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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thinking sewing

I had intended to continue on my first shirt tonight but Mr. Rascal my wire-haired fox terrier is sick, a sudden and bad bout of pancreatitis. At present he is at the vet's on an IV with a pain patch and not doing too well. They said they would call me overnight if he got worse.

So somehow my heart isn't into doing anything much tonight.  I would miss him in my sewing room where he noses around and keeps me company.

Now I am not one much for medical stories but I am thinking of one tonight and it is connected to sewing.

A few years ago I had to have a breast biopsy, many of us do. Fortunately this one turned out fine.

Anyway, on the day I wasn't feeling too happy, and not sure if it was such a great thing that I was awake during the whole procedure. I felt out of place in a hospital.

At any rate I am lying there numb while the surgeon starts to cut and the assisting nurse looks at me and says "my god don't I know you from that lingerie course?" Of course I did and we started talking about the things we had made since and how we both had the same slips.

At this point the surgeon, who I thought was a fairly dry old thing, stopped and looked at me, and said "Well I sew too" and proceeded to explain to me exactly what stitch she was using and why and told me she essentially does her hems the same way. We had a pretty good conversation about sewing, and not in just the "distract the patient way". I could tell she actually also sewed clothes as well as people.

I found it immensely interesting and comforting to hear about sewing stitches and techniques at that particular moment and was so grateful for the OR nurse for reaching out and normalizing that situation for me.

You see sewing to me is so much more than a hobby, it is sort of both a life raft and an anchor to me. 

This moment also made me realize that I had been looking at hospitals all wrong.

To me, like many people who only go to them when something is scarily wrong or someone you care about is sick, hospitals are places where bad things happen.

I realized that day that in fact they represent something entirely different.

Next time you go past a hospital look at how large that building is. Consider what a wonderful, touching and significant thing it is that our species goes to all this trouble to try to take care of each other. All that work, all those people, all that effort, all that research and thinking and just plain trying hard, even when the outcomes are not what you want, just to try to take care of each other. 

And even animals. Even little two-toned, often belligerent, scrappy, silly guys like Mr. Rascal. A 24 pound terrier, but one who has made it his business, and his life actually, to sit and wait with me for whatever we are waiting for, and doesn't need to know why. Who stays right pressed next to me whenever I am sick, and who today, driving to the vet, counted on me to take care of him. Completely.

And the best I can, I will.


Sewfast said...

What a great post Barb! As a nurse I always try to find a common thread with the people I care for because I believe that is an integral part of nursing. I try to support a person holistically, not just physically because every component affects the outcome. Plus I see the people I care for as that...people! I hope Mr. Rascal improves...

Jodie said...

Hi Barbara:
I'm working away on my white shirt, but I'm tired and going to do something I don't need to concentrate on.
I'm sorry to hear about Mr. Rascal and hope that he improves. I have a 95 lb. equivalent named Dinah. She's a shepherd rottie cross and one of my great loves. She is gentle and sweet and absolutely loves to hang out in the sewing room with me.
Your house must feel very empty right now.
Take care and bet wishes to you and Rascal

gMarie said...

What a wonderful story. I'm very glad that your biopsy was good.

I'm sorry you are missing Rascal tonight. I hope that everything is okay. I'll keep him in my thoughts. I know how it feels to deal with a sick dog. Prayers to you from our pack. g

Anonymous said...

I keep my fingers crossed for your doggie. Hopefully, he'll get well soon. I have a cat who likes to sit on the fabric I am cutting and it's such a nuisance but also really funny and I would miss her sooo much if she just wasn't there.
Best wishes

Rita said...

I am sorry to hear about Mr. Rascal. I hope he will bounce back quickly.

Just 2 weeks ago my cat had to go to the kitty hospital. It can be hard.

Connie said...

Congratulations -- your idea to sew multiple white shirts was in Claire Kennedy's newsletter with a link to your blog. Sign up to receive the newsletter on her blog http://clairekennedydesign.typepad.com