Sat., 1 Oct 1983

Dear Mom & Dad,

I am sitting here in the hospital waiting for the next patient to come into the emergency room. Also, I am going to have to deliver a baby in just a little while. It is 7:30 pm here.

I still have a bad cough & don't fell very well. I'm tired of this. I wish it would hurry & get out of my system. I don't feel like doing anything when I get home except laying around. Jeannie & the kids are fine. I thought I caught this from Jeannie, but she was sick less than a week.

We have been watching "Shogun" on TV this week. Before that we watched "The Thornbirds." We borrowed the tapes. Diane sent us 2 tapes this week. She mailed them Monday & they got here Friday. I can't figure this mail system out.

The letter you wrote Friday got here Wednesday.

The weather here is still quite nice. It gets down to about 60 at night.

The kids enjoyed the little finger puppets you sent.

If you think the people at Dogpatch were strange, just wait till you get to Europe. Have you decided exactly when you are coming?

Did I tell you Jeannie is going to take a watercolors class one day a week?

My curtain rods have not fallen down yet. We haven't pulled them very many times yet, though. The windows open in. The shutters swing out. We have to pull the curtain wide open to open the window, but can then close the curtains (or sheers) if we want.

I am still teaching class at church. Tomorrow I start on Hebrews, chapter 4. As you can tell, we haven't gotten very far into the book. When I'm not there, John Sigle teaches I Peter.

The Sunday we got there at 9:30, when they had started at 9, they changed the order of the service so the Lord's Supper would be last rather than first as it usually is. Since my contribution is more than everyone else's (in the congregation) combined, I'm sure they wanted to save that part till we were there, too. When we first got here, church started at 9 AM. When summer came, the Italians changed from 11 AM to 8:30 AM, so they could go to the beach. That is why we changed to 9:30. Everyone assumed that someone else had told us that the time changed to 9 AM starting in September.

Ladies Bible class meets at our house every Friday morning. Ann, our neighbor, is attending.

The earthquakes seem to have slowed down a bit. I haven't felt any today. I suppose it could be saving up for a big one.

The Red Cross would not be able to tell you anything for a few days because they would have the same communication problems that the media and everyone else would have. Besides, even if there were a bad earthquake over here, it might take several days before you could find out that we are all right. Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt could probably tell you about the hospital and Navy base. Even with that news, though, you would know nothing about us for sure.

I think our house is considered occupied even if we are out of town for a few days. Our landlord lives several miles farther north than we do. An earthquake could damage our house more than it would his. Besides, as long as we pay the rent, I think our contract states that we get to stay in the house 3 yrs. As I understand, these people from Pozzuoli can stay in someone else's house as long as they want. They did make an exception with a school in the area, however. When the "refugees" started putting up curtains, the police made them get out so students could start to school.

Angelique enjoys school a lot. The school is operated for American children. It is a private school, not associated with any religion. It is owned by an American who came to Italy with her husband several years ago. He died and she is now married to the Italian who was the realtor who showed us our house. Steven gets to go to school with Angelique once in a while, but he stays in a different section that is really just a baby sitting service. He thinks it is neat to carry a lunch box. I think he has only gone twice. On those days, Angelique took a lunch box, too, and goes to the babysitting service at noon, after class is over. They have class every day, but Angelique only goes on M.W.F. Steven would like Angelique to stay with him & has a fit when he sees her go by on her way to the bathroom from class. He enjoys her coming at lunchtime. Otherwise, he doesn't mind at all that she goes to school & he goes back home.

Jeannie didn't think the book worked very well either about potty training in less than a day. But it did help with Angelique. Once in awhile, Steven will urinate in his potty or tell us that his diaper is dirty. I don't know when Jeannie plans to potty train him. It is hard to find a bathroom over here when you are out shopping somewhere. It seemed that every time we started eating in Florence, Angelique would decide she had to go to the bathroom. Jeannie always made Angelique go ask first where a bathroom was (in Italian).

I don't know what movie we would want for Christmas. We want "Camelot," but plan on buying it whenever we see it. Ask again in a month. "Star Wars," "Star Trek I," some Disney movie, etc., would also be nice.

Wed., 5 Oct 83

I decided to wait till after Steven's birthday to finish this.

Saturday night wasn't too bad at the hospital, but I slept poorly & felt quite sick when I had to get up once about 1 AM.

I slept 4 hours Sunday afternoon. We didn't have tapes Sunday night because too many people at church were sick.

At 1:30 Sunday night my beeper went off. I had to go to the hospital to assist with a C-section, which didn't get started until after 3 AM. I'm not sure why they called me in so soon. We were about half finished (the baby was out & we were closing the uterus) when I started feeling bad, and came within about 5 seconds of passing out. I wasn't actually doing the surgery, fortunately. I sat down a little while, then someone helped me to a bed where I laid down for a little while. As soon as I felt like it, I came home. I was somewhat embarrassed.

However, it caused me to get serious & start figuring out just how sick I was. Monday morning I got a chest Xray & a white blood count done and started on some medicine. Monday was really the first day I had felt "sick," though I had felt bad for about 21/2 weeks. I had a very busy clinic Monday. Two or 3 times I felt a little faint in the morning but felt a lot better in the afternoon. I delivered a baby at 5 pm, then started feeling sick again. I usually cover the OB watch on Monday nights, but told them they would have to call the obstetrician that night because I was too sick. I got home at 6:00.

Everyone else was eating supper when I got here. (This was Steven's birthday.)

Steven's birthday cake - 3 Oct 1983 Steven enjoying his 2nd birthday - 3 Oct 1983

The Cummings came over at 7:00. John & Faye were supposed to come, but Faye was sick. Steven seemed to have a good time. He really enjoyed opening presents. All the kids enjoyed playing with the phone you sent. Steven had fun blowing out candles, too. His cake looked & tasted good. We had it made by the same girl who did Angelique's cake. (Did I tell you that she is one of my patients?) She had raised the price on the cake from $10 to $11, but Jeannie just laughed because she knows it is worth $20 & would gladly pay that much. Steven got lots of toys and had fun with the Cummings boys.

Jeannie went to her watercolors class Monday morning & seems to have enjoyed it a lot. Steven stayed with Ann Cummings at her house & did fine till they went outside (about 30 minutes before Jeannie came back) and Steven saw his house & decided he wanted to come home. Ann says he ran out to her gate & just stood there crying, looking at our gate.

Tuesday morning, while making rounds, there was a strong earthquake which lasted between 5 & 10 seconds. I was on the 3rd floor (same as 4th in U.S.) And it was quite shaky. A real earthquake is no stronger than that, it just shakes longer (3-5 minutes) till things fall down. This one was scary. We all wondered if it was going to stop.

Not too many minutes later, after I was back in my office, the radiologist called me. He had looked at my chest Xray from the day before & wanted me to know that I had pneumonia in my left lower lung. Well, after that everyone was insistent that I come home & go to bed. That is where I have been the past 2 days, sleeping night & day. I still don't feel any better, but I have stopped coughing up so much stuff. I would probably feel just as good working, but I guess I wasn't going to get well that way.

I have to go back to work tomorrow.

Jeannie was pleased that they made me come home. I would rather be working. But I guess if I have pneumonia, I had better take it easy awhile. I am on call this weekend, but perhaps will get to sleep a lot then.

Since I am getting tired, I had best stop writing & get to bed.

You all take care. Don't worry about me. By the time you get this I will probably be well.

Lots of love,

Michael, Jeannie,
Angelique & Steven

P.S. Steven is 33 1/3 inches tall now. He has grown an inch in 3 months. Angelique is 37" tall. She grew 1/2 inch in 3 months.

VISIT         TO

[Angelique also drew pictures of 8 animals and labeled each with the first letter of their name.] The "W" is for wooster which is how Angelique says rooster. She composed and wrote this letter by herself. I had to tell her how to spell the harder words. ~~JC --5 Oct 1983

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