Friday 13 January 2017

Bless you!

It's wintertime, and that often means an increase in the number of colds and other illnesses that can leave us feeling miserable for a few days or even weeks. Updating one's Facebook status has become the common way of informing friends and strangers alike, sometimes in a very detailed manner, that a sickness and its corresponding frustration are present. People have not changed much over time in this regard. This week, we are featuring correspondence covering a range of ailments and how the writers handled the unfortunate situations in which they found themselves.

Some people intend to follow doctor's orders to rest:

"I deeply regret that I cannot enjoy your kind hospitality this evening as I am suffering from a nasty cold & a sore throat & in view of the meeting tonight the Dr. has advised me to remain indoors."

Letter from Thomas H. Grattan Esmonde to Abp. Lynch,
December 28, 1887

L AH32.115
Archbishop Lynch fonds

Or consider taking a sick day:

"I am at present under the weather with a heavy cold which took hold of me last week, and which seems to be developing instead of diminishing. If it does not relax its grip before next Tuesday, I shall not venture to go to Toronto."

Letter from William S. Macdonell to Abp. McEvay,
March 17, 1909

ME AF04.15
Archbishop McEvay fonds

Others, however, continue to work:

"Sick ten days bad cold[.] I endorse letter[.] Keep me posted on events[.]"

Telegram from Bp. Cleary to Abp. Walsh,
February 14, 1885

W AB02.02
Archbishop Walsh fonds

Some people blame the weather or a pesky draft for their illness:

"I regret to have to inform your Grace that the Bishop contracted a very severe cold, whilst looking after the works going on in the Cathedral. The weather is cold, and the windows being entirely open in the Church, removed in fact, for the placing of the stained-glass, his Lordship who could not absent himself lest a mistake might be made, took the inevitable cold and the kidneys have been seized by it, so that Senator Sullivan has insisted on his remaining at home for some days at least, until the present symptoms pass away by care and rest."

Letter from Rev. Thomas Kelly to Abp. Lynch,
October 27, 1886

L AD01.141
Archbishop Lynch fonds

Sometimes a person suffers from something more serious than a regular cold and is quite distressed:

"You will observe from my hand-writing that some great change has taken place in my constitution. ... About a month ago, I became the victim of acute rheumatism, the pain of which continued to become more and more intense until Sunday evening, the 29th ultimo it shot from the left shoulder through the heart and so prostrated me that my medical advisers believed I would not survive until morning. ... My general health is improving, but the left arm still continues to suffer excruciating pain, and is, since the Sunday just named, entirely useless."

Letter from Canon John Woods to Bp. de Charbonnel,
Trinity Sunday, 1859

C AB15.22
Bishop de Charbonnel fonds

And we all have at least one friend who provides way too much information:

"Here I am, all alone, my companions gone along last night to Charlottetown, leaving me sick in the hotel. But, thanks to God, I am usually cheerful in sickness, and I take to giving you an account of myself. ... The night before St. James' day, having dined on fish, I got cramps and diarrhea -- Irish cholera -- which continued for six days. I was four days in Westport without eating a morsel of food during that period of exhausting flux. ... My leg has been sore since Tuesday night and I required help to walk. I believed it to be the sting of a spider or 'black fly' in the shin. I expected all to be well in a few days, I did not intend accompanying my guests beyond Montreal, as I was unable to walk, and the pain was intense; but they coerced me and I agreed to proceed. But during dinner here last evening ... I suffered more pain than before and found the leg inflamed more. ... I sent for Dr. Hingston who declared my ailment to be erysipelas, which demands absolute rest for the leg and medicinal treatment for myself."

First four pages of letter from Bp. Cleary to Abp. Lynch,
August 8, 1885

L AD 01.130
Archbishop Lynch fonds

We hope this week's blog finds you all in good health. Take care of yourselves!

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