Sunday, September 1, 2013

Liz Phair -- "Help Me Mary" (1993)

They egg me on
And keep me mad
They play me like a pit bull in a basement

St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, MN, was founded in 1889 by the Sisters of Saint Francis. 

The leader of that religious community was Mother Alfred Moes, who was born Josephine Moes in Luxembourg in 1828.  (Excuse my sacrilegiosity, but what is it with all these Catholic nuns that use guys' names?  I don't get that.)

The Sisters of St. Francis focused their efforts on education, but Mother Alfred was inspired to build a hospital after a tornado devastated Rochester in 1883.  She went to the Mayo Clinic's founder, Dr. W. W. Mayo, and got him to agree that he and his sons would staff the new hospital with physicians.

Early-day operating room at St. Mary's
Today, St. Mary's is owned and operated by the Mayo Clinic.  It is the largest privately operated hospital in the United States, with 1265 beds, 55 operating rooms, and the largest ICU in the country.  

The oldest surviving part of St. Mary's is the Joseph Building, which was built in 1922.  It has a handsome stained glass window that depicts St. Francis of Assisi and the wolf he famously tamed:

This photo shows a portion of another stained-glass window that presents the hospital's motto: Et sanavit omnes (meaning "And he healed them all"):

St. Mary's has just about everything, including a patient library (open seven days a week) that provides not only books and audiobooks but also CDs, and DVDs, CD and DVD players, laptop computers, video games, board games, and a host of other things -- all provided at no charge.

Here's one page from the booklet that lists the available CDs.  (I'm not sure what Sister Alfred would have thought of Warrant, Whitesnake, and ZZ Top.)

And here's a page from the DVD catalog:

(Ghost to Ghostbusters to Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to Gladiator -- something for any taste.)

My mother went to St. Mary's last month to have a hemiarthroplasty -- which is a partial shoulder replacement.

In a full shoulder replacement both ball and socket of the shoulder joint are replaced with metal and plastic components.  In my mother's case, only the ball of the joint needed to be replaced.

She couldn't have had a better experience -- the surgeon did a flawless job, and the nurses and others she came in contact with were skilled and caring.  (This is my second trip to Mayo's with my parents this year, and I can't exaggerate how impressed I am by the place.  You'll never hear me say anything negative about our experiences there.)

The family waiting areas were equipped with TV screens that displayed the color-coded status of each surgical patient:

My father took a nap in my mother's room as we waited for her to come out of surgery.  I wandered through the hospital's halls.

In one wing, I saw a number of posters that presented abstracts of different Mayo research projects.  Here's a typical one:

In case you can't read it, the title of that one is "Simultaneous Deep Brain Stimulation of Ventralis Oralis Anterior and Ventralis Intermedius for Complex Unilateral Tremors."  (I know the text is too small to read, but trust me: even if you could read it, you wouldn't understand a single word.)

There were also some historical displays.  Here's a commemorative St. Mary's plate:

Most of St. Mary's surgical patients are treated and cared for in the Mary Brigh Building, which was opened in 1980.  Like each of the hospital's five buildings, it was named for one of the nuns who served as St. Mary's administrators from its founding until 1985, when the first lay administrator was appointed.  

The Mary Brigh Building at St. Mary's
Sister Mary Brigh Cassidy, who was the hospital's administrator from 1949 until 1971, was a native of Eyota, a small town just east of Rochester.  After attending nursing school, she got an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, and was renowned for her business acumen and what one writer called her "charming Irish chutzpah."  But she was a reflective women who wrote hundreds of poems.

Sister Mary Brigh Cassidy
After her death, two sisters who worked closely with her typed the handwritten poems and selected 57 to publish in a book they titled "Gifts of Her Spirit":

This quote from Sister Mary Brigh is prominently displayed on the ground floor of the hospital:  "May you always see in your patient not an interesting or uninteresting 'case,' but a human being, a Child of God, whom you are privileged to serve."  (Amen to that.)

I've only recently discovered Liz Phair's 1993 debut album, Exile in Guyville.

I'm not sure what Sister Mary Brigh would have made of Liz Phair.  Based on her online photos, I don't think Liz ever seriously considered becoming a nun:

Nope -- Liz never wanted to be a nun:

I'm thinking maybe Miley Cyrus learned a thing or two from Liz Phair:

Her songs are often R-rated, if not X-rated.  (One of the tracks on Exile in Guyville is titled "F*ck and Run.")

I'm about 20 years late to the Exile in Guyville party, but it's an outstanding album.  I'll be featuring other songs from it in future 2 or 3 lines posts.

Here's "Help Me Mary":

Click here to buy the song from Amazon:

1 comment:

  1. Dr. Demento used to play a song about "nun names" written by a fellow who (one would surmise) went to a Catholic school. He lamented the fact that nowadays, "Nuns use their real names", and longed for the old days, when you had "Sister Mary Angelina" et al. He goes on to list, "Our shop teacher, Sister Mary Black & Decker, and our gym teacher Sister Mary Coach." Then there was the vice-principal, "Sister Mary Attila the Nun".