I’ll be back (soon I hope)


Fifteen hours after a wonderful surgeon removed my kidney, put it on ice, removed a cancerous tumor the size of an orange, shoved it back in my body, and glued me back together, a terminally perky voice woke we from a painkiller induced haze. “Molly Lyn,” she called. I hit the IV pain button. “Molly Lyn,” she said a little louder.

“Who is this person and why is she calling me Molly Lyn? My mother doesn’t even call me by my middle name when I’m in trouble,” I thought. I hit the pain button again.

The voice continued, “I’m Patty, one of the lab technicians here at the hospital and I need to get a little blood from you.” I’m sure I must have groaned as I opened my eyes. “Your chart says you are a librarian. I’d love to have a job where I could read all day,” says the clueless Patty.” I just sighed, in too much pain to launch into my usual diatribe when someone suggests that all librarians do is read. Oh, and I hit the pain button. “I love to read,” says perky Patty, “what are you reading right now?” TERROR streaked through me because I could not remember the title of the book I’d put in my suitcase or the title I’d downloaded on my iPad.

I hit the pain button and looking around I realized an aide had put the book and the iPad on my table. I just pointed at the book while trying to remember anything I could of the story. Nothing came to mind which caused the second round of terror to course through my body. How can you be a librarian and not remember what you are reading?

Luckily, a dietician came to my rescue delivering a breakfast tray. She explained that I’d be on a clear diet until “we” could be sure my kidney was working again. I looked at the tray and hit the pain button. On that tray was a cup of chicken broth with a scum of fat on the top of the cup; yellow, wiggling cubes that she said was “sparkling, infused Jell-o;” a glass of ice chips; and a box of sour apple Ensure. If you are ever offered this breakfast, hit your pain button. It turns out the Jello was made with club soda. Don’t try this at home. And, I got these same offerings for the next six meals. Yes, yes, I know there are starving children around the world, but I doubt they’d be any more enthused than I was, at the time. Finally, on the same day I was taken off IV pain management, I got to eat real food and it was delicious.

Now, that first night at about 2:30 a.m., the surgeon came bopping into the room and plopped down on my bed. Yes, he plopped and I hit the pain button twice. “Hey Molly Lyn,” he said, “I just finished the book I was reading and I need you to tell me what to read next.” He proceeded to pull out his iPad where I discovered he was on Amazon looking at the titles the site recommends. Terror snaked through me again, but reader advisory skills must now be part of my DNA so I asked what book he’d just finished. It turns out he likes thrillers where Special Forces save the USA.

“Have you read Vince Flynn’s books?” I croaked. “Nope,” he stated, “but I’ll try them.” He downloaded the first three titles and hopping off the bed, he loped out of the room. “Thanks Molly Lyn, you’re my favorite librarian.” I hit the pain button.

Five weeks later, I am back in the hospital for an operation to repair six disks in my lower back. I made my favorite doctor in the whole wide world double pinky promise me that I would not have to eat sparkling, infused Jell-o. The surgery resulted with pins, screws, rods, fused disks, and spacers in my back. (I’m still not sure there isn’t some duct tape in there, too). I think this surgeon is not a reader, his only fault. During that hospital stay, not a single soul asked me about books but I still hit the pain button a lot.

I’ve been recovering from this needed assault on my body but it’s been a long journey. The continuing pain and the side effects of the drugs I must take have taken their toll, leaving me with little energy and less stamina. But, I will be back as soon as the spine specialist says it’s OK. He told me the recovery from this difficult surgery would be four to six months and I am in month four. Fingers crossed, maybe only one more month (or less if I have my say).

I do realize this column should be about the library and I thank you for allowing me this point of personal privilege to provide an explanation, answer questions, and squelch rumors regarding my prolonged absence. See you soon.


Molly S. Kinney has served as the director at the Mifflin County Library for the past five and one half years and is looking forward to returning soon. She just finished reading “Before We Were Yours,” by Lisa Wingate and started James Comey’s “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.”