!" she'd say, crossing her legs and bouncing up and down. "I'm serious. Stop!" Whenever she'd sneeze, she'd say, "Well, there I go spritzing again." Her mother, my Grandma Griep, had had the exact same problem, and whether it was childbirth that had weakened the muscles, or simply genetics, my mother could barely walk a few blocks before needing to find a bathroom. Amy and I already showed signs of the same problem. I knew every bathroom in every mall, store, park, running route, and restaurant. We always joked that we all had bladders the size of a walnut. Amy had started working as support staff at a local hospital, and as a result, she'd become familiar with the various doctors and nurses, and with the procedures there. It was at the hospital that she'd heard about a fairly new and innovative solution to incontinence that involved inserting a mesh sling underneath the bladder to lift it back into its normal position. The mesh sling provided support, like a hammock, so the bladder wouldn't sag down and cause constant pressure to urinate. The procedure was called an IVS Tunneler TVT. I never figured out what IVS meant, but TVT, I learned, stood for tension-free vaginal tape, the piece of mesh used in the surgery. Before my mother had the surgery, I'd read mostly positive reports online. IVS was supposed to be a highly effective yet minimally invasive procedure that posed very minor risk of complications. Later, however, after my mother's death, I found pages and pages of law-firm websites devoted exclusively to complications caused by defective mesh materials. According to one website, since doctors began using the mesh slings for incontinence in the late 1990s, the FDA had received over a thousand reports and complaints from patients. Many of the problems involved erosion, in which the mesh protruded into the organs and the skin split, resulting in pain and infection. In some cases, the mesh would completely detach from the bladder area and migrate into the vaginal walls or other organs. Of course, none of us knew these things before my mother had the surgery; the FDA did not put out an official public warning until 2008, four years too late for my mother. Plus, many women had reported swift and successful results. Even the Mayo Clinic's website, at the time, suggested the procedure was less invasive and less complicated than other surgeries used to correct pelvic organ prolapse (POP), the condition that caused my mother's incontinence. Although it may not have been medically urgent, my mother's incontinence had begun to dominate her life. According to Amy, my mother could no longer go to the grocery store because they didn't have a bathroom there and she couldn't last through a whole shopping trip before she felt the urge to go. Just like my Grandma Griep, my mother kept an industrial-sized box of Depends stuffed in the bathroom cabinet, and her purse was always puffy with an emergency supply. She'd have to go badly in the middle of the night and couldn't make it fast enough to the bathroom, so eventually she kept an ice-cream pail by the side of her bed (as she'd confessed to me with embarrassment). When I heard she'd finally made an appointment for the procedure, I was thrilled. Good for her, I thought. A positive, proactive move. I remember jotting the date of her appointment down on my calendar: June 10, 2004. This was where things got fuzzy. At this same time, I was nine months pregnant with my second child. Though I felt great, I'd had various complications with the pregnancy every step of the way, including placenta

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