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Vicky and me
For those of you who watched “Victoria” on PBS for the past few months, here is a roundabout anecdote that can get you past the withdrawal.
At the Tucson FOB this past weekend, where I was hawking my new book,”WASTE WATER,” one of the authors in the Indie Tent (Independently published authors-nothing to do with Harrison Ford) brought his pregnant wife who is due in a few months. Being very tiny, she was a bit worried about how large the baby was projected to be and said she hoped there would be no problem.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with an older woman when I was pregnant with my first child many years ago who related that when she was at that same stage, her mother said there was nothing to it. You started to feel labor pains, they ‘put you out,’ and when you woke up, the baby was in your arms. At the time, I was horrified by the lack of information about childbirth for that generation of women, and the young woman I related it to was wide-eyed with disbelief.
But then I remembered that it was Queen Victoria who inadvertently popularized anesthesia during childbirth. She had nine children and after the birth of her seventh decided that something ought to be done about what they probably called the “discomfort” of the process. She and Prince Albert connected with physician John Snow who recommended chloroform, rather than ether, which had come into use during surgical procedures and was presumed safer. Thus, she had the soon to be famous experience of being ‘put out’ and waking up to a baby in her arms.
Dr. John Snow not only promulgated anesthesia and better hygiene in surgical situations, he is credited with linking the germ theory to the spread of cholera, a virulent disease often found in crowded areas and previously thought to be cause by ‘miasma.’
So, John Snow did know something after all.

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Andrea Ibanez Kress ()


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