Tales of the NICU, romance via newspaper and demon rum

Nov 2 2011 - 10:47pm

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Some random stuff that piled up while everyone focused on my beard:

  • My column about the Newborn Intensive Care Unit and my grandson Max brought this letter from Edythe Kuhn, of Ogden:

"Over 29 years ago, our oldest son was born and spent time in the NICU at McKay-Dee Hospital. The hardest thing I have ever done as a mother was to leave the hospital without the baby I had been expecting for nine months.

"While Brandon was not born premature, he did have a collapsed lung that was perforated when they inflated it. He ended up with a chest tube and a lot of other tubes.

"For the first few days, I couldn't bring myself to hold this baby for the twisted reasoning that if I didn't hold him, it wouldn't hurt so much if he didn't make it. It was hard to reconcile myself to the fact my baby was as sick as the other little babies in the NICU.

"The comfort we took was that McKay-Dee's NICU is one of the best in the West. The people working there truly loved what they did and those little babies they cared for.

"I spent the evening last night with my son and his wife. He is a very healthy 29-year-old adult with his whole future ahead of him. I am so grateful for the doctors and nurses who saved his life (back in the dark ages).

"I hope all goes well for your children and that, 29 years from now, Dee is looking back on the start that Max made in life."

The NICU at McKay-Dee is still amazing, and Max is doing great. He and his parents have a bright and fun future.

  • I got fun feedback on my column about former Salt Lake Tribune columnist Dan Valentine, whose work inspires mine.

Ramona Mann, of Ogden, wrote that Dan was sort of responsible for her getting hitched.

It seems her future husband's mother thought she and her future husband should date, but Ramona was shy after her mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She wasn't sure how to break the ice.

"I saw a Dan Valentine column, and in it, he said the four professions with the people with highest IQ were professors, doctors, lawyers and CPAs, and my (future) husband was a CPA and I sent him the column and said, 'That's why I like you.'"

Her future husband was Richard Mann. "After that letter with Dan Valentine's column in it, we got together, and four days later, he asked me to marry him, and 35 years later, here we are."

Oh, and she's a lawyer, so he's not THAT much smarter than she is.

  • Weber State University's Special Collections library is celebrating its 40th anniversary. It invited historian Val Holley, who is writing a book on the history of Ogden's 25th Street, to be the guest speaker.

My favorite quote was a "those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it" moment. Val was discussing Prohibition. In the 1920s, the nation rose as one to ban demon rum, but how did this affect the shenanigans on Ogden's Two-Bit Street?

"It was never easier in Ogden to find a drink than during Prohibition," Val said.

Nothing changes. The nation's 20-year War on Drugs has been every bit as successful as Prohibition. Recent efforts in Ogden to ban "spice" and other imitation drugs will be equally successful.

Want to learn from history? Wander through the facinating displays in Special Collections on the WSU Stewart Library's third floor.

Wasatch Rambler is the opinion of Charles Trentelman. Reach him at 801-625-4232 or ctrentelman@standard.net. He also blogs at www.standard.net.

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