The Society for Strang Studies
founded in 2000 to facilitate research into the life and accomplishment of James Jesse Strang

   

 
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J.J. Strang Writer's Society
Issue No. 5
June, 2002

Many of you may have heard that our man on Beaver, Bill Cashman, had a very severe health problem. But I'll let him tell it in his own inimitable style.

A Life Saved -- Mine
“On Saturday, April 27th, my life changed. After a routine morning during which I dropped off a car at the airport, walked back from Four Corners, and drove Jo to the Emerald Isle Hotel, I parked next to the Print Shop, walked into the hardware store at about 11:15, and fell down dead. Luckily Jeff Powers was on duty. He jumped over the counter, and with the help of Raymond Cole immediately began to administer CPR. He was the first of several whom I thank for saving my life.

“Someone else called the EMS, who jumped in their vehicles and headed for me while Jeff and Ray and Larry Kubic struggled to revive me and keep me revived. Someone went for Jo, but when she appeared I was blue on the floor and the chances were not looking good. The third time I was brought back by the EMS's new fibrillator, I finally held my ground. I was given oxygen and raced to a waiting plane and bundled to Charlevoix (with Jo at my side), where an ambulance took me to the Charlevoix Hospital for stabilization and reshipping to the Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey, specialists in heart attacks. Late that afternoon I was conscious and lucid enough to ask repeatedly, ‘Now exactly what did you say happened to me?’ I remember everything from that point forward, although nothing from the preceding few hours.

“The next day a catheter was inserted in my groin and an operation begun to clear blocked passages in my heart, which I was able to see on a ceiling monitor in real-time. Medication rendered me woozy and pain-free, and the doctors and nurses put on an exemplary show. The worst passage, one completely blocked, was forced open by the insertion of a thin mesh tube called a stent—my new friend for life. Another was opened with a balloon. A third, half-clogged, was left to the action of ongoing medication. I think the operation lasted about an hour. Afterwards I threw up and then slept like a lamb until the following day.

“Jo spent evenings at the adjacent Hospitality House and days at my side in the hospital, where my vitals were constantly monitored—even if that required waking me up. One nurse washed my hair inside a microwaved bathing cap and then gave me a better backrub than one I once got in the Kingston Hilton. After the second day I was moved from intensive care to a two-man room, and had four roommates to talk to during the following four days. The food was excellent, and I had my own cable TV—luckily my roommates were too indisposed to put up much of a fight for the channel selector. My brain waves were evaluated, but the stent kept me out of the full-body tube of the MRI. Everyone was friendly, efficient, and well-coordinated, and I was impressed with the general level of expertise and conscientiousness. They kept me free from anxiety during my stay.
“I had one bad moment when one of my four doctors described an implantable fibrillator he had invented. I'm a queasy guy, and as his description verged into true gore I'm afraid I fainted in my chair, which I know was rude. That forced him to consider the possibility of my having suffered a seizure, which required a second trip to the cath lab. First I had my last regularly-scheduled test early Thursday, which began with a visit to the nuclear medicine department for a glass of fizz ("this wouldn't be strontium, would it? No? Just curious") and twenty minutes on a table being scanned by a Geiger-counting camera. Then I was wheeled to a treadmill room and forced to march at 1.7 mph for seven minutes, which included two slight uphill jaunts, as twin needles constructed a graph of my vital functions. Then it was back to the camera to see how the brief exercise had moved the fluids that had dripped into my arm.

“A little after lunch on Thursday I returned to the cath lab and was placed on a special gurney and wrapped in a warm blanket—which was replaced, so help me God, when it cooled. A second tiny (a #7 French, I was told) rod was inserted through my groin and pushed towards my heart to try to stimulate an arrhythmia while electrical impulses were monitored through receptors attached to my shaved chest. Basically, my magneto continued to fire regularly, so I was told to take a shower and hit the road—after promising to watch my weight, exercise to an accelerating schedule, and take certain pills for the foreseeable future.

“I'd had warning signs, which I foolishly ignored. No one could say how long my condition was in development: perhaps a year, perhaps twenty. But the attack was inevitable, since I wasn't likely to change my ways. If it hadn't happened then, it could have happened the next day or week. So I was lucky that it took place in a manageable situation—in retrospect the doctors said the chances of my survival were 100 to 1 against. Now I feel like I was given a second chance, and there's no reason not to look forward to a productive twenty years. I feel humbled by this experience, thankful, and in debt to a society that fought harder to keep me in it than I did to stay.

“Everyone asked me if I saw the light. Well, not exactly. But I heard the buzz.

“I'm very aware that while I sat home reading a good book or watching a game on TV, a dedicated group of people worked hard, day after day for hundreds and thousands of hours, to prepare for just such an eventuality as saving a life. I don't know how I'll ever repay them, but I'll try to make it up to Jeff Powers, Ray Cole, Larry Kubic, Alvin LaFreniere, Mike Russell, Joe Moore, Jim Stambaugh, Tim McDonough, Joe Timsak, John Works, and all the ambulance drivers, nurses, med techs, and doctors—and to the seventeen people who visited me in the hospital and all those who sent cards or delivered food to my home in my absence. I can't think of any event that would bind a person to his community more strongly than this.

Dr. Maloney, my primary physician, wrote to the EMS to say, ‘...This is an incredible story of an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest surviving. You should be congratulated on your ability to resuscitate this patient with, as best we can tell, no adverse neurologic sequelae, and it looks like he will have a reasonable outcome. I am impressed with your skills. Congratulations on a job well done!’

“I was particularly relieved that I would not have any of those nasty sequelae. I didn't have to look it up to know about these unappealing fibrous growths that emanate from the nether regions that look like stubby appendages of deformed octopi, which everyone totally abhors.”

–William Cashman

The following request for help comes from Carolyn Lewis: “Here is a question for the next newsletter: I am currently revising a short story I began some years ago that contains one reference to Strang. I am wondering if anyone has knowledge of the original incident the story refers to. In the recent move I made from NY to Mich, some of my research was lost in transit.

“In my earlier story, two characters are fighting over a trunk of Mormon gold. The story suggests that the gold in the trunk was accumulated some years earlier by James Strang. It suggests too that he buried bootleg whiskey in crates near Mormon Tucker's farm at Neahtawanta on the Old Mission Peninsula just north of Traverse City.

“Is there any reference or research that suggests that 1) such a trunk of Mormon gold existed, and/or 2) Strang did in fact bury bootleg whiskey down the coast near Traverse City and 3) he did benefit financially

from bootleg endeavors? And how much estimated money might he have made?”
John Quinn writes: “My thoughts have been Strang-less so far this year, as what little time I've given to Mormon research of late has been to Joseph Smith himself (particularly his Book of Abraham). But I love the newsletter, and hearing about the projects others have going – a good reminder to me to get working again on Strang's place in the Classical Tradition.”

Just a reminder from the editor:

Don't forget That Museum Week runs from Monday, July 15 through Saturday July 20.
Also remember to keep me posted on your Strang news and send any requests for help to me in time for the next issue (which I hope will come out sometime in September).

 

 

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#24 |
 

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