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just have to tell you this...sniffing old books


persephone
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Persephone--- girlt aht si so VERY COOL!!... I'm so happy that you had such an awesome and uplifting experience..

:)

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I have a very soft spot for books in general and a horrendously fluffy, soft spot for old books. I have an insane amount of books, but they keep calling me and I love the softness, and care and how elegant old books are. Today books are so mass printed for the most part. I love the specialness of an old book, the leather cover, the binding, how they do gold on it, and just tons of other things. I shall stop...Thank you for sharing the exeperience of that book with us. :-) Very happy for you!!! It's awesome that you got to just sit with the book like that. Some places make you go into a "clean" room, no pens, water, etc. allowed in that room. Than you have to wear special cotton white gloves, sit at a special table, etc. Not as comfy as what you got to do!! Let us know about the other book when you get to see it.

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Today I got to handle the older Manuscript I was telling you about (1400s)- it's not actually bound anymore because the binding has come away, so it is plastic wallets but I got to hold, and to see the ACTUAL pages--the only surviving text of Scotland's first dream poem. It has been my own dream to handle this poem for a VERY long time....

I cried. I felt so overwhelmed. The first page had beautiful illuminations in the margin- gold leaf, and illustrations of birds and flowers- so beautiful! And to read the words in the original.....well, if I sie right now I will die happy.

I sat, on my own again, with this manuscript and got to thinking about how the scribe must have seen the words that I was seeing. To think of him writing, adding his little flourishes, seeing where his ink began to run out, and where he dipped the nib again- all real, in the flesh...and from the fifteenth century! From before America was discovered by Columbus!

I had to be very careful and gentle- they tell us here in Oxford that white gloves are worse for the books than gentle clean hands, because they are difficult to grip with and people can accidentally rumple pages which damages the book or manuscript more. They don't allow water or ink in the reading room--you have to use foam rests and not lie the book flat, as it puts pressure on the spine.

You know what else? I kept going...I went to dinner in college which was nothing special, and people wanted me to go for drinks, but you know what? I chose to go back to the books....I went back to the library which is open til ten and that's me just in now! I know I made the right choice- these books are so precious. I haven't used my stick all week. And really amazing- I walked home from the library- no scooter! I have walked over a mile today, and climbed several flights of stairs. I know I will pay tomorrow, but just for today.....it doesn't matter :)

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I'm so happy for you Persephone. It must be wonderful to be there in front of all those great books. That would be like me being in a room with all my favorite poets. good stuff.

By the way, I havent' sent that care package yet because I've been too sick to get to the post office, and no one will take me. But I haven't forgotten about you, and I'll send it as soon as I'm able.

Take care,

Lauren

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Hi Persephone,

It is nice to know your name. I loved reading about your joy with the books. I feel the same way about libraries and books. When my son was 3 years old last year, he went through a phase when he was tearing the pages out of books. I almost died. It felt sacriligious (sp?).

I love looking at old medical books. It makes me feel connected to my ancestors who had so much less with which to work. I admire the photos of the female physicians from the 1800's who must have had to go through so much crap to do their job because of sexism.

It makes me remember that we are just specks in a huge human race tied together by centuries. I mean that in a good way if you know what I mean.

Are you working on a Phd, and in what field?

Karyn

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Pers,

That is really cool. I am so glad that you are able to continue with your passion. The books sound incredible. History is very powerful and puts things in perspective.

I can relate, because one of the saving graces for me during the past couple of years is that, even when my body has failed me, I have been able to continue to use my mind. I don't know what I would do if that were taken away.

I constantly worry about doing too much and having to pay for it. This is sometimes the case, but often I'm pleasantly surprised at how much I'm able to accomplish without really aggravating my symptoms. It is good for POTS patients to be active, and I think our bodies learn to adjust over time. And doing something that you love will help keep you in a positive mental state, which is also beneficial.

Thanks for sharing,

Rita

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I am so glad things are looking up for you! You're an inspiration, girl- hang in there. Soak in the experience- you're fulfilling the dream of many...

Carmen

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:) As ever Persephone u are an inspiration, and I am so glad that u have somewhere and someway of escaping our POTS hole once in a while and can find the true happiness u deserve!!!
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Persephone,

Wow, Medieval English would be so fascinating to study. My dad is 70 years old and still publishing his peoms and teaching English at the University of Mississippi. He WAS teaching English before the hurricane wiped out most of the Gulf Coast in southern U.S.! I love the liberal arts, but I have neglected that area to pursue medicine. When my children get older, I hope to find more time to broaden my mind again.

I cannot imagine being in school with POTS symptoms. I was soooo lucky that I finished school, and then residency before POTS hit me. I admire you and the others here for plodding through school despite the POTS. I find it difficult to concentrate to study. I can still learn new information, but it requires more effort. My 4 year old son likes to jump on my back, or pull the book away from me when I read too long too!

I too find it hard to have a social life on top of study (work in my case), plus have POTS. My only friends are those that I made before POTS hit me 4 years ago. They live out of my state, so thank goodness for email, and unlimited weekend cell phone minutes! However, I even get tired talking too long on the phone.

Karyn

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Hi Persephone,

Loved your beautiful writing. I'm a book lover too - have scads all over the house, all in partial states of being read.

Your post brought back beautiful memories of the library at Oxford. I used to travel to the UK (Scotland was my fav!) for business a lot. I was in the field of clinical research for kidney transplantation, and one of our physicians was a professor at Oxford. Enjoyed a very special day there as he had us up to his study for sherry, followed by lunch at the college, then a tour of the grounds, chapel, and library. He had the special key which allowed us to go upstairs in the library. What a treasure of precious books! Beyond words!

I can't remember that professor's name - he was already emeritus at that time (10 years ago?), but another Oxford professor who contributed greatly to our research was Peter J. Morris, MD, PHD - an unbelievably fabulous man - brilliant, engaging, down to earth, and renowned in the field of renal transplantation. Wrote "the book" actually, called "Transplantation".

My son is about 2/3 through his degree in engineering. I don't think it was ever easy, but about this time last year, he just hit a wall. He's been out of school ever since, but his dream is to finish his degree. We want to encourage his dreams, but also want to encourage reality with this awful condition. I guess we can just take one day at a time. He goes to Mayo in January and we're hopeful for a bit of help. I encourage you to press on at Oxford. Your efforts are an inspiration.

Anyway, you've got some amazing surroundings at Oxford, people and otherwise. Thanks for the opportunity to reminisce.

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