Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Fateful Bargain--Discussion Thread

The Fateful Bargain has patients smoking on the ward which makes me wonder about how smokers do the whole hospital thing. I don't think they're allowed to smoke in the hospital (unless maybe they're mobile enough to find one of those awful, cramped outside designated smoking areas...Does anyone have any insights?

I have decided to overlook the little detail that Lucilla, a doctor's sister, is recovering from a bout of POLIO!!! In 1989!!! Let's just call it one of the Inscrutable Mysteries of Betty and pass on to other, more juicy tidbits. I looked up Jonas Salk (developer of the polio vaccine) on wiki and wow, wow, wow:

The day after his graduation from medical school, Salk married Donna Lindsay, a master's candidate at the New York College of Social Work. David Oshinsky writes that her father, Elmer Lindsay, "a wealthy Manhattan dentist, viewed Salk as a social inferior, several cuts below Donna's former suitors." Eventually, her father agreed to the marriage on two conditions: first, Salk must wait until he could be listed as an official M.D. on the wedding invitations, and second, he must improve his "rather pedestrian status" by giving himself a middle name."

They had three children: Peter, Darrell, and Jonathan Salk. In 1968, they divorced, and in 1970 Salk married Fran├žoise Gilot, the former mistress, artistic muse of Pablo Picasso--also the mother of two of his children.

Who knew he got around? He sounds a little like Jerry Brown in his dating-Linda-Ronstadt days. Anyway, though awfully colorful, the real legacy of his life is the almost complete eradication of iron lungs--see right.

Emily is asked 'do you wish to throw in the sponge?' I prefer towel to sponge, sounds less icky and bacterial-laden. At any rate it reminds me of Rocky Balboa's slow-motion towel drop when Apollo Creed (whose name has to be one of the best names in the history of cinema) takes a fatal blow to the head from a suitably steroid enhanced Ivan Drago (whose name has to be one of the best names in the history of cinema) in Rocky IV. (Yes, I watch Rocky.)

In The Fateful Bargain we get to meet some cross-over characters from The Little Dragon (one of my faves!). It's nice to know that that particular heroine finally forgave that hero for wanting to lap her about in wealth and luxury...


  1. Betty Barbara here--
    As someone with several hospital stays in the past 10 years--at least in the hospital I was in--they prescribed nicotine patches for the smokers. As I am not a smoker, I didn't really care. But they did not want even second hand smoke around, nor did they want people going through nicotine withdrawal while trying to recover from surgery!
    Of course, wards, as fondly described by Our Betty, are a thing of the past in most US hospitals. The several hospitals closest to me have gone through vast building programs so that all patients can have private rooms!

  2. It IS different in European hospitals - wards are still quite common, as I understand it, and I don't think it would have been that unusual for polio to crop up in the 80s. We're very spoiled in states with regard to disease. Europe (after a search of the web) wasn't declared polio-free until 2002! Amazing.

    My mother and stepfather were both heavy smokers and when hospitalized, they were supposed to go to the one designated smoking area down in front of the hospital. (Ugh, I hate walking past there!) What they actually did was to smoke in their bathrooms. "No one will be able to tell."

  3. Besides childbirth, I've only ever stayed in the hospital once. I was never in a 'ward', however, I was in a four-bed room once. It was in Biloxi, Mississippi - I had just given birth at the Keesler Medical Center. Not a place that I can recommend. Not only were there 4 women in one room, there were also 4 babies in the room most of the time. Sleep was a luxury we were denied.

  4. But that was 1983-ish? I think we'd have chaos on the order of prison riots if they tried that in our area...

    For those Bettys feeling a little put out that The Great Betty seemed to be editorializing about NHS, might I humbly submit that she doesn't bother damning Americans with faint praise...she's more likely to damn them outright and kill them off! ;0)