Bed Number Ten – by Sue Baier and Mary Zimmeth Schomaker (1986, 1995)

Bed Number Ten
One December day in 1980, Sue Baier’s fingers and toes began to go numb, her limbs became so weak she could hardly walk, and she had a burning sensation in her mouth. By the next morning she was unable to swallow, and was growing weaker by the hour. Within 48 hours, she had become totally paralyzed except for her eyelids, and was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. This book tells of her eleven months of hospitalization. The first two-thirds of the book cover the time she spent in the ICU unit, in bed number ten. It was agonizing to read what was going on in her mind as she lay there, totally dependent on the nurses and doctors. The last third of the book describes the months she spent in another part of the hospital, having intensive physical therapy.

Throughout the book, Sue describes the love-hate type of relationship she has with the physical therapist, nurses, and doctors. She lay there for months, unable to communicate except through a primitive blinking system her husband Bill set up. Some of the hospital staff were too impatient to figure out what she was saying with her blinks. Others tried, but couldn’t figure out what she needed. A few succeeded in understanding her. Bill often ended up being the advocate and interpreter for his wife, and his love was a major reason Sue was able to recover.




At Home In Mitford – by Jan Karon (1994)

At Home In Mitford

“At Home In Mitford” is the first book in the Mitford series. In this book we are introduced to Father Timothy Cavanaugh, the rector of Lord’s Chapel in the small town of Mitford. After having read the book version, and having listened to the audio version many times, I wish there really was a Mitford!

Father Tim is single and 60-ish, with his share of quirks. We see into his mind, and agonize with him in his social anxieties, and the constant worry that he’s not meeting the needs of his congregation. He is surrounded by a host of unique and lovable townsfolk, including Emma, his snappy secretary; Percy and Velma, who own the diner; Dooley, a young boy he ends up raising; Hoppy the local doc; Sadie Baxter, the oldest person in town, and Cynthia, the rector’s new neighbor.

There are a number of story-lines that run through the book, and you will surely find yourself drawn into many, if not all of them. The combination of fantastic characters and entertaining events makes for a book that you will read with great relish, then reach for the next one in the series.