Thanksgiving, My Wife’s Surgery and Two Books

By Marc D. Goldfinger

It was a strange Thanksgiving.  The day before the holiday I had to get Mary Esther, my wife, to the hospital by 7 a.m. Originally the operation she needed on her back was scheduled for 2 p.m. but the early person canceled so that moved us up in the queue.

It was a really major operation. She needed a laminectomy, which widens the back bone that was pinching her spinal cord and causing her to suffer from extreme pain. They also had to fuse five vertebrae on her back.

The operation took over five hours. The doctor worked extremely hard and was glad he only had to do one human being on that day. I waited in the Family Room from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and read quite a bit in between prayers.  

I was reading a wonderful poetry book by John Sibley Williams called “The Drowning House” and many of the poems were gut-wrenching, concerning the flaws in our current American society.  I’m going to review the book in my next column but I haven’t finished it yet.

The poems are extremely powerful and I’d read each one more than once to get the full effect. My God, what a description of the world John Sibley Williams has created. I’m only 1/3 through the book so I couldn’t do it justice in this column.

The other book I was reading was Neil Gaiman’s book called “Neverwhere.”  It’s a story about a young man who gets involved with people who live in “London Below” and their world is strangely dangerous.

It’s actually my favorite book by Neil Gaiman and I highly recommend it as a gift for a loved one. I’d recommend “The Drowning House” if your loved one really digs great poetry.  John Sibley Williams could be compared to Martin Espada, who’s new book “Floaters” has just won the National Book Award and is flying off the shelves.  

All three books are available on Amazon and in many bookstores. I have two books up on Amazon and myself. I figured I’d throw a little ad in for my two books too. My books deal with addiction, which is currently the other pandemic cruising our country.

Let’s go back to Mary Esther. I was finally called to visit her in PACU, which is the recovery room at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. I was a bit taken aback when I saw her because she was extremely pale and they were giving her blood transfusions because her blood pressure was lingering at very low numbers.

Mary Esther has been recovering nicely, and I’m totally happy about that, but it certainly has been a weird Thanksgiving for us.  I spent four hours visiting her on the holiday and left because she needed some rest.

I’m waiting to speak to her this morning, Black Friday, as they call it. I really miss having her thumping around the house. I left Martin Espada’s book “Floaters” at the hospital with her because she really enjoys his poetry. Almost as much as she enjoys mine, heh heh.

Mary Esther writes some beautiful poetry herself and I put a small book of it together but we only have one of them so they’re not for sale.  Maybe one day.

The weather is getting colder and I remember selling Spare Change News at the corner of Temple Street and Mass Avenue.  One time it was so cold that my blood vessels in my nose burst, which I imagine they call frostbite.

I didn’t even know it but a customer told me to get inside so I wouldn’t hurt myself more and I went into the 1369 Coffee House for a while.  At this time I was living in a recovery program in Gloucester called Moore’s Way and Mary Esther would come and visit me every weekend.  I lived there for over two years; it was the best recovery program I ever experienced.

Then I moved in with Mary Esther gradually.  First spending weekends at her place, then longer. After 9/11, the Twin Towers, I spent much more time there and we went dancing and really enjoyed life.

Suddenly, on April 7th of 2001, Mary Esther was struck down by sepsis and I took her to Mount Auburn hospital where they saved her life. For two days we didn’t know whether she was going to make it and at the time, she was Catholic and a priest came in and gave her last Rites.

Then she gradually recovered and spent nine days in the hospital.  That’s when we decided to get engaged. Time flies and we always have less than we think. Bless each day because it’s the miracle we call the Present.

Mary Esther is Buddhist now. She has taken her Refuge Vows and works really hard at her meditations. I meditate with her almost every day and it helps me focus.

So that’s part of the story and it’s time for me to go and visit her at the hospital.  I have to call first to make sure I’m not interrupting any of her therapies. 

Thank you, good readers, for sticking with our paper. We love you and without you, we wouldn’t be here. I’m glad we survived Covid and any tax deductible donations you would care to make during this rough season for our Vendors are much appreciated. Bless you all.



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