Updated 15 Aug 2015

Robert Palmer's autobiography - 05

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Robert Palmer's autobiography 1982-1990

| Chapter 17 (1982-84)
| Chapter 18 (1984-86)
| Chapter 19 (1986-88)
| Chapter 20 (1988-90) |
special photos

Chapter 17

1982 to 1984

age 38-40


    Continued from 1980

    On 18th March 1983 Youngest Daughter was born by LSCS. Lee Bishop was the surgeon and Mohammed the anaesthesiologist. I was in theatre for the birth (a first). See photo of her 127 in the summer of 1983.

    I had another near miss.
    I was working all day on the Friday, up all Friday night and still working Saturday morning. I had a LSCS and then went up to theatres two floors above. I was going into a theatre to give the CRNA a lunch break when I was intercepted by Al Jones (chief of OB GYN) with an administrative query. While I was talking to him before going into theatre I was bleeped by maternity. Obviously I had some worries about the lady I had just finished because I ran down stairs and she was unconscious in the recovery room and had stopped breathing. Instead of ventilating her they had given her naloxone. I bagged and masked her with 100% oxygen, intubated her (there was no response to the intubation, it was though she had had a large dose of succinylcholine), and put her on the ventilator in ICU overnight. Fortunately she made a complete recovery but had amnesia of the days events. I was lucky again.
    Valerie, Sue, Carla and Youngest Daughter all went to live with Valerieís parents in Alstonville from November 1983 to March 1984. Sue and Carla went to school there. See photo 129 of Susannah's 7th birthday with Eleanor Dunn.
    128 RJP's 40th birthday (with bus pass)
    129 Sue's 7th birthday
    See the photo of me at my 40th birthday party 128 with my bus pass.

    Shortly after turning 40 I started doing road races (running) in the masters category (40 and over). I had already been doing triathlons for a while, quite successfully.

    Around this time we bought a plot of land on Marthas Vineyard from Pat and Isobel West who were friends of the Dunkleys. We were thinking of building a house on the land which was over an acre, wooded and had a private path through the trees to the beach by Lake Tashmoo.

    I was doing periodic locums at Marthas Vineyard Hospital.

    I also was regularly playing squash and going to swim meets.

    In January 1984 I went to Australia for a month. Valerie and the girls were already over there. No surfing this time. See the photo 132 of Valerie and Malcolm Dunkley climbing Mount Warning in Australia in February 1984.
    132 Val & Malc Dunkley,
    Mt Warning, Feb 1984
    133 Mum in Martha's Vineyard house, late 1980s

Chapter 18

1984 to 1986

age 40-42


    In April 1984 we bought a yellow Volvo estate car. Richard Fiddian Green from St Maryís came to U Mass Worcester later on that year.

    Another friend we made was Carl Johnson and his wife Marianne who lived in Princeton, MA. I met Carl through squash.

    In June 1984 I went to the US Open golf in Winged Foot north of New York City. I also used to play golf at Juniper Hill golf course in Northboro MA.

    We had a family holiday on the Maine coast in the summer of 1984.

    We made some new friends, Steve and Maria Baker. I got to know Steve through squash. They lived in Holden.

    I also was still making regular trips to the UK where I enjoyed Dorset walks. Mum and I bought a bungalow #1, Hamilton Road, Corfe Mullen. I canít exactly remember but I think Mum largely financed it.

    John came over for Christmas 1984.

    We had a holiday in Bermuda in early 1985.

    There was a problem at Trinity Episcopal Church at one point which resulted in Valerie and on occasion myself going to Northboro Episcopal Church instead.

    In April 1985 Hem, Shirley Janeís older son, came to stay with us.

    At work we had new collegues, Nick Ranno who had been with us for a while, David Roth who came and went, Peter Sellei from Springfield who likewise came and went in the earlier 1980ís and another colleague whose name escapes me. Also Nick Barnard who was English joined the group. Meanwhile I had had enough of being head of department and told Bob Quinlan, chief of surgery, that I was standing down. As a quid pro quo I agreed to help set up the proposed day surgery unit.

    We also used to go to our Marthaís Vineyard property, and here is a photo 134 of Valerie and I outside in early summer 1985, and a photo 133 of Mum inside in the later 1980ís. Also a photo 135 of the Palmers at Spring Street in October 1985.
    134 Martha's Vineyard house June 1985
    135 Palmers with Volvo, Oct 1985
    In November 1985 I went to a meeting in Toronto.

Chapter 19

1986 to 1988

age 42-44


    I was keen on road races. Photo 44 is of me doing a 10k at Marlborough MA. I used to do them in about 39 minutes. At the time of writing (March 19th 2015) I canít even hobble 1k.

    There were no scares in my clinical practice so perhaps I was either lucky, getting better or had better judgement, the latter probably. We had new partners Gerry Kranis and Tom Levrault who was a friend of Nick Barnards. Also Leo Hochman finally retired in the mid 1980ís, though it was not easy to let him go. He stopped at 66½ but had wanted to go on to 70 (just like me many years later, though I got my way). Interestingly Kassim Docrat went on working until he was 78, then was forced to go in 2010 I believe, and when he died aged 82 in late 2014 it was a long time before anyone at Memorial knew. Very sad considering he worked there for some 40 years.

    See photo 136 of the family on holiday in the Berkshires in western Mass. Also photo 71 of John and myself chopping wood at Spring St and a photo 70 of me in the call room at Memorial in February 1988.
    44 10k at Marlborough MA
    70 RJP in call room
    Feb 1988
    71 John & RJP at Spring St

    39 Mum's 80th Birthday
    136 The Berkshires Aug 1987
    SB41A RJP with Sue Groves
    New England masters meet
    There were bits of plaster chipped off the wall in the call room. That is where I used to throw my keys as hard as I could at the wall when I was woken up yet again for maty. Having dissipated my frustration in private I was able to go into the obstetric suite in a better mood. I used the keys to throw because they didnít get damaged, and breaking oneís beeper is expensive!

    In April 1987 I think it was John and I had a fascinating holiday in East Germany before the Berlin wall came down.

    Also see photo 41A in scrapbook of me with Sue Groves at a New England Masters swim meet.

    Also around this time I took out US citizenship, which in retrospect was not a good idea but I thought at the time we were staying in the USA.

    In September 1987 I went up to Worksop for Mum's 80th birthday at The Red Lion Hotel, see photo 39.

Chapter 20

1988 to 1990

age 44-46


    During 1988 both Valerieís parents died, her father in the spring and her mother in the fall. They were both 78 years old. See photo 137 of Valerie with Geoff Talbot, and Carla and Youngest Daughter in the boot of the car with Geoff and Julieís children taken in Brisbane in May 1988.
    137 Brisbane, May 1988, Valerie and Geoff Talbot
    138 Martha's Vineyard Feb 1989, RJP & kids
    On both occasions Mum came over to Spring Street. Considering she was 80 years old at the time it was quite an effort for her.

    I was doing the usual things, working, playing squash, doing triathlons and road races and swimming.

    It was after her motherís death that Valerie wanted to return to the UK. In fairness I was like minded, and the original agreement had been that we would only stay in the USA for two years, and it was now over 10 years. I started looking for jobs. I forget the exact sequence of events. I think in May 1988 when I was in UK I looked at a job in Epsom and in the military.

    See photo 138 of me and the three girls taken in the wood of the Marthaís Vineyard house in February 1989.

    On 8th March 1989 I was sworn in as a US citizen, so I must have still been ambivalent about going back.

    During 1989 I looked at several jobs in the UK, Louth in Lincolnshire, Telford in Shropshire, and Margate which was where Andrew Proctor worked. However I was really only half hearted about it. So Valerie then put her foot down and came with me in November of 1989 when I looked at a job in Carmarthen and Aberystwyth. On 15th November 1989 I went to the interview and was appointed to Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth as a Consultant anaesthetist, so the die was cast.

    Valerie and the children left for Aberystwyth in early summer 1990. I came over soon afterwards, I think around Independence Day 1990.

    Before leaving I had somewhat foolishly sold the Marthaís Vineyard property.

    Not surprisingly 196 Spring Street proved harder to sell but it did sell eventually. It was built on a granite foundation and not long before I had found out the radon levels were quite high, but I kept quiet about it.

    Continued in 1990

Conceived, written and copyright © 2014, Robert PALMER, All Rights Reserved.

Compiled, formatted, hyperlinked, and hand-coded 2014 by John PALMER, .